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 Why Grassroots Democrats Don’t Have a Problem With Democratic Socialism


 Why Grassroots Democrats Don’t Have a Problem With Democratic Socialism

John Nichols

“Do I think Bernie Sanders should talk about democratic socialism? Yes, I do,” says Iowan Mary Clark. “I want him to explain everything in detail—give people a really good explanation. People who like Bernie are probably going to like him a little more if he does that. And people who aren’t supporting Bernie now might just say, ‘It sounds like he’s got some ideas that would actually solve our problems.’”


Democratic socialism.
You have a voice.
Everyone is important.
What's not to like?


Nichols' multiple assertions in this article that "the late 80s and 90s saw the emergence of a more cautious Democratic Party" is a mischaracterization of the history of the past three decades.

When the Clintons and others formed the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in 1985 the Democratic Party's mission became limited to getting MORE CORPORATE CASH THAN THE GOP GETS.

While "cautious" implies a passive approach, for 30 years Congressional Democrats along with Presidents Clinton and Obama have actively and zealously promoted pro 1% / anti 99% action, starting with the most regressive "tax reform" in US history in 1986, serial "trade deals", decriminalization of New Deal financial industry regulations, enabling corporate monopolies, never meeting a corporate welfare program they didn't love including the Affordable care Act (ACA) that mandates Murkins purchase of private insurance and ever more expensive medications.

Concurrent with 30 years of carrying water for Wall Street, the Democratic Party has distanced itself from pre-DLC Democrats (Jimmy Carter, for example) as much as possible, in some cases demonizing them (Ralph Nader, for example).


Quite frankly I'm surprised, this is one of Mr. Nichols' best. Other than my humble musings on these pages, he is the first to mention Michael Harrington, the apostate, who suggested working socialism through the Democratic Party, that, along with his support of George McGovern earned him pariah status among the true believers of his day. I've followed Eric Foner since my undergraduate days, his urging Sanders to “embrace our own American radical tradition” rather than “inadvertently [reinforce] the idea that socialism is a foreign import.” is very important and the only way to an American Socialism, all of Hedges' channeling of Rosa Luxemburg et. al. to the contrary notwithstanding. Whatever happens will grow out of the American experience, all change, although similiar in many respects, varies according to each nation's history. This article mentions many forgotten socialist figures, their work should be drawn upon as foundation.

Bernie's campaign must succeed. I'm not one who believes the fact of his running is enough, no, his winning is a begnning, his losing, with the prospect of Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House, Mitch McConnell as Majority leader of the Senate, and Hillary Clinton in the White House for four or eight years of reaction is not a "consummation devoutly to be wished."


I truly don't get the snipe against Hedges, as he has consistently emphasized the history of American socialism, as to the sacrifices, oppression, and ultimate impact of those movements in what gains were made relative to the New Deal.


Well, maybe you are reading things by Hedges I'm not familiar with, he never mentions Harrington, and I don't recall his mentioning Cousins, I may be wrong. I'm not a slavish follower of Hedges or any one else. For example, his silly notion that Bernie is funneling people to Hillary and the Democrats.


One doesn't have to be a slavish follower of a person to be a fair critic of said person. Now, you are insinuating since I am simply stating the fact that Hedges does exactly what you wish Sanders would do in regard to embracing a tradition of American radical socialism, you insinuate such a correction makes me a "slavish follower".



No insinuation at all. I read many pieces by Hedges, not only here, and there are those who are slavish followers. I have no opinion on whether you are or not. I repeat, my memory is far from perfect, but I do not remember Hedges referencing the American Tradtion of radicalism very much, but much talk about Europe. It is such a breath of fresh air that Nichols mentions Eric Foner


I swear, this is the type of things I've been writing about for months. We have probably entered a new era "Pro v Con" or Progressives versus Conservatives, at least I hope so. Even Hillary called herself that at the debate (we know she isn't).

Bernie is almost beyond description because he just doesn't want to be categorized. I wonder if he has been blurring the language because ultimately he doesn't care what it's called. He's a realist that knows that no system is black and white, we live in overlapping shades of gray.

He's an Independent, running in the Democratic Party. He has called himself a Democratic Socialist, a socialist, a Progressive. He has no problem being called a Populist. He's a humanist, and a non-practicing Jew that has respect for Jesus' message about the 'least amongst us.'

He's about integrity and honesty, whatever -ism that might be called. Compare that to Clinton's 57% American's distrust factor.

And he's got a possibility that if he wins the presidency, the GOP won't have that rage hate that plagued Obama and exists for Clinton now, a long history of hate for the pair, including Bill. They will be spastic with obstructionism and wanting to investigate any morsel of bad behavior for both of them. I wonder, can Bill run the family charity as a First Gentlemen? He would be the most powerful presidential mate in history.

Bernie is such an alternative, I really will be surprised at this point if he can't beat Hillary. He's the underdog, and Democrats end up with them and win. Carter, Clinton and Obama all were underdogs to win party nomination.


Although he will undoubtedly want to be Chief of Interns, with Hillary in the White House Bill will definitely need help dealing with all of the additional corporate money that "the family charity" will be raking in.


