We used to call young Americans who went to Sandinista Nicaragua in the ’80s “Sandalistas,” a name of derision meant to mock the sandal-wearing leftists looking to help Daniel Ortega build the socialist future in Central America. As we all know, what was going on was a fight for freedom against the Marxist-Leninists, which included most of the Sandinista leadership, by those who wanted to defeat their attempt to build a second Cuba in this hemisphere.
Bill de Blasio, who most likely will be the next mayor of New York, is not just a simple run-of-the mill “progressive.” The New York Times just published a major story on his background, timed to run after the the New York City primary, which was likely the real election. (Rudy Giuliani’s victory on the Republican ticket was an anomaly, and the working-class voters whose ballots put him in no longer live in the areas from which he got the necessary votes.) Had voters known about de Blasio’s background before the primary, he may have lost the critical number of votes for his victory.
Indeed, the Times tells us of a whitewash: “References to his early activism have been omitted from his campaign Web site.”
No wonder. The story by Javier C. Hernandez reveals de Blasio was a far-left socialist who worked with an outfit called The Quixote Center. But he was not simply tilting at windmills; he visited a Nicaragua on the road to communism, and came back with “a vision of the possibilities of an unfettered leftist government.”
The Reagan administration was right in denouncing the Nicaraguan regime –which took power by a coup led by armed guerrillas — as a tyranny led by Communists. Hernandez writes: “Their liberal backers argued that … they were building a free society with broad access to education, land and health care.” The backers of Ortega’s coup were not liberals, but hardcore Marxists, socialists, and other anti-American members of the New Left. Soured on Cuba, they turned to Nicaragua as their new land of hope.
De Blasio told Hernandez: “My work was based on trying to create a more fair and inclusive world.” Like other blinded gullible leftists, he accepted the Marxist jargon peddled by the regime’s junta while ignoring that the Commandantes like Tomas Borge, Daniel Ortega, and the rest of the bunch were lining their own pockets with the most valuable properties. They were creating a wealthy nomenklatura modeled on Soviet lines which gave them access to the wealth and power no one else in the country could access. Led by Borge’s secret police, who were trained by the East German Stasi and quartered in a building with the sign reading “Sentinel of the People’s Happiness,” they crushed dissent, closed down the opposition newspaper La Prensa, and instituted major steps towards building a one-party system.
As the Times notes: “Mr. de Blasio became an ardent supporter of the Nicaraguan revolutionaries.” In 1990, he said publicly that his goal for America was “democratic socialism.”
As the New York Daily News reported, de Blasio took his 1991 honeymoon in Castro’s Cuba! I guess totalitarian Cuba is what he meant by “democratic socialism.”
De Blasio’s path to power reveals a local version of the path trod by Barack Obama — that of a “Long March through the Existing Institutions,” which is what the German New Left revolutionary leaders in the 1960s called the road to power. For the advanced capitalist countries, Mao’s Long March was not the way; rather, the path was political power by working through the existing political structure and moving to take over one of the mainstream dominant political parties.
In New York City, with his ally in the radical Working Families Party — affiliated with the former ACORN — de Blasio has shunned the real goal of socialism. Calling himself progressive, he has worked to create a majority to run New York that is anti-business and supports greater and greater entitlements. As Jonathan Tobin writes in Commentary, de Blasio’s “left-wing populism and hostility to both the business community and the police tactics that have helped fuel New York’s revival bode ill for the city’s future.”