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Capitalism's War on Socialism

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Why no successful socialist countries exist

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Successful socialist countries do not exist for the simple reason that capitalism has waged war on socialism from day one. Capitalism is an economic system based on alleged competition, yet it will use any measure necessary to destroy a competing economic system such as socialism.

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On the home-front, US capitalists have deployed the US Army, National Guard Units, police, and private security such as Pinkerton National Detective Agency against striking workers since the 1870s. A few of the more famous actions in which strikers were killed are the 1892 Homestead Steel Strike, near Pittsburg; 1894 Pullman Railway Strike; 1903 Colorado Labor War strikes against Colorado mines. The International Workers of the World Union (Wobblies) founded in Chicago, 1905, was attacked by the First Red Scare and the Palmer Raids in which leftist, socialist, communist union members were attacked, jailed and deported.

Child labor laws, the 40 hour work week, minimum wage laws, overtime pay, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid were all opposed by the capitalist class as socialism when proposed. Yet most Americans would agree that now they are all good programs that offer vital protections for all the American people.

"Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country." President Donald Trump", 2019 State of the Union speech was received with a standing ovation, even some progressive Democrats stood and applauded. Heaven forbid that we would be able to participate in a democratic discussion of the pros and cons of socialism and capitalism. If we could just turn the calendar back, we can imagine Trump and the cheering Congress opposing as socialism: child labor laws, 40 hour work week, minimum wage laws, overtime pay, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

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The US has used military force, military coups, propaganda, repressive economic sanctions and blockades on each and every socialist and socialist leaning country. Beginning in 1918 President Woodrow Wilson sent troops into Russia to undo the Russian people's revolution. They soon found Russia vast, cold and unwelcoming to the snake oil the US was selling. After WWII, it was only the threat of Russian nuclear retaliation that kept the West from attacking and allowed the flawed autocratic socialist USSR government to peacefully coexist with the capitalist states during the Cold War.

I'm not here to defend the brutal murderous excesses of Lenin and Stalin. The U.S. sought to overthrow the USSR not because it was undemocratic, but because it was socialist. I don't see us railing against Saudi Arabia's repressive monarchy because of its dismal record on human rights. No, our Presidents visit, don their dress and dance with their leaders. Our government is now surreptitiously giving them nuclear power technology. Whether or not they are democratic or not is of no concern to US policy makers. The important thing is that Saudi Arabia is not a socialist country.

When Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to bring the USSR in from the Cold War as a proposed Scandinavian style democracy that guaranteed the people a strong social safety net, he was replaced by Russian President Boris Yeltsin who declared Russia independent of the USSR. Yeltsin was directed by the US economic team to privatize all the state's assets (industry, mines, resources, etc.) for pennies on the dollar before any economic assistance would be available. Russia had already achieved a level of democracy, perhaps better than ours: free press, elected Parliament, elected local councils, elected president, vice president and a constitutional court. At the West's urging Yeltsin was given dictatorial powers for one year by Parliament to enact the draconian economic programs demanded by the West that soon made beggars of the Russian people. Russia went from a 1.3% poverty rate (less than $4/day) in 1989 under Gorbachev to a 49% poverty rate in 1996 under Yeltsin and the capitalist financial reforms demanded by the US.

Eventually Parliament refused to continue to go along with the capitalist reforms which had their citizens selling their belongings on street corners. Yeltsin surrounded the Parliament building with tanks and a standoff occurred. Clinton was US President and both he and the European Union supported Yeltsin, who on October 4, 1993 shelled the Russian people's parliament building called the White House with the entire Parliament inside and burned it to the ground killing an estimated 500 people and wounding 1,000. So much for Gorbachev and the Russian people's incipient democracy and dream for a semi socialist state. The result of this massacre is the present autocratic capitalist Russia with billionaire oligarchs and a poverty stricken people. (Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine)

Currently in Venezuela our government and media give a constant refrain that we want democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth, the US demands capitalism. Russia had to sacrifice their new democracy to make way for capitalism, Venezuela is no different.

