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Is there anything wrong with saying yes? was The New York Times's question about socialism that President Obama didn’t answer earlier this month. Some of us who campaigned for, contributed money to and voted for him have no compunctions about saying yes. As Popular Front Democrats, or however else we might label ourselves, we chose to back him because he was far and away the better choice – to many, a refreshing choice – even though his vision and policies only partially mesh with ours. For instance, increasing the military budget of the nation that spends almost as much as every other nation on the planet is a terrible idea to most of us. In a few other areas, too, his approach is in direct conflict with ours.  

But when you talk about "ours" in reference to socialists, you run into the same contentiousness that progressives overall do. Collectively, we have plenty of disagreements, philosophically and practically. Yes, there are "purists" and "pragmatists" among socialists, too.

For the past couple of weeks, The Nation has been publishing an ongoing series called "Reimagining Socialism." The nine articles so far published by no means provide a comprehensive overview, but they give the flavor of current discussion among socialists and socialist allies, such as Bill McKibben. If you buy into the notion - as do Glenn Beck, Chuck Norris, and maybe reporters from The New York Times - that socialists are wild-eyed bomb-throwers, or if your association with socialism in the past comes from arcane texts where "stodgy" isn’t a harsh enough description for people who seem to be trying to apply 19th Century political philosophy to 21st Century reality, I think you’ll find the series enlightening. And, I hope, it will spur you to read more than those few thousand words on the subject.

The series was kicked off March 4 by Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr. I first met Ehrenreich through her sister, Diane Alexander, in the early 1970s when the three of us became members of the New American Movement, a kind of spin-off, if you will, of Students for a Democratic Society after the Weatherman and Progressive Labor factions shattered that organization in 1969.

Unlike SDS, NAM never grew very large – perhaps at its peak there were 10,000 members. Founded by, among others, Michael Lerner, who soon left to start Tikkun, NAM was decentralized, with individual chapters having considerable autonomy. It successfully interfaced with labor unions wherever it could. Antonio Gramsci’s perspective that leftist cultural and media organizations were crucial elements in transforming society was popular among NAM members. The organization called itself socialist-feminist and included many openly gay members, including Ehrenreich's sister, at a time when much of the left shunned gays and considered their fight for justice tangential at best, and a deviant distraction at worst. Less than a dozen years after its founding NAM merged with the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, a group more focused on electoral politics, to form the Democratic Socialists of America.

At that time, when scholars typically lumped the "working class" into one big category, Ehrenreich and her then-husband John wrote extensively about the impact of economic strata within the ranks of working-class Americans. In various ways, including her books Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch, Ehrenreich has continued that approach throughout her life.

Here’s a recent video interview of Ehrenreich with Laura Flanders of GRITtv:

And here are excerpts from The Nation’s nine "Reimagining Socialism" articles. As always, I urge you to read the full articles because excerpts almost never do the author justice:

Rising to the Occasion by Barbara Ehrenreich & Bill Fletcher Jr.

What is most galling, from a socialist perspective, is the dawning notion that capitalism may be leaving us with less than it found on this planet, about 400 years ago, when the capitalist mode of production began to take off. Marx imagined that industrial capitalism had potentially solved the age-old problem of scarcity and that there was plenty to go around if only it was equitably distributed. But industrial capitalism--with some help from industrial communism--has brought about a level of environmental destruction that threatens our species along with countless others. The climate is warming, the oil supply is peaking, the deserts are advancing and the seas are rising and contain fewer and fewer fish for us to eat. You don't have to be a freaky doomster to see that extinction may be what's next on the agenda.

In this situation, with both long-term biological and day-to-day economic survival in doubt, the only relevant question is: do we have a plan, people? Can we see our way out of this and into a just, democratic, sustainable (add your own favorite adjectives) future?

Let's just put it right out on the table: we don't. At least we don't have some blueprint on how to organize society ready to whip out of our pockets. Lest this sound negligent on our part, we should explain that socialism was an idea about how to rearrange ownership and distribution and, to an extent, governance. It assumed that there was a lot worth owning and distributing; it did not imagine having to come up with an entirely new and environmentally sustainable way of life. Furthermore, the history of socialism has been disfigured by too many cadres who had a perfect plan, if only they could win the next debate, carry out a coup or get enough people to fall into line behind them.

