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The future Jeremy Corbyn wants for the UK

Was out for a wander this evening and saw this right in front of the Venezuelan Embassy in London.

It is astonishing that in 2017, anyone can still openly call themselves a socialist in polite society and be treated with more respect than if they called themselves a fascist.

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35 comments to The future Jeremy Corbyn wants for the UK

  • Cal Ford

    Respect? They get given prestigious jobs in the BBC! (Eg. Paul Mason who today praised the Russian Revolution.)

  • Ken Mitchell

    National Socialist or INTERnational Socialist, isn’t it really all the same thing in the end? And in the results?

  • Paul Marks

    The “ideological hegemony” of the Reds appears stronger than ever – the fall of the Soviet Union did not weaken the Western Marxists (as I foolishly thought it would in 1989 – before someone digs up my foolish words from that time and hits me over the head with them), it has strengthened the Western Marxists – as we can no point at the Soviet Union.

    Venezuela – the trouble is that many of the policies that have causes such ruin there (such as wild government spending and price controls – and other interventions for “Social Justice”) are also, IN A MUCH MILDER FORM, the policy of many Western governments, including the British government.

    Mrs May can only argue with Mr Corbyn over who should “help the people” not whether government should be “helping the people”.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    The main difference is inclusiveness. Socialists and communists will (in theory) be antiracists, ready to include everyone in their great society (even Jews!). Not so the National Socialists, who are exclusivists. They openly endorsed racism. Socialism will always seem soft and cuddly by comparison.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Why can we not get traction on this? Really. Why?

    The Soviet Union was utter failure. It denied people their liberty, beggared them and destroyed the environment – and to simultaneously manage all three truly was a perverse accomplishment. But if you point out to a young person he’s likely to say something like, “But that was like, a million years ago, dude.” But the horrors of Venezuela are happening right now. A formerly fairly prosperous country has been utterly ruined. Years go, before the inevitable collapse, eminent journalists wrote articles in respectable newspapers articles which can best be described as the twenty-first century version of “I have seen the future and it works.” They need to be held accountable for what they wrote.

    And that people seem willing to vote for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn and, in the longer term, inflict the same horrors on the UK utterly baffles me. The only explanation I can think of is that, for many people, their greed for “free stuff” from the government, plus their envy of those more successful than them, really is that powerful.

  • Fred Z

    No politician ever failed by underestimating human cupidity.

    Socialists: Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme.

  • Phil B

    One of the differences between Nazism (Fascists were Italian and so named after the bundle of sticks around the axes on the national emblem) is that the western powers went into Nazi Germany and dismantled most of the apparatus brick by brick and looked under every stone they overturned. The horrors of the regime and its crimes were publicised and shown to the world.

    No such examination of Communism in the Soviet Union was ever undertaken and indeed, the Soviet state was so secretive that even THEY don’t know the full extent of their Gulag system, the numbers of dead or other atrocities and horrors. See any of Anne Applebaums publications about this.

    However, that does not excuse the many, many other failures and bloodbaths implemented by communism in other parts of the world which ARE well documented. “But their intentions were good …” which apparently pardons all. Rinse and repeat.

    Of course, it does not help that the long march through the institutions has placed Communists (I won’t qualify that by appending “sympathisers” to the word) has allowed them to control the flow of information and brainwash several generations that communist atrocities were not so bad.

    Try reading Yuri Bezmenovs description of the tactics and methods of the Communists here:

    http://uselessdissident.blogspot.co.nz/2008/11/interview-with-yuri-bezmenov.html

    The links to parts 2 and 3 are in the RHS listing.

  • Ferox

    Why can we not get traction on this? Really. Why?

    IMO it’s simple, really. The great majority of people in the world either (1) do not understand the concept of market economics; i.e. the “invisible hand”, the supply/demand curve, or (2) they understand the theory but fail to see how it actually applies to anything in the real world.

    That is how you get masses of otherwise intelligent adults arguing that there should be a minimum wage high enough to be a “living” wage, or arguing for rent controls, or arguing for single payer medicine – pretty much any modern progressive economic policy is based on the idea that free market economics don’t apply to the real world.

    And to be fair, if free market theory did not in fact apply to those things, then the socialists would be correct. If you try to see it from their addled perspective it makes perfect sense.

