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Saturday Open Thread

by Jerome a Paris Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 10:52:06 AM EST

Today is No Berlusconi Day.
See some context by de Gondi here


Display:
TRAILBLAZING

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:02:17 AM EST
The history of science from a rather brittish perspective, but still cool.

Liked this one:

Royal Society

Caroline Herschel was the sister of the famous astronomer William Herschel. She assisted her brother in his observations and documented his results, but it is often forgotten that she was an excellent astronomer in her own right. In 1786 Caroline Herschel discovered her first of several comets and was rewarded by being paid a salary of £50 by King George III to become her brother's assistant. This was the first time a woman had been recognized in a scientific position. This paper announces the discovery of her sixth comet, which, unknown to Caroline Herschel, had already been sighted by the comet hunter Charles Messier just under 2 weeks earlier.

Lucie Green, Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

This commentary is free to share under a Creative Commons license

I also like that every comment is under a (attribution-non commercial) CC license.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 12:09:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially since she was German (-:
by PeWi on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 02:26:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First snow just started!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:09:28 AM EST
I was in Boston yesterday and it was warm enough to sit outside for lunch...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:13:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, big cold front coming through the Boston-Washington Corridor today.  It was quite warm here, too, yesterday, but it's gotten cold really quickly.  Down near freezing for the moment.

Snowing later tonight in Boston.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:19:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And always remember:

OW-UH SNOW IS BETTAH THAN YO-UH SNOW.  NO ONE DENIES THIS!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:28:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pouf! You americans and your excitement over crystallized water. Try living in a country with 11 words for different classes of snow ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 12:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All of them using various combinations and permutations  of "Jesus," "Christ," "freezing," and "I'm?"

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 02:53:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a way, yes.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 04:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll stay in San Francisco, thanks.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 02:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:12:43 AM EST
Need inspiration?


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:13:05 AM EST
CS Monitor: North Korea admits drastic currency reform, is silent on protests

North Korea has confirmed a drastic reform of its currency in what's widely viewed as an attempt to control a growing black market and curbing runaway inflation...

North Korea's elite - a narrow band of those close to leader Kim Jong-il and his inner circle of family members, top aides, senior members of the armed forces, the Workers' Party, and the government - are assumed to have large caches of foreign currency, dollars, euros, or Chinese yuan. And the vast majority of North Koreans have almost no money of their own. That leaves the middle class feeling the sting the most.

"People are mad at Kim Jong-il," says Ha Tae Keung, head of Open Radio for North Korea, which broadcasts two hours a day of news from Seoul into North Korea. "Suddenly your wealth is gone, and you have nothing. It is very difficult."

The question, he asks, is "whether the protest is organized or random."

...

As a result of the protests, according to Daily NK, North Korea has had to raise the amount that people can exchange from old to new currency. Under the current rule, it is possible to change old for new North Korean won at a rate of 100 to 1 for only the first 100,000 won, after which the old won can be changed at a rate of 1,000 to 1.

The U.S. is devaluing its currency too... just not with a new currency.

by Magnifico on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 11:14:19 AM EST
funny pictures of dogs with captions

Just back in Finland - no food in the house - so it was off to the gas station for some home cookin' and supplies. Next week looks terrible. It may look like the above sans chien, plus ordinateur.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 12:00:35 PM EST
de Gondi's context was amazing. Second Mig's request for diary.

Otherwise someone (the user or anyone else) might have to do a Lazy Quote Diary of it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 12:03:32 PM EST
Meant Bernard's request...

Bernard:

Very interesting summary; worth putting into a diary if you have a chance...


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 12:10:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have this thing about being more rigorous about my diaries. It's the self-defeating defect of perfectionism. It's not that I don't put scrupulous effort into comments, it's just that I compound the effort in diaries. I write comments fairly quickly, do a check and put it up.

The best thing for me would simply to consider diaries as extended comments. At least there would be something up to debate!

As for No B Day, I was not around to participate in Rome this afternoon. I got in late but was happy to see it was going on. My daughter participated and I urged her to take pictures. I'll see what she came up with.

As for Spatuzza's testimony there are so many comments to make.

What is important is that finally a witness named Berlusconi- an in the process called Cosa Nostra a terrorist organization. The only real news item in the case is the assertion that Berlusconi and Dell'Utri actually indicated what monuments were to be bombed.