Limits and Horizons by Christian Parenti:

Asked to reimagine socialism, two thoughts come to mind. First is the obvious need for state intervention in the economy. Capitalism will have to be hauled from the ditch by the redistributive engines of government--merely mopping up bad assets, so-called "lemon socialism," won't do. Capitalism needs something more like "rescue socialism" or emergency social democracy--a program of progressive restructuring.

A Post-Capitalist Future is Possible by Doug Henwood:

The need for a new dynamic sector to generate an economic recovery is a perfect opportunity to promote high-speed rail and alternative energy research (and in far greater quantities than the Obama administration is proposing). Our banking system is being rescued with public money. Why shouldn't the public get something in return for that, like publicly or cooperatively owned financial institutions that could provide customers with low-cost services and communities with economic development funds?

And with the housing market not likely to recover for at least several years, why not experiment with different models of ownership? For example, instead of foreclosing on houses, why not turn them into limited-equity co-ops, which take the speculative motive out of that essential of life? These things won't happen spontaneously; they need state action, prodded by organized and thoughtful activism. The public isn't with us yet, but we're a long way from the days when The Market seemed like a fresh idea.  

Together, We Save the Planet by Bill McKibben:

But I'm not sure I'm much of a socialist either, because both those faiths seem to me rooted in an earlier moment--a moment when we had some margin. A moment when the problem was growth and how best to make it happen and share its fruits.

That's not our problem anymore. Our problem is how to deal with a crisis that will define our world for the foreseeable future. In November the International Energy Agency announced that all its earlier rosy forecasts about oil supplies were wrong--in fact, the world's oilfields are facing "natural declines" in yield of about 7 percent a year. The fuel for free-market fundamentalism and Marxism was fossil fuel, and we're not going to have it. (Or to the extent we do, and that extent would be coal, we're not going to be able to burn it without triggering even more climate chaos.)

The atmosphere that birthed all our ideologies held about 275 parts per million CO2. Now that number is 387 parts per million, which is why the Arctic is melting. Our foremost climatologists tell us that the chief goal of any politics for the twenty-first century has to be getting that number back down below 350, because the current elevated levels are "simply not compatible with keeping a planet similar to the one on which civilization developed." All that is frozen melts into the sea, or something like that.

The Revolution Has Already Occurred by Rebecca Solnit:

The fifteen-year-old Zapatista revolution, which never sought state power and (though badgered constantly) was never defeated, is the revolution for our times, or really only the most dramatic of countless thousands involving Native Americans and Indian farmers and South African cooperatives and Argentinian workplaces and European utopian communities.

In the United States the most obvious realm in which this has transpired is food and farming. Organic, urban, community-assisted and guerrilla agriculture are still small parts of the picture, but effective ones--a revolt against what transnational corporate food and capitalism generally produce. This revolt is taking place in the vast open space of Detroit, in the inner-city farms of West Oakland, in the victory gardens and public-housing of Alemany Farm in San Francisco, in Growing Power in Milwaukee and many other places around the country.

These are blows against alienation, poor health, hunger and other woes fought with shovels and seeds, not guns. At its best, tending one's garden leads to tending one's community and policy, and ultimately becomes a way of entering the public sphere rather than withdrawing from it. "Do we have a plan, people?" Ehrenreich and Fletcher ask. We have thousands of them, being carried out quite spectacularly over the past few decades, for gardens and childcare co-ops and bicycle lanes and farmers' markets and countless ways of doing things differently and better.

The underlying vision is neither state socialist nor corporate capitalist, but something humane, local and accountable--anarchist, basically, as in direct democracy. The revolution exists in little bits everywhere, but not much has been done to connect its dots.

