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.”
It seems that our largest and most important city will, as Tobin puts it, be “lurching to the hard left.” The only good that can come out of this is if the business community and Wall Street quickly rescind their usual contributions to the Democratic contender, and consider contributing to the pro-business Republican candidate, former MTA chairman Joe Lhota.
If you doubt that de Blasio is a hard leftist, recall this is the New York Times saying “his time as a young activist was more influential in shaping his ideology than previously known.” Perhaps its publisher is worried about what a de Blasio victory might mean for the city and their own publication, which after all is a business trying to survive in a dwindling print media age.
De Blasio actually says that his desire is to have the rich pay more in taxes, and that government exists “to protect and enhance the lives of the poor.” He actually says this is to be done through redistribution of wealth instead of increasing productivity so all can benefit. This is inspired by his time in Nicaragua, where he says the Sandinistas, “in their own humble way, in this small country,” were “trying to figure out what would work better.”
Anyone who knows the history of that tragic country understands that they were running it to the ground, just as the Castro brothers have done in Cuba. Today, through ballot maneuvering and unsavory coalitions with wealthy interests, Daniel Ortega and his party rule as just another caudillo-type Latin American despotism, continually enriching themselves through corruption and misrule.
Like Barack Obama, de Blasio was a community organizer — not with the Alinsky-type groups, but with a religious “social justice” center that shipped millions of dollars in food, clothing, and supplies to the would-be Nicaraguan Communists. He was part of a group the Times article calls “a ragtag team of peace activists, Democrats, Marxists and anarchists” who did what they could to help the rapidly fading Sandinista cause. Their interest ended when, in an election forced on the Sandinistas by world pressure in 1989, Ortega lost and the dissenting liberal Violeta Chamorro, whose husband had edited La Prensa and was murdered by the pre-Sandinista dictator Anastasio Somoza, won handily in an election monitored by observers from around the world.
Jonathan Tobin is right. The New York City election cannot be won by refighting the wars of the 1980s. As he writes, the view of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations that supported the opponents of the Sandinistas proved to be right, and the groups that de Blasio worked with were “fronts for Communist killers.”
What does this bode for New York City? Its growth and decreasing crime rates and stability, put into place by Rudy Giuliani and to some extent by Michael Bloomberg, will come to an end when de Blasio takes office. Expect the dark and depressing years of the administration of David Dinkins, and the possibility that New York City will be on the road to becoming like Detroit.
So let me quote Jonathan Tobin’s wise words:
To those who are either too young or too deluded by liberal propaganda to know better, the struggle against the socialism that de Blasio backed was the most important battle fought in the last half of the 20th century. Those who aimed at stopping socialism were not trying to hurt the poor; they were defending human rights against a political cause that sacrificed more than 100 million victims on the Marxist altar. The verdict of history was delivered as the Berlin Wall fell and the “socialist motherland” collapsed, and along with it much of the ideological house of cards that liberals had built as they sought to discredit or defeat anti-Communists. It says a lot about de Blasio’s commitment to that vicious political faith that even after the Iron Curtain fell and the peoples of captive Eastern Europe celebrated the defeat of the Communist cause that he would make a pilgrimage to one of its last strongholds in Cuba to celebrate his marriage.
Today, Bill de Blasio seems proud of his support for the Sandinistas. He has said nothing to indicate that he thinks he was wrong, and that the path they sought for Nicaragua was dangerous, futile, and was putting the country on the road to totalitarianism.
When I traveled to Nicaragua with the late Ed Koch in 1989, we watched a massive rally headlined by Daniel Ortega, and Koch said: “This reminds me of nothing other than the Nazi’s Nuremberg rallies.”
Koch understood the truth at the time; today in the 21st century, future Mayor Bill deBlasio does not.
Rudi Dutschke’s strategy of a “Long March Through the Existing Institutions” has paid off in New York. They have gained control of the Democratic Party machinery, and if they are successful, they will ruin the city. Let us hope that sane Democrats will vote Republican.