NPR, Maduro, Venezuela and socialist experiment #183

Last night on NPR, the segment was about ostensibly Maduro, but involved a recitation of socialist movements in latin America, and the unfairness of US efforts to address them. The tone was one of outrage, with the speaker concluding that when Allende shot himself, Chilean democracy died (despite democracy thriving in Chile and Allende's grip on his office being of dubious legitimacy.  It included a dramatic telling of violence against "anyone opposed to the regime" though that was never really true.  The fellow lamented our anti-Castro efforts, and described the ascent of Chavez and Maduro.

The purpose of this Zinn like history of the region was to buttress the speaker's conclusion that if one were Maduro, he must view his opposition in light of a long history of American atrocities.  We should think about how this affects Maduro.

The US now has food sitting on the Colombian border to relieve the starvation in Venezuela, but Maduro's forces aren't letting it in.  Extra food would interfere with Maduro's explicit political strategy of getting food to his supporters who vote.  Once people don't need him for food rations, what would become of the revolution?

Like the Green New Deal that looks a lot like the old red deal, Venezuela's last couple of decades illustrates a compressed version of the unhappy end of the expansive and unlimited state.  Chavez is elected with quite a few votes, moves to engage media control, moves to manipulate the electoral apparatus (despite anti-Chavez regions reporting more than 100% votes for Chavez, JEC announced the re-election legitimate before  any investigation).  Unhappy with middle class profiteering, currency and import controls made life incrementally more difficult until hunger and state controlled food itself became the dominant political issue.

You would think that the commentariat at NPR might draw some conclusions about socialism a century ago, now, and between, but what really animates so much of the left, even in the US, is the story of US transgressions against the braindead idea that destruction of the old order will usher in an era of equality and wealth.  Democrats can't stand up an identify the obscenity of a Green New Deal for the same reason they had so little criticism for the old red deal after 1980; they don't disagree with the principle of state coercion into a vegan, flightless future without any buildings put up before 2019.

Of course, there are democrats who have constituents who don't want to tear down their homes to offset the carbon emissions of Chinese coal use, or who don't see a lot of good in supporting people who simply prefer not to work, but those are accommodations rather than principles that drive them.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a process by which ordinary anti-communist democrats came to understand that they were in the wrong party.  I wonder whether the next couple of years will feature a similar process in which people come to see a democrat party populated by strange obsessions as no good place to be.

Comments

  • edited February 12
    Can you scrounge up a link to the story, zuk? I tried to find it but only heard this last night:


    I doubt that's it.

    To piggyback on your story, I am shocked (not really) at how little attention the media (right, left or center) seems to be giving to Nicaragua and Daniel Ortega. Talk about people not learning their lesson the first time. I doubt even Russian nationalists would like to see a return of someone like Stalin, no matter how fondly they remember the USSR.
  • edited February 12
    You are correct.  That is not the story.

    I don't know which program it was.  I don't believe it was All Things Considered or Marketplace; I don't think I was in my car by then.  I doubt it was Living on Earth.  According to my local schedule that would make it a program called "The Daily", but I can't find any links to it.
  • NPR can't seem to decide how they feel about Maduro.  I've heard several reports where they call him Trump-like as a slur but lately they seem to want to like him more and demonize the US for making him.
  • edited February 12
    Seabird said:

     I doubt even Russian nationalists would like to see a return of someone like Stalin, no matter how fondly they remember the USSR.
    You'd be surprised.  Even before the wall fell, Stalin nostalgia was a real thing.  There was a generation of russians who saw Stalin's reign as a magic time, like people here who loved our dictator, FDR.  Now you have younger people who never knew the terror and poverty, but know that Russia's place is the world is smaller now than then.

    Russian peasants and their devolution, homo sovieticus, are natural fascists, imo.

    I don't know enough about Nicaraguans to reach any similar conclusion about them.  RCism, especially its hispanic variant, can be fetishistic about poverty, and there is a lot of romantic nonsense about spanish communists after Franco prevailed.
  • Thanks for the link.  That feeds into what NPR really is, a state subsidized media organ whose product is carried on government allotted frequencies.

