Responding to the election of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s president, Jones said:
Socialism or barbarism: that's the choice now facing humanity. The world's fourth biggest democracy has been consumed by fascism and, if we don't fight back, what's happened to Brazil will happen to us all. https://t.co/ljjOXFCiTl
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) October 28, 2018
President-elect Bolsonaro is openly homophobic, pro-torture, and racist; has advocated abolishing democracy; and may well destroy the Amazon rainforest. Meanwhile, parties offering the status quo of free-market economics are in abject decline. So Jones is saying we need to offer people actual solutions to their problems, or the far right will continue to take power.
Then, the Independent‘s Peck waded in (since deleted):
“No history in school I take it”
First, people had to finish removing their jaws from the floor at the volume of moron involved in that statement.
Then they began taking it apart:
Wow. "Socialism or barbarism" was popularised by Polish leftist Rosa Luxemburg: ("Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to Socialism or regression into Barbarism").
She was murdered by far-right Freikorps, who were proto-Nazis. Are you really this thick? https://t.co/tXAEuZGXNx
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) October 29, 2018
Luxemburg was a polish Marxist, writer, and revolutionary who opposed authoritarian Leninism.
— Congolesa ‘My Birthday Is Nov 13th’ Rice (@judeinlondon2) October 29, 2018
But it’s not just that Peck is mixing up anti-fascist Marxists with Adolf Hitler. He’s also suggesting that Hitler was a socialist, which amounts to Nazi propaganda.
As a history teacher pointed out:
No history in school I take it? @OwenJones84 is quoting Rosa Luxemburg. Tortured and executed by the extreme-right Freikorps in 1919. And you are using an extreme-right talking point that the Nazis were socialists. I mean really? Think Democratic People's Republic of Korea… https://t.co/xSgSoGqRGj
— Jelmer Evers (@jelmerevers) October 29, 2018
Just because the Nazis called themselves the ‘National Socialist German Workers’ Party’ doesn’t mean they were socialists. Likewise, the North Korean ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ is hardly democratic. In reality, the Nazis branded themselves as socialists to try and poach supporters from popular socialist and communist groups at the time.
In power, the Nazis turned Germany into a fascist country with a base of corporate cartels, concentrating more wealth at the top.
At least Peck is now doing some soul-searching:
Wake up people
In 2018, the question ‘socialism or barbarism?’ points to the global decline of the free-market status quo. For example, France’s ‘centre-left’ party plummeted 22.2% between the 2012 and 2017 French elections. Its counterpart in the Netherlands fell 19.1%, and other mainstream centrist parties such as those in Spain, Germany, and Greece also bled support. From the UK to the US, people cast ‘anti-establishment’ votes for Brexit and Donald Trump.
By talking about ‘socialism or barbarism’, Jones is pointing to a power vacuum spreading across the world. 30 years of globally-imposed free-market economics has increased inequality, destroyed the environment, and left ordinary people “destitute“.
In short, many are turning against the status quo. And if they aren’t offered progressive solutions, the far right is waiting to take power – as we’ve seen in Hungary, the US, and now Brazil.
With mainstream journalists such as Peck manning the flow of information, no wonder we’re in such a state.
It’s down to us to sort this mess out.
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