Be Utopian: Demand the Realistic by Robert Pollin:

<Neoliberal capitalism--whose defining features were Wall Street greed and big business domination of government policy-making--is dead. But what comes next?</p>

Solidarity, equality and freedom have always been the fundamental principles animating the left. It is from these principles that the left has constructed its various visions of a truly democratic, egalitarian social order--i.e., the only type of society that deserves to be called "socialist." Given the collapse of neoliberalism, shouldn't the left now advance a case for full-throttle socialism?

While socialism is desirable as a longer-term vision of a just society, it is unrealistic in my view to expect it to take shape today. The problem is that, at this stage in history, we do not know what a socialist economy would look like, nor do we know how to move from our current disintegrating neoliberalism to something approximating socialism. Socialism should be seen as a series of challenges and questions as we push a social justice agenda forward amid the ongoing crisis. It should not be seen as a package of obvious and ready-made answers.

Following Brazil’s Example by Immanuel Wallerstein:

What is our short-run situation? The United States has elected a centrist president, whose inclinations are somewhat left of center. The left, or most of it, voted for him for two reasons. The alternative was worse, indeed far worse. So we voted for the lesser evil. The second reason is that we thought Obama's election would open up space for left social movements.

The problem the left faces is nothing new. Such situations are standard fare. Roosevelt in 1933, Attlee in 1945, Mitterrand in 1981, Mandela in 1994, Lula in 2002 were all the Obamas of their place and time. And the list could be infinitely expanded. What does the left do when these figures "disappoint," as they all must do, since they are all centrists, even if left of center?

In my view, the only sensible attitude is that taken by the large, powerful and militant Landless Workers' Movement (MST) in Brazil. The MST supported Lula in 2002, and despite all he failed to do that he had promised, they supported his re-election in 2006. They did it in full cognizance of the limitations of his government, because the alternative was clearly worse. What they also did, however, was to maintain constant pressure on the government--meeting with it, denouncing it publicly when it deserved it and organizing on the ground against its failures.

The MST would be a good model for the US left, if we had anything comparable in terms of a strong social movement. We don't, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to patch one together as best we can and do as the MST does--press Obama openly, publicly and hard--all the time, and of course cheering him on when he does the right thing. What we want from Obama is not social transformation. He neither wishes to, nor is able to, offer us that. We want from him measures that will minimize the pain and suffering of most people right now. That he can do, and that is where pressure on him may make a difference.

The middle run is quite different. And here Obama is irrelevant, as are all the other left-of-center governments.

Capitalism's Deadly Logic by Tariq Ali:

Capitalism is always faced with crises, which are part of the deadly logic of an economy based on a state-buttressed market system. It has failed many times before but has recovered, including during periods when it confronted real political challenges. Its ability to adapt and survive should not be underestimated, even though it will do so, as before, at the expense of the majority it exploits.

Until the emergence of a viable sociopolitical and economic alternative, perceived by a majority as such, there will be no final crisis of capitalism. In order to save themselves, today's elites will consider approaches to the crisis that preserve the status quo. The choice they are faced with domestically is between establishing a public utility credit and banking operation geared to reviving a productive sector, or shoring up a discredited, deregulated Wall Street/City of London operation based on fictive capital. The bailouts in New York and London are designed to do the latter. Globally, it's more difficult to accept a loss of Atlanticist control, but if pressure continues to mount, the Far Eastern bloc might suggest a new set of institutions based on multilateral rather than imperial control, leading to dismantling but also renewal.

Economy, Ecology, Empire by John Bellamy Foster:

We are living in a new historical moment. Today's threefold crisis of capitalism--viewed in terms of economy, ecology and empire--is potentially the worst in history, not excluding the 1930s and '40s. The current economic downturn already compares in many ways with the Great Depression, and the bottom has not yet been reached. The ecological catastrophe is the most serious that humanity has experienced, threatening the mass extinction of species and human civilization. The struggle over empire, with US hegemony waning but far from gone at present, points to the danger of more frequent and larger wars. ...

Fortunately, global resistance to the system is also growing, in response to its economic, ecological and imperial contradictions.

