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SOCIALIST WATCHING

URUGUAYAN LEFT THINKER
THE WEAPON & THE BIBLE
Como saben, los uruguayos tuvimos elecciones en octubre y noviembre de 2019, lo que resultó en un gobierno derechista. Resultó ganador en la segunda vuelta por alrededor de 30.000 votos frente a un caudal de 2.300.000 votos, o sea por el 1,3%. 
Después de 14 años de gobiernos izquierdistas donde hubo bonanza y ganancia en beneficios sociales ininterrumpidas, el Frente Amplio con sus líderes ya de edad avanzada no encontró unidad para un liderazgo único sorteando esto en las primarias con 4 candidatos: D. Martinez, Oscar Andrade, Carolina Cosse y Mario Bergara. De aquí salió ganador D. Martinez con aproximadamente el 42%, y su elección como candidata a la Vicepresidencia Villar causó rispidez interna.
No importó sus avances en la educación, salud, vivienda ni derechos humanos que fueron opacados con el aumento de la inseguridad. Que por cierto, es mucho menor en relación a los demás países latinoamericanos.
Estos dos factores descritos, uno interno y otro externo, jugaron un papel en contra de la izquierda. Aun así casi la mitad de la ciudadanía expresó su deseo diferente a la otra mitad. Entonces ganó la fórmula nacionalista Luis Lacalle Pou – Beatriz Argimón.
En esta oportunidad vemos una derecha unida como nunca antes vista donde figuran nacionalistas, liberales, conservadores y de ultra derecha. Como ocurre en muchos países, la ultraderecha se separa da la derecha liberal formando un partido.  Esto es muy cuestionado en por “la otra mitad” de nuestra sociedad dada nuestra reciente historia de dictadura. Esto nos demostró que la ultra derecha existe, vino para quedarse y plantar cara abiertamente. (Manini) (fotos)
Nosotros desde acá en el Sur vemos un nuevo avance de las derechas como una invasión. Esta sería la 3ra colonización por parte de la derecha imperialista en esta ocasión con “el fusil y la biblia.” Pensábamos que la época de dictaduras ya formaba parte del pasado, pero no. Debimos aprender más de nuestra primera colonización con “la espada y la cruz”.
(Exmilitar) La extrema derecha viene con un mensaje muy conservador y represor. Por más que nos parezca increíble, ellos han tenido apoyo por parte de las nuevas iglesias neo evangelistas. Con la misma biblia que dio el golpe de estado la Sra. Janine Añez: “llegó la biblia al gobierno, no a la pachamama.”.

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CHECKS, BALANCES, AND SOCIALISM

There are many different types of socialism and many different ideas about how society should create, promote, and expand the socialist society.  However, there are two driving principles that distinguish all socialists from capitalists.  Socialists know that markets and capital must be regulated for the benefit of society.  In addition, socialism and socialist thought stemmed from the desire to improve the conditions of the vast majority of laborers in global economies.  Capitalists hold to the contrary. They think that capital must be free, without restrictions, to flow to the most dominant sector of the economy. Capitalists also promote the needs of business and a small class of business owners, investors, or elites over the rights of the working class.  These basic tenants have been and will always be at the origin of any debate about the merits of socialism and its rival, capitalism.

There have been many different socialist models and socialist policies around the world over the last few centuries.  However, the failures and successes of socialist policy, parties, and experiments originate from the strength of the checks and balances in their systems.

 

Great socialist thinkers like Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Rosa Luxembourg, and Karl Marx wrote about the urgent need to improve the rights and working conditions of the working class.  Any economic system, therefore, that exploits the working class for the benefit of elites or corporate interests, cannot be considered socialist in the 21st century.  Many so-called socialist economic systems like Stalinist USSR and North Korea are actually statist, planned economies more akin to the economic systems of ancient civilizations like Teotihuacan in Mexico.  These systems inspired the term “state capitalism”. They exploit the working class, limit labor rights, and oppose all personal freedoms in the name of promoting national growth and, of course, a small exploitive elite.  Countries that use socialist propaganda to prop up oppressive and exploitive elites, like North Korea, should be absent from any list of socialist models.  Dictatorial control by charismatic leaders prevails in these systems in addition to the obvious lack of checks and balances.  Moreover, it is clear that the lack of checks and balances is what caused the original socialist experiments in these countries to fail and disintegrate.

