Sunday, June 21, 2020

A more perfect union...or make Denmark great again?

“Kalmarunionen - en nordisk stormakt föds” is a book by Dick Harrison, a Swedish professor of medieval history. The Kalmar Union, which nominally (and sometimes really) existed from 1397 to 1523, was a personal union between the three Scandinavian kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. At the time, Finland was an integrated part of the Swedish kingdom, while Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands sorted under Norway. The acts of union were signed in the Swedish town of Kalmar, but in practice Denmark was the dominant kingdom. Harrison´s book deal with the historical background to the Union, and the rule of Margareta or Margret (her reign in Sweden lasted from 1389 to 1412). It also discusses the time of Erik (or Eric) of Pomerania (reigned in Sweden 1412-1439 with some interruptions), but cuts the story short immediately before the Engelbrekt uprising in 1434. Harrison has written extensively about Engelbrekt and the later history of the Union elsewhere.

The Kalmar Union was formed in response to the chaos after the Black Death or Great Death, the plague pandemic around 1350 which killed about half of Europe´s population. The architect of the union, Margareta, had gradually become de facto and then de jure ruling queen of Denmark and Norway during the 1370´s and 1380´s. She also gained the support of the Swedish nobility. Margareta´s project was to create a regional great power that could defeat the well-organized pirates (the Victual Brothers) which made the Baltic Sea unsafe, while also challenging the dominance of the German Hanseatic League. The Swedish nobles felt shortchanged by the incompetent king Albrekt of Mecklenburg and his German bailiffs (in later sources known as “the birds of prey”). Albrekt´s main backer, Bo Jonsson (Grip), owned and controlled almost half of the kingdom. Or perhaps all of it, since Jonsson was the king´s “prime minister”. To rid Sweden of Jonsson and Albrekt, the nobility was willing to cooperate with a powerful foreign monarch. (Jonsson died a few years before the final showdown between Margareta and Albrekt, however.)  Besides, Margareta wasn´t strictly speaking “foreign” at all, being the widow of the Norwegian king Håkan Magnusson, who was the son of Magnus Eriksson, the Swedish king deposed by Albrekt. Magnus Eriksson had at one point been king of both Sweden, Norway and Scania, so the union idea wasn´t new either. The irony is that many nobles had initially supported Albrekt´s coup against Magnus, only to get cold feet later! Game of thrones...

Harrison clearly admires Margareta, one of the few powerful women in the man´s world of the Late Middle Ages. There is little doubt that Margareta did succeed in creating a Nordic great power of sorts. However, Margareta saw the Union as first and foremost a personal and family project, with the nobility playing second fiddle, and the common folk essentially none at all. She even confronted the clergy, expropriating vast Church holdings. It´s probably symptomatic that Magareta died of the plague during an attempt to add the Duchy of Schleswig to her realm. Erik had a similar view of the Union, and attempted to centralize it more than Margareta ever did (the Union flag was his idea). Erik´s reign also saw the first major crisis of the Union, when the Swedish peasantry, led by Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson (a member of the lower nobility) rose in rebellion against him. After this, the union would never really be the same, with Sweden constantly oscillating between membership and independence (de facto or de jure).

Harrison believes that the Union was doomed to failure from the start, since the component kingdoms were too different. Sweden was oriented towards eastern theatres, seeing a confrontation with Novgorod as having prime geopolitical importance. Denmark, by contrast, wanted to expand on German territory by incorporating Schleswig and Holstein. Before the Union, Sweden and Denmark had fought several wars against each other. Margareta and Erik favored Denmark, and the Swedes increasingly resented that their tax money was used to finance Danish expansion southwards rather than Swedish wars against the Russians. Since “Danish” expansion was really Margareta´s and Erik´s personal expansion, the anger must have been doubled! Harrison further points out that Margareta had a very pragmatic view of “fighting the pirates”, frequently simply recruiting them to the cause of the Kalmar Union instead. Former pirate captains were generously given their own fortified castles if they swore loyalty to Margareta!

