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Can Socialism Save Democracy?

Can Socialism Save Democracy?

Theo Horesh

A consensus is emerging on the left that capitalism produces inequality, which leads to oligarchy, which undermines democracy, and paves the way to fascism; and only socialism can save democracy, because it can break the oligarchy, which will restore equality, so democracy can function effectively.

I don’t know if it can but Capitalism is definitely killing what’s left of it.

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Wouldn’t you think that this author who has written three books would know that “socialism DID save democracy” when FDR and and Congress implemented the New Deal ?

Looking at general election voting stats during the first half of the 20th century roughly 10% of US voters voted for socialist or communist candidates. With Prescott Bush (Bush 41’s father), Henry Ford and other US 1%ers during the 30s pushing for the US to go fascist like Germany, Italy and Spain, FDR realized that he had to get the 99% on board to keep them from falling for the fascists and to keep the US from going commie. The New Deal gave the 99% just enough to keep them in Democracy’s corner at least until Saint Ron and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) accelerated the dismantling of the New Deal during the 80s.

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A good way to expand socialism in America is to include everyone in loan assistance for a first time home loan, not just for veterans. A lot of people who are starting new families and new jobs don’t have the thousands of dollars saved up for a down payment on a starter home. A separate loan process for a down payment would bring a lot of people into the housing/real-estate market.

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We need to move past equal and move to equitable.

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Lets rephrase my earlier post so we are on the same page: socialism (and communism) in other nations that was viewed as a threat to US capitalism was the motivation to pass the New Deal that saved democracy in the US for nearly a half century.

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I think the author confuses and contradicts himself in the very article. Socialism failed in every state where it was implemented, one can argue it had happened due to lack of democracy and effectively every socialist state was authoritarian or dictatorship regime. Yet article appeal is to a social democratic states , very often citing Nordic countries which are very much capitalist societies.

Social and socialism are often misused, abused and misunderstood. While socialism utterly failed stagnating societies, social policies allow countries to manage internal injustice and unrest.

The rise of fascism in those countries has less to do with the economic factors that this article cites as the cause of its appearance and more to do with a massive influx of new immigrants which, despite all the wishful idealism of the Left, large swathes of most populations are unhappy about and that includes richer people thereby dispelling the myth this is because they blame their own economic difficulties on the immigrants. Humanity, throughout our history, has never coped easily with vast numbers of strange, tribal, ‘others’ arriving on their familiar doorstep, simple as that, And if mainstream political parties won’t adress the matter and instead lecture them and label them racist, then they will turn to those who will, hence the rise of the far right in the above mentioned countries. Considering those in Sweden and Germany have a good welfare infrastructure and above average standard of living and quality of life, the lack of which is normally used to explain an anti-immigrant stance, how else could you explain it?

Yes. It’s hard to know where to start, but here goes, in no particular order:

Contrary to everything we’re told, there was no greater champion of individual liberty than Karl Marx. He is still maligned to this day because his ultimate goal was to free us from the need to sell our labor; of course, those who want us to sell our labor as cheaply as possible—slavery being currently out of fashion—find this offensive.

There is a fundamental difference between a market which serve our needs, on the one hand, and a market offering such items as Hess toy trucks and Beanie Baby dolls (which lose most of their value once the original packaging is disturbed) on the other. Capitalism appears to love the latter kind of market, with its high profit margins, while the former kind that serves our needs is viewed as unduly burdensome, a necessary evil.

To call the UK, the US, Germany etc. democracies is a stretch. Yes, they have elections—and markets—but the individual citizen’s voice is drowned out by the power of concentrated wealth over media, the business cycle, and the electoral process itself. The “marketplace of ideas” has been cornered.

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The author makes a good point. What Marx called capitalism is actually more fundamental to modern democracy than he realized.

The United States was founded on the principles of Locke’s liberalism, augmented with Newton and Bacon’s scientific method, in 1776. The scientific method provided a method for the free and independent individuals of Locke’s liberalism to find common truths.

Adam Smith published the “Wealth of Nations” is 1776, it was a way for free and independent individuals to be effective economically without a king or emperor calling the shots. Marx did not get around to calling it capitalism until mid 1800s.

Good comment. My eyes rolled at the author’s description of “free markets” as something that fulfills all our desires and is the source of enriching and fulfilling livelihoods! Good f-ing grief!

Will this presumably rich “professional” get out of his gentrified yuppieville and get to some poorer parts of his area and see how well “free markets”- especially the “free market” in a person’s time and sweat, health care, and viable transportation are doing?

Not that per the bio-blurb - this guy is “the co-host of Conscious Business, chosen by the Business Insider as one of 100 top podcasts.”

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Excellent comment.

One minor quibble - most cotton is grown in the northern hemisphere. India is in the northern hemisphere - so is the US South - where the capitalists took the gloves off altogether and instituted abject, racist slavery to assure good profits - both in the plantations and the textile mills further north.

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Interesting question.

No.

Here is just one minor example that refutes the happy-free-markets-horseshit in this article:

In my area, major curtailment of recycling is underway. Most of the surrounding suburban boroughs and townships around Pittsburgh - which utilize the “free-market” Waste Management Corporation, Republic Waste Corp. and others will not longer accept any glass containers nor plastics except those labeled 1 or 2 (PETE and HDPE).

The “free market” trash companies will then “fine” the local governments (i.e. us working stiff local taxpayers) $150 per ton for all recycled material that contains too much glass or other “contaminants”.

The reason is stated as follows:

The reduction of recycling is not a choice of the township. The issue is that there is ‘no market’ for the discontinued materials.
– Shaler Township Public Works

Meanwhile, the City of Pittsburgh, whose refuse collection operations are_not_ “free-market” but rather are “socialist” i.e. the city government owns and operates all refuse and recycling - including paying the trash workers a good union wage, will continue to collect glass food and beverage containers and all kinds of plastics.

So, since free markets work against “doing the right thing” I will now have to haul my used bottles and jars every few months into the city limits and leave them there. Or alternatively, leave them in Toronto on my trips up there, or drop them off in Buffalo, NY, (for a nickel each! - yeah, its illegal but doing the right thing is sometimes like that) on the way up there. New York, you see, has a “socialist” measure called a “bottle bill” where they don’t seem to have any problem finding a “market” for glass bottles…

And of course, the failures of capitalist “free markets” go way, way, way up there - most seriously of course, there is “no market” for ending greenhouse gas emissions and thereby “no market” for the survival of most life on earth!

But who creates these “markets”? They are not created, as the asshole who wrote this article seems to imply, from some kind of democratic clamor. Markets are created by by the owners of those markets to serve the market-owner’s (aka capitalist’s) needs - not you and me. Our ownership of these “markets” consists of selling our labor, hat-in-trembling-hand for what the boss dictates and then are constrained to buying the plastic crap dictated by the capitalist bosses. And if you think this description is over the top, then maybe you should recall the situation you have felt the least like a free man or woman. Aside from maybe being in front of a judge sending you to prison, isn’t it when you go in for a job interview?

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Socialism is only a miserable failure in the empty regions of your skull.

Well, what you call “socialism” are the kinds of government programs and tough regulations on capitalism that have been implemented in Europe to smashing success. And don’t go telling me “No, that isn’t really socialism, its social democracy” - becasue when we try to implement the same social democracy here in the USA, you condemn it as “socialism”. Which is it???

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