Return of the Red Scare

John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo – Trump's troika of fervent anti-communists.
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“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control.” This intoned by Donald Trump during his much-delayed State of the Union Address. Delayed because he forced a government shutdown to coerce Congress into paying for his Wall to deprive refugees from seeking … liberty and independence.

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Alarmed? Trump and his fellow capitalists are in a downright tizzy, because interest in socialism is at an all-time high. And why wouldn’t it be? Desperate people are looking for rational answers. If we can put cars on Mars (R.I.P. Opportunity Rover), why can’t we dump fossil fuels and begin to deal with climate change? If Congress can give the Pentagon more money than requested, why can’t it fund universal healthcare? For working people trapped in immovable wages, students crushed by debt and seniors unable to afford medications like insulin, the capitalists offer no answers — only scapegoats and war.

Our rulers are terrified of socialism, because they think it means nationalizing private companies and banks and redistributing their vast wealth back to the people who created it, the workers. They are absolutely correct. That is what it means. As a revolutionary socialist, I’m all for sharing the wealth and abolishing poverty.

But the social democracies of Europe and the mixed economies of Latin America, like Venezuela, are not socialist countries, no matter how many times Fox News calls them communist or socialist. A country may have free healthcare and education. But wherever capitalists control the banks, trade, factories, utilities and agriculture, then sorry — that’s not socialism.

“I love war,” says Trump of the heel spurs. And why wouldn’t he? War is very profitable. Trump & Co. are not doing the fighting and dying. The war with Iraq was sold as a war to stop nonexistent weapons of mass destruction; it was really about stealing Iraq’s oil. Now we’re being sold a shiny, new war to “free the Venezuelan people from a socialist dictator.” But it’s really about stealing Venezuela’s oil and imposing more harsh sanctions. It’s called re-enforcing good old Yankee Imperialism in Latin America.

Trump has assembled a troika of fervent anti-communists to accomplish this — John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo. Bolton, national security adviser, also loves war. He and the president have that to share as they decide which countries to sanction, bomb or invade. Secretary of State Pompeo’s ultra-hawk positions fit perfectly with old cold-war politics. He’s for expanding Guantanamo Bay prison, defends CIA’s torture interrogations, focuses on “radical Islamic terrorism,” and applauds spying on people by Google and Facebook.

In a truly twisted move, even for this White House, Elliot Abrams was appointed to head up the ‘humanitarian aid’ for Venezuela. At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, he refused to answer Rep. Ilhan Omar’s question, “Yes or no, would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide if you believed they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala?”

Abrams was Reagan’s point man in Central America during 1980s and he is on record having defended, dismissed or discredited some of the vilest war crimes imaginable. Sending Abrams to Venezuela is like sending a serial arsonist to the Redwood Forest.

The corporate media, although divided on Trump’s far-right domestic policies, has no problem in supporting the United States dragging Venezuela into war. News outlets are unfazed by the absurdity of Juan Guaido’s announcing himself to be president of Venezuela. You’ve got to hand it to him — and to his handler, Abrams. Just do away with that pesky voting all together, eh? Apparently, the billionaire owners of the U.S. media agree with Trump that war is good for business. War is not just profitable. It is a good means of putting fear in people’s hearts and silencing critics at home.

This is no time to be silent. It is time to shout, “Enough!” Enough war, enough poverty, enough of systemic bigotry! Enough with fascists marching in our streets! Enough with capitalist rulers! They want a Red Scare? Time for all good Reds to get scary. Scare this stinking system to death.

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