Contrasting styles of leadership

IN MEDIAEVAL times and before, in a battle it was customary that if the king — or other designated leader — of one side was killed the battle was over and the losing side would quit the field, as fast as they could. Since many of the rank and file troops were mercenaries there was absolutely no point in hanging around once the person who had promised to pay them was dead.

The knights and other lords fought for the chance of personal gain and to be seen to be loyal to a battle leader who was usually successful. In spite of all their solemn oaths of loyalty, they had little compunction in switching sides if a different king offered them better prospects.

The rank and file fought because they were ordered to or paid. The concept of a whole army fighting for a noble cause they all believed in did not arise until the English civil war. And it is still a new and difficult concept for many of today’s imperialist ruling class.

So we see the imperialist monsters and their media specialising in attacking, traducing, demonising and mocking leading individuals of those countries, peoples and political movements that stand against them on behalf of the working classes of the planet. They think that if they destroy a leader, they will destroy the heart and soul of the revolutionary movement. They think the followers will just buckle under and accept re-colonisation and oppression without their leader to inspire them.

In Venezuela President Maduro has proved how stupid they are. US imperialism expected Venezuelan socialism to collapse when their socialist leader Hugo Chavez died tragically young. Maduro is a different personality to Chavez but he is just as firm and determined to defend the advances that Venezuela had made in ending the poverty and illiteracy that used to burden that country. And if anything were to happen to Maduro there would be many other competent and dedicated people ready to take his place.

The millions of workers who have been liberated by the country’s Bolivarian government are not sheep but intelligent and determined people prepared to do whatever is necessary. Chavez and Maduro have led the movement, as a conductor leads an orchestra. But it is these people who have carried out the changes, who have made the music. The imperialists underestimate them at their peril.

Likewise in Cuba, the imperialists hoped that after Fidel Castro stepped down, the socialist island would lose its way and become open to a capitalist takeover. But this has not happened. The CIA tried dozens of times to assassinate Castro during his long rule in the belief that without their leader, the Cubans would cave in and submit to US imperialism. When Castro finally retired due to old age, and later died, he was succeeded first by his brother Raul and now by Miguel Diaz-Canel. And the island remains as staunchly socialist as ever.

In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the US imperialists thought the country would collapse with the death of Kim Il Sung but it did not. His successor Kim Jong Il and now Kim Jong Un have kept the country firmly on track. And now the people of that country are seeing the benefits of their hard work in a rising standard of living and no debts to any other country. Even if their much-loved leader was not there, they would never abandon their socialist way of life. If necessary they would fight to defend it to the end.

How different this is to the United States where a change of president means a tearing up of treaties and commitments made on behalf of the country by previous presidents — so international allies never know where they stand; where lackey governments that have stood by the US and helped it carry out its dirty work are rewarded with crushing trade sanctions.

The promises and pledges of the leading imperialist country are written in wind and water. In the end they are loyal only to one thing — the pursuit of immeasurable wealth being drawn into the hands of a tiny elite. And so they turn the whole world against them. Their system cannot survive.