From the point of view of those who have carefully followed Berlusconi's career and political terrorism in Italy since the birth of the republic, Spatuzza's testimony is not outside of the norm. Further a careful reading of the vast dossier of Dell'Utri's trial plainly indicates that he was involved directly in the assassinations of Falcone and Borsellino as well as the terrorist season of 1992-94. Spatuzza simply confirms that Dell'Utri acted together with Berlusconi. Today il Fatto spoke of only a few thousand people who have bothered to inform themselves on these events. Fortunately there are far more than that. Unfortunately it excludes politicians of all parties, a self-serving economic elite and a vast mass of disinterested citizens.

The real problem is not that Berlusconi has been exposed. The real problem is how he was elected three times despite the fact that he had notorious and proven ties with the mafia dating back to the seventies. The real problem is the utter lack of interest in perceiving who Berlusconi is and what he represents and conceiving the grave implications.

As far as future developments go, the most important event will be next Friday when the Graviano brothers will be called to testify in Palermo. Will they confirm or deny Spatuzza's words? Will the two brothers "take the fifth" to use an American term?

Spatuzza's accusations against Berlusconi are still de relatio- words spoken to Spatuzza by the Gravianos. However, Spatuzza was one of the principal executors and his testimony on his own actions have been bolstered by independent evidence.

But this is all covered by secrecy. It is up to the investigators to determine if these new accusations can be backed up by independent, material evidence. As of now, everything that Spatuzza has confessed has been confirmed independently. His revelations have opened a whole new understanding of the crucial mafia terrorist period that dates from the late eighties through 1994. It has cast a sober spotlight on the failings of some investigations into that period- episodes far too long and convoluted to spell out in an article.

For one, we now know that the murder of Borsellino was planned and organized before that of Falcone. It was not "planned in a hurry" because Borsellino had discovered something- a rather curious narrative given Berlusconi's previous involvement with major mafia bosses of the calibre of Stefano Bontade, Vittorio Mangano and  Tanino Cina. One of the most disquieting aspects of the Caltanissetta trials into those murders is that two mafiosi took the rap for organizing and executing the murder of Borsellino in order to mislead investigators from the real killers, Spatuzza's group from the Gravianos' Brancaccio mandamento- a mandamento historically linked to Berlusconi's interests since the seventies.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 02:22:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only real news item in the case is the assertion that Berlusconi and Dell'Utri actually indicated what monuments were to be bombed.

And one missed by foreign reporters. This is explosive news in my mind -- could you find a verbatim quote and translate it? (It should be added on Wikipedia, too.)

For one, we now know that the murder of Borsellino was planned and organized before that of Falcone. It was not "planned in a hurry" because Borsellino had discovered something-

Indeed...

Paolo Borsellino - Wikipedia

In his last video interview, given on May 21, 1992 to Jean Pierre Moscardo and Fabrizio Calvi, Borsellino spoke about the possible link between Cosa Nostra's mafiosi and rich Italian businessmen such as future Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.[4] The interview received surprisingly little coverage on Italian television (half of which was owned by Berlusconi); as of 2007, it has been aired on only one occasion, and that by a satellite channel RaiNews 24 in 2000, in an abridged version which is a mere 30 minutes long (it is 50 minutes long in its original form).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 02:36:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try to locate it asap. I rely on three main sources: The coverage in la Repubblica, il Fatto Quotidiano and Antimafia2000. There are two direct sources: the videotapes of Spatuzza's declarations to the various procuras made since he began to collaborate with the state. These are not publicly available, most are still covered by secrecy. They are therefore paraphrased by reporters who have had access to them.

The other direct source is Spatuzza's testimony during trials which are public and can be found on  internet, such as his deposition yesterday.

As for the context of his assertion that the historical targets were indicated by Dell'Utri and Berlusconi, this was due to the novelty of the mission: Spatuzza affirms- as other mafiosi have done in the past- that the mafia was not accustomed to indiscriminate bombing that caused the deaths of innocents. It is not part of their logic, according to Spatuzza (I however see it as a possible outcome of their historical collusion with fascist terrorists and golpisti) all the more so outside their traditional territory.

The bombings in Milan, Rome, Florence, etc. were ordered since the mafia bosses allegedly didn't know what to bomb. The bombings were anomalous in the context of mafia strategy. Why were certain monuments chosen and why were they committed in zones where the mafia was not present on the territory? It had a political end just as the fascist bombings in the sixties: terrorize the population into accepting extreme repressive measures or orient opinion towards the law and order rightwing.

