Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/13/democratic-socialism-there-no-alternative
The alternative to Democratic Socialism is a dire one, or two.
Biden or Trump.
The Fed could as easily have chosen to give its largesse directly to individuals whose mortgages were underwater; the lenders would eventually have been repaid, but without the attendant foreclosures, bankruptcies, broken communities and suicides. I want to know why directly bailing out homeowners would have been any more “socialist”—or created any more “moral hazard”—than the publicly-funded bailout of institutions, at least some of whom were responsible for causing the crash of 2008.
“Sanders’s implicit argument is quite similar: If our “capitalist” economy depends on constant discretionary interventions by policy-makers, we might as well determine those interventions through democratic debate — and aim them at advancing the best interests of the 99 percent.”
If its not direct, its not democracy.
I’m beginning to think socialism isn’t going to survive Bernie Sanders.
Obviously there must be an alternative, since all I’m seeing is reform liberalism being bandied about.
Just run on the bloody thing and stop renaming everything according to the day’s whim.
Bernie Sanders for President in 2020 ! The one and only true champion for ,of and by the people! FDR would be proud of Bernie’s revival of these great progressive policies from the 1940’s. Peace
What needs to be understood about the Libertarian Philosophy as espoused by the Koch Brothers and derived in turn from Ludwig Von Mises and that Austrian School of Economics (Of which there a few champions here ) is this.
The closest we can have to a “Free Market” is one where there no private property. As soon as “Private Property” introduced into the equation we create a market distortion. The only way “Private Property” can exist is if it backed by Governments and the law wherein the State will use force and violence to enforce property rights. So the Libertarian crowd want big Government only when it convenient for them.
“But he didn’t acknowledge—in this section or elsewhere—the ways in which the suppression of free markets has repeatedly fostered a different kind of oppression over the past century.”
This is an absurd thing to say. The cold war was won by people like Bernie in the West. Medicare in Canada was pushed for by socialists like Tommy Douglas. Socialists in Labour in the UK created the NHS system and other structural changes. Social democrats in Nordic countries created the system there at that time. The Democrats, in response to the crash in 1929, essentially adopted a large portion of the Socialist Party’s platform. The New Deal and Great Society programs are what were dominant during the cold war here. And this country has become more authoritarian, the gap between what people want on policy and what the state does has exponentially grown, the system has become more corrupt and macroeconomic trends have massively worsened as we have moved towards free markets in recent decades. Who, at this point, could deny that “free markets” are key drivers in the environmental crisis? Most of the environmental damages now destroying the world don’t have market values! That is one of the damn problems, even radical libertarians like Hayek acknowledged the limits to markets.
“If Sanders was coy about the details of a “socialist” economy, he was downright disdainful of the notion that a speech on socialism and authoritarianism should seriously grapple with the long history of socialist movements that have ended in dictatorship…he neglected to mention leftist autocrats such as Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Cuba’s Raúl Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, or North Korea’s Kim Jung Un”
Cool, so is the logic that every time someone then supports “free markets” and capitalism they have to acknowledge the slave trade, what King Leopold did in the Congo, the massive and deadly wars capitalist countries have done in countries around the world, the support of right wing coups and dictatorships, our support for authoritarian governments for decades now, the horrific impact of the IMF in developing countries? When Warren says she is a capitalist to her bones, should she always acknowledge at the same time Pinochet, Suharto, the right wing paramilitary state in Colombia, the horrific things the British did in India and Bangladesh, or the string of right wing butchers we supported and continue to support in Central America (who did we support in Nicaragua under Reagan in the 80’s against that Ortega guy)? Should, if she defends capitalism, also have to account for Operation Condor? If that author is being logically consistent, yes. She should say she supports capitalism, but then should at the same time denounce at every turn right wing capitalist butchers and the extreme violence of the modern capitalist system.
“The implication was obvious. Anybody who was hoping for a clear account of the differences between Sanders’s political ambitions and those of autocratic socialist regimes is a fellow traveler of Richard Nixon, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Donald Trump, and the Heritage Foundation.”
He gave a fucking speech that referenced FDR, talked about building on the New Deal and said clear as day that his democratic socialism encompasses things like single payer healthcare, massive investments in affordable housing, putting in place radical changes to deal with the environmental crisis, moving away from a corporate-centered and protectionist agricultural policy (we have the most protectionist agricultural system in the world, which is itself a violation of free markets). So, yes, if you oppose that basic and popular social democratic policies, you are in that rough group, and you have no solutions to any of our problems.
What a ridiculous article that is. Why in the world would you link something so stupid?
Here is a better alternative:
That’s why we had republicans complaining during the Obama years that the presidency held, and was attaining too much power. Oh, but now that trump is at the helm no amount of power to help enrich the already rich is too much power.
The dems show little interest in curtailing the 1%. Except that Bernie keeps insisting that if we should have less socialism, it should start with the give-aways to the wealthy and the corporate world. They don’t see the free money in tax breaks and loopholes as socialism for them. But that is what it is.
As a Student of Political Science and FDR I must say that Bernie’s speech was one of Best I have ever heard.
This was not his usual repetitious campaign rally speech, this was a beautifully written Doctrine, a Treatise about what the Progressives of America actually represent.
The intonation of this speech was perfect and the delivery and pitch was Brilliant.
I have never been so mesmerized by the intelligent explanation of what a Social Democracy signifies.
