1. Italy’s waltz with China is business as usual Dario Cristiani, War on the Rocks
  2. Italy and the Belt and Road Initiative Tridivesh Singh Maini, NOL
  3. China’s liberals and benevolent hegemony Pär Nyrén, the Diplomat
  4. The dictatorship of the present John Michael Colón, The Point

Santa Cruz Vandals, Drums, and Left-Wing Authoritarianism

I live in wonderful times in a wonderful place. Important history is re-playing itself before my eyes. This a sequel to my recent previous blogs (“Freedom Fighters…” and, “The Leftist Municipality….”)

The story has to do with the fact that a few fast-moving people dressed in black caused about $100,000 worth of damage in six or seven storefronts withing three blocks of each other. (The damage cost estimate comes from the local paper. I cannot verify it.) That was in Santa Cruz, California.

The vandals came out of a demonstration of a few hundred young people with no particular agenda, except the usual vague left-wing slogans and a few more about the new Arizona law on illegal immigration . (See my posting on that too: “Illegal Immigration…,” “The Arizona Immigration Law…,” and, “Immigration: More on Conservative….”) It was supposed to be a “May Day” celebration, but May Day is the first of May and the demonstration was on the second. Well, nobody is perfect and this is a beach town.

I did not learn much from the videos on YouTube except that one demonstrator was wearing a tie. There seems to be a consensus that the window breakers were few and well prepared and that they had kept their intentions secret. I believe there were fewer than ten actively involved in the vandalism.

There were no police present at the scene for a long time. I pointed out in previous postings: 1 That the police had other priorities, and, 2 That it was not surprising that they did, given the nature of the city government. Here is more, more blatant evidence. Again, this is contemporary political history in a small capsule. Continue reading

How ’bout Communism?

Note: Most of my adult life and all of my childhood were dominated by the threat of Communism. People of my generation who wanted to know understood well the horrors of Communist societies. We knew of the slave-labor camps, of the mass executions, of the constant spying on ordinary citizens by the secret police, of the betrayals of friend by friend that were everyday life in Communist countries. We were well aware also of the grinding poverty in those countries.

I am concerned that thinking individuals who are in their twenties and even in their thirties now might know little about the reality of Communism as it was practiced. It seems to me that no one asked them to study the matter. A Russian friend of mine is going back to Russia this summer for a couple of months. If a few readers ask, I will request of my friend that he contribute to this blog from there, drawing on the memories of older friends and relatives who survived the Soviet period.

There was once a “Communist” movement whose followers were often motivated by generous impulses and by economic ignorance, in more or less equal parts. There has never been a Communist state, whatever that would be. Historically several Communist parties did achieve political power. None did so through democratic means, although the Czechoslovak Communists may have come close, in 1948. We will never know because the presence of a large contingent of the Soviet Red Army in the country forever mars the analysis. Continue reading