No matter what The New York Times, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and many progressives think, socialism isn’t a dirty word. Nor an obsolete one.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:06 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bill Maher (135+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zeke L, melo, gogol, AaronInSanDiego, Geenius at Wrok, pHunbalanced, Powered Grace, PeterHug, Shockwave, frisco, RFK Lives, Norwegian Chef, mataliandy, Birdman, Gustogirl, opinionated, joynow, mentaldebris, highacidity, Pithy Cherub, buckeyekarl, nargel, PeteZerria, antirove, high uintas, wader, nancelot, TexDem, oldjohnbrown, pat bunny, GN1927, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, bablhous, greeseyparrot, Gowrie Gal, nailbender, el dorado gal, Heiuan, mjd in florida, Philoguy, frandor55, truong son traveler, drewfromct, Brooke In Seattle, aaraujo, GreyHawk, FunkyEntropy, LithiumCola, Rogneid, Pinko Elephant, Alexandra Lynch, nilocjin, imabluemerkin, JVolvo, NearlyNormal, mcmom, ER Doc, Unitary Moonbat, Turbonerd, Cenobyte, thatvisionthing, Leap Year, Nulwee, ZenTrainer, cjallen, marykk, ibonewits, Bob Guyer, army193, ColoTim, linkage, yoduuuh do or do not, edsbrooklyn, chigh, Unbozo, Seneca Doane, jayden, jnhobbs, millwood, carpunder, JML9999, keikekaze, TomP, rmonroe, fayeforcure, Mas Gaviota, indyada, LI Mike, elwior, Wes Opinion, Jeff Y, LaFajita, Abra Crabcakeya, luckylizard, PLCOT, Tennessee Dave, maggiejean, cameoanne, Tom Enever, multilee, meatwad420, mrchumchum, mkor7, dRefractor, batgirl71, heart4idaho, kevinpdx, strangedemocracy, Tricky, Leftcandid, xsonogall, TruthandTrust, The Jester, Interceptor7, chrome327, cgirard, polar bear, Eddie L, qi motuoche, Surly Cracker, Betty Pinson, Urtica dioica gracilis, Floande, jonwilliamsl, rossl, Onomastic, fredlonsdale, gobears2000, TAH from SLC, Olon, BlackQueen40, princesspat, lovespaper, felldestroyed, UtopianPablo

    I think it was a coupla shows back, when Erin Burnett was on maybe.  He asked why growth is always necessary.  If last year was a good year, how come we can't have another year just like last year, and that one can't be good, too?  (paraphrased)

    Good question.

    "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:09:32 PM PDT

  •  Capitalism is not dead either. But it will have (31+ / 0-)

    to change.  It has before.  It will again.  Of that, I am certain.  

    Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

    by SpamNunn on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:11:50 PM PDT

    •  Which was the Jist of Timothy Geitner's talk with (11+ / 0-)

      Charlie Rose

      Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

      by JML9999 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:15:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, But Is Capitalism (19+ / 0-)

      going to change for the better as Meteor's diary suggests needs to happen?

      Based on what I'm already seeing from Obama, I don't see the paradigm changing much.

      "The most dangerous thing in any economic crisis is denial". Simon Johnson, MIT

      by Superpole on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:17:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Capitalism along with almost everything in (5+ / 0-)

        society has changed and will keep on changing with or without specific policies of the government.

        "Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodilla." E. Zapata

        by Mas Gaviota on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:20:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll Take That as a "NO" (14+ / 0-)

          I've been observing for over thirty years now, and I don't see capitalism getting better.

          The much vaunted transition in the U.S. from an industrial economy to a "service" economy has overall lead to more joblessness and less income for the middle class and poor.

          simple observation: industrial producer China's economy is growing; the U.S. now owes China $1 Trillion dollars and the U.S. is a debtor nation-- having once been a creditor nation.

          Contrary to what Cheney once said, it DOES make a difference whether we produce computer chips or potato chips.

          "The most dangerous thing in any economic crisis is denial". Simon Johnson, MIT

          by Superpole on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:32:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It already has changed for the better (13+ / 0-)

            the current economic crisis has exposed the many faults of a less controlled capitalism.  This has led to the masses to see regulations in a more positive light.  This will lead to more control over markets and a better form of capitalism.  Socialism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive.  Society like biology evolves weather we can see it or not.  The next ten years will be better for the US and the world economy.

