Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 1) 135

by Intrepid imaginaut (#49758203) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

Okay, so how about this one from only a few days ago:

Jacob Ekström is a police officer working in these areas. He has this to say in the latest issue of Forsking & Framsteg, the premier scientific journal in Sweden:

        “The situation is slipping from our grasp,” he says about infamous enclaves Tensta and Rinkeby. “If we’re in pursuit of a vehicle, it can evade us by driving to certain neighborhoods where a lone patrol car simply cannot follow, because we’ll get pelted by rocks and even face riots. These are No-Go Zones. We simply can’t go there.” [My bold]

The article goes on to chronicle the rapid rise in gun-related violence in a country that was essentially unarmed up until just 15 years ago, the evolution of criminal gangs and clans from the middle east as an alternative societal structure, and how the “exclusion areas” (i.e. ghettos) have grown from 3 in 1990 to 156 in 2006.

The reporter brought the status report by Ekström to Lars Korsell, researcher and head of the organized crime unit att the national crime prevention bureau.

        “Yes, it is pretty sensational that there are enclaves where Swedish law no longer applies,” Korsell replied slowly and ponderously.

I mean I sympathise with your need to defend what I presume is your home country, we had something similar here in Ireland during the troubles, tourists were afraid they'd get shot in the streets - no, folks, that's Northern Ireland, part of the UK - but from those reports it does seem as though a real problem exists. It doesn't appear to be widespread, yet, but there it is.

Comment: Re:Capitalism does not create freedom (Score 1) 49

I'm not sure you fully understand the scope of the social welfare programme in question - for much of its existence, it supplied around a third of the citizens of Rome with what they needed to exist. It didn't do so for the fun of it, costing Rome an absolute fortune as it did, but rather because said citizens would otherwise revolt.

While Nazi rhetoric consistently attacked the rich, the well born, the war profiteers, and the industrialists and while Nazi rhetoric consistently championed the working poor, the old, and the unemployed, how did the Nazis act once they had acquired actual power?

If anything, Nazis in power were more hostile to business and to the "rich" when they ran Germany then when they were seeking power through democratic means. In 1937, four years after the Nazis gained power, Freund wrote of Hitler in Zero Hour that "Only in domestic affairs did Hitler follow his original plan to the letter."

Graf von der Golz, the Deputy Commissar in the Ministry of Economics in a speech to businessmen reported in the Nazi periodical Völkischer Beobachter on July 15, 1934: "Any organization that represents the interests of the employer will be regarded as illegal and disbanded and the guilty parties will be prosecuted."

Fritz Thyssen, one of the industrialists who did help bring the Nazis to power, said in 1940: "Soon Germany will not be any different from Bolshevik Russia; the heads of enterprises who do not fulfill the conditions which the ‘Plan' prescribes will be accused of treason against the German people, and shot."

The Nazis on October 16, 1934 raised the highest income tax rate from 40% to 50%, and on February 17, 1939 raised that highest rate again to 55%. A decree of September 9, 1939 again increased income taxes, but exempted incomes of 2,400 Reichmarks a year or less.

Comparative Major European Governments, a 1937 book, notes that through several new laws on December 4, 1934 banking, credits, and stock exchanges passed under complete government control and that the Loan-Stock Law limited stock company dividends to six percent in some cases and to eight percent in others, with profits over that required to be transferred to the Gold Discount Bank, which was in turn required to invest them in government loans or municipal debt service bonds.

Nazi hostility to individual wealth was matched by its hostility to big business. The same act of October 16, 1934 removed the exemption on business taxes for many types of businesses and it increased the progressivity of the business taxes; an act of August 27, 1936 raised the general business tax rate from 20% to 25% and to 30% for each year thereafter; then on July 25, 1938 corporate profits of more than 100,000 Reichmarks per year were subjected to an additional tax of 35% with that rising to 40% for each year thereafter; and on March 20, 1939, the Nazis imposed an excess profits tax. In four years, Nazis had raised taxes to approximately one fourth of the national income.

Stephen Roberts, in his 1937 book, The House That Hitler Built, noted that compulsory loans had been extracted from banks and insurance companies, and that these grew to such an extent that armament firms complained that they no longer could bear this in addition to all the other assessments like the eight percent Labor Front charges assessed.

The Nazis passed legislation to make it difficult to form or maintain corporations and to limit the authority of directors of corporations or of stockholders in corporations. Directors of corporations, for example, were allowed to grant bonuses only upon condition that they were directly tied to profit and upon condition that the board of directors authorize "voluntary social contributions" to employees, granting employees effectively an automatic share in corporate profits.

Later, the tax on directors' fees was increased from 10% in March 1933 to 20% in February 1939. The capital market in Germany was almost completely closed to private issues and banks were subject to a succession of compulsory levies, confiscated reserves and increasingly high taxes. In March 1939, a decree liquidated virtually all holdings of foreign securities.

