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Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Oaxaca: police attacks civilians at San Juan Copala

The communities in resistance of the Triqui people or Oaxaca, Mexico, whose uphill struggle against the paramilitaries of UBISORT, supported by the state,
was mentioned here before on two occasions, denounced yesterday that the state police has attacked the people of San Juan Copala, murdering two young sisters: Selena and Adela Ramírez López, 18 and 15 years old respectively. Two men are also reported missing: Alfredo Martínez and Hipólito Merino.

The attack happened at noon (12:15 local time) when groups of heavily armed UBISORT militias and state policemen entered the autonomous village of San Juan Copala, taking the town hall by force.

Earlier, on July 26th, UBISORT paramilitary groups shot for hours against the village, injuring María Rosa Francisco, 35, when she went for wood. She is still missing. They also killed dozens of domestic animals.

On July 29th, Anastacio Juárez, brother of the leader of UBISORT Rufino Juárez, was murdered. The murder bears, according to the locals, the signature of an guvernamental execution, as there are precedents in which high leaders of repression have been murdered so they cannot speak in court and this serves also to rally the paramilitary bandits and to criminalize the popular movement that has been so far strictly nonviolent.

By 14:20 yesterday, the state police left the town but the paramilitaries are still entrenched in the town hall.

Full communications at La Haine (in Spanish).

Israel bombs Gaza murdering 12

The Israeli armed forces attacked several places in Gaza strip tonight, including Gaza city, murdering 12. One of them is said to be a leader of Hamas, the Islamist party which won the latest Palestinian elections, namely Issa Batran, 42.

I presume that all or most other victims are civilians. At this moment no figure of injured or relations of buildings or infrastructure destroyed are known to me.

Any undiscriminated attack on civilian areas and refugee camps are immoral and illegal war crimes. Furthermore there has been no provocation whatsoever that Zionists could use this time to pretend any justification for this attack, which is the first of its kind since the terrible and genocidal bombing of 2009.

Even more worrisome is the lack of apparent mention in the usual mainstream media such as BBC or Al Jazeera. I could only find reference at The Guardian.

More info resources on the Louisiana catastrophe

I recently
mentioned a couple of resources to follow the oil spill info beyond what the corporate media wants to show. Another fantastic and daily updated blog I found dealing mostly with this disaster is Alexander Higgins Blog, a true research journalism site on the matter, where you can get at least some of the info denied or hidden by the authorities and the media.

Today, among other stuff, he posted this oddly beautiful (albeit sad) video made by himself with pictures of the oil spill and music from Rick Barry ("Atlantis", a song on the effects of Katrina hurricane):

The details (description and dates) for the images can be found here.

There are many interesting articles in this blog, but what really brought me there was this excellent research on the methane gas seeps around the DWH site. It seems that BP may have drilled right away through a methane field, the huge nearby RIGEL field, what may be at the origin of most of the trouble past, present and future. Because this disaster is surely not over.

Update: see also this article with maps from three days ago that contradict the claims that skimmers can't find anymore oil: it is all around!

Korean genetics: between China and Japan with some unique personality

New paper on Korean genetics:

Jonshung Jung, Hoyoung Kang et al. Gene Flow between the Korean Peninsula and Its Neighboring Countries. PLoS ONE 2010. Open access.

The most relevant results are probably in these graphs that follow:

Figure 3: Genetic Structure

Legend and details for the various samples can be seen in figure 2. Notice please that CB (Cambodian) is mistakenly placed in Northern Asia, when it should be in Southern Asia (i.e. SE Asia) along with Vietnamese (VN) and Vietnamese-Koreans (VC probably though elsewhere tagged as VK).

Notice also that there are two K=5 in the global cluster analysis (C), one of them marked as RH, what means "recombination hotspot", which is a technical albeit interesting matter they deal with in extent in the supplementary materials. The conclusion seems to be that these recombination hotspots can induce distortions in the cluster analysis and that should be dealt with in order to prevent confusing results.

Anyhow the most valid run for the global dataset is surely K=4, showing four neatly distinct clusters: Africans, Europeans (or West Eurasians), Amerindians and East Asians. The minor "admixture" apparent levels among Amerindians and some East Asians (Mongolians, Cambodians) may or not mean admixture. In my opinion, based on comparison with other different studies, I think it does not but rather indicates a lesser degree of affinity with the main cluster and therefore some small degree of affinity with other Eurasians. Careful sampling strategies, such as the one done by Hui Li last year may be needed to discern what exactly means, if anything at all.

Most probably the "European affinity" apparent in these two cases just means some Central Eurasian (or Siberian) affinity of Mongols, as shown in Hui Li's paper, as well as in Amerindians, and some South Asian affinity of Cambodians as detected for neighboring Thais in the recent paper by Jinchuang Xing.

When comparing East Asians alone (B), three clusters are apparent (K=3): a "Mongolian" one (blue), a SE Asian one (green), more intense in Cambodians than Vietnamese, and the middle East Asian one including Chinese, Korean and Japanese (and largely Vietnamese too). K=4 seems to indicate a diffuse (low level) Japanese-Korean affinity but this is better seen in the middle East Asian comparison.

In panel A (with only Chinese, Koreans and Japanese), we can see three clusters again (K=3): Chinese (green), Japanese (red) and Korean (blue). However most Koreans are not clearly differentiated from their neighbors, specially Chinese, and only the insular population of Jeju shows a much stronger Korean-specific homogeneity (though still with some Japanese influence).

Figure 4: MDS and NJ Tree of Korean, Chinese and Japanese

MDS stands for multidimensional scaling, a way of visually presenting statistical data in two or more dimensions, somewhat similar to PCA. NJ stands for neighbor-joining, a method used to build affinity trees in genetics that you are probably familiar with.

According to the legend, in the MDS plot (A) the 1st (horizontal) dimension includes 90% of the variance, while the 2nd (vertical) dimension only 1%! It could perfectly be a linear plot with most East Asians clustering to the left and a small odd group to the right. This "odd group" is mostly made of SE Koreans, plus three Japanese Koreans (from Kobe) and one Kobe Japanese.

However this must be an error of the legend and the vertical axis is without doubt the 1st dimension. Notice the scale, which is of 1/1000 order of magnitude in the horizontal axis and only 1/10 in the vertical one. Notice also how a China-Korea-Japan, with some eccentricity for Korea, is fully consistent with all other data provided.