            "Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodilla." E. Zapata

            by Mas Gaviota on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:41:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Seeing regulations is a more favorable light (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ppl can fly, cgirard, thethinveil

              is all well and good, but with an economics team that seems intent on maintaining some variation of the status quo and a corporate bought and paid for Congress, I'm not banking on any real meaningful change occurring.  Half-measures at best is what is being hinted at from this administration.  I expect virtually nothing of meaning to come from Congress. IOW, neither Obama nor his team strikes me as uber-courageous boat rockers.

              The House might make some noise, but with Reid at the helm in the Senate frantically trying to avoid making any waves, it's easy to see that the bets on nothing getting done has some pretty good odds going for it.

              Perhaps you are right and I'm just not seeing it.  Frankly, having one of the architects of the current mess (Summers) advising the president doesn't fill me with very much hope for a real and meaningful evolution in regards to regulations and/or real transparency.

              Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist.-George Carlin

              by mentaldebris on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:01:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, I always mess up the header. (0+ / 0-)

                in a more favorable light...

                Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist.-George Carlin

                by mentaldebris on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:02:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Radical change can only happen two ways (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Instantly, which always involves catastrophe. Or gradually, with mitigation of loss and pain. I listened to Obama's campaign speeches. He continually said, "this isn't going to happen over-night" (in so many words), because he knows as well as many others that the only other way to make real change that does not involve complete catastrophe is slowly chipping away at it.

                Short term thinking has gotten us into this mess. I am disheartened by comments that basically say, "I want it all and I want it now." I fear this typical American sentiment will destroy any chances for meaningful, long term change. Which means we get the catastrophic kind.

                As if things could get worse without getting better.

                by A Voice on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 03:12:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The point I see (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            is that, contrary to that, at the moment we are producing not much in chips at all - computer or potato.

            But Holy State (we have lived to learn) Endeth in Holy War. - Kipling

            by nargel on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:03:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  In the end, it won't be his call (0+ / 0-)

          If it doesn't change in a way that sustains itself, it will be replaced by system that will. The alternative is collapse into anarchy, and it's older brother tribal mob rule.

      •  Capitalism is just Feudalism (22+ / 0-)

        plus technology and uninhibited usury. Anyone who has worked in a Corporation knows that it is purely a feudal arrangement. (I was in one place where nobody would dare wear an wide tie, because the president hated wide ties. And where you had to sign out to go pee if you were one of the fungible workers.)

        The goal of capitalism has been to keep the general populace self-policed and out of any meaningful decisions, by providing them food, clothing, shelter, and entertainment. Which is the cheaper, and less personally dangerous, alternative to policing and coercing them.

        Thus, the emphasis on consumerism and continual growth. Which, in the real world, must inexorably lead to the impoverishment of the earth.

        Either capitalism goes, or humanity (at the least) goes.

        Socialism of the modern era, to my mind, has the flaw of sharing the materialist assumptions of capitalism. It lacks a certain sophistication about the human psyche that is available in various mystical traditions and in some developments of modern psychology. I don't see that you can develop a socialism that doesn't degenerate into another variation of Feudalism without accounting for the fact that the most a/immoral and ruthless in a community tend to quickly identify and seize keys points in any structure.

        That said, even the socialism we have today is better than the Capitalism we have today. Still, it is not sufficient to the need.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:49:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I work in a corporation, but I don't see it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          as a feudal arrangement. I don't really understand what you mean.

          -3.88, -6.36
          Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who - This is supposed to be a happy occasion!

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:21:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe you are in a more liberal one. (5+ / 0-)

            Or a small one.

            At work, who controls your space, your time, your activities, how you dress, your continuance, whether you advance or not, who you can and cannot communicate with...?

            Feudalism was basically about one person having absolute say over the lives of each member of a community. The major difference between the modern version  and that of a millennium ago is that modern corporations rarely kill anyone directly, or on their own premises.

            That's left for Capitalism as a whole to do.

