In 2006, when I told people that I was a socialist, they looked at me like I was crazy. To be a socialist was to be on the margins of American political life, wedded to a lost cause that disappointed millions. It was the political equivalent of being a Milli Vanilli fan.
The Washington Post and other mainstream media continue to use terms like "RADICAL LEFT" to influence their audience opinion of Sanders. They never mention that Sanders' platform is little different from those of TR, FDR, JFK or LBJ, none of whom are considered "radical left".
"In an age of universal deceit, anybody telling the truth is labeled a radical" - George Orwell
Socialism has been demonized by many in the older generation because many have been so brainwashed by the lies of the MSM over the last 50/60 years and it is still going on today: " no one but a far, left wing communist/socialist would ever vote for Sanders, he has no chance." Bill O' Reilly.
That Fox news quote was done many months ago when Bernie was given almost no chance to beat HRC.
Love to see Billo eat crow when Bernie becomes POTUS!
When the main stream media labels anyone " the radical left" what they mean is these people could be a potential political, threat to the oligarchy, and the economic elite.
Bernie constantly reminds me of why I never registered for a political party. He was smart to use the D label as Mr. Nader points out in another article.
I think when most people think of socialism the think of ownership of the means of production. Sander's socialism seems to be enlargement of the welfare state so why wouldn't it be acceptable since the welfare state has been part of US politics since the New Deal. In other words, Sanders is not Eugene Debs, perhaps the best known American socialist, Basically Sander's socialism means a stronger safety net and particularly greater benefits for the working poor who are mostly likely unable to afford college or health care insurance. I think younger people need to be very concerned about the growing implementation of artificial intelligence and robots. Millions of people could get thrown out of work and unemployment rates approaching 50% could become normal. It is very possible that we are completely unprepared to deal with an automated world that could soon become much more prevalent than at present. W could be on the verge of a revolution in how work is done for which more and more excludes humans. None of the presidential candidates have even suggested that this could be a major problem.
There is nothing "radical left" about Bernie's program. All that he aspires already exists in the UK and in Germany, where the conservative governments will defend these social achievements with all means at their disposal. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the Conservative British government said as much in an interview with Michael Moore.
It is just, that our plutocratic conditioning has completely skewed our concepts of definitions from Communism through capitalism to plutocracy as they compare to international standards.
Most people who use the terms "socialism" and "communism" do not know what they are talking about. Before Sanders' current success, think about who uses these terms and for what purpose: those who control the banks and their corporations, as well as their lackeys.
Usually, the terms are used as ad hominem or appeals to emotions (i.e., logical fallacies) to compare anyone or any party that threatens the power of the .00001%. Given the .00001%'s control over the federal, state, and key local governments, as well as media, the polling organizations, and the electronic voting machines, it has been relatively easy to brainwash the masses.
The authoritarian regimes in Russia and China are often referred to as "socialism" and/or "communism," but is this really true? After all, Lenin was backed by the western bankers, who opposed Kerensky and his state-owned central bank. The Anglo-Euro-American banking cartel also owns near majority stakes in China's biggest banks, and forced China into adopting capitalist accounting methods and banking policies in order to join the WTO. The upshot is that neither Russia and China are truly sovereign and their economies are better described as state capitalism. In terms of political organization, the commissars ruled like the Czars and Mao ruled liked the Mings. The authoritarianism of Russia and China is a cultural trait, not a political or economic one.
Sanders labels himself as a "democratic socialist," which is different than a "socialist." For starters, Sanders does not question the capitalist system, nor has his program challenged the concept behind the privately owned central bank known as the "Federal" Reserve System.
For any nation to be "socialist," the government must, for starters, control its own central bank and currency. Every nation destroyed since 9-11 (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, etc.), controlled its own central bank and currency. Now there are only five left--Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Sudan (plus a few hybrids). Get the picture? It's "the official enemies list."
This is not to demean what Sanders has done, in terms of changing the conversation. All his proposed programs are possible and affordable IF the Fed were nationalized, which would make it possible to end profiteering on wars, healthcare, education, etc.
So, when the banks and the corporations use their media and political lackeys to call an individual or group "socialistic," consider that corporate control over the state is one of the textbook definitions of fascism. Like Hitler, these jack-booted criminals are attempting to bully us into ignoring that they are the problem.
Too much of the language used in this article is straight out of the language crafted by some of the most intelligent (albeit devious) people on the planet to successfully execute the Raygun revolution nearly four decades ago that every one of Raygun's successors has expanded. With plenty of other easily understood terminology and the need to win over at least one generation of Murkins who sustained decades of brainwashing, the devious language that has always been part of the problem and not part of any solution needs to be discounted and deemed irrelevant whenever and wherever possible.