The NJ tree indicates an apparent first divergence in three branches:

1. A Japanese-only branch (most Japanese fall here)
2. A mostly Korean branch, including also one Japanese and three Chinese
3. The major branch including most Koreans and Chinese, as well as two Japanese. This one, in turn splits in:

3a. Including the two remnant Japanese and all the rest being Koreans.
3b. A large branch including only Koreans and Chinese. It divides in two:

3b1. Almost only Koreans (only one Chinese here I think), with high incidence of SW Koreans.
3b2. Many Koreans too (with high incidence of SE Koreans) plus most Chinese, concentrated in a particular sub-branch (bottom of graph).

Caution must be placed to Korean-centric readings in any case because Koreans are clearly oversampled, what is surely distorting the tree structure to at least some extent. However if this structure could find confirmation in further more balanced studies, it might well support a colonization process along the coast, which is pretty much mainstream these days.

Koreans anyhow mostly cluster with Chinese here too, which is consistent with the STRUCTURE analysis, showing some SW-SE (West-East?) internal polarity in the peninsula.

Notice that no sampling was undertaken, without doubt because of the political circumstances, in the northern half of the peninsula. Notice also that both Chinese samples are from the North (Beijing and Manchuria).

Friday, July 30, 2010

US soldiers indicted again on the murder of journalist in Baghdad

The Spanish Audiencia Nacional has ordered search and capture for three US soldiers: colonel Philip de Camp, captain Philip Wolford and sergeant Thomas Gibson for the murder of civilian journalists at Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on April 8th 2003. As you probably remember, a US tank shot against the balcony of this hotel while journalists were filming the entrance of US troops in the Iraqi capital, killing two: Reuters cameraman
Taras Protsyuk and Telecinco cameraman José Couso. Three other journalists were injured.

Earlier the case was dismissed by this same tribunal but the Supreme Court rejected the dismissal and ordered to open it again.

The crime for which they have been indicted is to knowingly attacking civilian population causing the death of José Couso and act or threats of terror against civilians and journalists. The judge considers that there is enough evidence to believe that Col. de Camp was the person who gave order of shooting in spite of knowing perfectly well that it was a civilian zone and was occupied only by journalists. Wolford is accused for transmitting the criminal order and Gibson for materially executing the murder.

The search and capture order has been decided because of the lack of cooperation from the US authorities. According to EU treaties it has validity in all the Schengen space, which includes most of EU and therefore also most of NATO. Additionally, bilateral extradition agreements of Spain or EU may mean the suspects are subject to arrest and extradition in many other countries across the globe.

So far the USA has rejected to cooperate with the Spanish judiciary in this case but that was under G.W. Bush and the judges "hope" (in vain I forecast) that the new administration will be more cooperative.

Similarly the Iraqi government has not replied to the Spanish requests of cooperation for the examination of the place of the crime, however the tribunal has ordered to send inspectors on their own, as no legal authorization seems to be actually needed for such simple task.

The Spanish Penal Code qualifies undiscriminated or excessive attacks against civilians in war situations as a crime.

Source: La Haine[es]

Haitians protest against occupation. One shot while police just looks

Batay Ouvriye
(Workers' Struggle in Kreyòl) reports from Haiti, via La Haine[es], of the demonstration against the occupation on July 28th, called by them and other organizations. Simultaneously NGOs from the USA and Brazil protested in New York, Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The demonstration, which consisted on some 100 activists, split in three groups: a picket before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, another picket blocking traffic and yet another dedicated to information via pamphlets and graffiti.

The demo culminated with the burning of a Brazilian flag which enveloped a US banner (photo above).

When the demo was ending, a government paramilitary arrived and shot one of the demonstrators without the police doing anything about it.

Another demo of Batay Ouvriye with some 150 participants and similar slogans went through Cap Haitïen.

More photos HERE (PDF document).

Haiti has been under "international" occupation since 2004, when a joint US-French operation kidnapped the legal and highly popular President Bertrand Aristide, of socialist tendency, and deported him to Africa. In 2010, a mysterious and devastating earthquake destroyed the capital precisely when the US Navy was making a drill for an invasion of Haiti in case of a natural disaster (what a coincidence!). Immediately the USA sent a whole army to re-occupy the country in what was possibly a maneuver to displace Brazil from the area (related to the protectorate treaty with Colombia, the coup in Honduras and the more recent de facto occupation of Costa Rica).

The popular Fanmi Lavalas party of the legitimate President Aristide has been illegal ever since the 2004 invasion, what has caused widespread abstention in elections and a total delegitimization of the current puppet government of René Preval.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

96% of Iraq development fund vanish, while still in US hands

It's commonplace to say that the Iraqi administration is corrupt but what is not so frequently read or heard is that the Pentagon is corrupt also.

Judge yourself: 8.7 billion dollars (USD), out of a total of 9.1 billion of the Iraq Development Fund, for the reconstruction of Iraq and trusted for that purpose to the US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) have vanished. The accountancy controls are so tenuous that even, after an audit, nobody knows where the money went to. In 2007 the Iraqi government demanded the money but, after the audit, it seems unclear if the missing billions can be tracked at all.

Meanwhile most of the country still lacks edible water and electricity, almost a decade after the invasion.

Source Atilio Boron's blog, originally from Clarín newspaper (both sources in Spanish).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quality of life drives positive state of mind in humans and animals

There are a couple of news items that overlap in their conclusions: quality of life is crucial in determining our positive or negative state of mind.

One is about pigs: an experiment demonstrated that pigs living in rich environments consider an unknown new sound suggestive of something positive, like a treat, while those living in a poor quality environment, thought of the new sound as likely to mean something rather negative or useless. In other words: they are driven towards optimism or pessimism by their quotidian reality. Full story at Science Daily.

The other one is about people. Researchers, studying 300,000 people from around the globe, found that having good friends and neighbors enhances survival by 50%. Having few friends is as harmful, it seems, as being alcoholic or a heavy smoker, and more harmful than being obese or not exercising. They warn that our modern lifestyle rather tends to destroy such crucial social networks so important to our well being. Full story at BBC.

Catalonia bans bullfights

The Catalan Parliament has approved a law that bans bullfights since January 2012. The decision was taken with 68 votes in favor, 55 against and nine abstaining. Catalonia is the second autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain that bans bullfights, the first one being the Canary Islands, which forbade them in 1991. There is only one active bullfight plaza in all Catalonia.

While the vote was made on individual convictions, the vast majority of Catalan nationalist deputies voted for the ban while most Spanish nationalist ones voted against.

I am totally in favor of forbidding such cruel rituals and therefore I welcome the law and hope it's extended to other territories in Iberia and France, as well as America. However I disagree with those who oppose all kind of bull-themed fiestas such as encierros (running the bulls), recortes (dribbling the bull attacks much as in Knossos' frescoes) and vaquillas (similar with bullocks and open to public participation), which are essentially harmless to the animal (human participants know the risks they take). The important point is that the bulls are not tortured and also to prevent damage to horses, also suffering in the most cruel and well-known variants of bullfighting.