In the beginning of the book, Harrison criticizes the Sweden Democrats (the right-wing nationalist party in the current Swedish parliament) for having an anachronistic view of the Kalmar Union, seeing it as an early version of the EU and hence extolling the “patriotism” of anti-Union rebel Engelbrekt. But at the end of the book, it´s almost as if Harrison himself projects his hopes and disappointments concerning the EU onto the medieval Kalmar Union. What seemingly began as a cooperative project between three kingdoms to curb the worst abuses of the post-plague world and police the Baltic Sea, ended with a union exclusively for royals and nobles, devoted to their own self-aggrandizement. And yes, it seems to have triggered a kind of “populist” revolt!

Surely Harrison is making a point about our own troubled times here? However, I won´t accuse him of anachronism. Perhaps it´s reality itself which simply moves in circles…

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The memes (and cancellations) make themselves

Just yesterday, I wrote an ironic blog post wherein I "proposed" that the woke left should "cancel" Lincoln, Gandhi and Karl Marx for "racism". Then, this shit happens...

General Grant cancelled

There simply is no hope for this people. But then, maybe that´s a good thing. Those the gods wish to cancel, they first drive ANTIFA. 

Let God sort them out

Dick Harrison is a Swedish history professor who has published a long series of introductory books to various subjects related to Swedish or European history. They are often based on his more extensive volumes on the same topics. This book, “Kättarna – de kristna rebellerna”, seems to be an exception.  It´s an overview of heretical movements within mostly Western Christianity from Roman times onwards. I don´t think Harrison has previously touched on this issue.

Despite being a popularized work, it is surprisingly comprehensive. The “classical” heretics, meaning the Bogomils, Cathars and Waldensians, are of course mentioned. So are Giordano Bruno and Michael Servetus.  However, Harrison is at pains to point out that many suspected ”heretics” were really Christians who simply happened to belong to the wrong theological faction, such as the Arians or Pelagians during Roman times, the Spiritual Franciscans and Beguins during the Middle Ages, or the Protestants during the Reformation. In Protestant lands, the Catholics were the “heretics”!

Groups considered too socially unruly were another potential target. Thus, the flagellants during the Black Death (who were Catholics) often ended their days on the stake after their movement had gotten out of hand. The charge of heresy could also be a cover for political machinations, as when Joan of Arc was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake by the English during the Hundred Years´ War between England and France. A Swedish example was the Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520, when Danish king Christian II (who also claimed the Swedish throne) executed almost 100 opponents from the Swedish nobility after they had first been accused of heresy by the Swedish archbishop (who supported Christian). In reality, the conflict was completely political, both sides being Catholic at the time.

The most interesting chapter deals with a number of almost unknown Swedish heretics. There is the curious case of Botulf Botulfsson, an early 14th century peasant with no known connection to any heretical group, who repeatedly denied the real presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements. His ultimate fate is unknown, but since he was condemned as a heretic by the Church, Harrison assumes that he was indeed burned at the stake. Another virtually unknown heretic is Hemming of Vadstena, who started preaching in 1442 and claimed to be a conduit for Virgin Mary. Although Hemming was supposedly a simple peasant, the fact that he preached in Vadstena is significant. After all, the Vadstena abbey was founded a century earlier by Saint Bridget, who claimed to have received visions from…you guessed it…Virgin Mary.

Although I studied Church history at college level, there were some surprises in this book even for me. One is the heretical movement known as Antonianism, which erupted in the Kongo Empire in Central Africa during the 18th century (Kongo controlled parts of modern Congo-Kinshasa and Angola). Antonianism was a peculiar blend of Catholicism, an iconoclasm closer in kind to radical Protestantism, a cargo cult-like apocalypticism, and Black supremacy. The female prophet, Beatriz Kimpa Vita, was burned at the stake in 1706 and the movement collapsed three years later when its “capital” was overrun by Kongo and Portuguese troops.

The last person in the Christian world executed for heresy was Cayetano Ripoll, who was hanged in Spain in 1826 for being a Deist (the secular authorities had “commuted” the sentence from death by burning to death by hanging). According to one urban legend, the Catholic priests insisted on burying his corpse in a barrel on which flames had been painted! Another tall tale has it that the barrel was later burned on the stake…

Since “Kättare” is intended as a brief overview, Harrison never discusses the deeper issues connected to the heresy meme. Why is this meme a feature rather than a bug of Christianity? Could there be a connection to monotheism, for instance? He also denies that heresy and heresy-hunting exists today, surely an ironic statement in a book published in 2020. True, we don´t burn people at the stake today, we just “cancel” them, but maybe tomorrow…? After all, authoritarian secular movements such as Communism also combat “heresy”, so what makes us think we are more safe than our ancestors?