Spatuzza affirms that they were massacres on commission. Fortunately, the last one didn't go off due to a dysfunction of the device: A bomb was to go off  in the Olimpic stadium in Rome during a soccer match. Spatuzza had placed the charge where the carabinieri keep their bus transport.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 03:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've come up with the following sources that indicate Dell'Utri and Berlusconi as having ordered the mafia bombings in continental Italy. I have not yet found the anecdote that both actually indicated the exact targets. However, there is the testimony of Giuseppe Ciaramitaro made July 23, 1996 in which he says that a "politician indicated the targets." He concludes that the politician is Berlusconi.

In Spatuzza's declarations to the court in Turin on December 4th, he confirmed his depositions to Florentine investigators on June 18th, 2009. Those depostions contain a detailed reconstruction of the bombings, according to Spatuzza. La Repubblica published at least three recent articles that discuss the contents of this deposition, as well as other depositions by mafia members called into cause by Spatuzza:

"Ho un patto con Berlusconi Questo mi rivelò il boss" by Francesco Viviano on November 21, 2009;

Un altro pentito accusa Berlusconi "Ebbe un ruolo nelle stragi del '93" by Francesco Viviano on November 24, 2009;

Mafia, perché i pentiti accusano Berlusconi by Attilio Bolzoni and Giuseppe D'Avanzo on November 27, 2009.

The most important passages in the deposition that have been published are:

Spatuzza dice ai pm Alessandro Crini e Giuseppe Nicolosi della Dda di Firenze: "Ritengo di poter escludere categoricamente, conoscendoli assai bene (i fratelli Giuseppe e Filippo Graviano ndr) che i Graviano si siano mossi nei confronti di Berlusconi e Dell'Utri attraverso altre persone. Non prendo in considerazione la possibilità che Graviano abbia stretto un patto politico con costoro senza averci parlato personalmente".

Spatuzza era il braccio destro dei fratelli Giuseppe e Filippo Graviano (entrambi in carcere con ergastoli per stragi e omicidi tra i quali quello del sacerdote Don Pino Puglisi e del figlioletto del pentito Di Matteo). Quando Giuseppe Graviano gli rivelò il "patto" che sarebbe stato stretto con Berlusconi, si trovava a Roma per preparare il fallito attentato allo Stadio Olimpico per uccidere decine di carabinieri.

Il pentito parla quindi dall'alto dei suoi rapporti privilegiati con i boss e ai pm fiorentini aggiunge: "Non posso sapere quale fosse il proposito che Berlusconi e Dell'Utri avessero in mente stringendo questo patto. La mia esperienza di queste vicende, ma è una mia deduzione, è che costoro (Berlusconi e Dell'Utri ndr) che in primo momento hanno fatto fare le stragi a Cosa Nostra, si volevano poi accreditare all'esterno come coloro che erano stati in grado di farle cessare. E quando poi li vedo scendere in politica, partecipando alle elezioni e vincendole, capisco che sono loro direttamente quelli su cui noi (Cosa Nostra-ndr) abbiamo puntato tutto".

In Viviano's second article he discusses the depositions of Pietro Romeo:

L'interrogatorio di Romeo è del 30 settembre scorso ed era stato già sentito dai pm fiorentini nel giugno del '96. Allora Berlusconi e Dell'Utri erano finiti nel registro degli indagati. L'indagine fu poi archiviata, ma adesso è stata riaperta proprio sulla base delle dichiarazioni di Spatuzza e delle ultime precisazioni di Pietro Romeo. "Spatuzza vi ha fatto il nome di Berlusconi, cioè qual è il motivo, il movente suo per fare questi attentati? Ne avete parlato? Giuliano (altro componente del commando stragista ndr) glielo ha detto?" chiedono i magistrati a Romeo. Ed il pentito conferma le precedenti dichiarazioni ed aggiunge: "Ricordo che Spatuzza rispose a Giuliano che il politico era Berlusconi. Non si trattava di una battuta. Stavamo parlando di armi in quel momento e di altri argomenti seri. Giuliano chiese se il politico dietro alle stragi fosse Andreotti o Berlusconi e Spatuzza rispose Berlusconi. La motivazione stragista di Cosa Nostra era quella di far togliere il 41 bis. Non ho mai saputo quali motivazioni ci fossero nella parte politica. Noi eravamo esecutori".