  • It was astonishing long before Venezuela, but lies protect themselves with more lies. In the early 80s, when lefty academics defined themselves by despising ‘iron lady’ Thatcher and ‘evil empire’ Reagan, a group of them decided to rewrite the Ukraine famine as just a few thousands or tens of thousands of dead. Morally, they were like those who rewrote Hitler’s Jewish dead as ‘just a few tens of thousands, or maybe a hundred thousand – far less than one million, never mind six’, but, as the OP was probably implying, people who did the latter were despised in 80s society.

    This lefty revisionism was astonishingly bad timing in one sense: the fall of the soviet union made much confirming data available – not that anyone who was both honest and attentive still needed it. Like later research on the holocaust, it merely served to tighten higher and lower estimates around the many-millions median. However it’s no unknown thing to encounter people who went to university in those days who have now turned against much of the leftism they were taught but still treat these ‘just thousands’ figures as a legitimate viewpoint.

    Of course, if present trends continue, it may one day become routine to encounter lefties who will call you islamophobic for arguing too strongly against similar ‘low estimates’ for Hitler’s holocaust.

  • The display reminds me of the flawed but watchable film “The Interpreter”. It has a PC final ending of course – such films always do – but the scene in which the heroine reads the long lists of killed and missing compiled by her brother came into my mind as I scanned the display. The film’s african dictator is clearly patterned on Mugabe, though other old leftie ‘heroes’ from that continent may also have inspired the character, but if Chavez had not died when he did, you could imagine a remake of the film in which the once-elected, now-irremovable dictator rules an imaginary country in south america, not africa – but only many years hence, when Hollywood has moved on to a new fashionable leftie hero, as they have today moved on from ‘no longer relevant’ Mugabe.

  • Paul Marks

    The comments make good points.

    Yes National Socialism is an easy ideological enemy – just as Fichte (the German philosopher a century before the Nazis) was easy to attack.

    If a person goes around saying that women should be slaves and that that all non Germans are inferior to Germans (as Fichte did) it is child’s play to refute him – indeed to everyone apart from male Germans he has already refuted himself.

    Marxism, with its claim of providing a happy future for men and women of all ethnic groups, actually needs refutation.

    The Marxists used to say that Racial Socialism (the socialism of Fichte and later Mr Hitler) was the “socialism of fools” – and, for once, they were telling the truth.

  • llamas

    I like Ben Shapiro’s definition of socialism – the idea that robbery with violence is acceptable and meritorious, so long as the robbers get together first and democratically agree to rob the victim and share the proceeds.

    He also uses the useful formulation that the free market is analogous to consensual sex, while socialism is rape. Both easy soundbites to try and clarify the concept to those who haven’t thought too hard about it, I use the first one with children and the second with adults.

    llater,

    llamas

  • John B

    ‘… openly call themselves a socialist in polite society and be treated with more respect than if they called themselves a fascist.’

    Because just about everyone treats them as if they are opposites, and believe that Socialism is about the NHS, schools and helping ‘the poor’, whereas…

    ‘In theory Socialism may wish to enhance freedom, but in practice every kind of collectivism consistently carried through must produce the characteristic features which Fascism, Nazism and Communism have in common. ’
    – F A Hayek

    Socialist, Fascist… same animal.

  • pst314

    The Marxists used to say that Racial Socialism (the socialism of Fichte and later Mr Hitler) was the “socialism of fools” – and, for once, they were telling the truth.

    Except that socialism is the socialism of fools.

  • Watchman

    To be fair there have been plenty of socialists who have worked in democratic structures – we might disagree with their actions, but the UK Labour Party is mainly misguided rather than evil (I’m open to debate on their current leadership) – so socialist cannot really be equated to fascist (where the best case seems to be Franco’s regime…). This could explain the problem – whilst Maduro’s regime is socialist, so to an extent are a number of fairly inoffensive European governments, so socialism is not a single relatively easily-defined entity we can attack in the same way as fascism.

    Also, socialists want a juxtaposition of socialist:facist, as it makes it easier to imagine their oponents as they want them (racist, authoritarian, war mongering) rather than having to deal with the actual arguments they face. Indeed, the big weakness of modern western socialism is that it seems to be set up to attack a straw man (rich,racist, right wing), and if its oponents manage this it can make the socialists look very stupid indeed. If, however, those of us who oppose socialism echo their talk of facism we are effectively playing the game they want.