Bernie does need to explain his "democratic socialism"--First and foremost, I think, he should explain "socialism of scale" in which individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, family farms (damn few of those left!) and mom and pop businesses would be as free as they are now to innovate, prosper and grow--under Bernie's DS probably freer or with better support by the government--It's when corporate entities reach a certain size--ie too big to fail, or too big to bother with laws, ethics or morality that they come under increased regulation--The big corps, whether they are "persons" or not will get the ever-living crap regulated out of them! And that's "socialism of scale."


If Bernie wins, he will have a hard time getting anything through the Republican Congress. He says we need to get behind him in a revolution so he will be able to get his programs across. I don't think he means to take up arms, but what does he mean? That we hit the streets every time he wants to get something done? That we write or call Republicans who being conservatives, will not change? That we outbribe the corporations that own the politicians on both parties?

I don't see that any of the above has had much effects on politicians. Things are deteriorating as more corporate bribes are spread around.

The most obvious and bloodless way to get behind Bernie would be to have him pass laws by referendum.

Bernie needs to take democracy to its highest power, to direct democracy, by bringing back the binding popular referendum. In my view, this is the only bloodless way to change the system.


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Interesting. Here Matt Heins posts a scathing indictment of the overlords, yet he can be counted on in these threads to shill for nuclear power. And a few days ago, he also sought to diminish the value of Chris Hedges' always brilliant and incisive analyses:


"Hedges is the poster child for the counter productivity of endlessly discussing a problem as opposed to trying to solve one."

So which is it? Schizophrenia, or the kind of loyalties divided due to allegiance to a paycheck?

"Tip o' the hat to Mr. Nichols. It really takes skill to do what he does and his payday is well deserved." (You should know ALL about that.)


Good, sound reasoning here. The caveat would have to be that corporate-Republican entities NOT own the voting--for referendum--machines or they WILL cheat and produce "outcomes" favorable to their own egregious interests as is shown by any third world elections or America's current post-coup version of politics-as-theater (with outcomes decided by The Supreme Court, Ohio's corrupt governor, or other insiders loyal to the 1%).

In other words, paper trails required!


If we must use voting machines, at least they should not be owned and operated by any corporation or party, but by government of the people.

Voting machines have sullied the waters of online voting. Many still think they are the same although the two are very different.

Casting encrypted votes online from your home or on the go is much safer than voting on corporate voting machines. If Snowden recommends encryption for safe online communications, that is good enough for me. You can print out your vote for a paper trail.

Safe, encrypted online voting is the future, but for now, only ignorance and oligarchy prevent its use as an adjunct to more primitive, less safe methods like voting at polls on Republican's voting machines or mailing in your ballots to be discarded in dumpsters like in Florida during Bush vs Gore.

Imagine casting a safe encrypted vote with a touch on your cellphone. Voter turnout would soar.


No, I don't think Bernie talking about "democratic socialism" will help him or us (or the U.S.).

What Bernie needs to talk about is purely Empire vs. democracy --- and he needs to alert people as Thomas Paine, Paul Revere, and others did at the founding that Empire is very real, oppressive, and the cause of our entire "ailing social order", though it was only partially cloaked then because its troops wore Red Coats, and he needs to remind Americans that real democracy did not exist before the First American Revolution against the Empire.

Bernie then needs to compel and ignite in Americans the truth that what passes for a democratic Republic today is merely a facade produced and presented by the media and political charade of a far more sophisticated and far better disguised Global Crony-Capitalist Empire by a tiny unseen ruling-elite three centuries later --- and that his job #1 as president is to 'out' the Empire and re-establish a just, equal, and fair system of democracy and liberty from Empire through a non-violent Second American Revolution against this advancing Empire, as was the original goal of the true American Dream --- not just for private profit as that dream has been bastardized.

Liberty, democracy, equality, and justice
Violent (and Vichy disguised)

(And then he has to sign it, Bernie)

[Note, whenever Empire exists and grows, like a cancer, everything else in the 'body politic' and the entire society shrinks, withers, and eventually dies. This current Global Empire HQed in, and merely 'posing' as, our former country can not grow much further if we, our country, and our world are to survive.

And this 'call-out' and alarming message to the people who are 'subjects' of this Empire will ring as clear now as Paul Revere's did then to all the people who were previously cheated by either of the phony neocon 'R' Vichy party or neoliberal-cons of the 'D' Vichy party.

However, the call is not "to arms" this time, but must be a non-violent "shout-out of Empire heard round the world" and not just a "shot heard round the world" if we are to avoid the Empire, as empires always try, to set people against people.]


Mary's following thoughts are exactly right, but her hopes will not come true if Bernie just talks about the topic of "democratic socialism" that Nichols is trying to con her and us into!


Yes, Ray, and as you say, "Congressional Democrats along with Presidents Clinton and Obama have actively and zealously promoted pro 1% / anti 99% action" --- precisely because the smoother lying neoliberal-con 'D' Vichy party, which is totally controlled as the most effective 'toadie' political disguise of the Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist EMPIRE is now the first-string squad of the DGC-C Empire.

But beware! The neocon 'R' Vichy party 'rougher thugs' of the Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist Empire will be brought back on the field in the fourth quarter as soon as overt violence and dirty play in the tyranny of the Homeland Stadium is "taken to a new level" as it is in the foreign territories of the Empire against all 'subjects' universally throughout the world (as Hannah Arendt warned of the Nazi Empire and all Empires):

"Empire abroad entails tyranny at home"