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 The Presidential Debate Question No One Is Asking: ‘Are You a Capitalist?’



In a way, that's a goofy question. More precisely it should be: Are you pro-capitalist?

Capitalists, i.e., the capitalist class privately owns and controls the raw materials, tools machinery and buildings used to produce commodities. That's who they are. Further, capitalists live of the labor of their workers, i.e., they're exploiters or extractors of surplus value, i.e., profits.

Politicians such as Secretary Clinton are the political minions for the capitalist class as is much of the US state's politicians. Thus, it isn't even necessary to ask, "Are you merely the political representatives of the capitalist class?" Of course the answer is "yes."

There's one notable exception and that is Senator Bernie Sanders. He's not afraid of the socialist label because opinion polls show that most US residents support his policies that ignoramuses call "socialist." He's not out to expropriate the expropriators and institute social ownership of the means of production, i.e., socialism.


Yes. For me this article remains very shallow itself in defining what capitalism or socialism are - as each of these two economic systems or models has so many nuances and such a broad spectrum and it can be applied in so many ways according to the cultural conditions of a society and according to its political system. The problem in America is not capitalism as an economic system per se, but it is how the political system is representative of just a minority that shapes that economic system the way it benefits itself. In fact capitalism in America has very heavy socialistic elements already in the form of generous subsidies that corporations and the wealthy classes receive from the state.


Capitalism comes in many shapes and forms. An independent farmer who owns his raw materials (dirt, land, water) his machinery and tools (a hoe, combine, shovel) and buildings (barn, silo) sells his produce for a profit and who may or may not exploit his labor ( i.e. children, seasonal workers, etc.) is a capitalist. These types of 'capitalists' exist in every socialist society. Only when we have 'Marxist style' communism, in which the State owns all the land, all the means of production and all the tools and machinery, do we have an absence of capitalists. In every socialist country capitalists usually fare pretty well provided that the State provides a level playing field through senisble legislation and adequate enforcement. Capitalism only becomes a problem when the capitalist becomes too wealthy and rigs the system in their favor thereby undermining the public interest such as multinational corporations who buy politicians or establish monopolies.
In the United States the term 'socialism' has been demonized simply because of the need by corporate America to protect their turf. But over a century and a half, a well funded campaign to associate 'socialism' with its distant relative 'communism' has been very successsful in convincing most Americans that any detour from the corporate version of 'capitalism' would invariably lead to the total elimination of all of our personal possessions. While this concept is generally utter nonsense, a lack of open debate about the available types of governing systems (or political philosophy) has left the general public entrenched in this distorted mind set to the benefit of corporate America.
If Bernie Sanders is able to get Americans to revisit the term 'socialist', it may reverse 150 years of intense propaganda by the 1% to steer the public away from re-examining the way we function as a society. Though more politically developed countries around the world were able to move to a socialist type of government, the Americans have always been less inclined to do so for a variety of reasons. Perhaps now we may finally see an awakening of the citizenry to alternative forms of governance, yet it is still too early to tell.


Capitalism, by its inherent design, benefits those who own and control the capital while exploiting the worker class to maximize profits for those capitalists.

Furthermore, while there are some (rather than heavy, as you posted) socialistic elements included in U.S. government policies, those socialistic elements have been under continuous attack by Congress since the Reagan Administration. Two of the most important policies of (democratic) socialists that have been destroyed in recent decades in the U.S. are:

  • Worker representation in the workplace. When President Reagan fired all the striking air traffic controllers, he gave the corporations the unlimited opportunity and authority to wage war on workers ... union and non-union. Unions are only a shadow of what they once were.
  • A social safety net. President Clinton's Welfare Reform Act of 1996 completely gutted the social safety net. That was an act of war against the poor and those living in poverty ... most of which are single women with dependent children, the disabled, the mentally ill, and the elderly. Those living in deep poverty were (and are) the most affected.

I encourage you, and respectfully request, that you learn more about the principles of democratic socialism at the Socialist Party - USA website.


Good points! As confirmation to your post, I heard a commentator on CNN earlier today discussing the Democratic Debate tonight. They have no concept of the differences between liberals, progressives or democratic socialists. (This is just one example.)

They have absolutely no knowledge (or understanding) of the language of the "left".

Gawd help them if someone were to ever mention the expansion of Empire. They would have no idea what you were referring to.


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I consider the two terms 'progressive' and social-democrat' as basically the same. They both hark back to earlier eras, the Progressive Era (roughly from 1880s to 1920) and the social-democracy of FDR.

I prefer 'progressive' for two reason.

1) The Progressive era was a fight to make big systemic changes. The era began out of the Populist era and the rise of farmers, then miners and the growing industries in the cites. In others words, labor issues against the monopolies. From there it also made changes in the education, prison, health care, food safety and banking industries. Election system reform as well. I'm leaving stuff out, but 'progress' was made. And we need to make big systemic changes once again.

2) It rolls off the tongue better. I simply like to say 'progressive' rather than 'socialist.' I also think we can abbreviate it better, 'Pro.' In fact we could frame the difference between the other party better, "we are Pro, they are Con." We also can frame it as deciding an issue, the "pros and cons," as all humans like to choose the positive side.

So, go Pro, Bernie Sanders.


The Progressives started Liquor Prohibition. You may want to keep socialist.


I would love to hear that question tonite. But billion dollar election media profits won't give Bernie a break to talk about things that could affect CNN's bottom line. They are pushing Wall Streeters Clinton and Biden in nauseatingly obvious ways. So is MSNBC and I assume the rest.

God, I would love to see Bernie win.


Most people don't know that there is a significant difference between being a "social democrat" and being a "democratic socialist". The following links explain the difference:

Words make a difference ... even the order of the words.

As anyone can readily determine after referring to the links provided; Senator Sanders is Social Democrat ... not a Democratic Socialist.

The Proof
Senator Sanders is not advocating for the key components of democratic socialism:

  • Replacing the economic system of capitalism with socialism, or
  • Replacing the private ownership of (large) business/corporations with social (public) ownership.

I realize that Senator Sanders has the right to call himself what ever he wants ... even if it is wrong. After all, most of the populace that is supporting him doesn't know the difference. Furthermore, they just plain don't give a damn.


"Socialism or capitalism-complete freedom or total slavery."-Eugene V. Debs

As Debs knew, there is no good or less-bad form of capitalism.


In 2015 USA capitalism is a euphemism for 21st century fascism.

Adolph Hitler, Prescott Bush, Henry Ford and other 20th century fascists would be green with envy if they could see how successful the 21st century soft selling of fascism is.


It has now been asked, although Sanders answered, as I recall, that he was not a casino capitalist.