Saturday, June 17, 2017

How Trotskyite and Stalinist Influence is Gaining in Great Britain

By Kevin Dowd

Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist policies of state control, high spending, class warfare and punitive taxation have been tried in many countries. We know how these policies turn out and it is always the same: badly.[Yet, his Labour Party showed unexpected strength in the recent British election and this is not an encouraging sign.]

As a starting point, he appointed a Stalinist as a key advisor, ignored warnings about Trotsky infiltration of the Labour Party and called for the “complete rehabilitation” of Leon Trotsky himself.

We should all know what hardline Communism produces: the Soviet Union, Maoist China, North Korea or, at best, Cuba or East Germany. Yet Mr. Corbyn thinks that the same policies that produced repeated catastrophes before will produce a socialist nirvana in the UK. While the Bourbons learnt nothing and forgot nothing, the UK Hard Left seems to have learned nothing at all. Consider some of Mr. Corbyn’s comrades abroad and the damage they have wrought.

Exhibit Number One is Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. Twenty years ago Venezuela was one of the richest countries in the world. Now it is one of the poorest. Food is scarce, people are starving and inflation is approaching a thousand per cent. Venezuelan agriculture and industry have been all but destroyed and the country’s oil wealth has been wasted. But to quote Corbyn shortly after Chavez died in 2013: “Chavez showed us that there is a different and a better way of doing things ... It’s called socialism, it’s called social justice and it’s something that Venezuela has made a big step towards.”

Sorry, Jeremy, but a system that starves the population it serves is not one that promotes social justice and the only big step made by Venezuela recently is towards breakdown, mass starvation and a looming revolution.

Exhibit Number Two is Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. At independence in 1980, the Tanzanian President, Julius Nyerere told Mugabe “You have inherited a jewel; look after it.” Instead Mugabe squandered it and shamelessly too. Run by a self-described socialist, Mugabe’s regime is a kleptomaniac plutocracy that has mismanaged the country to the point of ruin, produced a hyperinflation of almost 80 billion percent a month by 2008 and destroyed what was left of Zimbabwean civil society. One can add to that enormous human rights abuses and a collapse in public health as the government botched attempts to contain AIDS and other epidemics. Yet the Zimbabwean First Family have accumulated enormous wealth under their dictatorship and Mrs. Mugabe is a notorious shopaholic who is reputed to spend millions on each of her shopping trips.

Example Three is former President Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner in Argentina. Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world in the early 20th century. Decades of economic mismanagement have since reduced it to a third world basket case. Ms. Kirchner’s own policies were a disastrous interventionist cocktail that left the Argentinian economy in yet another major crisis as she left office. She was however one of the first world leaders to congratulate Mr. Corbyn on his election as Labour leader. She described his election as a “triumph of hope” and a victory for those “putting politics at the service of people and the economy at the service of the well-being of all citizens”. She is now facing charges of corruption in office.

What do these examples all have in common? They show how to take a prosperous country blessed with abundant resources and reduce it to destitution—and all in the name of the people. In each case, there is also a massive increase in inequality between the very top and the mass of the population below, the key to which is breathtaking corruption made possible by state control. This is how socialism works in practice.

Nor should we forget that hardcore socialism has been tried in the UK too. We had flying pickets, energy cuts and candlelit diners as the Hard Left in the trade union movement took on the ailing Heath government in 1974. The government then called—and lost—a “who runs Britain” election and Labour came to office with a Socialist agenda.

The results? Out-of-control unions, a bloated inefficient public sector and an economic crisis requiring an IMF bailout. This crisis was followed by the winter of discontent, unburied bodies and trash piling up in the streets.

Really. We have seen this movie before.

Kevin Dowd is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and co-editor of the Independent book, Money and the Nation State: The Financial Revolution, Government and the World Monetary System (with Richard H. Timberlake, Jr.

The above originally appeared at the Independent Institute.


  1. Ralph Raico explained The Ignorance and The Evil of Trotsky in March 1979:

    The nitty-gritty of how an economic system functions — how, in our world, men and women work, produce, exchange, and survive — was something from which they prudishly averted their eyes, as pertaining to the nether-regions. These "materialists" and "scientific socialists" lived in a mental world where understanding Hegel, Feuerbach, and the hideousness of Eugen Duehring's philosophical errors was infinitely more important than understanding what might be the meaning of a price.

    Page 38 of the original March 1979 issue:

    Great artwork too.

  2. Mugabe and the commie insurgency in Rhodesia in the late 70s were for the left then like the ubiquitous recent tranny bathroom campaign. None of Mugabe’s horrors were ever acknowledged and the entire topic disappeared as soon as Mugabe consolidated power:

    While imprisoned, Mugabe earned degrees in law and economics by correspondence courses from the University of London and became a revolutionary Marxist. After he was released, he helped lead a civil war against the government.

    All the participants in the Rhodesian war used vicious tactics. But Mugabe displayed a particular ruthlessness that ought to have indicated what sort of ruler he might one day become. In 1978, four black moderates announced that they had reached an "internal settlement" with the white regime, paving the way for democratic elections. One of these leaders, Ndabaningi Sithole, dispatched 39 envoys to meet representatives of Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, another guerrilla leader. The envoys were captured, murdered and, according to Time magazine, "their bodies were then laid out by the guerrillas in a grisly line at the side of the road as a warning to local tribespeople."


    And over several years in the early 1980s, Mugabe executed what arguably might be the worst of his many atrocities, a campaign of terror against the minority Ndebele tribe in which he unleashed a North Korean-trained army unit that killed between 10,000 and 30,000 people.

  3. As I've said before: we are fond of saying Socialism doesn't work, but it is important to ask "works for who?" For the majority of people living under Socialism it is miserable failure in increasing wealth and economic opportunity. But for the small corrupt group at the top and their cronies it is a rousing success. That is why our examples from history fall on deaf ears.

  4. "Yet the Zimbabwean First Family have accumulated enormous wealth under their dictatorship and Mrs. Mugabe is a notorious shopaholic who is reputed to spend millions on each of her shopping trips." Does not this quote illustrate what the Corbyns and Sanders are really after?