One can say that America’s pythonic grip on the sovereign nation of Venezuela is motivated by a desire to possess its oil or its gold, but that statement would only be partially true. America wants to destroy Venezuela because it has been for some time a socialist country. The annihilation of socialists and socialism is the sine qua non of capitalist survival. With increasing frequency, Donald Trump himself tells us so. In fact, the ideological justification for America’s intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations and the concomitant propagation of local conflicts and wars has ceased to be the struggle to bring “democracy” to the world and once again become the drive to destroy the “evils” of socialism. It does so in a perfect reversal of reality so that even as it continues to degrade the lives of people, it warms them against seeking an alternative in socialism because it will degrade their lives.
In a speech before the United Nations Trump proclaimed before the world that ““The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.” That statement did not evoke the response Trump had expected – a resounding round of applause by the audience, but instead its polar opposite . – no response at all. In his State of the Union address Trump once again launched an open assault against socialism and socialists warning the nation about “new calls to adopt socialism in our country” provoked by individuals such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” he said. Republican leaders emphasized that message after the speech. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/07/donald-trump-pin-socialism-label-democrats-2020/2789984002/. Praising the speech Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it was a powerful reminder that “we can never allow the United States of America to dim our light by sliding into the failures of socialism.” . https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/trump-socialism-state-of-the-union.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, lauded the Trump economy and declared that “we’re not going back to socialism.” When its past America was ever socialist was never clearly stated. A Former deputy adviser on national security, followed the “party line” a few days later stating in a truly bizarre speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland “They (socialists) want to take your pickup truck, they want to rebuild your home, they want to take away your hamburgers,” he shouted from the lectern (watch the video above). “This is what Stalin dreamt about but never achieved. You are on the frontlines of the war against communism coming back to America under the guise of Democratic socialism. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/trump-socialism-ocasio-cortez-sanders.html
At a rally in El Paso, Trump went after the “radical left” and their climate policies stating “I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane flights,” concluding that “You’re not allowed to own cows anymore.” “Socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity and democracy are being reborn” throughout the hemisphere, Trump said, expressing hope that soon, “This will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history.” Wow!
The anti socialist banner had actually been raised last October, just before the midterm elections, in a report by the Council of Economic Advisers, who spent a great deal of time elucidating the failures of socialism in Cuba and Mao’s China, and even made reference to Scandinavian countries, but said nothing of that socialist powerhouse, the People’s Republic of China, which Trump is trying to hold back from surpassing the U.S. economically in the very near future. They even pointed their fingers at the Scaddinavian countries noting that the had a lower G.D.P. per capita that Americans do. They did not mention that one reason for this is that that ACTUALLY TAKE VACATIONS…many more than Americans do. Nor did they happen to mention that they have less poverty, a significantly higher overall life satisfaction, less divorce and higher levels of entrepreneurship because people feel more secure taking a risk to start a business. They know that should they fail they will not lose their health care or become homeles. The report is well worth the read if for no other reason than because its grotesque and ludicrous claims will make you laugh and perhaps even chuckle. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/The-Opportunity-Costs-of-Socialism.pdf
The clear intention of all these efforts to warn American’s of the evils of “socialism” as generations of Americans had been warned of the “evils” of communism from the fifties through the collapse of the Soviet Union, is based on the assumption that such a tactic will work once again and that people will recoil from any hint of socialism. It is grounded in the belief, that like their immediate ancestors, they will accept anti socialism as the rational foundation of American domestic and foreign policies. There are many factors which indicate that such an ideology will not be as effective this time around. First of all, 35% of Americans who voted in the 2018 elections were born in November 1973, or later according to exit polls from CNN. Over one third of the nation has known only capitalism, and most particularly, the great failure of capitalism that occurred in 2008 – the effects of which reverberates to this day. The perception of that failure in particular has in fact, led this generation to be more inclined to embrace ideas such as “basic health insurance is a right” and “basic necessities, such as food and shelter are a right that the government should provide to those unable to afford them.”
The fact of the matter is that it is not “socialism” that has failed, but rather, that American Capitalism failure in 2008 which brought into being a world wide epidemic of economic and which rendered Americans so broken by the struggle to survive that their only comfort was to be found in either numbing themselves into oblivion through drugs or giving in to such profound feelings of despair that they come to prefer life over death. As the opioid epidemic spreads across America, as the suicide rate continues to rise, as the vast separation between the very rich and the rest of us continues to expand, as work becomes ever more empty and unfulfilling, as young people enter the world and the workplace saddled with huge student debt, as fewer and fewer people can afford medical care…….as life under capitalism becomes ever more exhausting and unbearable, socialism and the promises of socialist politicians seems an ever more ration and necessary alternative.
Contrary to what some may say or think, people are not stupid. They know what they need, and young and old alike know that capitalism has failed them, failed them as human beings; that the government of the capitalistate is not “of the people, by the people and for the people”. It is ultimately out of the recognition of these facts that socialism is beginning to capture the attention and support of the American people. It is the failure of capitalism that will ultimately lead to the rise of Socialism.
Mary Metzger is a 72 year old retired teacher who has lived in Moscow for the past ten years. She studied Women’s Studies under Barbara Eherenreich and Deidre English at S.U.N.Y. Old Westerbury. She did her graduate work at New York University under Bertell Ollman where she studied Marx, Hegel and the Dialectic. She went on to teach at Kean University, Rutgers University, N.Y.U., and most recenly, at The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology where she taught the Philosophy of Science. Her particular area of interest is the dialectic of nature, and she is currently working on a history of the dialectic. She is the mother of three, the gradmother of five, and the great grandmother of 2.