  • llamas

    Watchman – with great respect – no. They are not ‘misguided’ and the fact that they work ‘within democratic structures’ does not invalidate the fundamental point that socialists are about stealing from some to give to others. Again, robbery is not made more valid or excusable because the robbers decided democratically to commit a robbery, or persuaded others to join them in doing so. People being weak and fallible creatures, it is not hard to persuade some (maybe even a majority) to join together to commit a robbery – especially if you spread the message that the victim has it coming, he doesn’t really ‘need’ his money, and that taking his money is perfectly fine and even honorable so long as we distribute it ‘fairly’ after we take it from him.

    Describing European socialist governments as ‘fairly inoffensive’ baffles me – the principle is offensive on its face, the fact that the perpetrators manage to present a pleasant face doesn’t change that. Some of that ‘inoffensiveness’ is surely cultural – the great majority of the population has been gulled into going along with the program, and even of approving of it. But in many of those nations, now enjoying mass immigration from nations which do not share their values at all, the locals are about to get them some socialism, good and hard.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Snorri Godhi

    My first reaction after reading this post was that, actually, fascists deserve more respect than socialists, because at least they are honest about “the violence inherent in the system” (to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail). The same, however, can be said about some socialists, including Marx, Engels, and Lenin. As for socialists who (unlike Marx+Engels) do not openly advocate mass murder, you are welcome to your own conclusions as to whether they are slimy hypocrites, or have simply failed to read+understand The Road to Serfdom.

    Having said that: Watchman has a point. Was Attlee a socialist? well yes, he was; and yet, he was the main driving force behind NATO afaik. You could say that he saved Western civilization. He also put Britain on the road to serfdom, but it took 34 years for Britain to face the critical choice between socialism and “democracy”; and even then Britain was still willing and able to step back from the abyss.

  • tomsmith

    It is astonishing that in 2017, anyone can still openly call themselves a socialist in polite society and be treated with more respect than if they called themselves a fascist.

    Being a fascist is certainly more respectable than being an international socialist. At least fascists aim to strengthen the nation and benefit its people, however misguided their methods. In this way they at least acknowledge some aspects of the real world that are important to people. International socialists aim to destroy the nation and people together and have no redeeming features whatsoever since their approach is completely utopian and is not anchored in reality at all.

  • Dalben

    It’s simple.

    1) First it’s not true socialism.

    It never is. One of my ex-girlfriends agreed with me that things were terrible in Venezuela, but she said it was because because Chavez and Maduro were corrupt strongmen who simply stole all the money. How they could steal enough money to destroy a several hundred billion economy to the point where people are starving on the street in such a short time, or why other dictatorships that allow markets don’t have the same problem is not a question I could persuade her on. If the Soviet Union had economic problems it was because of Stalin not the economic system, and anyway that’s communism not socialism it’s completely different. True socialism is which ever European country is doing well right now, and it’s probably one that’s has more of a free market than the person pointing to realizes.

    2) This proposal is an exception.

    Even if someone agrees that socialist parties can hurt the economy their particular policy is an exception. Price controls can cause shortage, but this product is too important, poor people need it, it’s only a small part of the economy it won’t matter much. Subsidies are bad, but this particular subsidy is necessary for food independence, or for poor people, or to keep jobs in the state or country or city, or start a local industry that will really take off in the future. Government regulations can be bad, but this one will only cost a tiny bit, hardly anything, it doesn’t even require any money just someone making a list, and you need to keep watch on medicine, or finance, electricians or people washing hair or something terrible would happen. And so on, and so on. The other day I was talking to someone who is fairly libertarian in outlook (he doesn’t consider himself a libertarian, but he’s certainly familiar with the problems of socialism/communism) and he said that now that smart phones are getting real cheap maybe the government should pay for people to have them because having a phone and internet would be really useful for providing information in disasters, not to mention a phone and internet are almost required to get jobs today, even just to see the job listings. And this guy is not on the socialist side of the political spectrum at all, but if it’s market interference he likes all of a sudden it looks good to him.