This article is not meant to defend or attack Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution under Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. That should be up to the Venezuelan people, free of US propaganda, blockades, economic sanctions and threats of military attack. The sole purpose of this article is to explain why Venezuela and all other countries that have searched for socialist answers have failed.

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The following governments had achieved a level of democracy. They had democratically elected leaders and were attempting to match democracy with socialism or a semi-socialist safety net. The US CIA conspired to engineer and or support military coups that installed repressive right wing governments that to varying degrees then jailed, tortured and killed socialists and communists:

  • Iran 1953
  • Guatemala 1954
  • Congo 1961-65
  • Dominican Republic 1963
  • Indonesia 1965
  • Greece 1967
  • Laos 1958-73
  • Ecuador 1961, 1963, 2010 unsuccessful
  • Chile 1973
  • Nicaragua 1979-90
  • Haiti 1991, 2004
  • Venezuela 2002 unsuccessful, 2015-present unsuccessful
  • Honduras 2009.

I am sure that all of the governments that we have attacked and overthrown were not perfect. On the other hand, the governments that replaced them with our blessing were all much worse.

Libya didn't make the above list because it was not a democratically elected government. Yet under Moammar Gaddafi's 42 years of leadership, it certainly had many socialist benefits that President Obama failed to mention when he declared it was necessary to militarily intervene: free healthcare; free education, including university & graduate school; $50,000 housing grant to all newlywed couples and complete equality for women, unheard of in the Muslim world. Gaddafi built what has been referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World, the Great Manmade River Project the largest system of underground pipes and aqueducts in the world that every day supplied 6.5 million cubic meters of fresh water to the coastal cities of Libya. In addition Gaddafi had proposed to unite the entire African continent under a common currency. Under Gaddafi, Libya had gone from being the poorest country on earth to having the highest standard of living on the African continent. Now after the US/NATO war, much of Libya is a failed state largely ruled by roving bands of armed gunmen and no one is safe.

An informed debate needs to be held on whether or not we should have a capitalist, socialist or some sort of hybrid economic system. But please don't bring to the debate the argument that socialism has never been successful. Perhaps, the debate should start with the question, Why are the capitalists afraid of competition from socialism?

Nick Egnatz

Nick is a Vietnam vet and was named Northwest Indiana Citizen of the Year 2006 for his anti war activism. For the last several years he has focused on monetary reform, changing our present system of bank created debt money to a public system of sovereign just money. https://www.monetaryalliance.org/

 

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Nick Egnatz is a Vietnam veteran. He has been actively protesting our government's crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named "Citizen of the Year" for Northwest Indiana in 2006 for his peace activism by the National (more...)
 
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Nick Egnatz

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Some years ago our local newspaper in Northwest Indiana had a policy of allowing somewhat detailed letters to the editor, 250 words if memory serves me correctly. I wrote many and they were all published in print and online. They also allowed comments online. By a wide margin those that commented attacked me, personally and the positions I took.

One of the most frequent coherent negative comments was "If socialism is such a great system, why are there no successful socialist countries?" I think I have the correct answer here.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 at 5:42:29 PM

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Reply to Nick Egnatz:   New Content

Thank you, Nick Egnatz, for writing this excellent article. I copied the title in my notebook and hope to refer back to it as a reference in the future. A Facebook friend asked me a few weeks ago, "If America is so bad, why does everyone want to come here?" I answered by saying that America has become wealthy in part because our transnational corporations steal a lot of the wealth from poor countries by empowering right wing dictators in those countries who favor the privatization of industries there rather than government ownership, which hurts the workers in those countries. What else could I have said? By the way, I grew up in Indianapolis, not far from Northwest Indiana.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 at 8:56:15 PM

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Reply to Roger Copple:   New Content

I have this same argument with my relatives during the holidays and I have a rough draft of an article submission but Nick beat me to it. Well done Nick.

I am also from Indianapolis although I have lived in Oregon for the last 19 years. Broad Ripple H.S. alumnus along with David Letterman and Diane Sawyer

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 5:16:06 PM

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Thanks for the kind words Roger. Another anecdote you might want to pass along.

