- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001

The post-Cold War mantra holds that democracy has triumphed and with it market economics. Marxism is dead and buried, socialism is moribund and so forth. A couple of exceptions like Cuba and North Korea prove the rule. Even China has given up Marxism, though not yet Leninism. The benefits of globalization, argue free market theologians, would soon reach the impoverished masses of the developing world. The digital revolution would narrow the gap between rich and poor, both within and between nations, in the blink of a historic eye. To point out that the Internet had done no such thing makes one the skunk at the garden party.
A neo-Marxist revival in parts of Latin America was a temporary aberration, according to Washington's conventional wisdom. Besides, democratically elected governments had replaced authoritarian regimes. NAFTA, Mercosur, hemispheric free trade, all had drowned out anti-Yankee imperialist slogans.
But the anti-globalization protest riots in Seattle, Davos, Prague, Nice, Stockholm and Genoa have now spawned a global leftist movement, albeit inchoate, that has garnered the support of AFL-CIO. America's principal labor unions have even sponsored the Global Justice Week of Action to train the agitators who are planning another happening for next month's meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.
The global left is coalescing again around the Mobilization for Global Justice, the umbrella organization planning the Washington protests. Some 100,000 anti-globalists are expected to descend on the nation's capital from North America and Europe.
The Washington left-wing think tank Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is also back in action. IPS was a major conduit for major Soviet disinformation themes throughout the Cold War and spent most of the past decade licking its wounds and biding its time pending the next global anti-capitalist opportunity. It is now at hand.
What Britain's former Prime Minister Ted Heath once called "the unacceptable face of capitalism" has once again reared its ugly head. First there was the easy-dot-com-easy-dot-go rip-off that made a few people very rich and impoverished millions of others. Next came tens of thousands of layoffs — most of them in overseas operations — while top corporate executives went on paying themselves obscene amounts of money, even in companies whose stock had plummeted. Those who didn't make the cut still received lavish settlements. Richard McGinn, who presided over Lucent during its nosedive, received $13 million.
Ronald Reagan was once accused of presiding over the Age of Greed. Bill Clinton's eight years was the Age of Gluttony.
The same phenomenon was taking place all over the newly democratic countries of Latin America. Democratic capitalism bred more corruption while making the rich richer and the poor poorer. In Russia, the majority of the country's dwindling population with its shrinking life span is worse off under capitalism than under communism.
This set the stage for the comeback of a man consigned to the trash heap of Marxist history at the end of the Cold War. Daniel Ortega, the 55-year-old former Sandinista president, is now leading the polls to win back the Nicaraguan presidency in November.
Celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, which the Reagan and the first Bush administrations spent the decade of the 1980s defeating, Mr. Ortega is once again being hailed as a liberator of the poor campesinos. Wearing his trademark red-and-black bandanna, Mr. Ortega appealed to over half of all Nicaraguans subsisting on less than $1 a day "who are nothing more than slaves and servants of the rich."
Nicaragua is back to Square One, when the Sandinista revolutionaries overthrew the hated Somoza dictatorship in 1979. With the pell-mell collapse of the Soviet empire and its colonies, Mr. Ortega agreed to free elections in 1990 — and a graceful exit. He lost.
The fact that the Sandinista Marxist puppets of Fidel Castro ruined Nicaragua's economy is irrelevant among the rural masses today. Even some former U.S.-backed anti-Sandinista Contra guerrillas have cast their lot with resurgent Sandinistas.
Widespread government corruption under Arnoldo Aleman, the 5'6", 300-pound president, and growing economic inequality, were Mr. Ortega's booster rockets. The same solid fuel is already in plentiful supply in Argentina and Brazil.
Fidel Castro recently cut his 75th birthday cake in Venezuela, where he anointed President Hugo Chavez as his ideological successor. Mr. Chavez, in turn, has been facilitating arms shipments to FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the Marxist narco-guerrillas who have been fighting for 37 years to collapse Colombian democracy.
In early August, tens of thousands of peasants flooded into Mexico City to protest low produce prices while the small but noisy People's Armed Revolutionary Front (FARP) exploded bombs outside three branches of BENAMEX, the Mexican banking conglomerate that was recently purchased by New York's Citigroup.
Shown but unmentioned in network coverage of last month's riots during the G-8 summit in Genoa were the thousands of red-and-black flags and the portraits of Che Guevara and Mexico's Subcomandante Marcos of Zapatista fame. The various human strands that came together from Seattle to Genoa merge on the left and far-left.
The double standard has also resurfaced in force. In France, Prime Minister (and presidential candidate) Lionel Jospin has confirmed that while he was feigning allegiance to the democratic left, he was a secret member of the anti-democratic Trotskyist sect known as the IVth International. For more than 30 years, Mr. Jospin kept denying any such membership while infiltrating first the Foreign Ministry and later the Socialist Party. He even managed to rise to the top of the party and became a minister while still a member of a secret Marxist organization dedicated to the violent overthrow of democratic government. This has not cost Mr. Jospin's presidential ambitions a single point drop in his ratings.
If his opponent for the presidency, President Jacques Chirac, had been exposed as a secret member of a neo-fascist sect, his ratings would not only have sunk like a stone, but he would have been out of the race.
From Oslo to Oporto, the no-enemies-on-the-left syndrome was quick to blame "fascist elements in the Italian security forces" for the Genoa riots. CNN International jumped on the bandwagon, ladling out generous air time to those who denounced an imaginary fascist plot designed to discredit "peaceful demonstrators."
What about the extremists who torched vehicles, smashed storefront windows and banks and then hurled gasoline bombs at Italian security forces? The left had an answer for that, too. These were neo-Nazi skinheads who had come from Germany to cause mayhem. The extreme left was thus exculpated.
The global recession that is a growing black cloud on the international horizon also signals a neo-Marxist revival — unless democratic capitalism straightens out and flies right.
After embracing democratic capitalism following decades of lip service during the Cold War, the European Union's left-of-center governments (with the exception of Spain and Italy, which are governed by the center-right) are beginning to take the anti-capitalist threat seriously. Police and intelligence agencies have been authorized to coordinate efforts to identify and track anti-capitalist demonstrators. Key to the new measures is a secretive committee known as "Article 36 Committee," once known as the "K4 Committee." The Schengen Information System, designed for extensive data sharing between police forces to combat transnational crime, has also been wheeled into the anti-capitalist breach in EU's defenses.


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