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Socialism as a Cure for Exceptionalism


#1

Socialism as a Cure for Exceptionalism

Paul Buchheit

The form of 'socialism' embraced here is more accurately a social democracy, "a compromise between the market and the state." Our American exceptionalism derives in part from neoliberal and neoconservative demands that we be unconstrained by domestic or foreign governments.

Environment: Drones Dropping Seeds Rather Than Bombs


#2

There are many who seek power being decentralized from nations and into cities, where local solutions may be tuned and applied to local problems. This is a positive trend and is in agreement with the spirit of the founders' vision for the country.

There are those who seek power being decentralized from nations and into corporations ("free trade" agreements, etc.). This fascism (or corporatism, etc.) clearly represents government of the one percent, by the one percent and for the one percent.

Only one current presidential candidate stands out!


#3

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#5

Like the Obama of 2008, Sanders knows how to be appear anti-war under some circumstances, but his voting record is overall pro-war, especially when it comes to funding US imperialism. Speaking of funding, the F-35 boondoggle, which will cost US workers at least a trillion dollars, is Sanders' pet project. And Sanders 'stands with President Obama' regarding extending the 14 year War Against the Afghan People, not to mention demonizing Russia, Iran, Palestinians, etc.

When push comes to shove, Sanders always supports US wars and participates in the manufacture and maintenance of a ready list of so-called 'enemies' so as to perpetuate the cycle of violence.

But obviously, there needs to Trojan Horse for 2016, just like Obama was the Trojan Horse for 2008.

But anyone who has paid attention the last 6 years and thinks we can get more than this from the Democratic Party is living in Fantasyland.


#7

Not only is it a pathetic comment, Bernie voted against the latest Defense Authorization Bill which included funding for the infamous, oh how the green people love it, F-35. Yes, Bernie voted against the F-35, he and two other Senators. He was the only one to talk about the need to cut defense spending at the debate. These people, the usual suspects, don't even update their own boilerplate laden with red herrings.


#8

Good intentioned article - but very confusing in its fundamental definitions. What Bernie is talking is really humanism and humane approaches...that have existed throughout of human history...not much new there really. Socialism i.e. the state owns the means of production...just embraced and tried to implement (with some degree of success) these humane values and approaches. It turned out a disaster in the economic or political arena...but its intentions and aspirations were an expression of ageless humanistic ideals such as equality of education, equality of gender, international solidarity, equality of access to health, disdain for excess wealth, for oppression, exploitation, racism, etc.

To our mates here who hammer on Bernie - I say, please don't. He is not perfect. He cannot be. But he is different. And he is better than any of the other alternatives. And he has the highest degree of integrity that one can find around. And he has a chance. And he is making an effort. If he is not enough for you, then either try and run yourselves or offer a viable alternative.


#10

I must be having a really bad cognitive day :blush: because I found little cohesion from one section (or paragraphs, in some cases) to the next.

I want to credit the author for correctly stating in the very first paragraph that Senator Sanders' brand of socialism is really a "social democracy". There is a difference between democratic socialism and a social democracy.

  • Social democracies work within the economic system of capitalism,and
  • Democratic socialism works under the political and economic system of socialism.

The financial agenda of the Green Party and of Senator Sanders (the Scandinavian model) is that of a "social democracy" because it is intended to function within the economic system of capitalism.

I want to make a correction to the following statement contained in the article:

As explained by Alperovitz: "What most people think of as socialism is that, with socialism, ownership of wealth and power is traditionally concentrated within the state and its national government.

If this is the people's thinking, it is incorrect. Please refer to the following that was snipped from the Socialist Party - USA website under Points of Agreement:

The Socialist Party is a democratic socialist organization. We see socialism as a new social and economic order in which workers and consumers control production and community residents control their neighborhoods, homes and school and the production of society is used for the benefit of all humanity, not the private profit of a few.

Please note that everything mentioned in the above paragraph relates to "decentralization". Ownership, production and distribution is democratically controlled on a local basis. (Local can mean town, state or region based on the need of the people.)

By the way, the same philosophy and principles are advocated by the Socialist Equality Party (Trotsky).

Under socialism businesses are not nationalized until they reach a market value of $10 billion. (See note.) Once nationalized, the business is turned over to local workers, worker councils, worker-community cooperatives, or other such collectives for the day-to-day operations and management. Small businesses (under $10 billion in market value) are not subject to nationalization.

(Note) As advocated by the Socialist Equality Party.


#11

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#13

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#14

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#15

In fascism, the state is supreme. As Hitler said: "Ein volk! Ein fuehrer! Ein Reich!"