 

Countries where socialist reforms have been successful and durable have strong checks and balances in their political and economic systems. Norway is a good example.  Norway has successfully established many socialist and Marxist reforms through the efforts of individual activists, labor movements, the Labor Party, and the legal system.  The state maintains control over natural resources, telecommunications, banking, transportation, and has a heavy role in industry and national development.  The state provides free quality education and the best health care to all citizens. Most importantly, Norway has been able to implement socialist labor reforms. Norway’s labor laws are regulated through legislation and collective agreements made by employers, labor unions, trade associations, and employees.  Discrimination and wrongful termination are prohibited and workers are protected by a variety of different checks and balances in the political, legal, and economic systems.  Employers in Norway offer employees a living wage.  Workers have fair working hours, time off, sick leave, and ample vacation time for leisure, family, and personal pursuits.  Unemployment benefits are sufficient, as are retirement pensions. Norway has been able to achieve many of Marx and other socialist thinkers’ dreams for the working class.  How did Norway successfully employ so many durable socialist reforms? Norway’s success lies in the solid checks and balances that exist in its political, legal, and economic systems. 

 

In the future society there must be ample checks and balances to produce a truly upright and resilient socialist order.  We have seen the failure of so many socialist reforms and policies simply because of a lack of solid institutions, especially in places like Latin America.  Let us be clear, this is exactly what the promoters of capitalism want.  The corruption of some labor unions and trade associations around Latin America is just one example.  In many cases, corrupted labor unions have enriched elites, abandoned workers’ rights, and joined the global capitalist system in the exploitation of workers.

 

Checks and balances are essential to protect freedom of thought and expression.  Safeguards guarantee that no one leader, group, ideological clique, or exploitive class can take too much power.  Policymaking is open to debate and people can express their opinions without reprisal or discrimination.

 

Superior checks and balances eliminate the dangers of corruption for personal gain.  Laws, legal structures, institutions, the media, and free individuals play an important role in ensuring that no one improperly takes advantage of their position.  Income, personal and institutional accounts, and quite simply all other transactions are always available for public scrutiny.   Laws outlaw excessive incomes, nepotism, and all forms of abuse of power.  Institutions and counter-institutions support these laws and eliminate any abuse.

 

Everyone must receive equal treatment in the legal system.  Checks and balances exist to police the system so no institution, association, collective, group, or individual receives preferential treatment.   Legislation and collective agreements made by employers, labor unions, trade associations, and employees all protect workers’ rights.  Labor laws and a non-biased legal system defend these rights and eliminate all forms of exploitation.  Counterbalances in the legal system support any worker whose rights have been violated.   Of course, strong institutions champion equal opportunities for everyone and different types of governmental, societal, and community entities work to eliminate discrimination.

 

Socialism is, at its core, an economic system.  Therefore, for a socialist economy to function well, it must have an extensive system of checks and balances in the economy.   Varied civil bodies regulate markets and eliminate speculation.  Distinct comprehensive structures exist in competition to regulate every aspect of the economy and promote its smooth functioning.  In a plural socialist economy, many different types of development can and should occur at the same time.   To maintain balanced growth, state, community, local, and individual efforts co-exist simultaneously.   Different institutions manage development to examine, promote, encourage, and regulate that growth. Widespread and diverse regulatory bodies in the economic and legal systems discourage and eliminate environmental pollution and degradation. Management of the economy takes into account the economic, social, and environmental costs of any action.  Regulatory bodies, community activism, scientific research, and open dialogue transform the economy to eradicate the centuries of environmental damage caused by capitalism.  New and better institutions help to create a completely new relationship between humans and the natural environment.  

 

Checks and balances should be viable institutions and an integral part of the socialist society.  In so many cases throughout history, people have not followed or believed in written laws or national constitutions because there have been too few protections to back them up.  The march towards socialism demands the improvement of current institutions as well as the creation of new arbitrating bodies.  Socialism’s success in the 21st and 22nd centuries will depend on the quality of its safeguards.

There are many different visions of the ideal socialist society.  I hope that with enough checks and balances, we can develop a plural, diverse, highly functional, and egalitarian society that offers the greatest number of people the ability to live truly abundant and happy lives.

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ARTICLE 3

Soon.