Home | About | Donate

Teaching Democrats to Talk About Socialism

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/15/teaching-democrats-talk-about-socialism

1 Like

Perhaps we should teach Democrats how to chew gum first.

12 Likes

Certainly true of the 3rd Way “leadership”

A Judas goat is a trained goat used in general animal herding. The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep or cattle, leading them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared. Judas goats are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and onto trucks. They have fallen out of use in recent times, but can still be found in various smaller slaughterhouses in some parts of the world, as well as conservation projects.[1]

Sound like the “democrat leadership” ?

6 Likes

Maybe we could start first with pundits who can’t talk about socialism, either.

I think I’d prefer Democrats running away from the word than doing this kind of violence to it.

7 Likes

You are aware that it has not been the Democratic leadership who has been labeled a Judas goat, but rather Bernie Sanders. The historian and political scientist Paul Street has called Sanders a Judas goat, which is a more extreme version of the sheep dog. The idea being that Bernie is leading another generation to its political death at the hands of the Democratic Party. The Dem leadership is more straightforward just hypocrits for capitalism.

The problem with Freeman’s article is that he does know what socialism is either. If he had used Social Security or the New Deal programs as evidece of socialism that would be one thing, but he used the developement of the Interstate Highway system as the example. The origins of the Interstate Highway system have thier roots in Cold War thinking and capitalist profit making. The highway system was argued as needed for defense from a Soviet invasion (which was never going to happen) to move men and materiel quickly across the country. The main reason was profit: the highway ssystem allowed for the rapid development of consumerism of the automobile and of course, the oil, gas and rubber industry.
The Interstate highway system also provided the infrastructure for suburbia, so a massive gift to the construction industry.

Genuine socialism is not state control of the means of production, but rather worker control.
What we need to do is teach progressives (wayward liberals) about socialism.

14 Likes

I always think of the current 3rd Way ‘democrat’ leadership as the Judas Goat. And will continue to, until they show me something different.

Wall Street Red or Wall Street Blue is not a choice

4 Likes

Yet another mistaken article that equates socialism with government intervention or control. The author shares the same misconceptions of what socialism really is as the right-wing.

Bismarck’s policy was written about by Frederick Engels in Socialism, Utopian and Scientific:
“But of late, since Bismarck went in for state ownership of nationalised industrial establishments, a kind of spurious Socialism has arisen, degenerating now and again into something of a flunkeyism, that without more ado declares all state ownership, even of the Bismarckian sort, to be socialistic.” Engels went on to point out that state ownership “does not do away with the capitalist nature of the productive forces . . . The workers remain wage-workers – proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with.”
If anybody is seeking further understanding then can I suggest the website of the World Socialist Party of the United States
http://www.wspus.org/2019/09/revolution-not-reform-by-jordan-levi-swami-netero/

8 Likes

Thank you!

4 Likes

Excerpt:
Democratic Party (with which Sanders has been strongly if stealthily affiliated since at least the early 1990s) is the great and longstanding killing floor for radical and grassroots activism and protest. Its dreadful track record as a social justice cemetery goes back at least to the Populist rebellion of the 1890s and up through the industrial workers’ movement of the 1930s and Civil Rights, Black power, feminist, Chicano/a rights, immigrant rights, and gay rights movements during and since the 1960s. The dismal, demobilizing Dems’ leaders have not been averse to combing repression with co-optation, as when Democratic president Woodrow Wilson incarcerated and deported American socialists and anarchists during and after World War One. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson harassed, infiltrated, and spied on Civil Rights and antiwar activists. Barack Trans Pacific Obama’s savagely neoliberal administration helped coordinate the violent dismantlement of the Occupy Movement (this even while “Wall Street Barry” stole Occupy’s rhetoric for deployment against Mitt Romney) by Democratic Party-run city governments across the U.S in the fall of 2011.

4 Likes

Tom,

I will say that the Democratic leadership in 2016 used Bernie as a sort of Trojan Horse to bring on board millions of new voters.

Today, I am not sure Bernie knew he was being used for that purpose.

I for one was totally taken in with Bernie in 2016.

He pretty much has the same message this time around.

But my thoughts keep returning to the phase, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your stance on socialism which is very accurate and should be easily digested by all of us “we the people”.

You lightly mentioned corporate socialism by recusing the banks but I think the dems should be showing in the same manner you did above the yearly corporate socialism programs i.e. subsidies, laws to protect socialism for corporations via government contracts, lobbyists writing the laws for politicians can pass for these same corporate multi billionaires via tax laws and loopholes. Please write an article that would clearly state all corporate socialism.

“Genuine socialism is not state control of the means of production, but rather worker control.
What we need to do is teach progressives (wayward liberals) about socialism.”

