I am a registered Democrat, have been since I first voted which I did as soon as I was eligible and continue to in every election including Local, State, and Primaries but the one where I wrecked my car on the way to the Polls. I mostly vote straight ticket Democratic too, unless there are compelling arguments otherwise (think there aren’t? Weicker/Lieberman 1988), though more recently I take the time to record my vote as Working Family Party when there is a cross-endorsement.
But while I am a “democrat” I’m not a “Democrat”. I am an Anarcho-Sydicalist which means my political beliefs are Worker Control and Local Democracy. The Democratic Party of the United States is not nearly “Left” enough for me.
Bernie Sanders likewise does not identify “Democratic” and instead “Democratic Socialist”. This is a point of contention for some Democrats.
The bulk of them will pitch the disastrous Neo Liberal Economic and Social Policy that picked them as the vanity elite and has 40 solid years of unmitigated failure to recommend the process (looking right at you Joe Carson). Some of the more ‘Left’ say “I have a Plan for that.” True enough. Want to see how strong the ‘Left’ is? Add Sanders and Warren together. Bernie will never run out of money, Warren might- I’m very happy for her Polling rise as it will make fundraising easier.
Still, there is a fundamental difference in philosophy that I think is what Bernie was trying to get to with yesterday’s speech-
Warren represents a Teddy Roosevelt “Trust Busting” instinct which accepts that the goal of a Political Economy is Return on Capital Investment. Capitalism.
Labor is another form of Capital Investment- Wages, Healthcare, Housing, Education. A Capitalist expects a return on Investments in Labor Capital just as they would for a machine or a manufacturing plant or a marketing department.
Markets need to be tightly regulated to ensure “fairness”. Monopolies, when free to create, exercise disproportionate and negative effects on the ability to exchange goods and services across markets.
Sanders on the other hand is a ‘Socialist’. What is fundamentally wrong with the system, what will require a revolution, is changing the goal from Return on Capital Investment to Improvement of the Public Good.
Adopting this philosophy might lead you to radical acts like supporting Nuclear Power as a short term palliative measure in the live jive Global Warming Crisis (I don’t talk about it much because I have lain on the Holy Sacred Grave of Elvis at Graceland and contemplated Death and it’s not a pretty sight, a peanut butter, banana, bacon sandwich on a toilet), but do not be deceived. Solar is the real deal and it’s ready to rock and roll today.
No dead Eagles.
So anyway Socialism is an actual redirection of Returns (you can call it Profit if you like) to a Democratic Community’s priorities. You educate kids because you want them to be smart, not to fill some drone cubical spot in a MegaCorp hive. You subsidize artists because people like to see, hear, and read pretty things, at least by buying their stuff (and the Merch, I’m the Andy Warhol of Merch).
We’re All ‘Socialists’ Now
By Eric Levitz, New York
June 13, 2019
In a speech at George Washington University on Wednesday afternoon, the Vermont senator made several arguments for his political philosophy. Many of these aimed to dispel the misconception that the self-avowed socialist and his “political revolution” are trying to do anything “particularly radical.” Rather, Sanders suggested that what he calls “democratic socialism” is akin to 21st-century New Deal liberalism. Seventy-five years ago, the United States had a president who insisted that “true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence” and proposed the establishment of a “Second Bill of Rights” — one that would guarantee all Americans health care, housing, and “a useful and remunerative job.” In a sense, Sanders’s modest ambition is to revive and update the conventional wisdom of the Democratic Establishment circa 1944.
This is a sound rebuttal to the claim that Sanders’s vision is extreme or un-American. Though, for that reason, it does little to clarify why the senator insists on branding his ideology with a term that much of the American electorate still associates with Soviet communism.
Nevertheless, by coopting the right’s expansive definition of “socialism” — which holds that any major government intervention in the economy (that conservatives don’t like) is a fulfillment of Marx’s vision — Sanders was able to recast the terms of America’s economic debate.
“In 2008, after their greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior created the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression, with millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings, Wall Street’s religious adherence to unfettered capitalism suddenly came to an end,” Sanders said Wednesday. “Overnight, Wall Street became big-government socialists and begged for the largest federal bailout in American history — over $1 trillion from the Treasury and even more from the Federal Reserve. But it’s not just Wall Street that loves socialism — when it works for them. It is the norm across the entire corporate world.”
Americans already live in a country where unelected bureaucrats pick economic winners and losers, where public policy exerts a massive influence over the distribution of income, where some indolent Americans live off the hard labor of others, and where the state directs investment toward official, conscious ends. If these are the defining features of socialism, then the United States lost the Cold War before it began, and the real debate between left and right in the U.S. isn’t over whether “big government” should intervene in markets, or even how much it should, but rather who should have a say over how it intervenes — and whose interests such “socialism” should serve.
If some natural economic process dictates that wage growth must be tepid while corporations sit on cash, or that urban workers must be rent burdened while landlords live high off their labor, or that major financial institutions must be insulated from risk while underwater homeowners are left to drown, then one can plausibly argue that government action to alter such outcomes would be hubristic and self-defeating. Who is man to challenge the wisdom of the market gods? By contrast, if the electorate were to recognize that these outcomes are largely determined by public policy, then apologists for the existing order would have a much harder time rationalizing acquiescence.