At a family gathering right after we had intervened in Libya it came up in conversation, I mentioned some of the social and economic benefits that Gadaffi had passed along to his people. The response was that he had oil money to do it with. I wanted to respond that the United States was endowed with natural resources of all kinds. If they had been shared more equitably with all the people we would have a much more perfect country. The subject was changed and I didn't have the chance to continue. Just think if we had built our country with a different framework, how much more equal it would be.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:16:46 PM

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The cruel joke is that the US is more socialist than Venezuela. The problem with this discussion is that the terms are not defined and people assume they know what they mean.

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. Wikipedia

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. Wikipedia


Private ownership implies the profits and risks are private. With the legal support by the state of corporations there is not much risk and lots of profit. therefore the US is a faux capitalist economy.

The only economy that is close to socialist is Cuba and somehow in spite of constant attack economic and physical it is the best economy in the Caribean according to all human measurements.

The key to a successful economy is a socialist central bank. Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea are the only ones. The last to leave this club were Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan. See any similarities?

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 at 8:01:31 PM

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Success stories like Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea?

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 1:47:52 AM

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IN ESSENCE WE HAVE SOCIALISM FOR THE WEALTHY AND CAPITALISM FOR THE REST OF US.




Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:35:58 PM

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Excellent article, but I'm not sure why you didn't include the Scandinavian countries as successful socialist countries. By the way, the Steinbeck quote is disputed (most likely a paraphrase).

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 at 8:04:00 PM

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I tried to take the image with the Steinbeck quote out of the piece before I finally submitted it, but couldn't figure out how to do it.

Nick

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:06:13 PM

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I think the Scandinavian countries are basically capitalist with a far superior social safety net. Just my impression.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:20:14 PM

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I've been sending this around to my conservative friends:


If Clinton hadn't overthrown the government of Honduras"
If Trump weren't threatening to invade Venezuela"
If Reagan and Bush 1 hadn't put pressure on Nicaragua"
If Carter and Reagan hadn't overthrown the government of El Salvador"
If several administrations hadn't continued to fund the corrupt DEA"
If the CIA hadn't been supporting the overthrow of the Guatemala government (1954)".

THERE WOULDN'T BE A REFUGEE CRISIS AT THE MEXICAN BORDER.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 at 8:16:42 PM

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Thank you for this comment. Listening to Washington Journal yesterday morning, all of the callers were complaining about how US foreign aid should be cut off to central America and everywhere else and I thought to myself how ignorant these callers are that they don't understand that our intervention and destabilization of these governments caused the current crisis and yet we continue to push forwars with thr same policy, now for the second time in Venezuela. Keep putting it out there and hopefully enough people will hear it to make a difference. Take care.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 9:44:22 AM

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Thanks. I rudly leave comments to my Chump supporters say they seem proud to be selfish greedy pricks. Now will add in that they are ignorant such and such. Sorry, but that us how they add up to me. Most if my stones are thrown at the ones throwing stones.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 8:36:44 PM

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Amen Brother John.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:21:47 PM

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Let us also not forget Obama's support of the military coup in Honduras in 2009, with Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:24:59 PM

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"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development" -Albert Einstein

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 at 9:19:04 PM

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Very well said Nick. I would only add that under Yeltzin life expectancy of the Russian people dropped by 8 years. Once Putin came to power, he returned it to where it was before Shock Therapy. He has been trying to improve the living standards of the average Russian, but he's had his work cut out for him under the circumstances. It should also be noted that the Russians have been siding with countries that still don't have debt based central banks such as Syria, Iran and Venezuela.


All wars are banker wars.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2019 at 11:52:05 PM

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Story is complicated. US corporate capitalism - and it's imperial mission - is less ideological than professed through the propaganda (around communism and socialism). The drive is resource hegemony (read War Is A Racket by Smedley Butler).

Costa Rica is democratically ruled by the National Liberation Party, which is socialist. CR eliminated its military and I think there hasn't been any migration northward. Why is that?