    So the NYT, a paper owned by what one might call a media oligarch, puts his product out on state radio.  At least its a better product than Tom Steyer's NPR program (Reveal?).
  • Do you think that Latin American branded RCism is the reason behind that region's fascination with socialism? I guess the Vatican did centralized government and command economy long before Marx made it cool.
  • Seabird said:

    Do you think that Latin American branded RCism is the reason behind that region's fascination with socialism? I guess the Vatican did centralized government and command economy long before Marx made it cool.

    I don't think it is simple.  Celebration of poverty seems to follow maryolotry, and that's been a problem in western Christianity since before Francis of Assisi was beatified, but the spanish seem to have really lached onto both.

    Something common in the anglosphere is a land title system.  You can be poor and own a little house, leave it for a decade and come back, and still have an iron clad legal right to possession of that house; the courts and police will back you up.  You don't have to worry about worthless currency or changes in government; it's yours.

    As I understand most of the latin world, the rule is very different.  For you to assert your right to possess a property, you may have to file something, but your real rights stem from your continuing assertion and possession.  Leave you house vacant for a year and on your return you may find an occupant with a superior claim.  Do you have the resources to defend possession of  500,000 acres?  Then it's yours.  Are you a mechanic who wants to invest in a larger home?  Screw you, unless you are going to have staff keeping it occupied.  I imagine that you and I might view life differently if we were strictly limited to month to month tenancies or needed to maintain "muscle" to hang onto a farm.

    Small wonder that some of these people see productivity and wealth as part of a power relationship more than a legal one.

    I had a woman from Mexico City in to see me last year.  She was taken on a real estate investment scheme in Ohio.  I asked her why she didn't invest nearer her home and she complained about corruption.  I asked if it was like that up in the Yukatan were should could rent to americans.  Her eyes grew large and she gasped, "These people...so nice, so...white!"

    I know Mexico has a system of sorts, and I know the mexicans I know, as well as the other latin americans I've known, are smart, orderly and productive people, but they may not be representative.

    These people don't need the vote or "land reform".  They need a land title system and dollar based economies.
  • NPR can't seem to decide how they feel about Maduro.  I've heard several reports where they call him Trump-like as a slur but lately they seem to want to like him more and demonize the US for making him.

    Likening Maduro to DJT is only evidence of the unhingening.  I've heard some distancing themselves from Maduro, but I see much of the ambivalence stemming from Maduro entering the crash and burn phase.
  • I'm not familiar with home ownership laws other than what I need to be familiar with re my house. I thought squatting was a thing, legally speaking. Neglected land and buildings being inhabited by not-the-owner and then grey legal areas regarding possession arising as a result.

    Or am I just remembering editorializing from entities who *want* it to be a thing?
  • edited February 12
    Seabird said:

    I'm not familiar with home ownership laws other than what I need to be familiar with re my house. I thought squatting was a thing, legally speaking. Neglected land and buildings being inhabited by not-the-owner and then grey legal areas regarding possession arising as a result.

    Or am I just remembering editorializing from entities who *want* it to be a thing?
    It's a thing in our system, but it's a long way from possession being 9/10ths of the law.

    It's called adverse possession.  It requires open, adverse (i.e. not permitted by the title owner) possession for 21 years.  If you let someone treat your house as his own for 22 years, you may run into a claim in court of adverse possession if you try to evict him.
  • Pretty strict then. As I recall, there was some talk about the poor... well, poor people in gentrifying urban areas who should be allowed possession of abandoned buildings because... Well, because they were poor and the rightful owners weren’t using them.

    Anyway, not to derail... My first real IT job was at a commercial real estate development company back in the 90s. The owners had another business developing properties in Los Cabo’s, Mex. It was an odd arrangement because in Mexico, foreign nationals are prohibited from owning land. We had a law firm down there as the actual owner and we would manage the properties (and keep all the revenues less what we paid the lawyers). Still, it was always a tenuous situation as they could lay rightful claim and kick us out.
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