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It's Not Socialism; It's What the People Want


#21

Let’s be clear. When this author claims we should be differentiating between socialism and fascism, it’s pretty much just semantics. Naziism was a form of socialism. Even Nazis said this. It’s just socialism with a heightened level of nationalism. Both are entirely authoritarian. Communism and Naziism are nearly the same thing. The amount of control government has over business in Nazi Germany was almost the same concept as communist nations that effectively own and control all major businesses and industries. And the results are the same.

The weird thing is that this author is saying that what Democrats support isn’t socialism, i.e. it’s a mislabel and the author is attempting to distance himself from the label. Fine. But what you all want is true socialism anyway! You want government to control the education, energy, healthcare and transportation sectors. You’d be fine with a unified national education platform, socialized medicine, and a government controlled energy policy of 100% select “renewable energy” managed solely by government jobs, and 100% public transportation.

Since none of these articles ever want to come up with a price tag (though some reports put it at ~$90 trillion), please explain to me:

  1. How we’re going to pay for such a large cost
  2. How this won’t turn into the same results we’ve seen in every other truly socialist country the world over

#22

But this is the age-old fallacy. “You see, the USSR, China, Cambodia, North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe…weren’t really socialist. No no, they were “state capitalist. In my vision of socialism, the results would be different.” Ok, so then tell me how. Because literally every socialist country across history has been authoritarian by nature, authoritarian to its core. You can’t have one without the other. If you’re saying that socialism isn’t the state ownership of the means of production, then you’re just changing the definition of socialism. And what AOC is advocating for the state ownership of the means of production of major industries: energy, education, healthcare and transportation. How is that not socialism and authoritarianism?


#23

Bernie a socialist?

The term ‘socialism’ means different things to different people, due to decades of misuse and abuse in the propaganda battles of the Cold War. It is by now a useless word, very bad at representing a concept with clarity, but very good at arousing muddled emotions. Bernie knows that, so he never refers to himself as a ‘socialist’. He is, instead, a quintessential Social Democrat, the system long followed in Sweden and Norway, and therefore defined not by words, but by actual practice. These countries are regularly voted the best places on Earth to live.

Trump recently received a standing ovation from politicians of both parties when he attacked ‘socialism’ during his State of the Union speech. After that ovation, you can count on Trump and ‘centrist’ Democrats to smear Bernie with ‘socialism’ every chance they get. They will imply that Bernie supports the programs that failed in every society that ever called itself ‘socialist’.

It is time for us to refer to Bernie by the unambiguous, time-honored brand name he himself prefers: a ‘Social Democrat’. Or, alternatively, an ‘Independent’, as in independent of the mess the two parties made of America.


#24

who says the Dem party stands for the workday majority? Who says that? Show me a platform that says so.


#25

I didn’t change it. There were multiple definitions of the word long before I got here 70+ years ago. Look it up.


#26

Let me clarify a little: Merriam Webster dates the first use of the term “socialism” to 1837, and gives as a first definition, “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” As a second definition it describes two systems or aspects of systems, one emphasizing the absence of private property and the other emphasizing state control. As a third definition it refers to a stage in Marxist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, without specifying the distinctions.

Look just a little deeper into the history of socialism and you will find that by the time the word was coined it already referred to almost a century of different collective arrangements with very different characteristics, with distinctions between authoritarian and democratic versions and between common ownership and state ownership, and with clear roots stretching back to antiquity. The distinctions that were being made by the middle of the 19th century have only proliferated in the meantime, with the result that the term “socialism” without any qualifiers is essentially meaningless, and certainly does not connote any specific system or arrangement.


#27

But again, all of the definitions you described are ultimately one and the same. “Common” ownership ultimately means “state ownership.” You must have a strong centralized power to create the “common ownership.” You could easily have co-ops exist in a free market economy. No one is stopping that. If you want to start a co-op, go right ahead. However, for all companies to be forced to be co-ops, you’d need an authoritarian state to mandate it. Hence, state ownership or control.

And it’s true but also humorous that “socialism” is also defined as a path between capitalism and communism. That’s entirely the point! Socialism ultimately must become communism or else it collapses because free will would prevent it. I would never cede my free liberties and private property to the commons unless forced at gunpoint. Hence the need for authoritarian control to mandate it.


#28

Well then stay off the roads because those are commons nor can you walk on sidewalks. Stay out of national forests. Don’t go to state parks. Don’t go fishing or hunting on “public game lands.” Don’t breathe air. You really need to do more homework. There’s lots of things that we share as “commons”. You just don’t want to admit to it. You’ll just have to stay on your private property because leaving requires you to use “commons”.