With that little reflection, I close this review of “Kättare – de kristna rebellerna”.

Peter Wolodarski om två månader

Mobben i Minneapolis utsätter borgmästaren, den judiske demokraten Jacob Frey, för något som närmast liknar en kulturrevolutionär "struggle session". Trots att han "bekänner" (första klippet) blir han utbuad och tvingas löpa gatlopp mellan arga demonstranter (andra klippet) sedan han vägrat stödja extremisternas krav på att "avskaffa polisen". Det verkar som att globo-liberalerna har tappat kontrollen över sitt Frankensteins monster... 

Borgmästaren "bekänner"

Borgmästaren blir "utrensad"

Det är någonting som inte riktigt stämmer...

Det är någonting som inte riktigt stämmer här…

Antifa, ett vänsterextremt våldsbejakande anarkistiskt nätverk med internationella kopplingar, har bränt ner typ 15 amerikanska städer genom att ingripa i, eller kanske själva starta, regelrätta kravaller.

Hur har etablissemanget reagerat? Jo, på många håll har guvernörer eller borgmästare i princip sagt åt polisen att inte göra någonting alls. I Minneapolis beordrade borgmästaren att polisen skulle evakuera sitt högkvarter när Antifa gick till attack. På andra ställen har man släppt många som arresterats misstänkta för delaktighet i våldsamheterna. I stort sett ingen som deltagit i kravallerna (eller de fredliga protesterna) har blivit anmäld för att bryta coronakarantänen, trots att denna fortfarande är i kraft i många amerikanska delstater. I Seattle har sex kvarter tagits över av Antifa och utropats till ”autonom zon”, uppenbarligen med borgmästarens goda minne. Även här beordrades polisen att evakuera sitt högkvarter...

Amerikanska medier försökte först förneka att Antifa ens existerade, eller att de var inblandade i kravallerna, trots att anarkisterna själva basunerade ut sin delaktighet (och sin existens) på Twitter och annorstädes. I Sverige har medierna konsekvent refererat till kravallerna som ”protester”, och DN kallar t.o.m. Antifa för ”vänsternätverk”. 

Vänsternätverk? Lite som Feministiskt Initiativ, kanske?

Facebook har censurerat valpropaganda från Trump-kampanjen som angriper Antifa. Och nu senast har Förenta Nationernas office i Genève tweetat sitt stöd till Antifa. Observera också tajmingen på Antifas kravaller. De sammanfaller ganska exakt med inledningen till den amerikanska valrörelsen. De handlar *inte* om att demokraterna *tillsammans med Trump* drev igenom världshistoriens största ”bail out” (eller kanske shake down) under coronakrisen. De handlar inte om statligt finansierad sjukvård. De handlar inte ens om polisreform, eftersom ”Defund the Police” givetvis inte är ett seriöst krav.

Är inte detta märkligt? Hur kan det komma sig att anarkistiska kravallanter har det liberala etablissemangets fulla stöd? Jag är gammal nog att komma ihåg när i stort sett alla, från höger till respektabel vänster, tog kraftigt avstånd från den här typen av aktiviteter...

Det är nästan som om det liberala etablissemanget *ligger bakom* kravallerna. Men så kan det ju inte vara. Det vore nämligen en KONSPIRATIONSTEORI. Och sådant är som bekant fascistiskt. Eller nåt.

Men så är det nog. Visst fan är kravallerna fjärrstyrda av någon ljusskygg front för demokratiska partiet. Det som hänt är att ”färgrevolutionerna” nu kommit hem till USA, och används av ett av partierna för att underminera den folkvalde presidenten. 

Det verkar dock som att Frankensteins monster har rymt! Den vakna mobben har de senaste veckorna attackerat statyer, utrensat liberaler som inte är tillräckligt ”vakna” från olika medier, och i största allmänhet löpt amok. I Minneapolis blev den judiske borgmästaren förödmjukad på ett massmöte under närmast kulturrevolutionära former, trots att han ”bekände” sina tillkortakommanden. Jag undrar vad de mittenliberalerna judar som stödjer ”protesterna” kommer tycka när mobben upptäcker deras ”sionism” och diverse andra verkliga eller inbillade politiska ”avvikelser”? Kommer Peter Wolodarski fortfarande att liknöjt tala om ”protester” och ”vänsternätverk”? Nå, vi lär väl få svaret inom några månader...

