What Flags Do Russia’s Protestors Use?


By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Russia has recently had a number of protests against President Vladimir Putin. The protests constitute a challenge of urban Russians against Putin’s rule.

If you’ve ever seen pictures of these protests, one interesting thing stands out. This is the fact that the protestors don’t wave Russia’s national flag.

Instead, they always wave different flags.

What are these flags? What do they represent? I’ve done a bit of digging to get at these answers.

Nationalists

One common flag in the protests is this one.

Obviously, this flag is not the national flag that Russia uses. It looks a bit darker – dare I say more threatening – than the white, red, and blue-striped official Russian flag.

Apparently this flag was one of the two flags that represented the Russian Empire before the revolution (the other is the current official flag). It seems to have been much less popular than the other flag.

Here’s another picture with these flags.

In the center there’s a standard of a bird with two heads. This type of standard also often appears in these protests. It seems to be a version of this flag.

This was the imperial standard during the Russian Empire.

These types of flags are often used by Russian nationalists. They seem to be a symbol of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, a Russian nationalist party (which some describe as ultranationalist).

For a person without deep knowledge of Russia, it’s somewhat concerning to see these flags of the Tsar. It seems to imply that the Russian Empire and the Tsar were good, or imply a type of nostalgia for the Tsar.

Communists

There’s another type of flag that’s very prevalent in these protests against Putin.

See if you can recognize it.

The good old flag of the Soviet Union.

Interestingly, there are a lot of variants of communist flags. For instance, this picture there are several red flags with a red star outlined in white and two Russian phrases stamped on top of the red star. This “red star” flag seems to be very popular and has been waved in a lot of protests. Puzzlingly, this doesn’t match the standard of Russia’s official communist party. (EDIT: This is the flag of the Left Front, a group of leftist political organizations including and perhaps dominated by the communists).

Here’s another variant of the pro-communist flags waved in these protests.

In this picture there are a lot of blue and white flags with a red star and sickle-and-hammer. Again, I can’t find where this flag comes from (although it’s certainly obvious what it represents). (EDIT: A reader informs me that this is the Soviet naval ensign.)

Communism seems to be quite popular amongst Putin’s opposition.

Liberals

There’s a final type of flag in these protests. They’re the orange flags in the two pictures above.

Here’s another photo with these orange flags.

These flags seem to represent liberals in the protest movement. The orange flag is a symbol of Solidarnost, a group of liberal Russian organizations.

In the picture there are also a number of red-and-white flags with a red-and-white sun. I have absolutely no idea what these flags would represent. (EDIT: This is the flag of the Russian People’s Democratic Union, a small liberal party).

Conclusions

It’s very interesting how Putin’s opposition has very little passion for Russia’s national flag. Instead, they wave their own flags – flags representing communism, liberalism, and nationalism. This seems to be a sign that the Russian flag as a national symbol is still relatively weak. Of course, Russia isn’t the only country where this occurs.

It’s also pretty concerning when one sees just what flags Putin’s opposition likes to wave. There are a lot of flags of the Tsar and the USSR in the protests. Not quite what most people in the West are hoping for.

 

 

Why Don’t Hmong-Americans Vote Republican?

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Perhaps no group in America has suffered more from Communism than the Hmong community.

The CIA first recruited the Hmong, impoverished tribes living in the hills of Southeast Asia, to help fight the Communists in Vietnam and Laos. When the Communists won in Vietnam and then Laos, the Hmong were persecuted and sent to camps for their anti-communist role. Eventually many found their way as refugees to the United States. They faced opposition from the Clinton administration, but strong support from Republicans enabled most to come to America as immigrants.

How do the Hmong vote?

It’s not always easy to pick out the voting patterns of smaller communities, like the Hmong. One has to take account of many confounding factors, ranging from participation rates to the voting patterns of other communities.

Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear that the Hmong vote Democratic.

There are several lines of evidence behind this statement. Firstly, Hmong elected officials – individuals such as former Minnesota State Representative Cy Thao and former Minnesota State Senator Mee Moua – belong to the Democratic Party. Secondly, Democratic candidates tend to attend official Hmong events. For instance, only Democratic candidate Al Franken attended this Hmong townhall meeting; Republican candidate Norm Coleman was invited but declined the invitation.

Finally, polls indicate that the Hmong vote Democratic. This poll found that 57% of Hmong identify as Democrats, while a mere 4% identify as Republicans. Done before the 2008 presidential election, it also showed Democrat Barack Obama gaining 65% of the Hmong vote, to Republican John McCain’s 4% support.

