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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Socialism does not offend me and it should not offend anyone accept the greedy trolls of the capitalist right

By SJ Otto
So now that I have been to Cuba, I realize how full of crap, right-wing pundits are. It is still hard for me to understand how such writers can put out such fiction—and they want us to take them seriously.  I found these articles, which are typical of all the right-wing proclamations that socialism is against all human decency. It is as criminal as selling heroin, or having sex with children, if we can believe such articles. Here is an example of an article by DAVID HARSANYI, of Reason, who wrote “Sorry If You're Offended, but Socialism Leads to Misery and Destitution”
He wrote:

“After all, socialism is the leading man-made cause of death and misery in human existence. Whether implemented by a mob or a single strongman, collectivism is a poverty generator, an attack on human dignity and a destroyer of individual rights.
It's true that not all socialism ends in the tyranny of Leninism or Stalinism or Maoism or Castroism or Ba'athism or Chavezism or the Khmer Rouge—only most of it does.”

He reports this as if it is a fact—an indisputable fact. One rule of propaganda says that if a statement is made over and over and over again, people will believe it. Most people can’t afford to just go to Cuba. Many people who can won’t bother to. So this man and others like him can keep making these statements. His motivation is simple—money. Conservative pundits make a lot of money. The people behind their publications have lots of money. To a wealthy conservative there is nothing—absolutely nothing—more important than having a lot of money. With that money comes political power. That is the backbone of capitalism. People who make a lot of money love capitalism and hate socialism. Many people who live in the US and don’t have much money, simply believe in capitalism because that is all they really know. Most people will not question the system they live under if their basic needs are met. So most people will never know that the article below and others like it are an outright lie.

“And no, New York primary winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't intend to set up gulags in Alaska. Most so-called democratic socialists—the qualifier affixed to denote that they live in a democratic system and have no choice but to ask for votes—aren't consciously or explicitly endorsing violence or tyranny. But when they adopt the term "socialism" and the ideas associated with it, they deserve to be treated with the kind of contempt and derision that all those adopting authoritarian philosophies deserve.”

So this guy want to destroy the word socialism and convince people as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to find a less “offensive word.” That is to say: a word that would appease Harsanyi.
After that he blathers on about Norway and other European versions of Democratic Socialism, which he describes as “generous welfare-state programs propped up by underlying vibrant capitalism and natural resources.” But he keeps going back to the third world countries that have tried Marxist socialism. These are countries he considers total failures. Then, among the countries he considers “dictators” he includes Nicaragua and Venezuela:

“It should also be noted that today's socialists get their yucks by pretending collectivist policies only lead to innocuous outcomes like local libraries. But for many years they were also praising the dictators of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the nation's most successful socialist, isn't merely impressed with the goings-on in Denmark. Not very long ago, he lauded Hugo Chavez's Venezuela as an embodiment of the "American dream," even more so than the United States...."

"Socialists like to blame every inequity, the actions of every greedy criminal, every downturn and every social ill on the injustice of capitalism. But none of them admit that capitalism has been the most effective way to eliminate poverty in history.”

Eliminate poverty? Seriously? Capitalism is the main cause of poverty. Since the Sandinistas came to power in 1979, they used elections to take power. They followed those bourgeois democracy tactics until they were voted from power and they won elections when they came back into power. Chavez also came to power through bourgeois democracy. He followed all the democratic rules. He never broke any of those rules. He and Daniel Ortega were never dictators at all. Only in Harsanyi’s imagination (affected by his obsession with anti-socialism) are those two leaders “dictators.” This is similar to Ronald Reagan and his pointy headed followers who refuse to believe that a democratically elected politician can be a socialist. But they are all delusional.
We see similar argument from Mark J. Perry, of AEI, “Why socialism always fails:”


“Slightly more than 20 years, I wrote the article “Why Socialism Failed” and it appeared in 1995 in The Freeman, the flagship publication of the Foundation for Economic Education. I think it was the first essay or op-ed I wrote for a general audience following graduation in 1993 from George Mason University with a Ph.D. in economics. Note that the title of the article (“failed”) implied the past tense, as if I perhaps assumed the failures of socialism were so apparent and obvious (I called it the Big Lie of the 20th century) that it would be forever considered only as a discredited system of the past, and never as a viable option going forward into the future! Of course, at the time many parts of the world were moving away from collectivism and central planning and towards free market capitalism – the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, and China was opening up its economy and re-established the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1990, etc.
Here’s are some excerpts of my 1995 essay “Why Socialism Failed”:
1. Socialism is the Big Lie of the twentieth century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.
In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge. It is the initial illusion of success that gives government intervention its pernicious, seductive appeal. In the long run, socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery.”

Of course there would be little reason to challenge this idea, especially if a person has never been to Cuba or a so called “socialist country.” But I have only been to one, Cuba.

