How Communists became Socialists and then Progressives. Part 1.
Por Fernando Mendez
This essay could be called a brief history of change in two parts. It is difficult to destroy an idea, even a bad one. We know that the Marxists of old became “socialists,” and now they have decided to call themselves “progressives,” in order make it easier to label any opposition as lacking in foresight, as being opposed to ideas that promote the advancement of society—a very clever manipulation of labels. It was necessary to change names to make an old and terrible idea become more palatable.
But bad ideas with a new coat of paint are still bad ideas. Marxist ideas gave Bolsheviks a foundation that created one of the most oppressive regimes in history. Their philosophy of government was sold to gullible throngs eager to get rid of monarchs and oligarchs. Communism would flatten the playing field and everybody would be the same, no elites, no casts–all your basic needs would be met. The state would control everything and provide for all. For Latin America, Cuba was set up as an example of the economies of the future. They offered free education and free healthcare. The properties of the rich were taken over by the state and there was no private property because the state owned everything. Fidel Castro allowed only the promotion and discussion of revolutionary ideals, stating publicly that he would not tolerate dissent. His motto: “For the revolution, everything, against the revolution, nothing.”
Castro was supported by the Soviet Union and used to promote Marxism throughout the continent. In exchange for selling his soul to the communists, Castro received subsidies that propped up his regime. He was helped by an ill-advised U.S. blockade that gave him a ready-made excuse for his failure to have a sound economy.
After 75 years the Soviet system imploded with some help from outside. In the wake of the fall there were no communists left anywhere. Like the Nazi followers that suddenly evaporated after the war, there were no followers of Lenin after the Berlin Wall came down. They had discovered that Socialism had a kinder sound and it could be more easily sold to the masses—like snake oil in a nice wine bottle.
Next: Rhetoric versus action