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Pacific Socialism

Since the fall of the Soviet Unión all things red seem to have been going rather out of fashion. Of the officially communist countries of China, Laos, Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba, only the latter two still look vaguely communist. But, even for North Korea and Cuba the last ten years have seen a much more pragmatic embracing of market forces. Cuba in particular has seen it’s restaurant, bar and indeed street food scene go through a real revolution (no pun intended), and even North Korea has more of a “scene” now. And of course there’s Venezuela, which depending on what side of the fence you sit is either a failed state, or a victim of US imperialism.

But, the world is an interesting place, and there are a lot of experimental, or existing systems that people don’t really talk about. Rojava in Syria for example is experimenting with a form of anarchism, that in some ways is going quite successfully.

And then there’s Nauru. Nauru famously was one of the richest countries in the world due it’s phosphate reserves, until bad investments made it on the verge of bankruptcy. Australia then introduced their “pacific solution”, which despite its controversy has provided a financial lifeline to the Republic of Nauru.

It has also in many ways socialised the country along pacific lines. The nation has a 19 member parliament based around tribal lines, with government done by consensus rather than party politics, led by the President of Nauru, who can be removed by parliament.

The interesting part though is that whilst private business is not only allowed, but encouraged 95 percent of the country are employed by state, and there is no income tax.

Now whilst this might not sound sustainable it is a well fed nation (so much so they are obese). most people have cars, and no one is homeless. There is also a broad social safety net that includes hospitals free at the point of delivery.

In a lot of ways this kind of welfare system is rooted into pacific island culture, and you see stark similarities in places like Tuvalu, and Kiribati.

I would in no way suggest Nauru is a socialist utopia either, but much like Cuba, which is often touted as the most sustainable country on earth, the system in Nauru should at least pique the interest of the left.

And if nothing else, with the Hotel Menen you get the special vibe that only state run hotels like the Yanggakdo in North Korea, or the Alba in Caracas can give.

Viva la revolución

Written by Gareth


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