It was the German industrialists who convinced Hindenburg to hold his nose and nominate Hitler to be Chancellor. Hindenburg hated Hitler because Hitler was a lowly corporal and Hindenburg was a field marshall. Hitler was also Austrian; he wasn't a German. The industrialists wanted Hitler in power because he was a rabid anti-communist and the industrialists did not want a Marxist revolution in Germany; so, they told Hindenburg that they can control HItler (famous last words).

Fascism is not corporatism because Hitler had absolute power. When he told the industrialists to jump, they said: "how high and when can we come down?"

Corporatism exists in laissez-faire capitalism because the market determines what happens in the society, not a dictator like Hitler.


#16

There is a difference between socialists like Eugene Debs (who ran for the presidency several times); progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and Battling Bob La Follette; and the Social Democratic parties of Europe. Sanders is a hybrid progressive/social democrat. He simply calls himself a socialist.

The progressives William Jennings Bryan and Roosevelt preached redistribution of the wealth in the country (read Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech; Bryan thunders against the oppression of the poor by the rich like an Old Testament prophet) and old Teddy proposed steeply graduated income and inheritance taxes to redistribute the wealth. Neither Roosevelt nor Bryan were socialists like Debs because Debs wanted the government to own the means of production. The economy would be planned by the government instead of the invisible hand of the market. The difference between Debs and Marx is that Marx insisted there had to be a violent revolution to overthrow capitalism and produce a classless society, while Debs thought change could come peacefully via the ballot box. Both Marx and Debs were wrong because Debs never did win an election and the revolutions that did occur (Russia and China) did not produce classless societies. (Orwell lampooned the Soviet Union under Stalin in his masterpiece "Animal Farm": "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than other animals."

A Social Democratic party never formed in the US because the very conservative Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people. This means they have the same constitutional rights as people have. Since a strike violates the right of the corporation to own property (to make money), the police always sided with the owners and against the strikers in the US. A strong labor movement is necessary for a Social Democratic party and since there was no strong labor movement in the US, a Social Democratic party never formed.

Germany had all kinds of social welfare programs 50 years before FDR came up with Social Security in the US because of the Social Democratic party in Germany. You are wrong to think both parties are corporate parties because all the social welfare legislation we now have (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, a minimum wage, the ACA, etc.) are the result of the Democrats. Republicans have always opposed social welfare programs because they require the government to tax them and Republicans stupidly want to cut taxes on the wealthy. Mitt Romney said in the campaign in 2012 that he deserved to pay lower taxes because he created jobs, while Barack Obama has proposed raising taxes on the wealthy.


#17

Criticizing Sanders for supporting the military makes as much sense as criticizing a bachelor for being unmarried. The president is commander-in-chief of the military (it is in the Constitution; you could look it up). Therefore, it is nonsense to think a person who doesn't want to use the military will try to become president (remember that von Clausewitz said "war is an extension of foreign policy by other means").

If you want a person to become president who won't use the military, you must believe in the tooth fairy. If you are a pacifist, then your only recourse is to refuse to serve in the military. Or, you could practice civil disobedience. Thoreau was so outraged by President Polk's trumped up war with Mexico that he refused to pay his taxes because they would support the war (a Congressman from Illinois named Lincoln also opposed the war; but Lincoln had no qualms about using the military when the pro-slave states seceded from the Union). Thoreau willingly went to jail; are you willing to go to jail as a protest of the military actions of the US?


#18

Let's please remember that funds were being poured into the situation into both sides (Axis and Allies), which is laissez-faire capitalism writ large.


#19

I once wrote my token screenplay, about tribes that flew, migrating around the world in personal flying machines and dropping degradable bags of diverse seeds mixed with our compost in barren places. The seeds were strewn more haphazardly like bird casting seeds in their droppings. A more similar method to Masanobu Fukuoka's than the specific, studied way the drone planting company does it.

I am glad to see this no brainer come to fruition. I hope they will start incorporating cannabis seeds in their seed/compost balls.


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#21

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#22

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#23

Wealth and power are sides of the same coin. Socialist, Capitalist, or any other system of government can work if the grassroots sets a limit to the amount of personal wealth one can possess. Any excess personal wealth can be distributed automatically and equally to all citizens. This will avoid the dictatorial power centralization that comes with wealth concentration.

Begging sold out politicians to fix the wealth/power gap with taxes on the wealthy is intended to fail. Taxes raise the price of goods and lose jobs. And taxes always find their way into the pockets of the oligarchy.

Bernie may be the only candidate that understands democracy.


#25

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