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Total number of comments: 7 (since 2013-11-28 16:50:41)


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  • Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris
    • "Beur" is derogatory? Some might use it derogatorily, but many youths of immigrant origin use it proudly. See for example the success of the radio station Beur FM.

    • Hey! That name is common enough that you must be the guy who wrote a blog post about Birobidzhan that I really enjoyed. If so, consider this a "hi" from an appreciative reader.

    • Also, the tactic he cites, I believe, is better known as "heightening the contradictions". Means the same as "sharpening" them, of course. But it would be more immediately recognizable as the Leninist doctrine he's referring to if the more common phrasing was used.

  • White Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism in Norway
    • Super390,

      In 1917 Russia, there was a range of political groups between the Tsarist feudal landlords and the Bolsheviks.

      There were liberals, Mensheviks, and Kerensky's Socialist Revolutionaries.

      The latter had their own history of political violence, but the Bolsheviks were in a category of their own. Their "October Revolution" was a coup d'etat - not against the feudal landlords of yore, land reform was already taking place - but against a government that represented a range of ideas and movements.

      Your dichotomy of what history was like at that moment is false. The Bolsheviks can be credited, it's true, for letting one round of democratic elections take place. They lost them, getting just a quarter of the vote. Kerensky's Socialist Revolutionaries, whom they had deposed, received half the vote. The new Bolshevik regime's response? They surrounded the newly elected parliament, and arrested scores of its newly elected members. Mostly men who were also socialists, just like them, just not as radical or belonging to a different school of socialist thought.

      It was an act that foreshadowed the state terrorism that the Bolsheviks were to unleash in the years - and decades - to come. Your defense that they were merely acting against reactionary feudalists is historically just not correct.

    • Todd, your argument reminds me of that of the Jonah Goldbergs of the world about nazism and the right. Nazism, they assert, can't possibly have been rightwing, because the right always only stands for individual liberty, and since the Nazis repressed individual liberty they can't have been rightwing.

      You do the same trick: communism can't have been a leftwing ideology, because the left is always only about "comprehensive democratic systems", and since communists suppressed democracy, they can't have been letwing.

      Yes, that is circular reasoning, and its ahistoricism is self-serving. You can't rewrite history by creating your own definitions of what can *really* only be considered left or right wing, and then project those backward into history. The communists considered themselves radical leftists; they were considered radical leftists by all their contemporaries. You can make up your own definitions like Jonah Goldberg does, but it will require you to, well, write your own history.

    • Well, that's a perfect piece of circular reasoning. There is no left-wing terrorism, because any group that calls itself and/or is generally considered leftwing but uses terror isn't *really* leftwing.

      Also known as the "No true Scotsman" phallacy: link to

  • Free Libyan fighters exult in small Victories, as US begins Drone Strikes
    • > I was asked why the rebel forces in Misrata seem to be such better fighters than those in Ajdabiya to the east. [..] I’d be interested in learning more.

      My guess would be that the rebels in Misrata are mostly local, know the terrain intimately and, as another commenter already suggested, have nowhere to retreat to, so they have no choice but to keep fighting, street by street. The rebels fighting around the much smaller city of Ajdabiya, I would guess, are mostly not local, but part of units coming out from Benghazi and elsewhere. They have been moving into and then on from Ajdabiya, and back to and then out of Ajdabiya again too.

      On a nitpicking note, the use of capitalization in your headline confuses me, what's the logic of capitalizing, say, "Victories," but not "fighters"?

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