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"It is trite to say that there’s a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and rationally there is." It may be trite, but it is important to keep saying it, because plenty of people insist on saying (or implying) the opposite.
"Venezuela got its fair share of fans from mainstream left political parties and all it was (still is) non-democratic centralized economic planning." Venezuela under Maduro is sadly heading towards dictatorship, by the looks of things. However, the media insisted on calling Venezuela a dictatorship even as Chavez was continually winning free and fair elections. It's the boy who cried wolf. You also have to look at why much of the left found hope in Venezuela. It wasn't because of any sort of economic central planning (even now, economically Venezuela is closer to a very badly managed mixed economy than to anything resembling the USSR). It was because of reports of what looked like attempts at radical democracy - support for worker-managed firms, attempts to set up participatory-democratic local assemblies, etc. I don't know what happened to these experiments, and maybe they were never as widespread as the Venezuelan government wanted to portray them, but it's nevertheless important to look at the reasons people supported it.
""claim that it was inevitable that communism would descend into tyranny." Name one Socialist State that hasn't. " That might be fair comment if we had had a century of independent socialist experiments, but that isn't what we have had. We had one Marxist-Leninist regime, followed by a large number of regimes directly put in place by that first regime, and others directly influenced by and seeking to emulate Marxism-Leninism. So I think we can safely say that Leninism leads to tyranny. You only have to read the writings of Lenin and other Bolsheviks to see why this might be. They never had much respect for democracy, and took "dictatorship of the proletariat" (always an unfortunate term, open to obvious misinterpretation) to mean the dictatorship of their own vanguard party. Luckily,there are more than just two possible social and economic system.
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Nov 8, 2017