In my hometown there is a huge bullfight plaza that is almost unused except for the fiestas in late August. I have yet to meet a person who likes bullfights but there seem to be some in social strata I don't mix with. But I know a lot of people who enjoys vaquillas (or enjoyed them when younger). I would think that the plaza could have much better use as some sort of public venue, as for concerts (used on occasion) or massive popular assemblies - or just to gain a much needed new park after its demolition.

Source: Gara.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Archaeology manual

João Pedro Tereso mentions
at Arqueociências this seemingly important archaeological manual of the Museum of London Archaeological Services, which is freely available in PDF format.

I believe it may be an important reference for the record.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wikileaks' 90,000 secret documents on Afghanistan

One wonders who is going to read them all. And, hold on, there are still other 15,000 that Wikileaks and their unknown source agreed not to release just yet but when the situation in Afghanistan improves (will that ever happen?) These would seem to be the most substantial ones and I wonder who is going to leak them from Wikileaks itself and when.

En fin. The documents can be accessed at Wikileaks (if the link is not overloaded with requests) and you can also get a quicker taste of the main contents by looking at Wikileaks' media partners: Der Spiegel, The Guardian and NYT (this one is pay per view).

Of course, at the moment of writing this I have only had a quick look at the news outlets. The main revelations seem to be things that we knew already but maybe were not so strongly confirmed: Pakistani secret services help (helped?) the Taliban (DS, TG), US/NATO troops don't care about civilians (TG)and that the intelligence services are unable to process all the data they gather (DS).

Other reports deal with 'friendly fire' casualties, clashes between NATO and the Afghan security forces, Iranian secret operations across the border, unexpectedly good land-air war capability of the Taliban or the controversial 'drone' flying robots that sometimes get out of control and often are shot down and have to be rescued for fear of the technology falling in unwanted hands.

The Guardian also includes an interactive map listing a selection of more than 200 incidents. Many include police shooting demonstrators, a matter that is not addressed, as far as I can see, in any of the main articles.

I also miss key information areas, maybe withheld in the 15,000 unreleased reports or maybe too secret to have ever reached the informant. For example: what happened to Osama Bin Laden? Where is he? Is he alive or dead? Why a French snipper in the early days of the war was never confirmed to shoot down Bin Laden when he was on target? Or how reliable or corrupt is the current Afghan government? Why was actually Mc Chrystal fired? What's the diplomatic involvement/alignment of other key powers: Russia, China, India? Are there really plans to butcher Pakistan into smaller states? Who does really control the opium trade? Is it used to finance the Afghan government, the Taliban, NATO, covert operations elsewhere? Which is the reality behind Al Qaeda: does it really exist at all, who controls it?

Too many questions still unsolved. This leak, while very much welcome, seems kind of watered down: not really the information we would like to get our hands on. Truly sensitive information is being withheld or has never reached the Wikileaks headquarters at all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Las Palmas woman and sloppy anthropometry

I read today that some authors are casting controversy on the origin of Native Americans on the grounds of a tentative reconstruction of the Las Palmas woman, a quite complete skeleton found in 2002 at Tulum (Quintana Roo, Mexico) dating to c. 12,000 years ago.

The woman, who died in her 40s, is said to be more related by phenotype to modern inhabitants of SE Asia than to those of NE Asia or Siberia. However some of the descriptions I read of the details appear totally meaningless, for instance (cited at The Guardian and Yahoo News from AP):

Her body structure, skin and eyes are similar to the population of Southeast Asia.

Hold on! Her skin?! How on earth can they know absolutely anything about her skin?! It's plainly impossible. And what about the eyes: the only thing they can know about the eyes refers to the eye sockets, nothing else: they can't know eye color, intensity of epicantic fold, etc.

So what do we have left? Body structure. And there is not even a single link to any paper dealing with the matter, so we can ponder how serious and well pondered is this claim (it doesn't look very serious considering context, right?)

Whatever the case, this is the reconstruction made in Paris following the patterns given by Mexican anthropogists of the Las Palmas woman:

And this is the original skull when it was still laying in the inundated cave of Las Palmas:

I'm not really sure if a woman in her 40s would look so elderly, with grayed eye and all, nor much less that her skin would be so white, considering what is common today among Native Americans but whatever.

One good point is made by Susan Gillespie (cited at Red Orbit):

You have to find skeletons of the same time period in Asia, or use genetic reconstructions, to make a strong connection, and cannot rely on modern populations. Do we have any empirical data on what Southeast Asian women looked like ... 10,000 years ago?

Anyhow, let's assume for a moment that the speculation is correct, cannot it be that the SE Asian phenotype range actually reflects an older type, let's call it proto-Mongoloid, once widespread in all Eastern Asia and only later evolved into/displaced by the modern Mongoloid archetype somewhat common now in NE Asia? I am pretty much for that explanation because in my humble opinion some Amerindians do resemble more some non-central East Asians than archetypal Mongoloids from around Beijing. Not only SE Asians (also) but sometimes peripheral Central Asian populations like Tibetans too.

Of course, the phenotype variability among Native Americans is so wide that it's not like we can consider any single unique phenotype. Some are big nosed with angular heads (typical of the Andes for instance) not reminding at all of the usual Mongoloid archetype, others instead are pretty close to the Mongoloid standard and many indeed give a SE Asian vibe while yet others are intermediate between these and other categories, even with some cases of extreme short size tendencies only comparable to Pygmies in this aspect (some Maya groups). There is not any unique Native American phenotype nor there is any unique East Asian phenotype either, even if there are often elements of convergence between the various groups and individuals.

And of course we have only a very limited sample of ancient individual phenotypes, which can at best give us with a most diffuse impression of how Paleolithic East Asian and Native Americans might have looked.

So please... let's be very cautious.

Sastre: past and present as Spaniard and as Basque

There is today a very interesting interview with acclaimed Spanish language dramatic author Alfonso Sastre
at Gara newspaper. I am translating here, to the best of my capability, some of the most interesting passages.

Biographic notes:

Alfonso Sastre was born in 1926 at Madrid, beginning his career as dramatist in 1945, always with a rebellious intent that was heavily censored under fascism.

In 1974, in events that provide a sense of deja vú for today political repression, his wife, Eva Forest, and later himself as well were arrested for "collaboration with ETA". After his release on bail in 1975, and under death threats, he exiled himself to Bordeaux. Expelled by France in 1977, he is then refuged in Italy but returns to Spain upon his mother's death. After a second arrest for insults against the Army and the release of Eva, the family moves to Hondarribia in the Basque Country.

