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What is Democratic Socialism, American-Style?


What is Democratic Socialism, American-Style?

Peter Dreier

Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign is generating lots of media attention, the word "socialism" is in the news. But few Americans know what it is or what Sanders means when he describes himself as a "democratic socialist."


Although I agree with Drier that Medicare and Medicaid were "stepping stones toward universal health care", Obamacare(ACA) is a stepping stone AWAY from universal health care. ACA author Liz Fowler made sure that the ACA's 2000 pages include hurdles that assure no progress toward universal care will occur in the lifetimes of anybody reading this article today.


Great article, thanks. Very succinct and well written summary by Mr. Dreier. And, could someone please e-mail this to Hillary's office at the DNC. It's the big one right above Debbie Wasserman Schultz's cubby hole. You can't miss it. Just follow your nose and look for a vault. The timing of this is perfect, too. Hillary and Bill will have some very good debating points to counterbalance Bernie's mean, and unwarranted, attacks on their___________( please fill in the blank ) .


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Im surprised he left out Teddy Roosevelt. His progressive party planks (1912) were way ahead of their time. FDR copied some of these,


I certainly hope there is much more discussion about this subject and if the Sanders campaign does nothing else it will be worth the effort. When I went through college in the sixties comparative government hardly mentioned the subject. Americans as a whole are extremely ignorant on this subject and our nation suffers for it.


Democratic Socialism tends to "be in the eye of the beholder. (see:http://www.dsausa.org/what_is_democratic_socialism). Either way, it isn't relevant to today's discussion.

Sen. Sanders was an Independent, is now a Democrat, and is clearly a capitalist. He used to speak out powerfully about US poverty and the need for legit poverty relief programs. This doesn't sell to today's middle class, so he dumped the poor to appeal to campaign donors.

This is a distinctly anti-Socialist generation. "Stand in Solidarity -- to protect the advantages of the middle class alone" is the opposite of any concept of socialism, and it is what has defined US liberals since the 1990s. This generation so strongly believes in the success of our capitalist/corporate state that they think everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. Middle classers want a sort of :"socialism" that benefits them alone -- higher wages, more power in the workplace. Essentially more of the same, but with a cross-their-heart promise from politicians to protect the advantages of the middle class. This, of course, is not possible, since they don't exist in isolation, immune from the very "market forces" that have (so far) personally benefited them.


An interesting point about FDR: Did you know that what came to be called AFDC was actually first included in FDR's Social Security Act? The Clinton Democrats got rid of that, and have continued to work to phase out Social Security itself, cut by cut, part by part, so far targeting primarily the disabled. Liberals have been quite indifferent toward the consequences.


DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM: The roots of these words say it all, just in another way; i.e., of the people, by the people and for the people.

Democratic Socialist far preferable to Republican (or Conservative) Sociopath.

Urge all to view the great documentary, "Sacco and Vanzetti" to be reminded of two other Socialists who were executed by know nothing, discriminatory, xenophobic public and their courts. McCarthyism in the extreme, now being resurrected by Trump---"He's a socialist/communist!"

GOP "enemies"? Ya think?


"Democratic Socialist far preferable to Republican (or Conservative) Sociopath."
Don't be too sure about that. I used to like Sanders too, because of his statements about Single Payer and impeaching Bush and Cheney. But I see
that he is a WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING. I would rather face a wolf in
wolf's clothing, and not be lulled into a false sense of security, as happened with so many supporters of Obama, and other "democratic" politicians.
Sanders mis-educates about what socialism is.
He would have done better referring people to Einstein's "Why Socialism" at
MonthlyReview.org. or some classic socialist readings.
Scandinavia has a much better quality of life, having some TRAPPINGS of
socialism. But technically, those countries are not socialist, not having nationalized their means of production. The important question is WHICH
GROUP SHOULD RULE?- THE "1%", the Ruling Class, or the MAJORITY
OF SOCIETY? (Working class people are the majority of many societies,
including ours.)
DANGEROUSLY: Sanders, the "socialist" is herding people back into
a CAPITALIST PARTY, where efforts for progress will be frustrated, because
you are playing on THEIR TURF- they know the in's and out's of the terrain
of THEIR PARTY. The 1% NEED that party to keep people from building
a REAL alternative to the overtly Repugnant Party, and they are NOT going
to let decent people take control of it. They need a demagogic party to keep
the illusion of democracy. Repug's for the yahoo's, Demagogs for better
intentioned, and somewhat better educated folks.
The fact that the "Democratic" party is using a "socialist" to herd the disaffected back into that party - indicates that the idea of socialism isn't
the boogeyman it used to be. Social conditions are pushing people in that
direction, and maybe word is getting out that Einstein, Time mag's "Man of
the Century" was a socialist, along with many other distinguished people,
And of course, Time didn't mention his socialist thinking.
"Don't get fooled again!" -The Who. Learn about socialism from socialists!
They have their differences, but check out wsws.org, workers.org, socialistworker.org, socialistorganizer.org, socialistaction.org, and others...
YOU WILL BE AMAZED with what you learn!
And if you're not ready for that, at least try Counterpunch.org and search


Don't expect to convert Hillary. She'll give you some new version of
"I feel your pain", and then proceed with more wars, cutbacks, and
moves towards a police state, and Global Corporate Empire.
Too bad Sanders has pledged to support her if she gets the nomination.
And too bad a "socialist" is leading people back into a corporate-controlled
(capitalist) party.
In the early 80's, Sanders was asked what party he was registered with.
He answered Socialist Workers Party. But he did not become a member.
If he had, he could have gotten a good education. Instead, he made a deal
with the "Democratic" party to hold back the third party movement, and
get some pork with the cost-overrun boondoggle F-35 fighter plane-
a high tech killing machine that should not be in the hands of the same
Ruling Class that gave us the Vietnam and numerous other wars, countless coups and dictatorships, resulting in easily more than 10 million unnecessary
deaths around the world in my lifetime. (Search Dr. Gideon Polya.)
Please read "Bernie out of the Closet" at Counterpunch.org.


In a social democracy, ALL citizens should experience inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice, and policies and programs are necessary when individuals and associations of individuals are unable to tackle the immense scale of certain societal needs. But, whenever possible our system should build character and personal responsibility. The end result that we should seek to achieve is that citizen should become empowered as productive capital owners to meet their own consumption needs with government more dependent on economically independent citizens, thus reversing current global trends where all citizens will eventually become dependent for their economic well being on the State and whatever elite controls the coercive powers of government.


In your article, I need to stop you here:

"Sanders’ support of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the ongoing U.S. War on Iraq, Sanders sold out to the corporate and war Democrats as early as 1990." - Article at: counterpunch.org

Bernie Sanders Vigorously Opposes the Gulf War, the First Iraq War (1991)

That just made your article not very credible.