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ON THE OTHER HAND – Dictator-loving leftists

Peter Laurie

ON THE OTHER HAND – Dictator-loving leftists

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Why does the extreme left love dictators?
Like the late, unlamented Gaddafi?
Think about it. The heartthrobs of the far left are Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe and Hugo Chavez, none of whom plays by the rules of democracy.
Instead of Chavez, why don’t they go for veteran trade unionist and former president of Brazil, Luiz Lula? Or his successor in office, Dilma Rousseff?
Or Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile and head of the Chilean Socialist Party? These are persons of the left who produced tangible benefits for their peoples.
I’ll tell you why. These leaders are all democrats who abide by the rule of law.
Indeed, ask the extreme leftists whom they prefer: Nelson Mandela, who sought the path of democracy and reconciliation, or his posturing ex-wife Winnie, with the vengeful and dictatorial tendencies?
Winnie wins with them hands down.
Admittedly, Gaddafi bought the loyalty of the international revolutionary left with the money he lavished on them. But it was his command of absolute power that intoxicated them.
He sent orgasmic thrills up the leg of one local columnist, who waxed lyrical about all the “freeness” that Gaddafi doled out to the Libyan people, including free goats for farmers. For him, democratic Barbados simply does not measure up: “Compare Gaddafi’s Libya where all citizens enjoyed free electricity,” he burbled excitedly.
Yeah, but he forgot to mention the free electricity was usually applied to the citizens’ genitals. If life in Gaddafi’s Libya was so wonderful, why did the people revolt?
For the hard left, democracy is anathema because they know the people in free and fair elections will never vote for communist rule or them. Hence the fatal attraction of any tin pot ignoramus of a populist dictator who mouths revolutionary slogans while lining his own pockets and murdering his opponents.
They believe as dogma that capitalism will be overthrown by revolution and give way to a communist society. There is no logical, economic or historical reason why this should be so, unless you believe
Karl Marx was a divine infallible prophet. Indeed, the hard left believes in the “Revolution” with all the religious fervour of some evangelical fundamentalists in the “Rapture”.
While the Rapturists believe they are serving God, the Revolutionists believe they are serving history. Same dangerous delusion.
They ignore all the empirical evidence – the collapse of the Soviet Union and its European communist empire, the state-guided movement of China and Vietnam away from communism to capitalism, the human catastrophe that is communist North Korea, and the inevitable resurgence of market capitalism and democracy in Cuba – which suggests that capitalism is here to stay and communism is both an economic disaster and a political nightmare.
After the ignominious failure of communism, it’s clear that capitalism is the only game in town. But the winner-take-all model of unfettered market capitalism has wreaked havoc in the form of rising poverty and growing inequality of income.
Much of the protest in the Arab Spring, as well as the Occupy Wall Street movement, is directed against the social devastation resulting from a speculative capitalism run amok.
We are therefore left with one broad realistic option: how best to competently regulate a capitalist market economy so as to promote entrepreneurship, innovation and continuous economic growth, while ensuring a just and ethical society that does not abandon the poor and marginalized.  
This broad option leaves plenty of room for debate, but three essential elements are extensive democratic rights, a free Press, and a strong trade union movement.
It’s no secret that both the extreme right and the extreme left see trade unions as an enemy to be defeated.
In the United States the successful union-busting tactics of the Republican corporate class have led to the worst level of income inequality among the industrially advanced countries.
And in every communist society the first victims of state repression are the independent trade unions.
Thank God for democratic Barbados.
Peter Laurie is a retired diplomat and a commentator on social issues. Email [email protected]