In 1998, upon the sudden judiciary closure of Egin newspaper, where he collaborated, he becomes director of its provisional replacement: Euskadi Información, a newspaper that published as stapled photocopies filled the void for moths until a new proper media was created from scratch and popular subscriptions: Gara.

In 2007, Eva Forest dies. In 2009 he became the leading figure of the list for the European Parliament Iniciativa Internacionalista, which suffered of widespread vote rigging, what probably prevented him from becoming MEP.

Some of his most celebrated plays are: 'Squad to death', 'The gag', 'Red earth', 'God's blood, Ana Kleiber', 'William Tell has sad eyes,' 'The fantastic tavern', 'The infinite journey of Sancho Panza', 'Too late for Philoctetes', 'Jenofa Juncal, the red gypsy woman of Jaizkibel mountain' and 'Where are you Ulalume, where are you?' His theater has been described as a mixture of Bertolt Brecht and the esperpento gender of Valle Inclán.

More information on Alfonso Sastre and Eva Forest at (in Basque and Spanish).

Interview fragments follow:


We are at a moment of laughing for not crying.


In the Basque Country there was a resistance to the Reform, that the Spanish left also proposed. A moment came when the ideas of a need of democratic break up vanished from the lands of Spain and found refuge in the Basque Country; it is here where the idea of going nowhere worth it if the new situation was not generated in terms of break up crystallized. These ideas crystallized here and are the origin of what later became the Basque Nationalist Left.


And Spanish and French intellectuals are at the height of the circumstances on the Basque case?

No, they are at the height of their ignorance of this situation. I believe that they are ignorants. I see that with the Spaniards I know: they are more or less at the same level, so to say, in everything but this issue. When the Basque issue is debated they ignore everything and, besides, it seems as if they reject trying to understand it.

Why that attitude?

Because of patriotism[1], of great power chauvinism... Lenin already mentioned chauvinistic patriotism; he made a criticism of what what was called great power chauvinism. And Spain and France are great powers in relation to the Basque Country. Chauvinism is a common philosophy that absolutely prevents them from seeing what is happening here. It is very difficuly. Friends living in Madrid, for example, say how difficult is to make understand some things that are understood living here. And it is because of the Spanish patriotism, which is totally blinding.


There are some people who have approached the problem and have understood it from Madrid; people like Antonio Álvarez-Solis[2], who understands the problem perfectly and is still a man who has moved all his life in territories distant from Basque matters. But he came by, looked and saw what was going on. Nothing but that. That, which looks so simple, must not be so because there are not many cases like him.


Eva[3] and I, specially Eva, created the Committee of Solidarity with the Basque Country and researched the tortures that were happening here, which were even more serious, more severe than the ones happening elsewhere in the State of Spain. Then we created some friendly links and these were part of the reasons why we came here.

And politically it is something I have said before: we saw that here the idea of break up [with fascism] was settled in a way in which it could not be prescinded and which was not betrayed. And all that complex of reasons made us came here, and also because in Madrid, for that great power chauvinism, we were in a rather not too "livable" situation, let's call it that way, at some times. If we would have remained there our destiny would have been to live in certain solitude or something like that, but we did not wish such a thing. And we did not doubt. We said: "our place from now on is the Basque Country", and we came to live here.


I have got setbacks because, even if the situation of a dramatist is not good anywhere in the Spanish territory, mine has been worse maybe for my betrayal of Spain, that is how my decision of choosing to live here has been evaluated. My career has gone downhill but would not have gone much better would I have not made this step; my works have been represented less than would have happened would I have stayed in Madrid. At the personal level however all have been satisfactions, because I would not enjoy the popular support, the sympathy I enjoy, the love from this People I love too... And that is a value that cannot be exchanged for anything.


And what do you think of a judiciary threat for a cause such as peace?

Peace is a subversive idea. It is a very subversive idea. That's it.


In the name of peace, for instance, or of justice, or freedom, in the Basque Country we witness arrests, illegalizations, repression... Do we live a perversion of language?

Effectively so, it is a perversion of language characteristic of power.


It is a weapon of mass destruction against intelligence; that is: intelligence is destroyed because it is dangerous for the system. And as they have all the might of the big media of expression and communication, they can do it: they can pervert language up to such extremes. And they do it. After all, it is a reflection of the intrinsic perversion of capitalism.


I have changed a lot in my theater, which has two very different phases. Since some moment I began making what I call complex tragedies. They are tragedies in which people laughs a lot sometimes. They are not really tragicomedies: tragicomedy is a balance that sometimes tends to one side and sometimes to the other, some sort of tragic line with comical episodes or a comic line with some tragic episodes. My complex tragedy is not a tragicomedy, it is true tragedy, just that, as life itself is that way, in these tragedies there are comical effects, and that makes theater becomes a representation of that complex reality; that is why I call them complex tragedies.


I am writing now some essays on [new socialism], a book titled: "Testing the future" in which I ask this kind of questions: how will socialism be? And some things are already very clear: we cannot talk anymore of a socialism of abundance; socialism cannot promise abundance anymore, that would be something negative. It is not socialism or abundance but neither socialism of poverty. Neither rich nor poor. It would be a society in which the concepts of rich and poor would be the ones excluded.


In the last years of fascism there was some sort of hyper-politicization of theater groups...

When Franco dies and reform begins instead of breaking up, previous compulsory censorship disappears and political parties become legal, including the communist party. Then the people of the hyper-politicized theater said: "our responsibility is over, there are now political parties, there is no censorship, so now let's do what we want". And the liberty they took was very minimal, almost ridiculous at times, because it was when total nudity appeared in the sceneries and language was populated by swear words. And that was freedom... so theater did not reach beyond. And some of the authors that had sponsored ideas of a true political theater were marginalized then; so, censors had not to forbid them anymore because it was the very companies which were not interested in their work. Censorship was not necessary anymore. That situation remains today.

Can that be a pattern of self-censorship to prevent uncomfortable situations?

Indeed. It is the same that happened under fascism. Possibilism as was called by Buero Vallejo[4] was a proposal of self-censorship. We all censored ourselves in some way. I wrote a piece on torture but, if I wanted it to be performed in Madrid (as I wanted), I could not place the action in Madrid. So I placed it in a more or less imaginary Algeria. But what I meant to denounce was torture in Spain. When this piece was translated to Russian, the translator asked me if I minded to place the action in Madrid. "I do not just mind" - I replied - "but that is what I would have done if possible". And in Moscow it was titled "Madrid does not sleep by night".


Officially there is no censorship. What do you think?

