Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, under duress from the US and its allies, must have enjoyed a good laugh this week when he read the news out of America. As Washington looks determined to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected Socialist government, with a puppet leader already waiting in the wings, a new poll showed that 61 percent of Americans aged 18 and 24 have a favorable attitude to the term ‘socialism’.
Capitalism, still weathering the storm despite the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and Jeff Bezos, got a 58-percent favorability ranking among the same demographic.
In total, 39 percent of Americans said they are “well-disposed toward socialism.”
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Will this apparent shift of opinion to Socialism put the brakes on Washington’s regime change machine as it grinds inexorably towards Caracas? Will US National Security Advisor John Bolton be forced to include the United States as a fourth wheel in the “Troika of Tyranny,” as he has labeled the Latin American governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua? Better not hold your breath.
“This triangle of terror… is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of Communism in the Western Hemisphere,” as Bolton put it last year amid a full court press against Caracas.
If the United States is really such a worker-bee paradise, confident enough to impose its ‘democratic ideals’ on foreign states, then why are so many Americans reportedly abandoning the capitalist ship, or at least giving Socialist ideas a second look? Admittedly, there are some things about Socialism that make it an attractive alternative to the endless uncertainty that comes with a free-market economy.
Consider the plight of American college graduates, since here is the demographic that is second-guessing the joys of Capitalism. Before this group even enters the workforce and signs up for a mortgage, car payment, and maybe a family, they are already saddled with huge tuition payments.
Currently, there are some 44 million young Americans indebted to the tune of $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, an insane amount that is even greater than what Americans owe on their abused credit cards. The average graduating student in 2017 has almost $40,000 in student loan debt, while many of them can expect to face problems finding a job upon graduation.
Now compare the situation in the US with that of the Nordic countries, where native students – as well as foreign students – study at public university absolutely free of charge. In fact, there is no need to look all the way to Scandinavia when the situation is no different just across the Caribbean Sea in the “tyranny” of Venezuela where a free education for all is considered a human right, not a privilege.
Another part of the dog-eat-dog world of American capitalism that is infuriating so many people is on the medical front. The health-care system is in reality a fierce battleground for profits among doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, and shareholders where the patient is, in a sick twist of fortune, the victim. Is it any wonder more Americans are opting to travel to Mexico and Canada for medicine and treatment that is no longer affordable back home? Perhaps the real reason Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border is to keep Americans away from cheaper foreign medical treatment.
The last major effort to overhaul this massive industry came with Obamacare, which turned out to be a cure worse than the disease. A major study by the University of Chicago showed that 47 percent of Americans were avoiding preventive treatment from a doctor or dentist due to the exorbitant costs.
So, from a political perspective, it is no longer possible for the Republicans and Democrats to ignore the economic plight of millions of Americans, especially those who comprise Generation Z and Millennials. This group represents 37 percent of the electorate, which means they will play no small part in the highly anticipated 2020 presidential election. Now the two major parties are making flat-footed gestures to address their concerns.
Cue Bernie Sanders, 77, the ‘independent democratic socialist’ from Vermont who just signed a “loyalty pledge” with the Democratic Party as he appears ready for another shot at the White House. Sanders is a member of the ‘limousine liberal’ class who talks a great game in public about sticking it to the rich, yet in private is enjoying all the fruits of capitalist labor. How did ‘The Bern’ console himself after losing the 2016 Democratic primaries to Hillary Clinton? He went out and purchased a home – his third – on the beach of Lake Champlain, Vermont. But his real crime, as far as Sanders supporters are concerned, came when he endorsed Hillary Clinton for the presidency. That move showed he was not only in the pocket of the Democratic Party, but not strong enough to stand up for the middle and lower classes.
Then there is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the freshman senator from New York who rolled out her so-called Green New Deal, which, if implemented, would essentially turn the US into a third-world country with stunningly short-sighted initiatives like “build[ing] out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.” Apparently, AOC, as she is known among her supporters, thinks the world begins and ends at the border of America. The Investor’s Business Daily slammed her plan as a “call for enviro-socialism” that would turn into a “government takeover of the entire economy.”
The Republicans, meanwhile, are holding steady to the maxim: ‘never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake’. The only hint that the Republicans understand the sea change taking place in American politics was when Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address last month that “we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” It did not go unnoticed that many Democrats, including Bernie Sanders, AOC, and Nancy Pelosi, did not stand and applaud the statement as many others did.
This brings us to the question: could the United States actually wake up one bright morning as a Socialist state, much like its newfound nemesis in Venezuela? And perhaps even more to the point, should the United States adopt Socialist ways? This is where opinions on the matter will greatly differ. While there are some tempting ideas being put forward by the Left, like free education and healthcare for everyone, there are millions of Americans who will never be sold on the merits of Socialism, which gets just as bad press in the United States as does Communism. That should come as little surprise since no corporation wants to lose the massive profits that come with private ownership over a vast swath of the economy. But as the above-mentioned poll indicates, more Americans want to see the government take greater control of the economy.
Here is where things could get downright dangerous. First, it must be admitted that the American political and cultural scene has entered a dark place not unlike The Twilight Zone. Something truly bizarre has taken hold of the American mind, not unlike a flesh-eating virus, to the point where we now have ‘social justice warriors’ who believe it is their intrinsic right and duty to impose their vision of the world onto everyone else, while at the same time shutting down all debate on the matter. This has already been witnessed numerous times on college campuses and other meeting places across the country. On top of that, we must also consider what is being taught today in our institutions of higher learning. Much of it, as shown here, consists of courses that promote an outright socialist agenda.
The manifestations of this radical form of ‘tyranny light’ can be witnessed by the ongoing attacks on ‘patriarchy’, ‘white privilege’, and most of all on the Manhattan mogul Donald Trump, the very personification of capitalism itself.
Now mix all this pent-up political hatred and confusion together with the new wave of *identity politics, which tells people they can be whoever they want to be, even if biology suggests otherwise, and you have a situation where millions of oppressed individuals may one day get it in their heads that they, too, ‘identify’ with the rich, and then proceed to take what they believe to be theirs by whatever means necessary. In other words, a case of history repeating itself under radically new circumstances. The desire to impose some degree of equality and fairness on the American capitalist system, where millions of marginalized people regularly fall through the cracks of the economy into grinding poverty, could explode into something altogether undesirable unless steps are taken now to alleviate the risks. In that sense, Venezuelan President Maduro may eventually find himself a potential ally in America’s marginalized class, seething as they are in quiet desperation.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.