I övrigt konstaterar jag följande. Hade jag på 1990-talet berättat för mina coola anarkistiska polare att de om 30 år skulle bilda folkfront med den där lilla Timbro-pojken som hade ett eget TV-program vid 24 års ålder, ta emot pengar från stenrika valutaspekulanter, och helt frivilligt delta i en gigantisk provokation organiserad av en amerikansk imperialistfalang, så skulle det antagligen tro att jag läst för mycket EAP-propaganda. De brydde sig inte ens om att försöka fälla Karl XII:s staty i Kungsan!

Tiderna förändras. The Fourth Turning has arrived.

The man was kreizi

An Osho classic. Apart from attacking Nostradamus, the crazy wisdom guru explains how the Hindu clerics hoax the people of India with their phony divination techniques. Absolute must see!
Interviewer: But you do have some faith in the prophecies of Nostradamus, though? Is that correct?
Osho: I don´t have any faith in him, the fact is, that the man was kreizi…

Waffen-SS soldiers on the right side of history?

Did you know that retrained Waffen-SS soldiers guarded the Nuremberg war trials? Probably not, and neither did I. This YouTube clip tells the weird story. 

It turns out that the Waffen-SS units were Estonian and Latvian, mostly the former. At least some of their members hadn´t volunteered for service in the Nazi German military. This provided the United States with a suitable loophole to pardon all Baltic Waffen-SS soldiers stranded in the Allied occupation zones of Germany after World War II. Some were then retrained by the Americans to guard the premises in Nürnberg where the war trials were held. The fact that the ex-SS fighters spoke German was an important reason for the assignment. Another reason was that many American soldiers had either been sent home or were needed at other locations in Germany. 

My main problem with this clip is the monotonous voice of the narrator, which makes my ears almost hurt after a couple of minutes! 

But that´s me.

Eire, not Hibernia

“Eire: An Old-New Vision” is a clip featuring Thomas Sheridan, the Irish modern pagan and chaos magician. The clip should perhaps be paired with “Onset” and “My Pagan Path”, which I linked to before. Sheridan believes that Christianity and Catholic Emancipation is the worst thing that ever happened to Ireland, and that the Irish must return to their pagan roots (while simultaneously remaking them to better fit a modern world).

The Irish should embrace “Eire” rather than “Hibernia”, Eire being the Gaelic designation for Ireland derived from the name of an ancient Earth goddess. Hibernia is what the Romans (and by implication the Catholic Church) called the island. The attack on Catholic Emancipation does *not* mean that Sheridan supports discrimination of Catholics, rather the point is political. The Irish leaders pushing for Catholic Emancipation during the 19th century weren´t interested in real Irish independence, instead preferring to strengthen the cultural dominance and social control of the Catholic Church over the bulk of the Irish population.

Sheridan hopes that Ulster culture in its old form (simultaneously Irish, Protestant and regional) can form the basis for a reunited Ireland. It shows that there isn´t a necessary connection between Catholic and Irish identity, or between Protestant and anti-Irish/pro-British identity. At the same time, Sheridan believes that a united Ireland is still far off, since both Catholic and Protestant forms of Christianity probably must collapse before people on both sides of the border will realize their shared Irishness.

Interesting, if nationalist and regionalist identity issues are your thing, or if you´re interested in modern forms of paganism.

Garden of Defeat

ANTIFA (or whatever they call themselves this week) have occupied six blocs in Downtown Seattle, renaming the area "CHAZ" or "CHOP". It´s a complete flop, a kind of leftist version of the right-wing milita Malheur occupation in 2016. That one was roundly mocked by liberals, now the tables have turned, with every right-winger on the web laughing at the faux revolutionary antics and sheer ineptitude of the ANTIFA occupants. Above is libertarian organic grower Styx analyzing the anarcho´s attempts at setting up their very own victory garden. The short form is that you probably would have more luck at a Byelorussian collective farm!

The coming of the cenobites

Modern pagan and chaos magician Thomas Sheridan discusses demons and demon possession in this clip. He claims that a class of demons he calls "cenobites" can take over people who are into BDSM and similar bizarre sexual practices.