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The Enemy on the Left! - 'Encounter'

A regular column dealing with the antics of those who call themselves socialists but in practice do nothing but harm to the cause

The material in this month's column is drawn from an article in a recent issue of the intellectual periodical Encounter who in turn are quoting from the leading ultra-left magazine in West Germany, Kursbuch. The German paper featured reports from a number of contributors, all known for their leftist views, about conditions in some of the so-called "socialist" countries. There is not room in this column to give more than a sample of the quotes from these reports but one can mention at the outset the remark of the editor (himself a well-known German left-winger) that it is noticeable that members of western communist parties are prepared to travel around Europe, even to such places as fascist Greece, but carefully avoid places like Hungary or the Ukraine. "The comrades just don't want to look at revolutionary reality."

However, the contributors did take the plunge and we follow with some excerpts from their reports. "The social system of Czechoslovakia is not socialist, but centralist, bureaucratic and totalitarian." The reporter has shied off the term capitalist, but not bad for a left-winger. As for North Korea, the state is described as an "authoritarian, nationalist, Fuehrerstaat". I prefer the term "red-fascist" but we see what he means. The North Koreans are forced to honour Kim Il Sung and his family as a holy family. Schoolchildren must recite: "The leader loves all children; all children  love the leader". Shades of Stalin. Not to mention Hitler. Party functionaries speak to the citizenry like army commanders and nobody dares get too close to the limousines in which they drive to their own separate shops and private theatre entrances.

"Cuba has been turned by Castro and Guevara into a living hell." (Yes, the same Che who was such a cult figure among the leftist students only yesterday; the name means rather less today. Tomorrow: "Che Who?") Castro's rule is a "hyphenated monstrosity: Hunger — Fear — Chaos — Terror". The support for the régime comes from the "partisan aristocracy", the old cronies of Castro and the Officer Corps. This "closed group" lives in luxury and enjoys exclusive privileges. Their favourite car is the Alfa-Romeo deluxe 1750. "This is the new class which preaches self-denial and sacrifice to the masses and speaks lightly of 'material differences', which propagandizes for the New Man with a Rolex on the wrist and an Uppman cigar between the fingers." (Shades of Animal Farm; how these red-fascists don't change.) There are no fewer than 20,000 political prisoners — but you won't find leftist creeps like Tariq Ali shedding any tears for these poor devils when they attend Castro's junkets, or leftist scribblers like the Guardian's Gott. It remains to add, sadly, that the German editor entitles the article "The Dilemma of Socialism and State Power". Schweinerei!

L. E. Weidberg