Those are some pretty stunning numbers. Even if the poll is badly flawed, or has a very leftward bias, it seems safe to say that the Hmong are a strong Democratic constituency.

There is a good reason for this; the Hmong community is quite poor. Indeed, 30.2% of Hmong-Americans receive public assistance income, more than triple the rate amongst Americans overall. Democratic economic policies tend to favor the poor more, and this is a strong draw for the Hmong.

But it’s still quite shocking that the draw of the Democratic Party’s economic policies is so strong as to produce a 57-4 registration advantage among the Hmong. One would think that the Republican Party would do better. After all, Republican lobbying is the reason why many Hmong are today in America, instead of refugee camps in Thailand.

Moreover, the Democratic Party is closer ideologically to the Communist Party which the Hmong fought for decades. This is why Cubans and Vietnamese-Americans, also refugees from Commmunist persecution, vote Republican. And the Hmong have certainly suffered from Communism; Democratic Hmong politicians Cy Thao and Mee Moua both had families who came from Thailand refugee camps.

The ultimate irony is that the very economic policies which put the Democratic Party closer on the ideological spectrum to the Communist Party are the reason why the Hmong vote Democratic.

 

 

Why Don’t Chinese-Americans Vote Republican?

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/ 

The Democratic Party has always been the party of immigrants. Even as everything else about the party has changed, as it has turned from a party of Southern whites to the exact opposite, immigrants continue to vote Democratic. In the 1850s the immigrants were Irish-Americans. Today they are Mexican-Americans.

Of course, not all immigrants support the Democratic Party. Many immigrants, such as Cuban-Americans and Vietnamese-Americans, vote strongly Republican. There is a very simple explanation for why this is so, an explanation that requires merely one word:

Communism.

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger provides a story that resonates with many Republican-voting immigrants:

When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria.

I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw Communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector…I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I would never see them again. My family and so many others lived in fear of the Soviet boot…

I finally arrived here in 1968…The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV…I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.

Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, I said, “What party is he?”

My friend said, “He’s a Republican.”

I said, “Then I am a Republican.”

This is a common experience with immigrants from communist countries. Many Republican-voting immigrants are refugees of communism. In the Democratic Party’s economic program they hear echoes of the communist countries which they fled. They therefore turn to the Republican Party.

Which brings us to the biggest Communist country of them all: the People’s Republic of China.

There are a lot of Chinese-Americans in the United States. Many of them constitute immigrants who suffered tremendously under communism, through the Great Leap Forward and then the Cultural Revolution.

Yet Chinese-Americans are also a highly, highly Democratic constituency. One exit poll put 73% of Chinese-Americans as voting Democratic. Why does the Schwarzenegger experience not resonate with Chinese immigrants?

One reason might be that most Chinese immigrants are not communist refugees. Many anti-communist immigrants were persecuted as a specific class or individually by communist governments. They then fled to the United States. On the other hand, a lot of Chinese immigrants came to the United States as students, workers, or via family connections. Many of them represent people who benefited from the system in China. This is especially true for those who came as students or workers.

There is also the fact that China’s Communist Party is by far the most successful of all the communist parties out there. This dilutes the potential opposition against it. For instance, the Chinese community would probably not support an American embargo on China aimed at toppling the communist government there. This is quite different from the Cuban emigrant community.

 

 

“Liberals” in Communist Countries

In American parlance, the word liberal generally carries a left-wing connotation. Liberals favor an philosophy which has some fairly familiar elements: a greater role for  government, lessened inequality, social “liberalism” etc. This contrasts with conservatism, which favors a lesser role for government, places more trust in the workings of the market, and believes in “family values.”

The most extreme element of liberalism is communism; in contrast, the most extreme element of conservatism is monarchy and fascism. Communism is an unabashedly left-wing philosophy, with its focus on uplifting the working class, commitment to enforcing social equality, deep distrust of capitalism, etc. This is something almost everybody agrees with.

It is interesting, however, to note that Communist leaders are almost never called “liberals” – despite a philosophy based upon an extreme form of liberalism. History books never bestow the description “liberal” on the most famous Communists, men such as Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin, etc.

Instead, in relation to communist countries “liberals” are generally those who oppose the system. They are dissidents such as Andrey Sakarov. When Deng Xiaoping changed China’s economic system to follow a more market-oriented policy (i.e. to be more economically conservative), people say that he “liberalized” the system.