    3) It all happened long ago or far away or both and will never happen here.

    Things are pretty good in America right now even if people don’t feel like it, so naturally things will always stay the same. Venezuela – that’s a 3rd world country who knows or cares about it. The USSR? decades ago, who even remembers it. Now you just have corrupt Russian kleptocracy. Gas shortages and other problems from price controls in America. Never heard of it, did that even really happen? People think that whatever the world is like now, is how it always has been and always will be and don’t imagine they can screw things up so badly. I’m sure if the Venezuelans who voted in Chavez could look into the future and see the result he’d never have won, but people who knew what Chavez represented and giving them a really good prediction of what would happen didn’t do anything.

  • Bloke on M4

    “It is astonishing that in 2017, anyone can still openly call themselves a socialist in polite society and be treated with more respect than if they called themselves a fascist.”

    No, it isn’t. It isn’t because no-one since Thatcher has tried to deal with the deepest roots of socialism. The huge underbelly of socialism that remained. The BBC which is stuffed full of them. The universities that are stuffed full of them. And in general, that there are few loud voices defending free market capitalism.

    It was never enough to defeat Foot and Kinnock, and while Thatcher did her bit, no-one since in the Conservative Party has. In power, you have to also salt their fields. You destroy the organisations that are their base. You deregulate industries that they depend on for friends. Because once you do that, you starve them of oxygen. They then have less resources to fight. Less lefty jobs. And then people switch to the free market and become capitalists and now no longer support the left.

    Look at students. Successive governments have expanded the client state with more university places. The Conservatives being the worst people in this. The result? More clients of the state. And more clients of the state means more Labour voters. No, they won’t thank you for your university place with a vote. As people sucking up the state’s resources, they’d like more of them i.e. their student loan wiped out. And so they vote for the most pro-state party. Which is Labour. Imagine if we cut that to something sensible like 20% of current population. Millions would go and get jobs after school and pay taxes. They’re going to be less inclined to favour the state.

    It’s why, ultimately, one-nation conservatism is so utterly useless and dismal. They just stand by as Labour shifts the Overton window in power, and do nothing to move it back.

  • “It is astonishing that in 2017, anyone can still openly call themselves a socialist in polite society and be treated with more respect than if they called themselves a fascist.”

    It’s not astonishing at all. The small government set (classic liberals/libertarians) are just really bad at social ostracism. That’s what it’s going to take, tossing people out of parties, looking and treating them as people unfit to associate with, and making it a litmus test. Of course, you also have to host the finest parties that everybody who is somebody wants to snag an invitation to.

    It’s not something that is political or ideological really. Bloody handed twits who endorse mass misery and death need to be ejected from polite society.

  • Paul Marks

    Lots of good comments – but that of “Bloke on the M4” hits home the hardest here.

    The Conservative Party has indeed created its own enemies – it has thrown money and prestige at them, and now stands amazed at how powerful the socialists have become.

    The same is true of Republicans in the United States. For example the Republicans in South Dakota did not celebrate when government teachers started to leave the State because they were paid more (by the robbery of the taxpayers) in other States, the Republicans did not say “less collectivist brainwashing for children in South Dakota – good!” they actually went into melt down – and increased taxes in order to throw money at their sworn enemies, the government teachers, who spend their time teaching children to hate and despise everything Republican “capitalists” are supposed to stand for. People who (absurdly) now expect educational standards in South Dakota to improve really have not being paying attention to what has been happening since the H. Mann created the first “modern” State education system in Massachusetts in the mid 19th century.

    The ideological bankruptcy of people who throw taxpayer money at their sworn enemies under the FALSE impression that this will reduce illiteracy or improve the knowledge of science of mathematics among children, is total.

    The logical end point of such thinking, of thinking that government spending and regulations make things better, is indeed Venezuela.

    The choice for Britain and the United States (and elsewhere) seems to be whether we get to Venezuela quickly by voting Labour or Democrat (the modern Democrats being essentially totally owned by the Frankfurt School Marxists of the education system) or get to Venezuela slowly by voting Conservative or Republican.

    People who want a SMALLER government have no place in the modern world.

  • Derek Buxton

    I have to agree with Mr.Marks and the comment he refers to. We seem to have a government lacking in any conservative principles whatsoever seemingly following the Corbyn plan, an utter disaster! I do not know where to look for signs of candidates believing in the Country that has nurtured them, all they do is talk it down.