It does exist, it does exist... Censorship has been reproduced in different ways. The schedulers of theaters are today's censors. And is not that they have a purely ideological censorship but also a more trivial censorship as well. For instance, a piece of mine was not scheduled because they said it was sad: so they were censors against sadness.


Three years without Eva Forest... What did Eva mean in your life?

I am not yet in conditions of speaking of Eva calmly, but if it can be said in few words I will, and that Eva is... Thanks to her the Basque drift of our family happened. Would not it have been for her probably I'd be now in Madrid, in some apartment I don't know where, bittered about life. I do not know if I would have got to know well about this country because maybe I would be myself ignoring it, would I? I don't think so because I knew already enough to keep researching the matter. And, well, we are Basques because Eva wanted us to be so and she made it.


I am against what some years ago was called in Europe "weak thought". It was a criticism to Stalinist communists: better to have a weak thought than a dogmatic thought. I agreed that thought must not be dogmatic, because if it is dogmatic then it is not thought, but I disagreed with resigning to a mere weak thought. We will have to try at least that our thought has some strength; we will have to search for the reasons on which something we say is solid and not something circumstantial that is going to become false tomorrow but which will remain as truth tomorrow, the day after and long time in the future. The great thinkers have produced thoughts that are still valid today.




[1] The use of the terms patriotism and nationalism seems to be one of those cases of "lost in translation" because while they are essentially synonyms in both Spanish and English, the emotional charge of each is quite different in either language. Patriotismo in Spanish has a fascist vibe and usage while nationalismo an anti-fascist and peripheral secessionist one. In English instead it is normally the term patriotism which has the favorable vibe and nationalism the opposite. I decided however to keep the literal translation of patriotismo into patriotism.

[2] Spanish-Catalan famous journalist and writer, founder of Interviú magazine and promoter of El Períodico (a Catalan diary). He took part in debates in the Basque TV until the new undemocratic government of López took over.

[3] Eva Forest, his late wife. Another famous author in Spanish language and a dedicated activist.

[4] Buero Vallejo Nájera, Spanish tragic novel author under fascism.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Could the Louisiana catastrophe had been prevented by a unionized workforce?

That is what
In Defense of Marxism seems to think and to me their arguments are self-evident:

Much is said in the news about the disastrous situation that now exists in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. An ecological disaster of gigantic proportions has been created by the profit motive, which is what drives the BP executives. However, were the company to be thoroughly unionised, with workers’ representatives controlling every level of safety, this disaster could have been averted.

Amidst the acres of newsprint about the Deepwater Horizon blowout little has been said about those who are most affected - the BP workforce.

The mood in Sunbury, in the BP head offices, is a mixture of denial and anxiety, expressed in a bitter gallows humour and blunt cynicism. Long-term employees have had several decades of management cock-ups, re-organisations, cut backs, more re-organisations, and more cut-backs. Everywhere, whether in the office decor or the lines on people’s faces, are the symptoms of 20 years of lucrative deals at the top which eventually have brought this company to its knees. Nobody - nobody - is surprised at what has happened. Every long term employee knows what lies behind this disaster. Since the 1990s the company has been running on thin air, vital services have been outsourced, and quality, like the pipelines, has decayed. "The new paradigm", the Thatcherite policy of cutting to the bone and outsourcing to the cheapest bidder, has turned into the old paradigm - long hours, poor quality, insecurity and stress.

Read full article at IDOM.


Update (Jul 25): You may also want to read this article of similar content at RandomPottins: If they had listened to workers, maybe there'd have been no disaster, and BP would not need to be "buying" scientists. (Suggested by Joe, at comments).

Sex chromosomes complex history in primates

Just a quick mention of what seems to be an important piece of research in the evolution of sex chromosomes in humans and primates in general. The main finding being the existence of a number of evolutionary gene conversions (transference between the X and Y chromosomes, in either direction).

Mineyo Iwase et al. Frequent gene conversion events between the X and Y homologous chromosomal regions in primates. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-225. Open access.


Gene conversion events between the X and Y homologous regions have been suggested, mainly in humans. Here, we found frequent gene conversions in the evolutionary course of primates. An insertion of a LINE element at the proximal end of the region may be a cause for these frequent conversions. This gene conversion in humans may also be one of the genetic causes of Kallmann syndrome.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Politicians finally take a stand on the Iruña-Veleia scandal

Opposition party Aralar, by mouth of their leaders Patxi Zabaleta and Iñaki Aldekoa, has demanded the immediate suspension excavations and the firing of Julio Núñez from his charge of chief researcher of the Roman era site.

In press release they showed the video I posted here two days ago, demanding that the excavator was removed for good.

Hopefully this exposition of the ugly truth of the excavation will cause enough indignation, at popular, political and academic levels as to detain this crime against the archaeological patrimony.

Sources: Iruña-Veleia Gezurra ala Egia?[eu], Berria[eu], ABC[es]

Judges demand new analysis of the controversial inscriptions

On request of former director, Eliseo Gil, the tribunal in charge of the case for alleged fraud in the previous dig at Iruña-Veleia has ordered new analysis of the shards and other pieces that caused the controversy. The probe will be realized by the Guardia Civil (military police corps) after the Provincial Government has ignored all requests by the tribunal to produce analytic research themselves.

Sources: Iruña-Veleia Gezurra ala Egia?[eu], El Correo[es]

Each day the case against the former archaeologists seems weaker and motivated by pure pathetic camarilla reasons. Giving the charge to the only archaeologist who participated in the persecution, Julio Núñez, with the atrocious results of brutal destruction, maybe in order to destroy possible further evidence in favor of Lurmen, only shows how negatively such camarilla conspirations can evolve when they feel protected by institutionalized impunity and without any real investigative media around to air the dirty clothes.

If we had a half-decent democracy and a half-decent media context this scandal and manipulation could surely never have gone so far.

For background information on Iruña-Veleia, see previous tematic posts at Leherensuge, SOS Iruña-Veleia and Lurmen's dedicated site.

Forget the $100 laptop, India develops one at much lower price

The current model developed in India actually costs only 35 dollars, they expect the price to drop to 20 and even as little as 10 dollars soon.

The device has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science. It has a touchscreen system, Linux operative system (get used: Windows is out, Linux is in), web browser, PDF reader and video conferencing capabilities, being flexible enough to incorporate other stuff.

Source: The Guardian (includes a short video of the official presentation)

Meteorite impacted in Egypt in the last 5000 years

A large "fresh" meteorite impact crater has been discovered in SW Egypt with the aid of Google Earth.