President Barack Obama correctly announced (recalling Einstein’s dictum about insanity): “I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result.” Non-recognition has not changed Cuba’s government; the embargo has only limited the island’s economic growth potential. So it’s time for a change in policy.
The goal of that new policy, according to the White House, is to “renew our leadership in the Americas, end our outdated approach on Cuba, and promote more effective change that supports the Cuban people and our national security interests.” It’s the “promote more effective change” part that plants a flag in the liberal exceptionalist camp. The justification for this policy is, in part, still rooted in the notion that the United States can effect the change it wants in another country, this one close to our shores.

The motive here is to change Cuba in a more humane way. That is not to actually accept a Marxist-Leninist system in the hemisphere. That would go against everything the US stands for. The US is a country that has always opposed any kind of socialism or Marxism. That is the antithesis of the US. This country has fought a cold war because it can never accept the idea that a political system can negate rich people with money running our lives. It is like a person who suddenly realizes that the parasites he/she has learned to live with—are not really needed. Suddenly they realize that they can actually live without parasites. A working person can live without parasites in their body—and the discovery is uplifting. But it is a death sentence to the capitalist parasites when we suddenly realize we don’t need them.
That is why a writer as myself can’t co-exist with the journalists who are determined to defend the system and defend it at all costs. Most of the successful journalist in the US are either conservative, or they are liberal and pro-capitalist. Yes they can be liberal. But they still oppose any form of Marxism. I remember when I was in Nicaragua. People there told me, as a journalist, I have traveled to places where most US mainstream journalist don’t go. I was told they stay in the motels in the capital and talk to political officials, mostly anti-Sandinistas, and don’t wander very far into the country. As a person who considered himself a real journalist at the time, it was disappointing. I now realized how phony most US journalists were.
It is real hard to look at news in the US and realize how slanted it can be. From the outside it looks so honest and free. It seems inconceivable that these fine journalists would lie to us. But the evidence has built up over the years. Some of what we see as factual news is just propaganda. It lacks truth and the conclusions of the journalists fit with their opinion over these facts:

1. Most people never write or give out official opinions. They would never miss freedom of speech, because they never use it.

2. Conservative writers make good money and the more money they make, the more they love our capitalist system. As with free speech, a lot of people never make enough money to care what kind of economic system they live under.

3. I appreciate political parties and I can see the value they have. There are good ones and bad ones. However, in this country the two parties of our system have been manipulated to wage a class war against poor people. President Donald Trump took away poor people’s health care and shifted the tax system to raise the taxes of the poorer classes—and so did Ronald Reagan.I have been to Cuba and seen how it works. I can also say I have been to Nicaragua and I can say it is not very Marxist and not as much socialist as Cuba is. Cuba’s socialist system does work and the people there are not miserable. It is hard to convince a lot of people of this fact—that directly contradicts what the conservative writers are telling people.

And then there are arguments from the left. I have heard leftists claim that all the Marxist-Leninist countries that exist today and have ever existed are nothing more than state capitalism. A lot of that comes from the fact that many of these governments have had government owned businesses. So they are capitalist, owned by the state. Cuba is nothing like the capitalist shit-hole to the north of them—the US. The systems are way too different to just say that Cuba is state capitalist.
The other argument is that leftist governments are revisionist. That distinction mostly came from  opponents of the Soviet block, which was clearly not Pro-Maoist.

“In many ways the rectification line of 1992 was the turning point of the Philippine revolution with it's upholding the Cultural Revolution (GPCR) and recognizing the revisionist character of Dengist[1] China
Most timely that it took place when Soviet social imperialism and revisionist states collapsed in 1991. Equal emphasis was placed on combating "Left" and Right opportunism which represented urban putschist actions and withdrawal of mass movements on one scale and totally reformist and parliamentary work on the other. The struggle for combating deviations and striving for mass line was similar to blood running through the veins of a body.
Revisionism was combated through revolutionary practice itself and not mere talk. I was most impressed how they handled times of crisis in several junctures and fought back with their backs to the wall. It depicted great dialectical approach like a surgeon performing continuous operations on the most serious patients.”

On Cuba, specifically he said:

“The CPP has supported progressive and anti-imperialist non-Maoists like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fidel Castro of Cuba and Kim Il Sung in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Politically they are more worthy than infantile “communists” who cannot distinguish ideological from political issues and ideological relations from political relations.”

Sisson and I have similar views towards Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, or as the Chumps of Trump have called them the "three stooges of socialism" or the "The troika of tyranny.”
So on the left most of us really don’t oppose the so-called "three stooges of socialism" or the so-called "troika of tyranny,” accept for a few die-hard far-to-the-left or massively confused left-wingers. 
We can all agree that socialism has worked and still works in Cuba. The people there are not miserable. Those who try and sell us on the idea that “socialism always fails” and “people living under socialism are miserable” are clever and slick writers, but are also greedy trolls. I have seen the future and it does not include those greedy trolls.

[1] Of Deng Xiaoping/ 邓小平.

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