The US manages its population through coercion and fear to launch far away wars which are always in the name of corporate capitalism. The Soviet Union was a threat more because it could have led to Western/US worker revolt - it didn't.

Scandinavian nations have socialized services, but not means of production (nor finance for the most part). So I don't think Scandinavia represents Marxian socialism.

Venezuela has resources the US wants to control ever since these were nationalized - pre-Chavez. Cuba is with their new constitution moving toward socialism. They are a variant.

One could say: 1) there's no such thing as (capitalist) free markets (these are an invention of governments) 2) with rare exception no nation is pure capitalist nor socialist - but they have a dominant leaning.

To follow the Marx/Hegel notion - socialism is a dynamic dialectic, tensions of becoming. So they may never be a pure socialist society.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 3:09:36 AM

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Socialism vs Capitalism is also very much about how people relate to one another, form communities and society in general. Ecosocialism is how we relate to the entire living planet.

Capitalism thrives on commodification and extraction. Socialism does not.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:15:16 AM

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Well said Art. Smedley Butler's book is a classic.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:39:24 PM

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Dank ja well for this article. Lots if importabt facts in it. Hope soon the river flows for the righteous to rule.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 3:37:08 AM

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Good article. It means that much more that you speak out having served in our military. I have long argued that our soldiers have borne the brunt of US imperialism and that if people wanted to show our veters some real respect they would question the reasons for the countless and needless interventionist wars for which they have been the sacrificial lambs. Thank you for speaking out on these issues and for continuing to shine a light onnthe consistent and persistent evils of U.S. foreign policy. Take care.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 9:37:27 AM

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Thank you Michele. I usually wear a hat with Veterans for Peace or Vietnam Veterans Against the War buttons. I also frequent anti war actions of all kinds. In the last decade, kind of since we went into Iraq, it has become fashionable to thank me and other vets for their service. The intentions are genuine so I don't disparage anyone who thanks me. But I do tell them to thank me for my real service as an anti war activist.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:33:13 PM

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TTOO FEW OF THE VETERANS SEE THE LIGHT AND SPEAK OUT LIKE USMC GENERAL BUTLER DID IN "WAR IS RACKET"


Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:43:53 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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A well-run nation would be one in which capitalism and socialism coexist, as both systems are necessary. Of the two it appears capitalism is the aspect that runs amuck as it is the piece of the pie that generates wealth for a select few while the socialism piece is more a cost center.

In the United States idea of the two is Socialism is there only to support corporations, not individual people. The Socialistic parts of the United States are being used not to help people, but to better distribute wealth to corporations through what has been termed "privatization" which is simply giving corporations something the taxpayers are paying for through their taxes. The privatization of schools for example simply take tax dollars away from public schools and give it to corporate schools making them not "private" as they run on taxpayer dollars, but do not have to be run under public school rules. Privatization of highways simply gives highways to corporations that taxpayers pay for and now have those taxpayers pay a fee in order to use.

In America, if a corporation runs into financial trouble the government bails them out. Meanwhile, we see the number of citizens living in poverty rise with funds to help them being cut and/or going to help corporations.

A major "complaint" of Socialism is the government has too much control over programs but in the US capitalism is in control at the expense of the citizenry. IMHO a major problem those in power have between the two is Socialism breeds sharing and togetherness while Capitalism breeds greed and dividing people.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 12:16:23 PM

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Nick Egnatz

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Reply to Dennis Kaiser:   New Content

Thanks for your insight Dennis. You are spot on.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:36:23 PM

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Thomas Brown

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Well done. Very sucinct .. right to the point.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 5:41:56 PM

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Nick Egnatz

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Reply to Thomas Brown:   New Content

Thank you Thomas.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:37:13 PM

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Nick Egnatz

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Reply to JERRY D RILEY:   New Content

Thank you Jerry for the Debs quote. Some years ago I visited his home in Terre Haute, Indiana, while attending an anti war action against the Iraq War.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:44:53 PM

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