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 08:59:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm in a big one. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim P, cgirard, thethinveil

              At work, certainly if I don't do my job as they expect, I would be probably let go. But this is under my control as well as theirs, since I chose to work there. In the current economy, that's more difficult of course.

              Things have changed in the past few years since our original CEO retired and we went public, and there is more of a "Big Brother" feel to things. I'm hoping things don't continue in that direction, but I'm not that optimistic. The new CEO isn't nearly as smart as his predecessor.

              -3.88, -6.36
              Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who - This is supposed to be a happy occasion!

              by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 09:10:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, doing the job is part of a contract (3+ / 0-)

                between equals, so everyone is supposed to fulfill that.  Feudal lords offered you a place to live if you did the harvest and gave him his cut, and everyone kept that deal, unless the Lord decided he didn't want to anymore. Some were psychotic freaks, and others were kindly and respectful, but either way they called the shots on the conduct of your life.

                And there's the salient point when talking about power arrangements in society.

                Sorry to hear it's getting uglier where you are. Maybe a big positive change is coming in the way business is done, but the trend is toward Big Brother everywhere. Best of luck.

                Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

                by Jim P on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 10:00:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  We used to be an (0+ / 0-)

                  emplyee-owned company, one of the largest in the country, so there was more of a feeling that we were all in it together. The CEO actually instituted that voluntarily and never had a huge stake in the company himself. But the new CEO is more interested in growth and increasing profits, and now with public ownership there's more pressure in that regard.

                  -3.88, -6.36
                  Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who - This is supposed to be a happy occasion!

                  by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 10:18:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I think *your* experience is the outlier... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AaronInSanDiego, Jim P

              I've worked for/with about half a dozen of the fortune 500 in the past 10 years.  Yes, corporate cultures vary from company to company, but I have yet to see one that is as oppressive as the one you describe.  Width of ties??  I've never even worked for one that requires a tie anymore!

              •  Heh, one of my previous bosses told me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                he would fire me if he saw me wearing a tie. He was joking, I think, but still I never wear a tie to work. Some folks wear jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flops to work. Of course, these are the engineers, programmers, and scientists, not the marketers and accountants.

                -3.88, -6.36
                Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who - This is supposed to be a happy occasion!

                by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:25:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well, there's been a loosening up (0+ / 0-)

                since my day at corporations, but still...

                If the boss ordered everyone--male and female--to wear blue ties, you would have to, right?

                And that's my point about power.

                Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

                by Jim P on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 09:46:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I worked for a place where no ties were required. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jim P

                  We still had to punch out to go pee, however.

                  And if you spent what was deemed "too much time" in the bathroom, your supervisor would come looking for you.

                  And you had to have a college degree to work there.

                  Oh, yes. The oppressive workplace is alive and well. Sweatshops are not only for the Marianas. Some of you have just been lucky in not landing at one.

                  And with all the jobs going away, how many assholes are going to start clocking every SECOND of the employees' time -- just because they can?

                  Workers' rights in this country, by and large, suck. Everyone is so damn worried about the scary, scary UNIONS, OMG! ONOZ!

                  Unions might have allowed us to avoid this deep hole we are in right now as a country -- morally AND monetarily.

                  "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

                  by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 10:01:22 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but anything we do to improve it will be (10+ / 0-)

      referred to as "socialistic" or "redistributionist" or "tree-hugging" or whatever.

      The GOP is more interested in making people angry at government.  They don't want to lead or govern.  They want anarchy.

      Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

      by Benintn on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:08:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Transform to Capitalism with a Social Conscience (5+ / 0-)

      Which means business welcomes rules and regulations that level the playing field, rather than the unfair advantage from cheating the system.

      "Warning Democratic politicians against being "liberal" or moving "left" remains a time-honored - even compulsive - media ritual".~ Norman Solomon

      by fayeforcure on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:33:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Socialism is a word (29+ / 0-)

    Turnip is a word. It's lost it's bite and it's scare factor.

    Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

    by JML9999 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:12:26 PM PDT

  •  I would like to see a poll done that asks (19+ / 0-)

    people what their idea of socialism IS and if it is a good or a bad thing.

