Viktor Yushchenko and reality

Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:08

Originally written: 09 September 2005

Socialists are frequently told that people need to elect the right leaders to run capitalism, and solve the problems. There is an inordinate amount of faith in the existence of a good guy who can fix everything. That faith does not have much justification. Of course if people can replace the most vile, corrupt leaders, that is usually advantageous. But installing a leader who is less corrupt is not a big win. We still end up with a corrupt leader.

Socialists are told that good, honest leaders can bring us a satisfactory world. If you assume that the current leaders are hopelessly corrupt, why is it reasonable to believe a new face will be incorruptible? The current leaders were often elected by popular vote, and not infrequently on an anti-corruption platform. Viktor Yushchenko won on an anti-corruption platform. People vote with their hearts, but apparently without their memories.

It would be wonderful if simply electing a good person as a leader could solve our problems. There is little evidence supporting that possibility. There is much more evidence showing that the economic system itself is the problem. There is much more evidence showing that the high hopes for new leaders are usually dashed upon the rocks of history.

The seven month old government of Ukraine, led by Viktor Yushchenko as President, and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is already under fire from those who brought it into existence through their protests. Now some of Yushchenko’s former supporters are protesting against Yushchenko and supporting the non-socialist Socialist Party in the Ukraine. In a recent poll, 43 percent of Ukrainians think Ukraine is headed in the wrong direction, and only 23 percent agreed that Ukraine is taking the right steps.

Yushchenko’s chief of staff has resigned, and complained of corrupt advisers surrounding the President. Yushchenko chooses those advisers. Yushchenko vowed to create a million jobs each year. People believed him. According to Inna Pidluska, a political analyst at the Europe Foundation, some people’s expectations “were really irrational.” But that is what they voted for: an fantasy saint, with imaginary policies, riding on a wave of irrational expectations.

Nothing is really all that much different anywhere else in the world.

Electing people with the “highest moral principles,” if such could be found willing to stand for election, cannot solve the problems caused by the underlying economic structure and its attendant social outgrowths.

Socialists do not claim to be morally superior, whatever that might mean. We do not want to lead you anywhere. Socialists do not pretend that we could run capitalism any better than the current failures. Instead socialists present the evidence to support the socialist future, and to show the reality of the alternative. When you realize that much of what you are led to believe by the politicians and other apologists for capitalism is false, we encourage you to join us and eliminate the cause of the problems: capitalism.

When we replace capitalism, many of the the problems will simply disappear because the cause will be gone. We will be able to solve other problems which cannot be solved under capitalism. It will not be a utopia. It will be a society in which people come first, second, third, fourth, fifth, …. In that society — socialism — we will be able to deal with the problems without the straight-jacket of capitalism. We will not need impossibly wonderful leaders. We will only need real people dedicated to their own welfare. There is no reason to believe those people will magically disappear after they establish a society to work in their interests.

Today, it seems that everyone wants someone else to free them from the tyranny of capitalism. Very few phrase it that way or recognize that capitalism is the cause of their problems. Nobody else is going to free you. If you are not satisfied with current society, you are not the only one. Assuming that nobody else will join the work for a decent future is self defeating, because the person next to you is making the same assumption.

Socialists do not guarantee a phenomenal increase in the number of socialists if you decide to work for a better future for yourself. Progress is slow, but every time a socialist (who could be you) tells someone else that socialism is the future, “socialism” becomes less a dirty word, and more the near-term future.

Instead of voting for leaders, work for a future for yourself.

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