The crater is fresh enough to still show the radial marks so common in lunar craters, where erosion is most slow. This leads researchers to claim preliminarily that the crater is not older than 10,000 years, probably less than 5000.

They estimate that the original meteorite weighted some 5 to 10 metric tons, having recovered 1.7 tons of the iron material.

Source: Science News.

We'll see when the analysis finally dates the impact but I am pondering that it might have some correlation with the series of catastrophic earthquakes that shattered the Mediterranean by the end of the Bronze Age, slightly above 3000 years ago. I also wonder how ancient Egyptians perceived this phenomenon and if there are any records that may make any mention of it.

On second thought another possible catastrophic scenario may be the one related to the sudden end of the Old Kingdom, which is related to drastic climate fluctuations worldwide. If so, it would date to c. 2200 BCE.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kosovar independence "legal"

The International Court of Justice has declared that Kosovo's independence is perfectly legal in the frame of international law. The decision was taken by ten votes against four.

The resolution clearly states that no international law forbade Kosovo from unilaterally declaring its independence and that there is no norm in international law addressing this matter. Furthermore it declares that the Kosovar Assembly had power to take decisions that affected its legal status.

This is symbolically important because it means that any democratic assembly of any entity can unilaterally declare its independence on the eyes of international law. Chechnya can, Catalonia can, Scotland can, Abkhazia can... and the Basque Country can become independent at whim of its democratically elected institutions.

Your country or subnational area forms no any unified administrative unit, as may be the case with the Northern Basque Country or parts of Kurdistan? No big deal: each of its towns can declare their independence and then aggregate themselves in a larger polity at whim.

It may sound I am being sarcastic but I am not: this is real democracy, where the people decides at all levels. It is the test of true democracy: if you cannot swallow that, then you are surely a fascist, covert or openly.

However, touching ground, the reality is that a lot depends of what effective foreign supports you can muster. Abkhazia is independent because it is supported by Russia, while neighboring Chechnya is not because it is confronting Russia. Similarly Kosovo is independent because it has the support of NATO while the Basque Country or Kurdistan are not because Spain and Turkey are members of NATO.

But it is still a relevant resolution that I welcome. Since the decolonization process, when a lot of artificially formed states arose, specially in Africa but also in West Asia, challenging established borders has been a taboo. The taboo was broken by the many independences of Eastern Europe in the 1990s, however a new fetish was created: that in order to be able to self-determinate, the subject of that right had to be ranked as federative republic, a was the case of Croatia or Estonia. But that is nothing but a political fetish because producing such statuses or not is generally a historical decision of the factual state, some of which have been more understanding on the national issues, specially the Socialist ones, producing federal structures, while others have been not producing centralized Jacobin structures or intermediate regional autonomies, which may or not be what the various peoples really want.

In the case of Kosovo, it was not granted status of republic under Tito, which was their first demand in the late 1980s and early 1990s, only because the dominant ethnicity was not Slavic... and Yugoslavia was conceived as a Slavic state. So this very decision amounted to an act of racism, an injustice that would eventually cause the total disintegration of Yugoslavia. Because, let's face it: it all began in Kosovo.

Similarly the lack of capability of Spain to define itself in the plurinational terms of its reality will soon cause its implosion. It is something unavoidable when you have millions demonstrating at the streets crying at once: "we are a nation!" It's just a matter of time.

I often mention the conversation we had in Skopje in the winter of 1993 with a local liberal politician, where he claimed that a CIA agent had told him that Yugoslavia had lost its strategical relevance. Our interlocutor told him: I am glad to hear that. And the spy replied: I would not be so happy if my country would lose its strategical relevance.

I recently mentioned that Europe as a whole is now losing strategical relevance as the geopolitical scenario moves to Asia and EU is totally unable to become a federation with a powerful self to compete in such a complex scenario and instead relies too much on the vassalage to the USA.

As Europe, and specially Western Europe loses its geostrategical importance, we can at least now hope for the much awaited scenario of internal decolonization, protracted for so long. Just like Eastern Europe experienced this decolonization with the demise of the USSR, Western Europe can only expect to achieve this democratic goal with the demise of NATO and EU.

I am Europeist but I am for a very different kind of united Europe, not this crappy marketplace for the oligarchs and commonwealth of fossil old glory polities. To build something decent, we have to demolish first.

Source of the legal details: Gara[es]

New paper on human autosomal phylogenetics

A reader points me to a new quite interesting paper on human phylogeny from the viewpoint of autosomal DNA mainly.

Jinchuang Xing et al. Toward a more uniform sampling of human genetic diversity: A survey of worldwide populations by high-density genotyping. Genomics 2010. Pay per view.

A copy can be found at ZohoViewer and the supplementary material is also freely available.


High-throughput genotyping data are useful for making inferences about human evolutionary history. However, the populations sampled to date are unevenly distributed, and some areas (e.g., South and Central Asia) have rarely been sampled in large-scale studies. To assess human genetic variation more evenly, we sampled 296 individuals from 13 worldwide populations that are not covered by previous studies. By combining these samples with a data set from our laboratory and the HapMap II samples, we assembled a final dataset of ~ 250,000 SNPs in 850 individuals from 40 populations. With more uniform sampling, the estimate of global genetic differentiation (FST) substantially decreases from ~ 16% with the HapMap II samples to ~ 11%. A panel of copy number variations typed in the same populations shows patterns of diversity similar to the SNP data, with highest diversity in African populations. This unique sample collection also permits new inferences about human evolutionary history. The comparison of haplotype variation among populations supports a single out-of-Africa migration event and suggests that the founding population of Eurasia may have been relatively large but isolated from Africans for a period of time. We also found a substantial affinity between populations from central Asia (Kyrgyzstani and Mongolian Buryat) and America, suggesting a central Asian contribution to New World founder populations.

Fig. 3 click to expand

The abstract already addresses which are the most important conclusions of the paper: (1) lower genetic distances with better sampling strategies, (2) claim of large distinct founder population at the origins of the Out of Africa migration and (3) claim of greater affinity of Native Americans with Central Asians than with East Asians senso stricto. Additionally they also emphasize (4) the finding that the West Eurasian component in South Asians is of West Asian origin rather than European.

In the graphs I have noticed a couple of other details worth of mention: (5) that Pygmies appear more distinct than Khoisan from the bulk of the species (which is somewhat contradictory with the haploid phylogeny) and (6) that the closest African populations to Eurasians are "Nilotic" groups of the Kenya-Uganda-Ituri area (neither the Horn of Africa nor the Nile Basin were sampled).

I will address some of these matters now.