In these cases liberalism is not used in the sense of changing the system. After all, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, and Vladimir Lenin all “liberalized” their countries in the sense that they brought massive change to the countries they governed. Yet when historians talk about these individuals that way, they say the men were “revolutionaries” rather than liberals.

Instead, the word liberalism here reflects an older, more fundamental philosophy: classical liberalism. The people who opposed communism constituted liberals not by following left-wing ideals (what is more left-wing than communism?) or by advocating change (so did Lenin, after all). Rather they espoused a belief in the Enlightenment philosophy of human rights and liberty, which the French Revolution turned into an enduring ideology. That is the form which “liberalism” – a word with many different, even contradictory meanings – usually takes when one refers to communism.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

 

Breaking China--Legally

 

by Walter Brasch

 

        Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States this past week has been met by both praise and political posturing. Hu, an intellectual with a strong sense of culture, hopes he is leading what he wishes to be "a Harmonious Society" with peaceful development. To that end, Hu said his government was prepared to “engage in dialogue and exchanges with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs” on human rights questions. Although it seems as if Hu is saying that he wants each nation to continue to conduct its business without interference, he also acknowledged that “A lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights."

           But, some politicians, apparently feeling a need to make sure their home base knows they aren't weak on Communism, have called him a dictator, gangster, and emperor. Very few have spoken out about American-owned companies downsizing and outsourcing everything to China from toys and clothing to book printing and building materials.

           Although China is the world's second largest economic power behind the U.S. and this country's largest creditor, there is no need to fear either its economy or its military power. It has already sown the seeds of its own destruction.

           In 1996, there were almost no lawyers in China. By 2000, there were 110,000. There are now almost 200,000.

           With a society of lawyers, China is likely to collapse. Let's take an example. Ling Chou is riding his bicycle on Chairman Mao Boulevard. He starts to turn left, but is hit by a bicycle being ridden by Chang Liu. Under the principles of Confucianism, before there were lawyers, the two would see if each other was hurt, help out if necessary, and apologize profusely. If a bicycle was dented, the other person would fix it. If there weren't injuries or dents, they would shake hands and go their own ways. With lawyers, you don't do that. Ling grabs his lawyers; Chang grabs his own lawyers. It takes six inches of paperwork, a preliminary hearing before a magistrate, and two, maybe three continuances before the case comes before a judge. Then there are the bailiffs, marshals, clerks, typists, stenographers, and court reporters. After a three-day trial—during which three doctors from each side testify, and get paid very well for their conflicting opinions about back injuries and mental trauma—the judge decides the case. The whole thing takes a year. Maybe two.

           Now, let's look at the criminal side of law. In the past, Chinese citizens could walk down any street late at night and wouldn't even worry about a "Boo!" Now, with lawyers, you have to have criminals. So, the crime statistics go up. More lawyers show up. Some to prosecute. Some to defend. Before lawyers, China had work camps. Now there will be guards and wardens and rehabilitative counselors and parole boards and committees for prisoner rights, followed by committees for victim rights.

           With everyone suing, defending themselves from criminals, or being criminals, the Chinese won't have time to sew cheap coats or launch any wars.

           However, in the past couple of years, President Hu's government has gotten wise to the proliferation of lawyers. The licensing tests have become harder—only about one-fifth of the applicants pass them; and the annual fees have increased significantly.

           This has caused even greater problems. When lawyers get tired of being lawyers, they become politicians, just as in the U.S. And, as in the U.S., it isn't scientists, social workers, teachers, and other decent people who are running our government. Imagine what will happen when the lawyers finally take over the Chinese government. In a country with four times America's population there will be four times as many mortgage crises scandals, four times as many morals scandals, and four times the number of self-serving statements that they weren't responsible for whatever it was that went wrong in the country.

           More important, there will no longer be just one Communist Party, but at least two, each one screaming at the other one, fighting meaningless battles, and filling radio, television, and the Internet with equally meaningless blather. It'll only be a short time until the lawyer-led political system paralyzes a 4,000-year-old civilization that has given us great literature, music, sculpture, fashion, architecture, cuisine, and the use of martial arts for peaceful reasons.

           With the rise of lawyers and political parties, even America's corporations wouldn't outsource their products to a nation like that—not for all the tea (parties) in China.

 

[Walter Brasch is a multiple award-winning humor and general/politics columnist in competition sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, Pennsylvania Press Club, and Pennsylvania Women's Press Association. social issues columnist and He is the author of 17 books, most of which are available through amazon.com. You may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

 

 

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