This magnificent document is the Blueprint for a more Egalitarian America.
Bernie Sanders gave us a vivid explanation of how the Greed of Capitalism has produced the Great Depression in 1929 and again in 2008.
He painted a utopian picture of how Democratic Socialism can lift ALL Americans out of the despair of poverty and the fear of the dreaded Health Industry who offer their services in exchange for robbing us of our homes and our dignity when we cannot pay their exorbitant Bills.
He is the only candidate that has picked up the philosophical Baton of FDR and is trying to apply his Socialist ideals to the demands of WE THE PEOPLE in the 21st Century.
I cannot recall ever hearing Obama praise the accomplishments of FDR, however, I can recall him frequently quoting the words of Ronald Reagan, the Bigot who tried to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.
The Speech that Bernie delivered was absolutely Brilliant in every aspect.
This beautifully written document must be our Declaration of Independence, our Call to Arms for not only progressives but all Americans that are sick and tired of being mistreated by the greedy Corporate Fascists that have managed to enslave the majority of the working class and have made America their private Plantation.
Thank You Bernie for illuminating the truth so skillfully, so passionately and so lovingly.
The American condition is greed which democratic socialism doesn’t reward. There has to be some middle ground besides this philosophy and imperialism.
Sad that the “alternative” to the “alternative” is more of the same.
Conscious planning, conscious control over the material conditions of life is the essence of socialism. But this should not be confused with state-capitalism.
In Marx’s view, socialism would be consciously planned production, “in which producers regulate their production according to a preconceived plan” and of “production by freely associated men . . . consciously regulated by them in accordance with a settled plan”
Marx speaks of “a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common” and of “the co-operative society based on the common ownership of the means of production” and of “the material conditions of production” being “the cooperative property of the workers themselves” .
Marx never defined socialist society in terms of the ownership and control of the means of production by the State, but rather in terms of ownership and control by a voluntary association of the producers themselves. He did not equate what is now called “nationalisation” with socialism. Socialism is an economic system based upon conscious planning of production by associated producers, made possible by the abolition of private property of the means of production. As soon as that private property is completely abolished, goods produced cease to be commodities. Value and exchange value disappear. Production becomes production for use, for the satisfaction of needs, determined by conscious choice
There are few organisations that remain who still hold to these principles. One still clinging to existence is the World Socialist Party of the United States.
Not sure about the goal of this detailed article. For people who read and/or study these things, the issues are clear. But for the majority of the Americans, they are not. What Bernie brilliantly summarized for the everyday person, was perfect. And that’s the primary value of his speech.
…“why the senator insists on branding his ideology with a term that much of the American electorate still associates with Soviet communism.” With all due respect, most Americans have no clue about Soviet communism…they have hardly read more than a book in their entire lifetime…that is the reality. Just look at the stats for how many people read even the Old Media…let alone the new ones. These writers are so detached from the 99%.
Sanders is not advocating a,“democratic socialist” case but a reformist one.He does not provide any threat to capital nor does he in any way eliminate exploitation of the immense majority via the wages system.
Socialism/communism has never existed anywhere as it is an advanced, post-capitalist, classless, commonly owned, production for use, free access, global society of the future, yet to be born as the politically mature action of the immense majority. It will be run by us all, as social equals without governments OVER people, in administration by all of us over the commonly owned resources. It will be a world in which production is freed from the artificial constraints of profit and used for the benefit of all.
Only a commonly owned, democratically controlled classless, elite free, production for use free access society of true social equals to the means of production and distribution, run by us all , is socialism/communism.
If there are wages and salaries, it is not socialism.
State ownership is not socialism.
Social programs are not socialism.
Socialism means democracy at all levels of society , including the workplace.
Socialism means a wageless, moneyless society.
Socialism means voluntary labour.
Socialism means free access to the goods produced by society.
Socialism /communism has never existed and is yet to be born and nothing will prevent the arrival of a n idea which time has come and it is the last great emancipatory wave, that of the wage slave.
" The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves. We cannot, therefore, co-operate with people who openly state that the workers are too uneducated to emancipate themselves and must be freed from above by philanthropic big bourgeois and petty bourgeois."(1879 Marx and Engels )
Socialism for the 1% and capitalism for the rest has been this country for 50 plus years. Lets flip that for the next 50 and see what happens. Cant get any more corrupt then it is now.
No. Not Democratic Socialism - which would preferable to our current political malaise - Democratic Socialism represents surface level reforms to capitalism without changing the vicious nature of capitalism itself. Note that the historically shining example of democratic socialism was the Weimar Republic which was unable to prevent the rise of fascism in Germany.
No. Not Democratic Socialism, we need the real deal. As Rosa Luxemberg said: “it’s either socialism or barbarism, there is no alternative.”
FYI, FDR was no socialist.
FDR in 1937: “I am the best friend the profit system ever had, even though I add my denunciation of unconscionable profits.”
I do agree that Sanders is really a new New Dealer, not a socialist at all. We should not confuse the two.
“I hoped that Sanders would finally set out…how he can protect his political project against the Soviet risk…I can’t say he met my expectations.”
Gosh, yes - must have been terribly disappointing, Sanders’ failure to “set out” just how he’d “protect” expanded U.S. healthcare from the “risk” of its degenerating into a one party state with Soviet-type gulags…how “unserious” of him…