The migrant Out of Africa population

The authors take some time to address the issue of the migrant population in pages 20-21:

The OoA hypothesis, proposing a single OoA bottleneck followed by an expansion into Eurasia approximately 50,000 years ago, has gained extensive support from the archaeological record and genetic studies. Nevertheless, many of the historical details of this diaspora remain unclear. A common interpretation is that the OoA bottleneck was the result of a migration of a small founding population into Eurasia. Given the difference in haplotype heterozygosity between African and non-African populations and the relationship between heterozygosity and effective population size, we can estimate the effective population size of such a founding population . Within Africa, the average 100-kb haplotype heterozygosity in our data is 0.91. Immediately outside of Africa in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, the average haplotype heterozygosity is 0.82 (Figure 2). A reduction of heterozygosity from 0.91 to 0.82 in a one-generation bottleneck would require an effective population size of only 5.5 individuals. While a one-generation bottleneck is an oversimplification, these estimates indicate that an OoA bottleneck resulting from the migration of a small founding population would require an extremely small population size. However, given that the archaeological record indicates a rapid expansion of modern humans into Europe and Asia in just a few thousand years , it seems unlikely that Eurasia could be populated so quickly by a such a small founding population.

A more likely explanation for the OoA bottleneck is that Eurasia was populated by a larger population that had been relatively isolated from other modern human populations for tens of thousands of years prior to the expansion. The first fossil evidence for modern humans outside of Africa is in the Middle East at Skhul and Qafzeh between 80,000-100,000 years ago, which is at least 20,000 years prior to the Eurasian diaspora. If a population of modern humans remained in the Middle East until the expansion into Eurasia, there would have been sufficient time for genetic drift to reduce heterozygosity dramatically before the Eurasia expansion. This “Middle East isolation” hypothesis provides a robust explanation for the relative homogeneity of European and Asian populations relative to African populations (see Figures 3A-B) and is supported by a recent maximum likelihood estimate of 140,000 years ago for the time of Eurasian-West African population separation. Interestingly, a recent study of the Neandertal genome suggests that the non-African individuals, but not the Africans, contain similar amount of admixture (1-4%) with the Neandertals. The authors suggest that the admixture must have happened between the Neandertals with an ancestral non-African population before the Eurasian expansion. Given the fossil, archaeological, and genetic evidence, the Middle East isolation hypothesis warrants rigorous evaluation as whole-genome sequence data become available.

I must say that the real problem is to be talking of a mere depth of 50,000 years for H. sapiens colonization of Eurasia, when that must be the date of the reflux into West Eurasia. The archaeological record for Asia east of Iran is inconclusive (too poor) and the genetic data, including the one available here, strongly suggests that South and East Asia were colonized before West Eurasia.

Hence we must be talking of a quite greater time depth such as the 75-80,000 years ago or more, as has been suggested by most population genetic analysis as of late. Certainly nothing less than 60,000 years ago minimum.

The assumption the authors make is therefore wrong so it's likely that the conclusion is also wrong.

That doesn't mean that the considerations they make, specially those regarding a very small colonizer population do not make sense. This small group of adventurous colonists could perfectly have colonized Asia with much more time, leaving very few remains precisely because they were few and even when they grew up in numbers they were still not many. The relatively poor situation of Asian archaeology does not help to unravel the case in either direction but we must remember that the Jawalpurram remains have clear African MSA affinities (and hence are likely to be product of our species) and these date from before the Toba event, which could well have also helped in the reduction of Eurasian heterozygosity even more, some 74,000 years ago. And there are other archaeological clues that, while not clearly conclusive, may suggest an expansion into Asia since as early as c. 110,000 years ago.

Sure, it would be also a good idea to ponder carefully about the role of the Middle Paleolithic colonists of Palestine in the whole process if that is possible. I have nothing against that but I still don't like their reasoning in this point.

The branching out of Eurasians and the two South Asian components

The neighbor joining trees (see fig. 3 above and also fig. S1 at the supplemental materials, very similar) are one of the most interesting results of this paper and the authors are clearly proud of them.

I am going to ignore this "detail" hereafter but I must however mention that the tree produced in fig. S2, after the inclusion of a North African and two Palestinian populations is however very different. This is strange but I don't know how to handle this discrepancy. It might be a point of support for their hypothesis of a long separate coalescence in the Levant? Can't say.

The two other trees however really produce a result that is an almost perfect fit with haploid phylogenies, with Eurasians branching in two in Tropical Asia (South and East Asian branches) first of all.

Then the South/West Eurasian branch shows a division between South Indians and the rest, what I interpret as a split happening still in South Asia prior to the colonization of West Eurasia. Then Pakistanis and West Eurasians branch apart and then the same happens with Europeans diverging from the West Asian/Caucasus population.

Some of the branches' positions however may be caused by ulterior admixture so let's be careful with that.

The authors also emphasize the finding (consistent with what we have seen in other papers) that the second South Asian component, related to West Eurasians, is essentially of West Asian/Caucasus affinity and not European.

I agree with this and I think that it is an important point to make. It seems to imply that an important genetic flow has existed from West Asia into South Asia, specially the Northwest part of it. Of course the flow may have happened at different historical and prehistorical periods but it is important to realize that the Neolithic Age was surely when such migrations might have caused a greater impact.

In contrast some of "European" (darker orange) component is also visible, maybe originating in the Indoeuropean flows and maybe replaceable by a more specific Central Asian component (sadly Central Asia and Siberia is only sparsely sampled in this paper) if the findings of Hui Li are to be reproduced in the context of proper sampling strategies in this delicate area. Whatever the case the European input in South Asia is very minor, even if maybe slightly larger than among West Asians/Caucasians. We can safely infer, I understand, that it reflects the real Indoeuropean genetic input via Central Asia.

Most importantly a clearly distinct South Asian component (purple) has been detected and is strong enough to make up 50% of the Pakistani gene pool and almost the totality of some South Indian populations. Also notice the distinctive Irula component (blue), which may reflect the particular long isolation of these tribals, in the past tentatively classified as "Negritos".

Notice also the minor but significant presence of the Indian component in SE Asia, specially in Thailand. I have on occasion noticed that some Thais seem to have a distinctive phenotype and maybe this is the explanation.

East Asians and Native Americans

In this aspect I want to say that I am not totally persuaded by the authors' claim of greater Central Asian affinity of Native Americans. The main reason is that the "Central Asians" they mention such as Nepalese or Kyrgyzes are possibly admixed populations that owe their position in the NJ tree to that fact.

Even the Buryats appear to show some of that admixture. In this case (and maybe in the others too) it is probably a case of Central Asian specific components indeed but components that still may reflect a very ancient admixture event in the early Upper Paleolithic process of colonization of Central Asia and the Far North.