  • Jon

    I think the problem you have is that most people in the UK don’t look at the NHS and think – ‘ the logical end point of this is Venuzuela’. They watch ‘Breaking Bad’ or think of the treatment their Granny had for something or other and think “thank f*ck for the NHS”. The Road to Serfdom implies that most people see politics as a journey to a logical end point. I’d guess that most people would be pretty happy with enough free stuff that it benefits them, but not so much that the marginal cost outweighs the marginal benefits. We see the slippery slope, they only see outcomes. If we’re arguing about the slope, we need to make it real somehow.

    We are in danger of attributing more knowledge, understanding and command of facts to people than they are likely to possess, given the other calls on their time. The message of liberty needs to be made more simply and more persuasively – something like Llamas did. People need to understand that there is a slippery slope that the likes of Corbyn want to push us down, even though there are plenty of ‘nice’ Yvette Coopers and Tony Blair’s whose pre-occupation is to maintain our current position on said slope (because they’re of the view that we’ve attained a broadly optimal level of state interference). As others have observed, there is no one really in public life who is trying to push us back up the slope, and that is because it’s harder still than resisting the force of ideological gravity than state spending implies.

  • Watchman

    llamas,

    You are working on moral absolutes there – a position is either right or wrong. In those terms, yes socialism is evil. But in more nuanced and applicable terms, which we need to think in if we want to change people’s minds, then the majority of socialists in western society are just people who have for whatever reason chosen answers to questions which seem to us immoral (note that we’ll never win an argument with someone who might be swayed by socialism by assuming taxation is theft – we have to show that government is the wrong agency to spend money effectively) but who do intend to do good in their own terms. The debate always has to be around why those terms don’t work – why does socialism have to claim the success of liberal economies (Scandinavia is popular at the moment) as its own, or come out with Dalben’s list of excuses as to why it hasn’t worked?

    More generally, you do realise that the vast majority of socialist governments on the planet have managed to fail to commit mass murder and lead to breakdowns of law and order – Zimbabwe and Venezula are outliers, not the norm. It is not going to be a very easy argument for us to win if we do rely on extreme examples. What is consistent is that every time socialism is applied without a liberal market economy in place it causes disaster; where it is applied with a liberal market economy in place, it simply ends up in recession, but the market can cope – people still suffer mind you. Socialism is bad, but we need to focus on the effects it has, not the exterme examples, to convince people.

    We could stay in our little cages of moral absolutes and make irrelevant arguments. Or we could engage with the fact that on the surface socialism appears logical (if we tax people more we can help the poor and build big public infrastructure things for everyone) but that in reality it fails even on these measures – the failure might not normally be on the level of a Cambodian mass murder or a Venezulan economic collapse, but it fails consistently. If someone holds up Denmark (with its lower percentage of GDP as tax than the UK or US and its private ambulance (and fire?) services) as a model of successful socialism, Venezula isn’t the answer – the fact that it is less socialist than we are now is. If someone cites the Attlee government as socialism being successful, ask them why bannanas didn’t come back to the UK till 1953 (seriously – my dad is old enough to remember being very suspicious of them) and why West Germany somehow produced a better standard of living in the same period, despite having just been flattened in losing a war: don’t go on about mass murder, since we can prove that the Atlee government somehow mangaed to fail to liquidate the bourgouise. In our little echo chambers, like this site (how often does a socialist pop up to actually debate us) we can miss the fact that reinforcing the doctrinal correctness of a message does nothing to make it a useful message for persuading people of the ills of socialism.

  • Watchman

    Snorri,

    My first reaction after reading this post was that, actually, fascists deserve more respect than socialists, because at least they are honest about “the violence inherent in the system”

    Seriously? Facism is worse than socialism simply because it accepts much the same basic concepts as socialism, which is its intellectual parent, and adds on an explicit layer of identity politics. Indeed, as socialism does not require everbody to work for the greater good of the state (communism seems to, although I suspect Trotskyites might object to this), merely to accede to an interventionalist state for the common good, facism is consistently worse on this measure as well.

