This morning I was watching the financial program on MSNBC and the commentator was discussing the situation in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez, the President of the country. The commentator was saying that since the government took control of the utilities (telephone companies, electricity, etc..), the country is now a "Socialist Dictatorship" and the US government must step in immediately to quell this threat to Capitalism.
I just want to dissect this statement for a moment. First of all, the US government had control of the telephone companies, the electric companies, the gas companies, etc for decades. That was only dismantled in the 1980's and 90's and doled out to private companies. We were hardly a socialist state at the time and I would argue that the cost of living was much more affordable when you were only paying for the cost of the service as opposed to the cost of service PLUS a profit margin for millions of investors such as the Enron's of the world. Next is this whole thing about a dictatorship. The last election in Venezuela was held up as incredibly well run and fair by the international community. Chavez is truly loved by his people to this day and the only opposition he has in the country is from the people who own the utility companies he just gave back to the people.
A truly elected government official (unlike our own) who has single handedly strong-armed and forced OPEC and the world community to drop gas prices down to $53.00/barrel (and my pump price to $1.99/gallon, and my heating costs are plummetting in a cold winter-wow) has suddenly under this oil soaked President become a socialist dictator even though he has the overwhelming support and adoration of his people. No major groups in his country are oppressed, he is not at war at home, and abroad at war with no one, but the capitalists who are mad at him for not buying into the worldwide oppression of people over "black gold" and to boot, he's giving heating oil away for free to poor people in the US!! The nerve of this guy???? they must think...
While we at home have a president who was not democratically elected twice, who allowed the Enron robber barons to steal from CA and investors worldwide billions of dollars, who took our country to war on not only lies, but deliberately concealed motivations, who made a mess of the war and is to blame for hundreds of thousands of deaths for his own beligerance, who refuses to pull out even when the whole world, his entire country and even his own political party are begging him to do so, who raped our federal budget to give billions more to his wealthy friends, who has destroyed our environment, our educational system, our way of life and most frighteningly, our reputation in the world without which, we will never find our way back to fixing the rest of the above.
They have the nerve to call Chavez a socialist dictator. He may be a democratic socialist, but he was elected. For argument's sake let's just say he is a democratic socialist isolationist, then by comparison, Bush is a facist dictator with international aggression tendencies. Read the definitions of facism and democratic socialism below and think about this...
Social democratic political parties are a feature of many democratic countries, and are found in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Over the course of the twentieth century, parties such as the British Labour Party, the German SPD and the Australian Labor Party stood in elections on political platforms that included policies such as stronger labor laws, nationalization of major industries, and a strong welfare state. Most European social democratic parties are members of the Party of
European Socialists, which is one of the main political parties at the European level, and most social democratic parties are members of the Socialist International, which is the historical successor to the Second International. During the latter part of the twentieth century, most social democratic parties distanced themselves from socialist economic policies and socialism in general. Many modern social democrats have broadened their objectives to include aspects of feminism, racial equality and multiculturalism. Since the 1980s, a number of social democratic parties have adopted policies which support a relatively lightly regulated economy and emphasise equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome as the benchmark for social justice. This trend, known as the Third Way, is highly controversial among those on the left, many of whom argue that Third Way parties (such as New Labour in the United Kingdom) have "sold out" to conservative ideology, and have ceased to be social democratic or even left-wing.
Fascism is associated by many scholars with one or more of the following characteristics: a very high degree of nationalism, economic corporatism, a powerful, dictatorial leader who portrays the nation, state or collective as superior to the individuals or groups composing it.
Stanley Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980) uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including the creation of an authoritarian state; a regulated, state-integrated economic sector; fascist symbolism; anti-liberalism; anti-communism; anti-conservatism. Semiotician Umberto Eco also attempts to identify characteristics of fascism in his popular essay Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt. More recently, an emphasis has been placed upon the aspect of populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a "re-birth" of a conflated nation and ethnic people.
Two sides of a coin, but if Chavez does turn around and give the profits of his endeavors back to all the people of Venezuela, then who's the evil monster in this story???