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A Tale of Three Leftists

In the past half century, there have been three notable leftist leaders in the Americas, heading up democratic countries. They are President Savador Allende in Chile, President Luis Ignacio de Silva ("Lula") in Brazil, and the current President of the United States.

All three hold or held views decidedly left of center. All three claimed to represent the common (wo)man, and have created programs to benefit this person. Allende's signature social program was to deliver a quart of milk each day to every household (rich or poor) with a child under the age of 16. Obama now wants to make mortgages "affordable" to keep allowing poor people to own their own homes. On the other hand, Lula has largely pursued growth policies, albeit with redistributive aspects.

Of the three, Lula is by far the most successful, being the most pragmatic. Why is this?

The reason is that Lula has a "true" leftist background, as a union leader. As such, he wants working class people to be treated more fairly, but well understands that in order for this to happen, capitalists have to prosper, too. On the other hand, both Allende and Obama are intellectual, "ivory tower" leftists. As such, they didn't seem to understand the symbiosis between capital and labor, and believed that the way to benefit labor is to punish capitalists.