This has not been a good six months for our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances.
First Donald Trump and a Republican congress and state legislature here in Wisconsin. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Obamacare voted down in the House. Brexit abroad. Now France.
Sure, Macron’s victory is being heralded as a repudiation of Marine Le Pen. But France in the first round rejected the Leftist Mélenchon. Macron is a former socialist who quit the incumbent (and unpopular) socialist government to espouse cutting corporate taxes, kill the 35-hour work week, and shrink the bureaucracy to cure France’s sclerotic economy.
And then there is Venezuela, the drunk uncle of the Left who won’t leave the room. A nation in slow-motion implosion. Think the Twin Towers as an inside job.
Nicolas Maduro and Hugo Chavez are the poster boys for Hard Left “social justice.” They nationalized big business. They raised the minimum wage (seven times in the last 16 months). Maduro is rewriting the Constitution, as The Nation magazine urges here in the U.S. via rewriting the First Amendment.
(The Nation in 1997 argued that free speech must be curtailed because “the wrong side kept winding up with the First Amendment in its corner” to “thwart progressive reforms.” That sordid chapter is related in free speech crusader Floyd Abrams must-read new book, Speaking Freely.) Democrats even today defend the speech police raids on private citizens in their homes.
How is the socialist agenda working for Venezuela?
- Unemployment is 25% and rising.
- The economy shrank by 18% in its third year of recession. Inflation is 720% and expected to triple.
- Looters target food stores because the country is starving. (The Wall Street Journal reports that three in four Venezuelans said they had lost weight last year, an average of 19 pounds.)
- People are dying in street riots.
Eventually, even The Nation had to take notice. Mimicking the title of the infamous Lenin screed, The Nation asks (On May Day, no less): “What is to be done in Venezuela?” (Lenin argued for an avant garde of intellectual leaders to take over the movement because “the people” were too stupid to do it themselves.)
Could more socialism work?
Of course, depends on who you ask and The Nation asks only committed communards.
“First up is Atenea Jiménez Lemon, a sociologist and member of the Red Nacional de Comuneras y Comuneros.” (Yes, it is what it sounds like, a neo-communist party.) In summary: socialism still works, if only someone could be found who knows how. Always, that elusive excalibur.
Now The Nation is out with a special edition. (Yes, I subscribe!) “Out from under Capitalism.” Read it and weep:
Every bit of our work takes place under the heavy yoke of capitalism, secured ever tighter by the Kochs, the Mercers, and their ilk. Capitalism bears down on us through jobs we hate, even when we do make $15 an hour. It bears down on us through wages we lack or the impossible forced compromises between taking care of kids and working enough hours to pay the mortgage or rent. There is no time for leisure, little time for unwaged care work or political work after the second shift. We are not the masters of our own lives under capitalism.
But at least we have food. And smartphones. And flat-screen TVs. And no one is dying in street riots, not even the black-shrouded Antifa’s breaking store windows. (That damned capitalism!) The latter gets silent approval from the tribunes of the Left because, well, they’re fighting Trump.
ne can find the reason for Trump’s success festering in lower-income white communities, the enemies of racial and social progress, where reactionary politics and redneck racism run rampant. … But scapegoating poor whites keeps the conversation away from fascism’s real base: the petite bourgeoisie, (the term) Marxists use to denote small-property owners, whose nearest equivalents these days may be the “upper middle class” or “small-business owners.”
That is why it is difficult to accept Comrade Nichols at face value when he accuses, in the pages of The Nation, “What Paul Ryan and his minions just voted for is immoral.” That vote being the repeal of Obamacare. (See implosion analogy at beginning of blog.)
I will take moral instruction from Comrade Nichols when Nicolas Maduro says no mas!