Monday, June 05, 2006

Submission by Starvation

Publius Pundit is doing Yoeman's work rounding up stories on the quick demise of democracy in Venezuela and Bolivia.

He reports that land grabs and redistribution are under way and that there is a possibility of armed resistance by land owners.

In Venezuela, the land confiscations have stepped up in Yaracuy state, where productive sugar-farming land is being taken for collective farms in a Jim Jonesian romantic vision of peasant self-sufficiency. It will have exactly the same success as Jim Jones as insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. As land confiscations step up, so do arbitrary arrests, including that of a governor who had the election stolen from him a few months ago. Note the correlation between land and human rights in Daniel’s frightening story

He's reporting that Morales is doing the same in Bolivia. Of course, Mugabe has been doing it in Zimbabwe for quite some time with already telling results.

As with land distribution of the past, what typically happens is exactly what Publius is reporting: "farmers" are moved in and given subsidies to begin planting "self sustaining" crops. Usually, these crops are not suitable to the climate or soil of every area which means many, if not most, of the farmers actually cannot "self sustain". They end up being dependent on government handouts. Worse, after cash crops that not only feed the country, but provide work and income for laborers as well as bring revenue into the country that allows actual "sustaining" food to be bought or imported, are irradicated in the name of socialist/communist "empowerment of the people", starvation and famine set in.

Of course, other problems stem from trying to "create" farmers by moving urban residents to the country, handing them some land and declaring them farmers when most have no clue about soil preservation, crop rotation, resource management or even the basics of planting and harvesting.

On top of that, those who get the richest and best producing lands are not poor peasants, but supporters of the regime who also know little about farming, but hope to use the farm's resources up to get as much money as possible before it crashes and burns.

What this produces, instead of "wealth distribution", it's the distribution of death and submission by starvation. Without cash crops that bring in revenue and employ locals, the economy of the region and the state begins to suffer. Without large crops that can be raised and sold at market to urban areas (that don't farm) or to less arid areas that may not be able to produce these needed food stuffs, availability of food decreases dramatically. Famine starts in. Starvation is not far behind and neither is violent unrest. In typical fashion, these states usually begin to enforce food distribution through a "taxation" or requirement of a certain amount of food being sent to the government for distribution. Communists like to call it collectivism and equal distribution, but it amounts to no more than a modern fuedal estate where those who received their lands from the state redistribution are beholden to the state and must pay it for the privilege of retaining the land. Since property rights have been thrown out and those that accepted redistributed lands have participated in it, those that refuse to send food or other payment to the government will simply be kicked off and new tenets will be granted the land.

As I said, it's fuedalism, not modern economics, and Chavez is the new Lord of the Realm.

At first blush, those who rushed to receive the land are extremely happy and will support the government, as they do now, until they find out that the government is not really on their side, but is using it to gain and hold power. As long as the state owns the land, no one else does. In which case, improving the land, getting water rights, obtaining more land for a growing family or in order to improve one's financial condition is either not allowed or becomes repressive itself by requiring permits for every action; permits that will take huge bribes and be bogged down in buearacracy for a long time while the inhabitants slowly become poorer and starve.

The government also controls the food. Since other areas will be devoid of food and the new distribution of land is guaranteed to provide subsistant living for the new "tenents", the government will be forced to take food and send it to other areas or will have to use government revenues to purchase food to distribute (particularly since it will have cut off as many ties with free, outside, private markets for import). Since the government will control the food through either of these scenarios, any area that may be considered "rife with opposition" (or, in the speak of totalitarian governments, "traitors"), will have its food supply cut off and the people will be starved into submission just like the Soviet model.

Recently reading Jean Francois Revel's The Flight From Truth, he pointed out the manufactured famines in Mozambique and Ethiopia from the eighties. One of his most interesting comments was that there was already widespread famine in these countries before their totalitarian governments even hinted at it in a press release. What did these countries do to compound it?

The primary government response to the drought and famine was the decision to uproot large numbers of peasants who lived in the affected areas in the north and to resettle them in the southern part of the country. In 1985 and 1986, about 600,000 people were moved, many forcibly, from their home villages and farms by the military and transported to various regions in the south. Many peasants fled rather than allow themselves to be resettled; many of those who were resettled sought later to return to their native regions. Several human rights organizations claimed that tens of thousands of peasants died as a result of forced resettlement.