Pietro Romeo conferma di avere appreso da Spatuzza e dagli altri artificieri della sua cosca che le stragi "venivano fatte per il 41 bis e che c'era un politico di Milano che aveva detto a Giuseppe Graviano di continuare a mettere le bombe. "Giuseppe Graviano - afferma Romeo sempre per averlo appreso dai suoi complici - aveva fatto questi discorsi, che si doveva fare attentati con bombe perché lo aveva detto un politico di farle. Il politico diceva di fare questi attentati a cose di valore storico artistico". E sempre stando a quanto aveva appreso da altri mafiosi e dallo stesso Gaspare Spatuzza, Romeo aggiunge che "era Giuseppe Graviano che andava a trovare il politico con il quale aveva i contatti". Adesso Pietro Romeo e Gaspare Spatuzza saranno interrogati anche dai magistrati delle Procure di Palermo e Caltanissetta che indagano sulle stragi e sulla "trattativa". Spatuzza sarà sentito, per la prima volta, pubblicamente, il 4 dicembre prossimo a Torino nel processo a Marcello Dell'Utri.

Bolzoni and D'Avanzo on the testimony of all four mafia killers involved in the bombings:

Salvatore Grigoli, interrogatorio 5 novembre 2009: "Dalle informazioni datemi (...), le stragi erano fatte per costringere lo Stato a scendere a patti (...) Dell'Utri è il nome da me conosciuto (...), quale contatto politico dei Graviano (...) Quello di Dell'Utri, per me, in quel momento era un nome conosciuto ma neppure particolarmente importante. Quel che è certo è [che me ne parlarono] come [del nostro] contatto politico". E' una scena che trova conferme anche in parole già dette, nel tempo. I ricordi di Giuseppe Ciaramitaro li si può scovare in un verbale d'interrogatorio del 23 luglio 1996: "Mi [fu] detto che bisognava portare questo attacco allo Stato e che c'era un politico che indicava gli obiettivi, quando questo politico avrebbe vinto le elezioni, si sarebbe quindi interessato a far abolire il 41 bis (...). Quando Berlusconi [è] stato presidente del Consiglio per la prima volta, nell'organizzazione erano tutti contenti, perché si stava muovendo nel senso desiderato e [si disse] che la proroga del 41 bis era stata solo per 'fintà in modo da eliminarlo del tutto alla scadenza".

I'm sorry about translations. It's late and I'm falling asleep. Tomorrow.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 07:24:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With Google translate, I get that multiple participants of the bombing hit squad recall Berlusconi or "a politician from Milan" as the strategist behind the attacks, with the promise to abolish that law about prison conditions for mafia bosses once elected (a promise not kept).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 03:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spatuzza asserts that the Gravianos could only have had direct contact with Dell'Utri and Berlusconi. The four executors of the massacres and bombings all concur that Dell'Utri and Berlusconi were the ones with whom the mafia negotiated and that Berlusconi and Dell'Utri had conceived the bombings of Italian monuments which caused ten deaths.

This is all "de relato" testimony that must be substantiated by "intrinsic and extrinsic" evidence. The testimony of the Gravianos in Palermo next Friday would close the circle definitively, if they decide to collaborate.

Two investigations have been archived in the past due to the maximum terms for investigation. The decrees of archiviation did declare that further evidence had been gathered against the Berlusconi-Dell'Utri group but insufficient to call for a trial. Those cases have apparently been reopened or will be reopened when it becomes opportune for investigators to do so. By this I mean that at times investigators prefer to wait and see if further overridng evidence emerges rather than officially reopen a case. By doing so this avoids the immediate application of some of Berlusconi's draconian pro-mafia legislation designed to hamper investigations once they are officialized. It is for this reason in my opinion that the Florentine procura has not proceeded against Berlusconi. He can simply simmer in his own oil.

Some testimony has been covered by top secrecy as often has been the case in the past.

If Berlusconi felt he was so damned innocent, why doesn't he serenely affront a trial or trials rather than do everything possible to prevent trials and investigations?

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 03:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dell'Utri and Berlusconi were the ones with whom the mafia negotiated and that Berlusconi and Dell'Utri had conceived the bombings of Italian monuments which caused ten deaths.

I was thinking that even if both would be a high crime, a key difference is whether Berlusconi and Dell'Utri merely suggested targets on request from the mafia for a bombing campaign devised by the Gravianos (or Giovanni Brusca himself), or suggested the bombing campaign to the mafia in the first place. It does seem from the auto-translated quotes that Pietro Romeo is implying the second.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 05:01:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
de Gondi:
I have this thing about being more rigorous about my diaries. It's the self-defeating defect of perfectionism. It's not that I don't put scrupulous effort into comments, it's just that I compound the effort in diaries. I write comments fairly quickly, do a check and put it up.

The best thing for me would simply to consider diaries as extended comments. At least there would be something up to debate!

As long as you keep posting the comment/diary question is not that important for me, though it is easier to find when it is a diary. So I am all for viewing diaries as extended comments.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 03:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is perhaps the seventh or eighth time I've tried to post a diary but given up as it always fails due to a embedding malfunction or cut and paste.

What's the protocol for embedding photos and video?

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 01:16:48 PM EST
Check the New User Guide. Which site is the video on?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 02:18:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This late morning to midday, I met Migeru & SteelLady in Budapest. They had reason to be tired: their flight was delayed by a strike, and got to their hotel well past 2am... so the meetup started late and didn't last long: a walk to the station, where Mig got to now the friendliness of bureaucrats socialised under 'communism'; then back to the hotel, where we discussed the horrors of certain astrophysics departments, and of insane austerity measures in Croatia.

Their train should have arrived in Zagreb a few minutes ago.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 02:17:19 PM EST
US Wealth Distribution
One way to `see' the distribution of wealth in the U.S. is to imagine a group of 100 people who have a $100 between them. Evenly distributed each would have one dollar of wealth. Alas, that is far from the actual distribution. According to the most recent study, Currents and Undercurrents, by the Survey of Consumer Finance (Federal Reserve, Department of Treasury, 2006) wealth is distributed accordingly:

50 individuals at the bottom have a nickel. ($0.05 times 50 = $2.50)

The next 40 each have $0.70 of wealth (40 times $0.70 - $28.00).

The next 9 each have $4.00 of wealth (nine times $4.00 = $36.00)

The last richest individual has $33.40 (one time $33.40).


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 08:23:23 PM EST
I rather suspect that's hopelessly optimistic.

Certainly, in capital terms, I'd expect at least some of the hundred Americans to have a net financial worth of nil. I'd even expect some to be in debt/negative equity and to have negative wealth.

In income terms, there are going to be some Americans coming in at nil as well.

I wonder where their nickel really ends up...

by Sassafras on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 04:01:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 06:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 06:41:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by rootless2 on Sat Dec 5th, 2009 at 10:41:43 PM EST
Let Obama continue his corporatist policies and lose out the elections to the right fair and square?

But post this as a diary here.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 04:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm certainly not claiming to have a general magic key, but it's easy to see specifics e.g. on economic policy. For example, the US far right would like to blame Bernanke and Geithner for the financial crisis - and by implication Obama. And much of the US "left" has joined in - although it's utterly clear that no positive result can follow for the "left". As a political tactic, the demonization of "banksters", rhetoric about "blood sucking squids" and so on seems to me to play into the hands of the far right and its conspiratorial view. On the other hand a positive program of building green manufacturing and pushing for a consumer protection agency to break banking power, demanding a jobs program, and so on has actual potential positive outcomes politically in terms of stronger unions and control of outposts of government.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 07:59:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking of how to present this in a different way and will post then.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 08:00:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what was Thälmanns options in 1931?

Supporting the attempts by Brũning, Schleicher or Papen to run a "presidential" government (ruling by emergency decrees issued by Hindenburg)? Ironically, I think that in the power game around the monarchist Hindenburg, getting the support of the communists would be a kiss of death. And if one of those had won, I doubt Thälmann would have stayed free long anyway.

He went for the only option that could lead to power for the communist party, building organization and support until they could do a revolution. He failed, but not from not supporting the lesser evil in 1931. And the remainders of the organization worked as resistance within Germany.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 06:21:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is also silly to claim that the Communists focused on criticising the SocDems -- in a time period they engaged in open street warfare with the SA and the Stahlhelm. (BTW, so did the Social Democrats: the activity of their Reichsbanner militia is a less often told part of that history.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 06:39:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In 1928 the Commitern policy was set as opposition to "social fascists" (social dems) first.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 07:47:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They went for the popular front too late - and they opposed the "social fascists" as the primary enemy. Through the late 1920's and even into the 1930s the KDP kept venturing into tactical coalitions against the "social fascists" e.g. in the prussian government. You can get a flavor for the debate at the time even from Trotsky

The whole misfortune lies in the fact that the policy of the Central Committee of the German Communist Party, in part consciously and in part unconsciously, proceeds from the recognition of the inevitability of a fascist victory. In fact, in the appeal for the "Red United Front" published on November 29, 1931, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany proceeds from the idea that it is impossible to defeat fascism without first defeating the Social Democracy.
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/germany/1931/311208.htm

I don't want to get lost in the details of Weimar history. The point is that the far right in the US is a powerful political force with a clear willingness to use violence and with a large militia activity on its "fringes" and that it would be suicidal to underestimate its potential in the course of lashing out against the Obama government.

by rootless2 on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 07:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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