The Nazis also simply expropriated, with or without compensation to the business owners, canals, dams, roads and other private enterprises if ownership was deemed in the interest of the Reich. Even if some compensation was given to the owners, the owners themselves could not request compensation for virtual seizure of their businesses when the government wished to seize them.

The same year, the Reich Supreme Court for Finance and Taxation invalidated claims for tax deductions for two spinning mills in Saxony, noting that prior law could be ignored and that tax laws had to be interpreted according to a "National - Socialistic" perspective, to the great detriment of business. Even when private property rights were suspended by the Nazis in the interests of the "people's community," if there was any compensation to the property owners, "speculative gains" were taxed away.

The Nazi regime also had taken over big estates and in many instances collectivized agriculture, a procedure fundamentally similar to Russian Communism. The same year Dorothy Thompson wrote that, having robbed the Jews, the Nazis were beginning to rob the Church, and later will almost certainly expropriate the property of the bourgeoisie. Rauschning in 1938 wrote of Nazi economic policies, "The expropriation of property will inevitably follow, as well as the complete abolition of private enterprise."

On 16 June 1941, as Hitler readied his forces for Operation Barbarossa, Josef Goebbels looked forward to the new order that the Nazis would impose on a conquered Russia. There would be no come-back, he wrote, for capitalists nor priests nor Tsars. Rather, in the place of debased, Jewish Bolshevism, the Wehrmacht would deliver “der echte Sozialismus”: real socialism.

Goebbels never doubted that he was a socialist. He understood Nazism to be a better and more plausible form of socialism than that propagated by Lenin. Instead of spreading itself across different nations, it would operate within the unit of the Volk.

Hitler told Hermann Rauschning that he had admired much of the thinking of the revolutionaries he had known as a young man; but he felt that they had been talkers, not doers. “I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun,” he boasted, adding that “the whole of National Socialism” was “based on Marx”.

Marx’s error, Hitler believed, had been to foster class war instead of national unity – to set workers against industrialists instead of conscripting both groups into a corporatist order. His aim, he told his economic adviser, Otto Wagener, was to “convert the German Volk to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists” – by which he meant the bankers and factory owners who could, he thought, serve socialism better by generating revenue for the state. “What Marxism, Leninism and Stalinism failed to accomplish,” he told Wagener, “we shall be in a position to achieve.”

There's much more than that of course but anyone who thinks the Nazis weren't Marxists is sorely unaware of historical fact, facts which are most unpalatable to those who devoutly share the same ideological DNA today.

"Centralized power and dehumanization is a natural consequence of Capitalism."

So, please share with us the actual results of applied Marxism with due reference to the hundred million murderd in the 20th century, gulags, gas chambers, secret police, party elites and so on? Doubleplus ungood.

Comment: Re:Capitalism does not create freedom (Score 1) 49

Benito Mussolini was a socialist and earned the title “Il Duce” as the leader of the socialists in Italy. When he founded the fascist party, its program called for implementing a minimum wage, expropriating property from landowners, repealing titles of nobility, creating state-run secular schools and imposing a progressive tax rate. Mussolini took socialism and turned it in a more populist and militaristic direction, but remained a modernizing, secular man of the left.

Comment: Re:Capitalism does not create freedom (Score 3, Insightful) 49

China was a struggling third world country before they wisely began to adopt capitalism, It's far from a free market, operating more like a nation sized corporation, but to call it communist is off the rails. It still has a caste system for example. It's operating pretty much along the lines China has operated for quite a long time, except without an obvious emperor.

Imperial Rome was sort of similar, but it's worth noting that the public had a strong voice in politics, as indicated by the bread and circuses they were provided to keep them happy, a fully operational social welfare system that existed thousands of years ago.

Nazi Germany was never capitalist, for example Hitler in 1927: "We are socialists. We are enemies of today's capitalistic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions." Goebbels: "The worker in a capitalist state - that is his greatest misfortune - no longer a human being, no longer a creator, no longer a shaper of things. He has become a machine."

  In 1941, former Nazi boss of Danzig, Hermann Rauschning, wrote that the last part of the German Revolution was Nazism, which was just as much a realization of Marxist as of nationalist ideas, and he notes that the only ones who refuse to admit this are supporters of Marxist theories and Nazis themselves. Rauschning also writes in his book that Marxism itself was part of a single great revolutionary movement which included Marxist Socialism, Nazism, Communist Bolshevism, Fascism and nihilism. Rauschning knew Hitler well and repudiated him and his movement at great risk before the rest of the world recognized the full danger of Nazism.

Much the same could be said of fascist Italy.

The only group in your list that could credibly be called capitalist were the British Empire, and during its height (mostly mid 19th century to the start of the 20th century) liberty and democracy did indeed bloom, culminating in universal suffrage and the outline of what we today call a modern democracy appearing. Not so much in the colonies of course but that was the Imperial part of the equation

All great discoveries are made by mistake. -- Young