Another government plan involved villagization, which was a response not only to the famine but also to the poor security situation. Beginning in 1985, peasants were forced to move their homesteads into planned villages, which were clustered around water, schools, medical services, and utility supply points to facilitate distribution of those services. Many peasants fled rather than acquiesce in relocation, which in general proved highly unpopular. Additionally, the government in most cases failed to provide the promised services. Far from benefiting agricultural productivity, the program caused a decline in food production. Although temporarily suspended in 1986, villagization was subsequently resumed.

If you read the rest of the link you would see that part of this is blamed on the US and rebel forces, but, as Revel pointed out in his book, there have been many rebellions in many countries that have not resulted in these same results unless, of course, it is coupled with totalitarianism and failed socialist policies that continue to get recycled but end up with the same results. Then, what we get is the same thing that occured during all of these famines (likewise, Korea): media reports and horrific images, demands for aid and assistance by wealthier (western) nations while the governments who orchestrated these disasters and the apologist media denounce wealthy western democracies for not doing enough to stop it and blamed as the primary cause, even though anyone with an ounce of sense in their brains already knows what caused the outcome. It rarely has anything to do with what outside nations do or don't do.

But, just like the orchestration of these events and the policies that brought them in the first place, these denouncements are meant to distract the internal people from their anger against the government, secure the government's continuing power, and blackmail other nations.

This is hardly ever about "social and economic justice", but is usually about obtaining and retaining power by the government. It follows a formula every time:

1) Take the land from the wealthy and give it to the masses giving the impression that the goverment is working for this large underclass and creating an obligated mass of supporters.

2) Maintain the land is the property of the state and not the farmers, even after redistribution, so the farmers are obligated to the state to work and live on the land. Of course, the land can be seized at any time if the farmer does not give the right amount of gratitude to the regime for his subsistent life.

3) Improvements to the land or expansion can only be approved by the state which will require substantial fees as well as bribes to process and obtain (insuring that, while the "wealthy farmers" are now gone, a whole new class of wealthy, corrupt buearocrats springs up who is also beholding to the system to maintain their position and does everything necessary to maintain it).

4) Institute agrarian reform that insures the crops that are raised are less than capable of supporting the farmers.

5) Institute food "taxes" and redistribution to other regions that are now no longer provided for by the once "large" farms, reducing further the amount of food available to the farmer to exist on.

6) State now supplies the largest and main source of food to the people insuring that they either feel gratitude for the assistance and continue to support the government or that, through the control of food, those that might otherwise oppose the government have no ability to self sustain and are thus powerless.

7) Blame other countries for any economic or agrarian disasters that occur to deflect anger outward away from the regime, compound nationalistic pride with growing displeasure over the food situation in order to maintain loyalty to the regime and insure that those that might seek help from outside to end the regime and the shortage, are labeled "agents" and "traitors".

8) Wait until the famine and near starvation is so far advanced before announcing it so there is little that immediate aid can do to relieve it, thus continuing to blame others for not doing enough (while the entire time the government is using it to continue controlling the population through distribution).

9) Demand aid from said "outside" countries.

10) Continue denouncing these countries for the starving country's condition while demanding more aid.

11) Take whatever food is available along with any relief supplies and distribute it on behalf of the ruling regime in said famine country.

12) Use most of the aid supplies to provide to cronies and family members who will then sell it on the blackmarket for a nice profit.

13) Use the rest of the aid to distribute to areas where the government needs to engender support or at least squash dissent.

14) Continue denouncing other nations for failing to do enough.

The whole time use the situation to destroy opponents, arrest and kill dissenters, control the rest of the population.

Venezuela may not become Ethiopia in terms of famine, but it may certainly find itself being controlled even more completely by Chavez through his control of everything else from economy to energy to the very existence of these people's lives.

The whole purpose, contrary to many an apologist, is not to help the people in some socialist/Communist dream state become self sufficient, but to garner and maintain power through one more method of controlling the population.

Submission by starvation.

Posted at the Castle

No comments: