First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

So, the list isn’t exhaustive, there’s no mention of gays and Gypsies/Roma, for example. No one ever seems to talk about the Roma but as a percentage of their population they got it worse than the Jews did.

But forget that. It seems all we talk about is the tragedy of the Jews, but notice they weren’t killed first. First it was the socialists, then it was trade unionists.

This is because the Nazis first killed those who were an actual threat, then went on to kill those they hated (and who money they could steal without upsetting the majority of the population.)

Liberals always make deals with fascists or reactionaries who take over their countries. They generally do quite well out of them, corporate officers saw their incomes soar under Hitler. The argument between liberal and fascist is an argument over brothers about who should rule their father’s house: fascists treat capitalists and business well, they just need to know their place.

The left can’t make deals, because they are in fundamental opposition. This is true of fascists, who kill left-wingers, but it is also true of making deals with liberals. As Corbyn and Lula recently proved, even the mildest of leftists can’t cut a deal with liberals, because liberals don’t see the left as legitimate.

It should be pointed out that this was true of FDR, as well. The rich and the right never forgave him, always hated him, and spent generations undoing what he had done. Every time you see an attack on so-called entitlements,  understand that is part of the right’s long war to destroy FDR’s legacy.

I would put FDR on the left, though some wouldn’t and I understand why. FDR saved capitalism from the capitalists, who had no idea how to fix it and wouldn’t listen to those who did, like Keynes. If your left-wing beliefs mean the absolute destruction of capitalism, and quite possibly they should, then FDR was an enemy, though I see him a different way.

FDR created a system under which capitalism could work and could raise all boats. It did that until the 70s and then failed. FDR was the “can this system work?” attempt.

The answer, for a number of reasons, many of which I’ve written about other places (see “The Decline and Fall of Post War Liberalism and the Rise of Neoliberalism” to start) is NO, capitalism can’t actually work to raise all boats over the long term. What looks like capitalism raising all boats isn’t, it’s industrialization. Under FDR’s policies and those that continued to the late 60s or so, though diluted, inequality fell and fell and fell. Those policies had issues, but as we’ll discuss in my series on the great ideologies, the solution was to fix those problems, as with the 60s civil liberties movement, not to get rid of the system wholesale.

But we did because capitalism, even carefully controlled, always allows a few people to control too much money and thus power and those people always want more and are able to work to get more since they can hire and sponsor large numbers of people to work to destroy any egalitarian system. This is what the rich did with, among other things, their sponsorship of business schools and economics departments. Though forgotten by most today, few men did more to destroy equality and an economy which distributed wealth and income more than the economist Milton Friedman.

The rich—remember. They remember 90% tax rates. They remember estate taxes which broke up their wealth. They remember the period in which they had to give up their estates and their servants. They remember. And they hate.

And so even a mild left winger like Corbyn or Sanders, who’s want 60s economic policies with a side of social justice and think that maybe you shouldn’t run Apartheid states are seen as a mortal threat and that’s because, well, they are. Ninety percent top marginal rates, estate taxes and re-nationalization plus re-regulation of industry and breaking up the huge conglomerates would be absolutely disastrous for those who run our economy and control our politicians.

Remember that when Corbyn looked like he might win the UK Prime Ministership, there were actual threats of a military coup.

Understanding this relationship is important for anyone on the left, even those who are on the very moderate FDR fringe. Liberals will never accept you in power and will do everything they can to stop you. Notice the assassinations of the 60s: two Kennedy brothers, MLK and Malcom X. The liberals won’t mass murder, but if they must they will kill leaders and they will mass deport as they did after World War I. The fascists, well, they’ll just liquidate as much of the left as they can find and anyone who thinks this can’t happen in their country is whistling past their grave.

Finally, let’s point out that markets and capitalism are not the same thing. Markets are useful and have existed for thousands of years.  One solution set for destroying capitalism involves finding a way to get the good out of markets without the evil, turning them into servants, rather than the mechanism by which we choose our masters.

Another is to find a way to make economic decisions and distribute goods which doesn’t require markets. That one attempt to do so failed does not mean it is impossible, simply that we have not yet done it at scale in a way which works.

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