Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, is far from the saintly figure that his millions of supporters think he is, an image that he has cultivated over the years.
The man behind the twinkly-eyed mask has once again been revealed to have a gaping hole where a moral center should be. His support for violent revolutionary and terrorist groups that all share anti-Western or anti-British sentiments is documented and well-known. None of this is enough for his fans, who when presented with evidence of his lack of moral character react the same way Trump’s fans do, with hoots of derision, shouts of fake news and complaints of the Labour and wider British establishment’s right-wing bias.
Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 5, 2013
However, when evidence of Corbyn’s moral emptiness is right before their eyes, his supporters still choose not to see who he really is.
Following years of worsening privations suffered by the citizens of Venezuela, as their government’s experiment with socialism has unfolded in the humanitarian catastrophe that these experiments always do, Corbyn has refused to condemn Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
This, despite the fact that Maduro recently claimed victory in a referendum that bestowed on him dictatorial powers that allowed him to rewrite the constitution. The vote was a sham and was treated as such by the opposition, who boycotted it.
This vote was the latest stage on which socialism has unfolded in the 21st century, a product of the Bolivarian Revolution unleashed by Hugo Chavez back in the mid 00’s. Chavez’s sweeping social welfare reforms and socialist economic reforms were made possible because of inflated oil prices, along with the endemic corruption and cronyism, which has led Transparency International to label Venezuela one of the world’s 10 most corrupt countries.
This has seen a country with the world’s largest oil reserves plunge from budget surpluses before Chavez’s “new” brand of socialism came into effect in 2005, into the status of the most indebted nation in the world in just a few short years. The per capita GDP contraction is so appalling, at 40% from 2013, with the national income inclusive of the oil price effect down 51%, that it dwarfs any of those almost anywhere else in the world, according to economist Ricardo Hausmann.
As a result of Chavez’s (and now Maduro’s) socialist experiment, through price controls, industrial nationalisation and government takeover of food distribution, 80% of Venezuelan bakeries now go without flour. As a result, people are starving; 11% of children under 5 are malnourished, with the weight of the general population falling 8.7kg, while inpatient mortality has seen a 100-fold increase, infant mortality increased by 10,000%, inflation has increased by 947%, poverty has gone from 48% to 82%, the minimum wage is down by 75%, the murder rate is now 10 times the global average.
This crisis has been gathering pace for over a year and a half. In August 2016, the border between Venezuela and Colombia was opened for a brief period and at least 35,000 people streamed across, fleeing the increasing hardship in order to stock up on basic supplies. There have been reports for about a year that people have been resorting to hunting dogs, cats and shooting rats and pigeons to survive.
And now, following the predictable protests against the increasingly authoritarian Maduro regime, opposition members have been arrested, the critical press has been shut down, and protesters are under fire, over 100 of whom are believed to have died, although it is likely more. There is now video evidence of government forces killing protesters, execution style.
Thus the great socialist experiment of our time grinds its way to its devastating denouement. Venezuela, which could have been one of Latin America’s great success stories, is now experiencing mass civil strife, and on the brink of what could be outright civil war. One need only look at Texas, also a state that is blessed with huge oil reserves, to see the result of contrasting economic and social systems; Venezuela is killing itself, while Texas is one of the most prosperous states in the United States, with one of the fastest growing economies.
Congratulations to Hugo Chavez; huge victory on high poll in clean election. Social justice for Venezuela!
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 8, 2012
And Corbyn, faced yet again with the horrifying reality of what he has supported, equivocated. Again. He has managed to comment on Arsenal FC, but has refused to condemn the Maduro regime outright, instead blaming both sides for the situation. Meanwhile, Chris Williamson, a member of Corbyn’s Shadow Home Office team, has been doing the rounds of British media blathering on about US interference and how Maduro isn’t really such a bad chap and how he’s democratically elected and anyway don’t you know how bad it was before Chavez was in power? Yet another hard-Left politician who lacks the honesty to face the horror of the ideology that he believes when it’s instantiated in the real world.
Corbyn, who went on Venezuelan state TV in support of the regime in the past, and who attended a rally in 2013 to mourn Chavez’s death, who he called an “inspiration to all of us fighting back against austerity and neoliberal economics in Europe,” has said that there is a need for “dialogue.” That’s all very well.
Dialogue suggests an exchange of viewpoints, opinions and ideas. But when one side is having that dialogue with the other by using guns, tear-gas and the full force of the totalitarian socialist state, then that dialogue doesn’t exist.
As far as the violence seen on Caracas’ streets is concerned, Corbyn simply said “What I condemn is the violence that’s been done by any side and all sides in this. Violence is not going to solve the issues.” This is the same slippery language that he employed after the Islamist terror attacks in March, May and June, as a way of avoiding a direct condemnation of those who carried out the attacks. This is always the way with Corbyn; as long as it is anti-Western in nature, it is acceptable.
When he was questioned about his support for Maduro, Corbyn said that he “gave the support of many people around the world for the principle of government that was dedicated towards reducing inequality and improving the life chances of the poorest people.” People like the IRA? Like Hezbollah? Like Castro?
Of course, he can’t condemn Maduro. That would mean condemning the socialist experiment that he and other delusional left-wing pundits have swooned over for years as an example of a country finally doing communism right, without the need for government to mass murder its way to utopia, as happened in every other attempt to usher in God’s kingdom on earth through the divine message of Marxism in history.
And, predictably, none of them are coming clean about the fact that Venezuela’s failure is almost entirely due to its socialist government and socialised economy. See, for instance, Owen Jones saying “but, Saudi Arabia!” on Sky News. Of course, the fact that the British government has seen fit to sell arms to Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen into a hell of cholera and death is despicable, but that’s not the point here. The point is that, yet again, the left-wing commentary classes are shouting the “that’s not real communism” line, desperately trying to perform this decades-old sleight of hand in an attempt to salvage their ideological purity and continue on in their fog of utopian delusion.
One would think that the 100 million dead from the 20th century’s murderous experiment with Marxism would be enough to consign socialism and the great lie at its heart, its core doctrine of equality of outcome, to the ash heap of history.
But still, it persists. Unfortunately for those who are victims to their government’s delusions of utopian grandeur, a grandeur that is really just a mask of foul beauty that hides a soul of rotten moral corruption and dreadful certainty of purpose, they are subject to an idea, instantiated in the hearts and actions of men who have been complicit in the continuation and spreading of the great lie, that wreaks its havoc on those unlucky enough to be subject to its whims.
Before it is over, Venezuela will bleed gallons of blood. And some of that is on Corbyn’s hands.
Feature photo of Jeremy Corbyn by Global Justice Now, edited by Mitchell Blatt.