The world was easy to understand during the Cold War: The evil power of Nazism had been defeated, but the other evil ideology of Bolshevik Communism had to be dealt with. While Stalin did not murder innocent people as viciously as Hitler did, his regime was still responsible for the death of millions, as was Mao Zedong’s in the People’s Republic of China, and as were other Communist leaders’, from Cambodia to North Korea and Cuba. For half a century, the struggle between Western democratic-capitalism and Soviet-style Communist dictatorship defined the two principal eco-political options in the world.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991, the ideology of Communism appeared largely defeated. In 1992 the prominent political scientists Francis Fukuyama published his now infamous book The End of History and The Last Man, in which he concluded that Western liberal democracy had “won” the culture war and likely “represented the final form of human government.”
Only 14 years later, it appears rather obvious that his conclusion was as premature as Karl Marx’s prediction that Communism would replace capitalism in his version of the end of history in his book Das Kapital, between 1867-1894.
During the years of Communist-capitalist ideological confrontations, Western capitalist societies were anything but homogenous. While united in support of a capitalist economic model, liberal democracies developed distinctly different social ideologies from the left (democratic socialism) to the right. Indeed, clearly influenced by Marxist principles, left-leaning, social-democratic parties all over Europe very quickly entered mainstream politics, establishing themselves as alternatives to right-leaning conservative/religious political parties.
In the U.S. a similar constellation evolved, with the Democratic Party representing the left and the Republican Party the more conservative and/or religious right. But until relatively recently the Democratic Party maintained a broad variety of opinions, including a distinctive “right wing” of the party. Since Bill Clinton’s presidency, this right wing of the party has progressively shrunk, and completely disappeared with the ascendancy of President Obama and his allies. As a consequence, the Democratic Party of today is practically indistinguishable from Europe’s social-democratic party model, with different degrees of Marxist leanings.
As long as Communist regimes ruled a significant part of the world, social-democratic political parties found it essential to differentiate their Socialist-Marxist ideologies from dialectic Communism/Marxism. With the defeat of Communism, this distinction became less important and less relevant for political success at the ballot box. As memories of Communist-run nations faded into history, the public’s short historical memory allowed for a rebirth of Marxist utopianism, especially among the young, who have never witnessed the catastrophic failures of the Socialist/Marxist economic model.
Even in the U.S., Socialism is no longer considered a “dirty” word, as so well demonstrated by the surprisingly successful current campaign of Bernie Sanders, a declared Socialist from Maine, for the Democratic presidential nomination. Other examples demonstrating a clear shift to the more radical left are very obvious all around the world in the election of Jeremy Corbyn, a radical Marxist outsider, as new head of the British Labour Party, and by explosive growth of radical leftish political parties in Greece, Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
Shifts toward the Marxist left are, however, rarely only dialectic. Indeed, likely the crucial step for Karl Marx’s transition from Socialism toward Communism was his conclusion that the world will not change simply based on ideas, and that any desired change requires proactive interventions. In other words, an inherent component of Marxist Socialism is the forceful intervention into the democratic process, because setbacks in personal freedoms are a small price to pay for the ultimate “good” of a Socialist utopia. An example of this is Castros’ Cuba, admired as a model for Socialist states across the globe.
So, any shift toward Marxist dialectic will automatically be accompanied by increasing trends toward authoritarianism. And this does not only apply to what we observe in third world countries, like Venezuela, where the political shift toward Marxism has led to a de facto dictatorship. Increasing authoritarianism can also be seen in democracies like Argentina and even in the U.S., where President Obama attempts to legalize hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens by decree, even though, as a constitutional lawyer, he must have known that such a step without Congress’s approval is likely unconstitutional (he, indeed, had made statements to that effect in public, and a judge’s temporary restraining order has halted the process).
An even more authoritarian political step was the agreement that the Obama administration signed with Iran, in which Obama circumvented Congress by inappropriately declaring it an Executive Agreement between governments rather than a “treaty” (only treaties require congressional approval). Then he also had his allies in Congress block a debate of a disapproval motion with only a minority of votes in both houses. In doing this, the president imposed what may turn out to be the most consequential international agreements for the nation’s security in decades, even though a majority of Congress in both houses opposed the agreement (and, indeed, based on opinion polls, two-thirds of the U.S. population did as well).
But, likely the most egregious evidence of authoritarianism is the selective interpretation of prosecutorial powers under the Obama administration. Not even under the Nixon and Clinton administrations was the Justice Department as politicized and corrupted as in the Obama administration in failing to prosecute very obvious abuses of power and in using the criminal justice system in pursuit of political goals. None of the scandals that have come to light during the administration were ever pursued by the Justice Department: not the IRS scandal, not the Veterans Affair Scandal, and not the Bengasi scandal (where, totally overlooked by the media, the real question is not where was Hillary Clinton and the degree of her involvement but where President Obama was, and the degree of his involvement). And yet on the other extremes, perfectly-timed threats of prosecutions or actual prosecutions have silenced political opponents more than once (General Petraeus and Senator Menendez are good examples, and Hillary Clinton may become one).
In order to equalize economic conditions for the underclass, the ultimate aim of all permeations of Socialism, of course including Marxism, has historically been “revolution.” Only a revolution of the masses can against the capitalist system can end their discrimination (under Communist dogma, the masses are represented by the “proletariat” under a professional leadership), and initiate the masses’ ascent to power. Since the power of the masses represents the ultimate achievement of any form of Socialism, it should not surprise that such revolutions rarely voluntarily transfers government power back to opposition forces. As contemporary Venezuela well demonstrates, once in power, Socialist/Marxist governments become increasingly authoritarian. They are supportive of liberal democracy as a tool to obtain power but, once in power, quickly dispose of democratic pretense.
Though these movements are often corrupt and outright anti-democratic within their own areas of power, even within the Western capitalistic system, political parties on the left demonstrate strong allegiances to revolutionary movements (see new York’s openly Socialist Mayor de Blasio, a longstanding supported of the Marxist Sandinista movement in Nicaragua or the new Labour Party’s Chief in the U.K., Jeremy Corbin, an avowed supported of Hamas, which is not only radically anti-democratic and homicidal, but also religiously fanatical). Allegiance to the internationalist Marxist view of worldwide solidarity between Marxists and poor, mostly brown and black exploited people, very obviously supersedes any defense of humanitarian and/or democratic principles on the extreme left. As class warfare all around the world appears to come into fashion again, the world will, therefore, witness increasing authoritarianism, while liberal democracies will find themselves under increasing siege.
Though in his upbringing and belief system he is very clearly a Marxist Socialist, President Obama avoided these labels in his election campaigns, and on multiple occasions even went so far as to demean opponents who described him as a Socialist. But in his very obvious contempt for Congress and especially the Republican opposition, he increasingly demonstrates the authoritarianism of his Marxist ideology, characterized by the dictum that ultimate goals have to be achieved by whatever means. His party appears to support him. The party discipline Democrats have exhibited in support of Obama’s policies is indeed remarkable, but better fits Soviet than U.S. parliamentary history. This country can expect considerable authoritarian tendencies from the president in his last 14 months in office.