The people living under it, not so much
The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.
— Margaret Thatcher.
Over the weekend, Nicolás Maduro was reinstalled as the Cuban-style socialist president of Venezuela, a resource-rich country rapidly sliding into a hunter-gatherer economy. Not that the election was free or fair, either. It was run on the Cuban model.
Which makes the headline in Friday’s The Nation magazine both prophetic and chillingly ironic. “Socialism Is on a Winning Streak,” declares socialist provocateur John Nichols. Comrade Nichols celebrates the primary election victories of a couple candidates for state legislature in Pittsburgh, PA.
“We’re turning the state the right shade of red tonight,” declares the Pittsburgh chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. Heh heh.
Crime, indolence, drug abuse, truancy are not the issues in Steel City. It’s da system! “Capitalism works on the back of my community and communities of color and poor communities across this country,” one of the socialists says.
A tax on … Jobs?!
Nichols celebrates the 2013 election of one Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council. Is it any surprise that Seattle’s largest employer, Amazon, is seeking a second headquarters? Or that it is halting construction on a new 17-story office building in Seattle, jeopardizing 7,000 jobs? (More here.)
Seattle socialists want to levy a tax on jobs, up to $500 per worker; recently scaled back to $275.
A tax on jobs! Why? Because Seattle’s high cost of living is pushing people out of their homes. Does anyone else think this bit of rainy mountain chavismo is counter-productive?
Venezuela is the bull elephant in the socialist study hall. The drunk uncle with the busy hands. Not a whiff of the weekend’s sham election today in The Nation. Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! is silent now! Even the Socialist Workers website is practicing omertà. The latter does post an editorial proclaiming, “Our socialism is international.” It quotes Marx, Engels, and the Communist Manifesto and full-on in support for taxing Seattle’s workers.
‘Far from being uniformly pretty’
The most recent exegesis of Venezuela is The Nation’s May 9 “The Rise and Fall of the Latin American Left.”
The Nation acknowledges that “few Latin American governments regard Venezuela’s ravaged economy and diminished democratic institutions as an inspiring model.” Maybe “the region’s leftists can still look to Uruguay for direction.”
Taking Cuba as a model, these self-termed revolutionaries [the triumvirate of Chávez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador] nationalized large sectors of the economy, reinvigorated the role of the state in redistributing wealth, promoted social services to the poor, and created interstate institutions … to challenge US hegemony.
The Nation admits, “To be sure, the picture is far from being uniformly pretty, especially when it comes to democracy.”
“Far from being uniformly pretty?” That’s Big Brother saying The Wehrmacht’s destruction of the ghetto in Warsaw was “far from being uniformly pretty.” How about DOWNRIGHT HIDEOUS!
‘Willing to break democratic norms’
The Nation tip toes through the proletariat’s tulips:
The strong strand of populism that runs through the Pink Tide [!!!] accounts for why some of its leaders have been so willing to break democratic norms. Claiming to be looking after the little guy, the likes of Chávez and Maduro have circumvented term limits and curtailed the independence of the courts and the press. But there is little doubt that the Pink Tide made Latin America more inclusive, equitable, and democratic, by, among other things, ushering in an unprecedented era of social progressivism.
Are you getting this? Let’s plow through the Orwellian Doublespeak: By “breaking democratic norms” the socialist dictators are making Latin America “more inclusive, equitable, and democratic”???? Sure, they had to break a few eggs to make the omelet. And a few heads. Re-educate the dissidents, imprison their leaders, expropriate private wealth, reward zealous commissars, shut down this press and take over that radio station. But the state terror is inclusive and socially progressive!
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Comrade Nichols is undoubtedly correct. Socialism IS on a winning streak, even if the people living under that system are losers. According to a Gallup poll, a majority of young Americans say that they have favorable views of socialism.
There’s hope for Tammy Baldwin and Iron Stache yet!