- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Somoza was a Liberal too, you know

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on November 23, 1999 at 16:31:42:

In Reply to: Would you prefer the company of conservatives? posted by MDG on November 23, 1999 at 10:15:18:

: : The "mainstream liberals," check out this article.

: I'm not sure what the definition of a "mainstream liberal" is, but unless liberals have been re-defined as right-wing or conservative, I'll cast my lot with the liberals, thank you very much.

Well, 'liberal' means many things to many people. The party of the tyrant Somoza, after all, was called the Liberal Party even though it was to the right of the conservative party. I think this is derived from Latin American history whereby "liberals" were those who stood fro free trade, social darwinism, 'modernization' and the all powerful market, while conservatives upheld the aristocracy and the Church. 9This was pre- Liberation Theology). Today in much of the world 'liberal' and 'neoliberal' mean essentially teh same thing, e.g. capitalist libertarian. That's why I don't want to be called a liberal. Because it would put me in the company of Somoza, Zhirniovsky, et al.

: While I admire Doug Henwood and subscribe to LBO, I don't agree that to have supported military action in the Balkans was somehow to betray liberalism (and my definition of liberalism is the one concerned with the protection of political and civil liberties, moreso than the protection of one's right to make a fortune). Given this, while I abhor violence, I do not see how it is reasonable for a strong nation or group of nations to stand idly by while a malevolent dictator engages in mass slaughter, as Milosevic did against the Kosovars. This is not to ignore the twisted history of the region, nor excuse past atrocities committed by the now-victims against the then-oppressors, but such distinctions are cold comfort to the civilians being raped and tortured and murdered. We had a moral duty to use force against Milosevic, though I do not think we ought to have bombed the civilians in Belgrade as a way of pressuring the Yugoslavian military.

: Back to your main point: while mainstream liberals may not be as committed to social and economic justice as their more leftwing brethren, they are still further along that road than mainstream conservatives, so why belittle them?

I think Barry doesn't like liberals becuase he (incorrectly) believes that socialism cannot be achieved through gradual, reformist means, tehrefore all "liberals" are doing nothing exceptto postpone the eventual resolution of severe problems. While I don't agree, I oppose liberalism because it is often not, in fact, very liberal. For example, many "liberals" uphold capitalism, supported the Cold War, and opposed the welfare system. If that's what liberalismcan include, count me out. I would still have voted for certain Democrats, however: McGovern and Carter were two of the greatest Americans of teh century. Carter in particular. In 1982 he defied American orthdooxy by saying frankly that our ally El Salvador- not Cuba,m, not Nicaragua- was teh bloodthirstiest governmnet in the hemisphere. for this honetsy alone I would say he deserved to be President.

Susan Sontag, on the other hand, is a lying anticommunist pig.

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