#29

Sorry, but Mossonarock has it right.

NONE of the early experiments with cooperatives and other forms of common ownership and mutual support were compulsory. Many if not most people in the cooperative movement today (most credit unions are organized essentially as coops) describe their organizations as forms of socialism. You are free to disagree, but words mean what people use them to mean (much to my chagrin).

The very concept of private ownership as we know it is quite modern. Most people in Medieval Europe lived and worked on land called the common (or commons) when they were not tending the fields of the Lord of the Manor. Prior to that all land that had not been explicitly claimed by an individual or group was considered to be held “in common” by humankind in general. You might find it interesting to look into a little of the history of how our “modern” but often unenlightened or even barbaric practices developed.


#30

Let me be clear again. Co-ops are not anti-capitalist / anti-free market. Co-ops can and do exist within market economies. People should be free to organize however they so please. However, the key distinction is forcing the cooperative structure on everyone. Doing that mandates government control of society. Otherwise large swaths of people would opt out. If that wasn’t the case, then we’d only have co-ops existing today anyway.


#31

trft: Co-ops are not anti-capitalist / anti-free market. Co-ops can and do exist within market economies.

Econo: What on earth makes you think I do not know and understand that?

trft: People should be free to organize however they so please.

Econo: And that?

trft: However, the key distinction is forcing the cooperative structure on everyone. Doing that mandates government control of society.

Econo: You are the only person in this thread talking about coercion of any kind, and that appears to me to result from your dogmatic insistence on an extremely narrow definition of “socialism” that few people today accept.


#32

So then you support free markets and my right to build a company that can drive all of the inefficient co-ops out of business?


#33

People keep saying, what if Trump stages a coup and doesn’t leave office? There WAS a coup 40 years ago. It’s called neoliberalism, the agenda to reduce the middle class to poverty level.

A Healthy Middle Class is Dangerous to Elites!

“The “nation-state” as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.”

~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970

“The Trilateralist Commission is international…(and)…is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests BY SEIZING CONTROL OF THE POLITICAL GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES. The Trilateralist Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power - political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical.”

~ Barry Goldwater, With No Apologies, 1979

Government exists to spend. The purpose of government is to serve the general welfare of the citizens, not just the military-industrial complex and the financial class. As Yellen implied, we need more spending of the non-military kind (what Barney Frank memorably called “weaponized Keynesianism” doesn’t stimulate).”

"But it’s time to discard the fallacy that there is something uniquely inherent in socialism that flowers into tyranny, and forget the canard that free markets will save us. They’ve plainly done the opposite.

For the past few decades, we’ve been sleepwalking our way toward a police state, cheerfully paving the way for any future tyrant to create the most repressive society in human history. The route we’ve taken to get here wasn’t socialism, but free-market capitalism. Hayek may have been wrong that letting governments take care of people and managing the economy democratically would inevitably create more Hitlers and Stalins, but he was right about one thing:

It was largely people of goodwill … who prepared the way, if they did not actually create, the forces which now stand for everything they detest."


#34

And don’t you dare call the fire or police or use the public schools, community health, libraries etc either. Don’t you dare collect medicare or social security either. Now, what will you do?


#35

Oops, I was repeating myself.


#36

Yeah oops is right.


#37

I’m not advocating an anarchist society. That’s not my point. I’m talking about the polar opposite. You want socialism. Not some welfare programs here, some government programs there, and the rest is market-based. You want full-on socialism. I’m discussing what that means, as in what it takes to get there. It would entail ceding all private property. You’d have private companies. Your home is an extension of the state. Your property is the extension of the state. Anything other than that is still market-based.

And you’re saying that my definition of socialism (or really the historical definition of socialism I am using) is antiquated. I’m trying to prove otherwise. You can’t have pure socialism without state control. It’s impossible, because people still want their independence, individualism and private property. So you need state force to retain the socialist structure. Not every entrepreneur is going to freely sign up to start their company as a worker co-op (or else that’s what we’d have already).

Yes, all of those things you mentioned are “socialist,” or can currently be thought of as the commons. That’s fine. We still are a market-based society. To truly want socialism, you’d need a fundamental shift in government control. That is the point I’m asking you to respond to.


#38

Clearly it bears repeating.


#39

What does?


#40

Any form of government or the leadership whose purpose is to harm others needs to be put to bed. The leadership of that government should be put in jail. The sole purpose of neoliberalism Is corruption and profits. It’s why the lobbyists for Wall Street were able to get the Glass Steagall off the books so to speak. Pure corruption. A society where most people cannot afford to live cannot survive.