This is a limitation of this paper: they do some chest beating about a very throughout sampling (somewhat justified indeed) but in the case of Central Asia/Siberia they are lacking and the matter seems to be left unclear.

In any case, Native Americans or rather their ancestral founder population does look like having coalesced in a complex Central Asian and Siberian sparsely populated ancient landscape prior to their arrival to Beringia and subsequent colonization of America. Haploid genetics is very strongly supportive of such scenario.

It is difficult to ascertain however whether their high divergent location in the NJ tree, in the context of the East Asian branch, owes to them having diverged very early or rather (as I suspect) to their early admixture event, maybe partly shared with Central Asians and Siberians. We would need a much improved sampling strategy in those areas to be able to get some clear ideas.

Otherwise East Asians appear to show a first division between NE Asians and SE Asians, with the divide running across China. Not much more can be said, as the sample has not sufficient coverage, specially in SE Asia and Oceania.

African curiosities

One of the details of the trees that called my attention is that, in contrast to what happens in simplified haploid genetics, Pygmies are more distant from the rest of Humankind than Khoisan. This has an explanation, I believe, as the lineages more tightly associated with the Khoisan such as mtDNA L0 and Y-DNA A have representatives in NW Africa and even Arabia, indicating a protracted divergence (or repeated re-convergence) between the southern proto-Khoisanid branch and the main proto-Afro-Eurasian one. Instead when proto-Pygmies diverged they probably did for good, in spite of recent admixture with Bantus and some ancient lineages also shared with West Africans at minority levels.

Another such detail is that the populations most closely related to Eurasians are East Africans (Hema, Luhya, Alur). Overall the African branching process is coherent with the scenario I described here at Leherensuge some months ago.

Hybridation pros and cons

An issue that has arisen more than once in discussions as of late, specially in relation with the recently discovered
Neanderthal admixture in Eurasian Homo sapiens, is that of hybrid vigor or lack of it thereof. This is addressed at a new paper in PLoS Biology:

Ulises Rosas et al., Cryptic Variation between Species and the Basis of Hybrid Performance. PLoS Biology 2010. Open access.

Author summary:

A major conundrum in biology is why hybrids between species display two opposing features. On the one hand, hybrids are often more vigorous or productive than their parents, a phenomenon called hybrid vigor or hybrid superiority. On the other hand they often show reduced vigour and fertility, known as hybrid inferiority. Various theories have been proposed to account for these two aspects of hybrid performance, yet we still lack a coherent account of how these conflicting characteristics arise. To address this issue, we looked at the role that variation in gene expression between parental species may play. By measuring this variation and its effect on phenotype, we show that expression for specific genes may be free to vary during evolution within particular bounds. Although such variation may have little phenotypic effect when each locus is considered individually, the collective effect of variation across multiple genes may become highly significant. Using arguments from theoretical population genetics we show how these effects might lead to both hybrid superiority and inferiority, providing fresh insights into the age-old problem of hybrid performance.

A news article synthesizing the findings can be found at Science Daily:

The results show that hybrids might be expected to exhibit increased performance in basic traits such as growth. However, they also show that in the longer term, other traits such as those involved in sexual reproduction might be expected to perform less well, accounting for reduced fertility of hybrids.

I made a decission on blog-splitting

The poll results are pretty clear but it's way too easy to alter such polls (I have voted five times myself, all but once for the "undecided" option, and all times because the cookie was lost accidentally or I just used a different browser). So a single person determined to slant the vote can easily make an disproportionate impact. I don't say it happened, just that it can easily happen.

In fact all the comments I have got, which are more important to me, are in the line of "I really don't care much" or "I like the way it is". I am in fact surprised of the many people that like the current format in any case.

However, I am myself each day more convinced that, for the best interest of both sections, a blog split is necessary. One of the reasons is that normally the socio-political section has much greater number of interesting topics to deal with and really allows for several posts per day. Meanwhile the prehistory-anthropology section usually has a slower path of information flow.

The other reason is that, as considered before, different people will have different prioritary interests. There's nothing impeding readers from following two blogs instead of one, so there's hardly any downside to the split.

The two fields have become in any case like oil and water and mix only forcibly. Though now and then there are topics like Iruña-Veleia that certainly cross the conceptual barrier.

So I am definitively splitting the blog in the near future. My self-set deadline is for September 21 but I think it is likely that the split happens earlier. You'll be announced in advance and the beginning of both new blogs will be simultaneous in any case. One day (not yet set) Leherensuge will have its last post redirecting any accidental or forgetful reader to the new spaces.

One of the first issues I have to solve is nice informative and catchy names for each of the blogs. I'll appreciate feedback on this.

So far I have been able to come with the following ideas:

For the news/politics/social affairs blog, I'm pondering the following: Class War Diaries / The Class War Observer, The Atlantic/Western Denizen. So far I'm more inclined for the "denizen" type of title because I often feel that way, as "democracy" is nowadays a mere pretext for authoritarianism of the worst kind. This is part of the Atlantist coup process that was initiated by the 9/11 self-attack, as I realized that very week of 2001 following the logic of qui bono.

For the prehistory-anthropology-genetics section I have even less ideas. So far the best I could come up with was Unraveling the Past. Still thinking ( something about "roots", "the urban primitivist", "Cromagnon in Babylon"... ideas that come right now as I write but that will possibly discard later).

As said, feedback is welcome.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Old comrades call for the restitution of Socialism in China

The sad evolution of P.R. China into a capitalist authoritarian state wrapped in the red banner and the portraits of Mao is maybe producing some benefits in terms of absolute growth but largely at the expense of the workers and the communist project.

This is something evident to all since the massacre of Tian An Men and the repression against the Worker Movement it brought. However this is not lacking in contradictions and there is a clear growth of dissatisfaction and struggles within China. Often this alienation and explotation turns into suicides but worker strikes are also a growing trend.

Now five old high ranking comrades have published a manifesto demanding the restoration of workers' power in China.

The full article can be read at the China Study Group (among many other sites). In it the five old comrades demand:

1. Support for the workers on strike at Honda and other factories.
2. Force Foxconn and other abusive companies to respect human rights and worker diginity.
3. That official unions stand with the workers and not against them.
4. Government, specially local government, must protect workers.
5. Restoration of the working class as the leading force of the country, according to the constitution.

It is evident to me, as apparently to the authors of this manifesto, that the rapid economic growth of China along with the evolution towards Capitalism has brought severe contradictions to the East Asian power and that these contradictions are already exploding even if in a limited and repressed way. This means that, unless the state is able to recycle itself into a state that serves the people, as used to be the case, a revolution is at the gates.

This is just another symptom.