    I sometimes fear the misuse of facism by socialists has led to people failing to understand what the ideology really involves – the state being identified as the vehicle for a particular group (whilst this has always been ethnic or pseudo-ethnic there is no theoretical problem with it being class based, gender based or whatever) when applied, and everyone’s efforts being in service of the state for the benefit of that group. Anyone loving freedom is diametrically opposed to the sort of total control that facism requires to work. Socialism is not good, but at least does not automatically require the individual to be subservient to the state.

    A better way to see facism might simply be one amongst many forms of socialism, and one of the most anti-liberty versions at that. It even has the characteristic socialist tendency of destroying economies (note the obvious counter point here is Pinochet’s Chile, but he was not a facist, just a dictator – this can be seen by the fact he abandoned state control of the economy).

  • The short answer is that people, even supposedly educated, middle-class Brits, are more sympathetic towards Socialism than Fascism. Fascism got tried once, and the world met it head-on and fought tooth-and-nail to destroy it. Socialism, on the other hand, is opposed, tolerated, and embraced in approximately equal measures. This is no more worthy of outrage than most people preferring football to rugby, the important thing is to understand that this is how people are, i.e. they’re different from how we’d like them to be.

  • And in general, that there are few loud voices defending free market capitalism.

    In power, you have to also salt their fields. You destroy the organisations that are their base.

    People clearly don’t want that: if such a candidate came forward, the bulk of the middle-classes would absolutely shit themselves. Look at the reaction Rees-Mogg generated, FFS! What people want is some wet nappy like Cameron or Blair, who won’t offend anyone and won’t do anything too drastic. I might be proven wrong on this in future, but I highly doubt it.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Tim:

    What people want is some wet nappy like Cameron or Blair, who won’t offend anyone and won’t do anything too drastic. I might be proven wrong on this in future, but I highly doubt it.

    Hasn’t Trump proved you wrong already??

    Actually for those of us worried about Frankfurt School statism, Trump is a Messiah: he has shown us how to fight back. That is true independently of whether he is a statist or not: in either case, he has shown us how to fight against a particularly malignant variety of statism.

  • Snorri Godhi

    One more comment on why fascism is almost universally reviled, while socialism is not: it’s cognitive dissonance.
    Lots of Americans died fighting nazism/fascism: lots more than died fighting communism in Korea and Vietnam etc. More importantly, ww2 was a victory for the US, while the Korean and Vietnam wars were not.
    It follows that Americans like to tell themselves that ww2 was worth fighting (and of course i agree on that), and if it was worth fighting, then the nazis must have been really evil.
    It also follows that Americans like to tell themselves that fighting in Korea and Vietnam was not worth it, that communism was going to self destruct anyway.
    And of course, Western opinions are largely dictated by American opinion leaders, nowadays.

    Then we have to talk about the NY Times whitewashing the Holodomor.

  • Hasn’t Trump proved you wrong already??

    Absolutely not: he proved the Americans were willing to vote for a different candidate, but his election sent much of the UK electorate into spasms. Within hours there were petitions being raised to not let him in the country, the Speaker of the House announced he wasn’t welcome to visit to thunderous applause, and my Facebook feed is filled with people who I thought had more sense re-posting stuff about him which could have been drafted by someone in high-school. These were the same people who thought Blair and Cameron were solid leaders and don’t mind May.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Tim: may i suggest that people signing petitions not to let Trump into the UK, the Speaker of the House, and your Facebook feed, might not be representative of the UK electorate? Until we get a British Trump, we’ll never know for sure.

    In Italy and the Netherlands, Trumpian tactics have been used to good effect — although wrt Italy i would argue that Berlusconi was worse than the disease he was supposed to cure.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Ken Mitchell
    October 31, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    National Socialist or INTERnational Socialist, isn’t it really all the same thing in the end? And in the results?

    To give the Devil his due, NATIONAL Socialism created enough short-term growth in Germany (sustained beyond its ‘due’ date by feeding on the wealth of Germany’s neighbors) that the country eventually had to be put down by force. ‘Self-funded’ forms of Socialism tend to collapse more decorously.

  • Paul Marks

    Watchman’s attack on the Atlee government, and his comparison with what was happening in Germany in the same period, is good.

    If this is what you show in your history classes in universities Sir – you are doing good work.

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