Although I WILL read Jacobin (the author's publication) tomorrow morning for the first time to give the benefit of doubt, right now its too late in the day for me to read unfamiliar material that has the potential to disrupt my sleep. Will I find terms like "death tax" and other loaded terms in the articles ? I don't know.
Bernie is not a part of any "radical left". Whatver may have existed of the radical left from the 1960s, died when Ronald Reagan became president in 1980. Bernie's platform is very mainstream Democrat circa 1970s, there's nothing radical about it. It's the MSM & cultural of the country that shifted to the radical right & from that vantage point a mainstream Democrat only seems radical to those who weren't alive in the 60s & 70s.
brother Sunkara has this argument nailed cold. It's not an easy call for leftists determined to preserve the integrity of their ideology, and most of us understand that. But there is always a point where reality intrudes on politics, and for us (in the US), this is that point.
We've needed two things for years: the space to deploy our language and ideas without the constant perversion of capitalist propaganda, and the second is that we've needed to cast a bigger net, understanding that the transition from being a born and raised capitalist drone to an aware and independent worker (and human being) is neither fast nor easy. We needed to be more flexible about our dogma so as not to scare the bejesus out of the curious.
This is, I think, Sanders contribution to the longer term cause. And it's a big deal. I've never had an easier time to have casual conversations about socialist politics than I have with the Left of Sanders' campaign. It's been a really cool thing to experience.
So yeah, this is a very necessary step forward.
Indeed. And Bernie will be the provider of this should he win. What I call the necessary breath of fresh air.
I reject the term "radical" left. That's nonsense. Nothing "radical" about ANY of Sanders platform. He is a New Deal, True Blue Democrat. His ideas are mainstream and supported by the majority of Americans. It's just the corporate establishment not in support and the corporate wing of the Democratic party is proving as bad as the GOP in their misinformation and smear campaign.
This is twice I've seen this and I'm not sure why. The article isn't saying this at all. At no point is Sunkara claiming that Sanders' platform is radical or even left. That wasn't his point. His context with the term was basically to suggest that for those of us who are radicals, this campaign is providing a rare historical opportunity to expand our appeal and base and further radicalize those on the Sanders left who really should be with us in the first place.
This article makes that plain even for those of us who are the radical left and understand the very real contribution of Bernie. For conservative "America" to begin even to consider socialism as a real option even as its people struggle with its actual meaning gives me hope. Socialism or barbarism!
The youth vote of today will be alive to witness EXPONENTIAL Climate change, which is now underway as I write here. The radical changes that are coming will be (no pun intended) the Fire that will fuel the coming rise of this faction to Nat'l and Int'l power. Nothing less then radical change will save a portion of humanity from the unfolding calamity of AGW. We've already passed through critical tipping pts. and there is now no going back. The rage building out here that NOTHING significant is being done to try and change course will itself reach a tipping pt. within the next few election cycles. If it's not Bernie eventually it will be someone else someone younger and more charismatic, but just as determined and focused.
From long experience world-wide, you cannot reform capitalism in any meaningful way for people.
This means when 'president' Sanders fails to achieve his pledges and promises, people will become disillusioned but it will not be capitalism that gets the blame but Sanders' 'socialism'.
Therefore Sanders will set back the movement for socialism, not advance it.
As much an Eisenhower Republican as an FDR Democrat... certainly a FAR cry from a "Radical Left"
Socialists believe that the problems facing America and the world, such as environmental despoliation, the systematic waste of public resources for private profit, persistent unemployment concentrated among women and racial minorities, and the maldistribution of wealth, power, and income, are not mere aberrations of the capitalist system ... they are the capitalist system!
This is why Socialists are not impressed by political appeals based on the personal qualities or “charisma” of any individual politician. Socialists believe that it is the system — and the institutions which make up that system — that must be changed.
Capitalism cannot be reformed or made to be kinder and gentler to the working class. Capitalism's only objective is to generate profit/capital so the capitalist ruling class can continue to accumulate more and more capital.
Capitalism does not have conscience and it was never intended to have a sense of right and wrong. Exploiting people and natural resources are simply ways to generate and accumulate more capital.
A capitalist system, whose prime directive is the production of capital, will work constantly to refine and improve its ability to do just that. It will continue until it is stopped by an external force of some kind, or it collapses under its own weight.
Being "true and blue" sounds rather conservative to me - that is why blue is the universal color of conservatism around the world. . The left should always be about questioning authority and seriously needs to reclaim the color red - it is the color or anger and we need to reclaim anger from the right.
And by the way, "radical" means "one who seeks the roots of things". It does not mean "extremist". Back in the anti-global-capitalist-organizing days we all called ourselves "radicals".