We need urgently to define what we seek.
Public ownership is the ownership, i.e. the right of disposal, by a public body representing society, by the government, state power or some other political body. The persons forming this body, the politicians, officials, leaders, secretaries, managers, are the direct masters of the production apparatus; they direct and regulate the process of production; they command the workers.

Common ownership is the right of disposal by the workers themselves; the working class itself — taken in the widest sense of all that partake in really productive work, including employees, farmers, scientists — is direct master of the production apparatus, managing, directing, and regulating the process of production which is, indeed, their common work. Under public ownership the workers are not masters of their work; they may be better treated and their wages may be higher than under private ownership, but they are still exploited. Exploitation does not mean simply that the workers do not receive the full produce of their labor; a considerable part must always be spent on the production apparatus and for unproductive though necessary departments of society.

Exploitation consists in that others, forming another class, dispose of the produce and its distribution; that they decide what part shall be assigned to the workers as wages, what part they retain for themselves and for other purposes. Under public ownership, this belongs to the regulation of the process of production, which is the function of the bureaucracy.

State ownership, on the other hand, presupposes the existence of a government machine, a legal system, armed forces and the other features of an institutionalised organ of coercion. State-owned means of production belong to an institution which confronts the members of society, coerces them and dominates them, both as individuals and as a collectivity. Under state ownership the answer to the question “who owns the means of production?” is not “everybody” or “nobody” as with common ownership; it is “the state”. In other words, when a state owns the means of production, the members of society remain non-owners, excluded from control. Both legally and socially, the means of production belong not to them, but to the state, which stands as an independent power between them and the means of production.

Socialism will be a free federation of producers’ and consumers’ communes. The aim of socialism is to take the means of production out of the hands of the capitalist class and place them into the hands of the workers.

Marx employed four important words to describe future society: associated , socialised , collective and co-operative . All these words convey a similar meaning and bring out the contrast with capitalist society where not only the ownership and control of production but life generally is isolated and atomised.

Natural resources and the man-made instruments of production would be held in common: Marx speaks of “a community of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common” (Vol.1 Capital) and, in his Critique of the Gotha Programme, 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.
It is significant that Marx never defined communist 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.

Marx did not equate what is now called “nationalization” with socialism. Socialism is an economic system based upon conscious planning of production by associated producers (nowhere does Marx say: by the state), 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

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx wrote of future society as “an association which will exclude classes and their antagonism” and “an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

In Volume III of Capital Marx writes three or four times of production in future society being controlled by the “associated producers.” Association was a word used in working class circles in England to mean a voluntary union of workers to overcome the effects of competition. This was Marx’s sense too: in future society, the producers would voluntarily co-operate to further their own common interest; they would cease to be “the working class” and become a classless community.

Marx also talks about "cooperation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production "

Let’s return to the basics

4 Likes

Ugh. This is rancid. The proposition that any institution that comes from any government is “socialist” does, as Drone eloquently says, so much violence to the idea of socialism that CD should be embarrassed to post this kind of nonsense as serious writing.

4 Likes

So, is this wrong? Fyi, your response is unclear as which is what, maybe put some headings on your definitions…
SORRY THIS IS MEANT FOR ALAN J. - I could not figure out how to delete it…

I agree. But the fault is not just CD alone. This understanding is the standard one - and as you indicate - it is wrong. The DSA embraces this understanding of socialism too. By this definition we’d have to include the police, the FBI, the CIA and NSA as socialist as well.

This is pretty simple shit, really. Just look at ANY European or Asian Country and you will find more “socialist” type stuff from education to health care. Sanders would be considered “moderate” in most of these countries. And being called a Socialist, just call them Nazis if they insist on being fucking stupid, which most of them are. These dumbfucks don’t understand what a fascist is and they probably would think it a complement. One thing they do hate being called is “racist”, again which “most” are.

1 Like

As an aside; the best version of Little Wing is by Stevie Ray Vaughan IMO. All are good though.

1 Like

I don’t think that comparing socialism to the guard force at the airport is any way to sell socialism. Everyone hates those people, and sees them as the very reason to loathe socialism and gov. Find a better argument.

2 Likes

I agree to some extent. I heard Briahna Joy Gray on The Real News recently arguing that FDR and fire departments were and are socialist - and she’s a spokesperson for Sanders.

On the other hand, DSA is a growing organization and an ideological big tent which includes libertarian socialists who would find Freeman’s ideas downright vomit-inducing and others who are new to anticapitalist thinking. So I’m willing to cut them some slack because growth and rigid thinking don’t go well together. I don’t think there’s any need to be doctrinaire, and ideas can evolve as global conditions change. But socialism has to have an element of popular control, recognition of class interest and class conflict, and anticapitalist intent, or it isn’t meaningful at all.

4 Likes

Forget socialism! Just talk about “reasonable regulation”–A truly socialist society would be highly regulated–The corporate fascists like the Kochs really fear regulation much more than socialism!
This seems to be Warren’s strategy.

1 Like