Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The Zapatero Test
Last night saw the first of a series of televised 'head-to-head' debates between the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (above, left, with Hugo Chavez)and opposition leader Mariano Rajoy, ahead of Saturday's general election. The BBC reports that four out of five opinion polls show that Zaptero won the debate. That's excellent news. For if there is any Western European leader who deserves to be elected, it's Zapatero. As good as his word, he pulled Spanish troops out of Iraq. Furthermore, he also wrote a letter to other European leaders urging them to do likewise. Zapatero has moved his country away from the neocon foreign policy stance it adopted under his predecessor, José Maria Anzar, a strong supporter of the illegal Iraq invasion. Zapatero has developed closer ties with the progressive Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez, and despite pressure from the US, France, Britain and Germany, has refused to recognise the illegal breakaway province of Kosovo. At home, he has increased the minimum wage and old age pensions. And he's put homosexuals on the same legal footing as heterosexuals by legalising same-sex marriages.
Now, you would have thought the last point alone would make Zapatero, the darling of the liberal imperialist/Euston Manifesto crowd. But don't hold your breath.
I've mentioned before, that in order to make up for their total lack of any left-wing credentials in matters economic, the liberal imperialist/Eustonista brigade are always very keen to promote their support for same-sex marriages. But support for same-sex marriages does not, on its own, a socialist make. The issue of gay rights has been used by liberal imperialists as a smokescreen to propagandise against regimes not fully open to global capital and of whom the US State Department does not approve: Iran being the classic example. Of course, there are genuine human rights campaigners, like the admirable Peter Tatchell, who are totally consistent in their approach: Peter will berate US allies and US foes alike. But for the Eustonistas/ liberal imperalists what matters most of all is not the treatment of homosexuals, or indeed other human rights issues, but whether the country in question is 'open for business' and does what the US State Department tells it to do.
The Eustonistas and liberal imperialists do however, have a golden opportunity to prove me wrong.
They can join me, in proclaiming a very loud 'Viva Zapatero' and expressing a hope that the admirable Spanish Prime Minister is re-elected in Saturday's general election.
If they keep silent on this issue, or express support for the candidate of a party of nostalgists for the fascist blood-stained, serial human rights abusing dictator General Franco, then we can only draw our own conclusions.