Trump, Goya, and Democratic Socialism

In reality, socialism has not been and is not democratic. And Stalinism is its inevitable next stage, not by accident but by design

Goya products at a Ralphs supermarket in Pasadena, California, on July 10, 2020 (Flickr).

Spanish – The leftist cultural revolution has been designed to defeat the American Revolution. It is new far-left fascism that demands absolute loyalty. Anyone who does not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its directives will be censored, banned, persecuted, and punished. This is totalitarianism, by definition, alien to our culture and our values. The attack on our freedom must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly.

That’s what Trump referred to as “cancel culture,” the social movement that promotes public embarrassment and boycotts individuals and companies in response to statements or actions they find offensive. Specifically, it is about promoting “escrache,” a practice of undeniable fascist lineage.

Hence “extreme-left-fascism,” although semantically oxymoronic, is not inappropriate in this circumstance. In this way, Trump gave the issue an electoral intent. But almost in unison, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an exponent of the new Democratic left, illustrated and made the perfect empirical demonstration of “cancel culture.”

And also by agreeing with the President, perhaps inadvertently. “Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling how to make your own Adobo,” she tweeted on Thursday, July 9. It was the beginning of the smear and boycott of Goya Foods in retaliation to the company CEO, Bob Unanue’s, praise for Trump.

Unanue is the grandson of a Spaniard who arrived in the United States in 1904. Goya is a veritable institution, the first manufacturer of food for the Latino market in the country, employing about 4,000 people. Experience multiculturalism and Latino identity, of course, as long as it is aligned with the novel Democratic dogmatism.

The anecdote is emblematic of the intellectual, ethical, and political dilemma facing the Democratic Party. A group of progressive thinkers, including Noam Chomsky, published a “Letter on Justice and Open Debate” in Harper’s magazine. They question several political attitudes that undermine discussion. And they express concern about widespread attitudes and practices: intolerance, public embarrassment of the opponent, and the tendency to reduce complex issues to a blind moral certainty.

Reflection is welcome; escrache has no place in a democratic society (Ocasio-Cortez does not seem to have paid attention to the publication). However, this letter is infused with an ideological bias: according to its text, “the forces of illiberalism” are represented only by Trump and the right-wing. The record of the left, in terms of illiberalism, is evaded, which is unfortunate given that socialism has demonstrated its capacity to produce abhorrent totalitarian experiments.

Therefore, the letter is also insufficient. To preserve “the good-faith disagreement” that it preaches, there is a missing concept: Stalinism. What they describe, in short—the uniformity of opinions, the discipline of thought, the complacency with an imposed ideological correction—is exactly that – Stalinism, a form of domination that sanctions disagreement and freedom with bureaucratic ostracism, in its benign version, and with Gulags, for the less fortunate.

A notion that is quite similar to the heterodox “far-left fascism,” in fact. The problem is that the illiberalism of the left, which is not scarce, receives less attention in such collective reflection. Hence, American progressivism today passes through an area of intellectual ambiguity, a phenomenon that occurs not only among academics but also among politicians of similar persuasion.

There is no shortage of examples. Biden announces that, if elected, he will lift sanctions against the Cuban regime. Sanders defines himself as a socialist-obvious that the socialist system is based on a centrally planned economy and a one-party regime. He also praises Cuba’s education policies, defines Maduro as a legitimate president, and claims that Evo Morales was overthrown by a coup (“in Ecuador,” he said).

Within the Democratic Party, the legendary Eliot Engel, a congressman from New York for thirty years, lost his nomination in the primary election to Jamaal Bowman. A self-described “democratic socialist,” Bowman was actively supported by Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Elizabeth Warren.

All this also results in moral ambiguity, not just conceptual inaccuracies. Cuba is a six-decade-old dictatorship; Maduro commands a criminal regime; Evo Morales committed fraud in the election. In fact, he had already violated his own constitution to stay in power for twenty years.

In other words, in reality, socialism has not been and is not democratic. And Stalinism is its inevitable next stage, not by accident but by design. That’s the discussion the Democratic Party should have.

Take up those debates of the 1990s on both sides of the Atlantic when the collapse of communism in Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union made clear the resounding failure of socialism as a mode of production and as a political system. The socialist system left only ruins behind, material, and political, of course, but above all, ethical and intellectual.

If the democrats are pursuing this system, let them say so and be explicit, but stop talking in euphemisms like “democratic socialism.” Among all the crises in the United States, there is one not mentioned so often: a left that is intellectually confused and overcome with hypocrisy. It is not possible to defend justice and freedom without a moral anchor. These are values and principles. Scribbling is immoral.

They also have an electoral problem. Beyond today’s polls, it is Trump who is closest to the country’s “mainstream” discourse on socialism, that is, the historical narrative of both parties. From Reagan to George H.W. Bush, as well as from Kennedy to Bill Clinton. But of course, all this happened in the previous century.

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