By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
The last remaining communist countries are all personal monarchical fiefdoms of their leading families. In Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe is seen as a possible successor to her husband Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980. Cuba has been a family business for the Castro brothers since 1959, with only the older of the three brothers, Ramon, not taking an active role. Raul Castro has been in power since 2008. North Korea is a family preserve as well, with Kim Jong-un coming to power in 2011 after the death of his father Kim Jung-il, who had taken over from grandpa Kim il-Sung in 1994.
In Venezuela under the “revolution” of Hugo Chavez his entire family became some of the wealthiest in the country. According to one article they acquired “17 country estates, totalling more than 100,000 acres, in addition to liquid assets of $550 million (£360 million) stored in various international bank accounts, according to Venezuelan news website Noticias Centro.” The elder brother of Hugo, Adan Chavez became governor of a state in 2008. Mayors, ministerial appointments, and banking appointments went to the rest of the family.
How do we explaining “revolutionary” monarchy and their stunning regularity. In fact there are few communist states that did not become the personal preserve of a dictator or a family. The issue extends into more socialist states as well with command or centralized economies.
The reason that marxism leads to nepotism is because it replaces the usual societal impulses towards choice and decentralization with one centralized apparatus. When companies, that naturally compete and which might likely all be nepotistic as well, are replaced by government, those in charge tend to replace the nepotistic leadership of these companies with their own new nepotism. The same thing happens in politics. When political choice is removed, you end up with grey haired men running everything, and appointing their cousins and brothers to positions within the party, because the party is the new currency, the new oligarchy. One type of feudal structure is replaced by another.
The only way to remove the threat of greying nepotism and feudalism is in a society with competitive democracy and turnover of social classes through social mobility.
Communism and parts of socialism represent an attempt by one class to continue to dominate the state against another class. Where there is revolution it is not so much the overthrow of the social order but a preservation of it in a new form. There is very little room for social advancement once advanced communism or socialism have been put in place. Their social order and monopolistic elites cement themselves in power, even more deeply than the order they overthrew. This is why the leaders of Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela, or North Korea have been in power longer than those previously and used extreme methods of militarism to enforce their rule. Those other “revolutionary” societies such as Iran, merely replace one monarchy with a new one, in their case a theocracy-monarchy. Castro didn’t bring a revolution against Fulgencio Batista, he merely replaced him. Batista was only dictator from 1952-1959, whereas those born the day Castro came to power are now 57 years old. A whole life under one-man rule. Those in the West such as Noam Chomsky who admire Castro would never want to live under him. Just as those who admire Bashir al-Assad wouldn’t want to live under him, or the apologists for Iran.
Those “revolutionaries” who supported Communism merely wanted to be the people with the hands on the trigger to decide who lives and dies, they wanted the power of God in their hands. They wanted to re-order society, place themselves on top and genocide those groups they didn’t like. This is why communism was far more destructive for most societies and suffocating, often than what came before.
We have to understand these regimes as not revolutionary in the least bit, but reactionary, neo-feudalism. That is what they imported.