European Fellow Travelers Refuse to Criticize Venezuelan Dictator
Seventeen Latin American nations, including those run by leftists, agree Venezuela is now a “dictatorship” under Nicolás Maduro.
For most of his presidency, Maduro has ruled by decree. When the opposition won a majority of the seats in parliament, he replaced it with a Constituent Assembly full of cronies. Critical lawmakers have been arrested. A “truth commission” is being established to investigate thoughtcrimes. Instead of seeing high crime and low growth rates as evidence of the failure of Venezuela’s socialist experiment, the crude and homophobic Maduro entertains anti-American and anticapitalist conspiracy theories.
Yet left-wing admirers of Hugo Chávez will not see his heirs for the thugs they have become. Read more
Does the British Election Mean Anything for America?
As always, yes and no.
Yes, because the ideology of austerity-driven neoliberalism, that which is championed by Theresa May’s suddenly flailing government, is a major component of the ruling Republican Party in the United States. It’s what Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, believes in: cuts to public services to benefit the private market.
Yes, because Brexit, the alt-right-driven anti-immigrant, anti-globalization geopolitical self-harm project is propelled by the same forces that elected the current head of the Republican Party, Donald Trump.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon Is Not the French Bernie Sanders
Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s late surge in the French presidential election has invited comparison with the unexpected success of Bernie Sanders in last year’s Democratic primary in the United States.
The comparison is not altogether off in the sense that Mélenchon’s rise is largely due to the unpopularity of technocratic socialism under the incumbent president, François Hollande. Sanders’ candidacy similarly reflected a disillusionment in the centrist incrementalism of Hillary Clinton.
But there is no comparing the policies of the French candidate, who is backed by the Communist Party, to those of the senator from Vermont, whose views would be mainstream in France. Read more
The Future of the Middle East is Turkey, Iran and Islamic Socialism
It may not seem it, what with the Islamic State’s suicide bombers lashing out, Israeli soldiers shooting wounded Palestinians and the war in Yemen grinding on, but the Middle East’s broad new outlines are starting to show.
They appear in front of the Turkish tanks on their way to Raqqa; in the brightly-lit press conferences of the White House; in the ballot printing factories of Tehran and in the banks of Dubai.
They are both a return to history and step further into it. Nation states founded on the borders of great empires are reasserting themselves and the assault on neoliberal economics will give way to Islamist socialism. Read more
Purists Hurt Left’s Chances in France, Could Do Same in Italy
It doesn’t look like the two left-wing contenders for the French presidency will be able to do a deal.
I wrote here a few days ago that Benoît Hamon, the mainstream Socialist Party candidate, and the far left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon could have bested the French center. A left-wing unity ticket would qualify for the second voting round in May, according to the latest polls. Marine Le Pen of the National Front is expected to qualify as well. Forced to choose between a leftist and a nativist, a majority of French voters would likely opt for the former.
But neither Hamon nor Mélenchon is willing to play second fiddle, as a result of which the left won’t stand a chance. Read more