    I've noticed the blathering idiots that continue to scream socialist at the current administration seem to be meeting deaf ears with the sane public at this time.  Perhaps it would be worth funding this poll to see what the real answer is.

    'Media' is the plural for 'mediocre'. - Rene Saguisag

    by funluvn1 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:13:09 PM PDT

    •  Just poll of those scare-mongers (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927, linkage, LaFajita, jonwilliamsl

      Most of the time they can't define it, other than it's a bad, bad thing.  I don't have a good definition myself, btw.

    •  Solicit Ideas for a New Society. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      Rather than asking folks whether they approve or disapprove of "socialism", which is an extremely abstract question, subject to enormous variations in individual definitions or simply notions of "socialism", why not ask people open-ended questions to elicit their designs for new forms of economic and social organization?

      Let's ask what in their current lives is most burdensome -- their job or lack of a job, their medical care or lack thereof, their housing, educational access, control over local and national government decision-making, etc.

      Let's find what changes Americans would make, and how they would make them, in their lives if they had the power to do so.

      Genital Slicing IS Torture: Convict Bush and His War criminals.

      by Justina on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:35:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As on so many matters, the media ... (60+ / 0-)

    ...chooses to make economics two-sided, unless we're talking about Foxaganda, of course. But there's more than just Keynesians and Friedmanites. When will even Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann bring a socialist economist - or an eloquent spokesperson for a socialist approach to the current crisis - on their shows?

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

    by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:14:10 PM PDT

    •  While I completely agree with your point, there (12+ / 0-)

      is a certain specificity to the fact that economists are either considered Keynesian or Monetarists (Friedmannist or Friedmanite is not the best description of them, New Classical Economists such as Robert Barro, Sargeant and Lucas were seen by Friedman as even OTT); that is that they are mainstream economists.There have even been mainstream economists who were socialists and mainstream economists actually are as divided politically as their heterodox critics.

      There are of course non-mainstream traditions or heterodox economists some of whom are more radical Keynesians, some are Kaleckians, Sraffian, Marxist, Marxian.

      Irrespective of this, thank you for posting these interesting pieces from the Nation, again from a rather diverse group of authors! Also, thanks for raising the level of the discussion of socialism, this is a topic long overdue!

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:40:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I had a tangential discussion earlier today (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Someone was arguing the gray scale in considering economic systems.

      While I was arguing for a multi-level analysis in technicolor with politic-socio-eco-etc levels accounted for in the supportive arguments of such systems to better understand them. A form of mapping that could better discover the folds of thought.

      There are not two sides or even three sides to the choice between economic systems but innumerable multiplicities of systems that are related in a moving (inter)active network as time curves that present us with numerous options.

      It is a disservice to understanding for us to boil this process down to two pure options with a bunch of gray. We need a map for unfolding the multiplicities of the economic.

      Devilstower said something earlier today  that relates to this point:

      You don't have to be a comedy show to cherry-pick history for the facts you like the best. Everyone, including me (maybe even especially me) likes to select incidents and statistics that support their case and bury those items that don't line up on the curve. After all, this is politics, not a double-blind drug test. To build a persuasive argument means paring down the complexity of the real world to a clarity that rarely exists.

      Now we have to ask: Persuasive to whom? And for what purposes?

      Presenting a continuum of economic theory such as this [Socialism ------ Capitalism] and arguing like Plato that we need to find a medium, pairs down the complex reasons why we would adopt such and such a system.

      This model convinces people that want to be seen as moderate and who generally support the status quo understanding of our options. It allows them to label anything they dismiss as extreme and toss it out without real discussion. This is not "bringing everyone to the table" as Obama would say.  

      There are larger arguments to be had than such frames provide.

      Look at Rebecca Solnit's vision as you cited MB,

      Organic, urban, community-assisted and guerrilla agriculture are still small parts of the picture, but effective ones--a revolt against what transnational corporate food and capitalism generally produce.

      How does it fit in this continuum, and if it did what would it tell us about the benefits and costs of such a system.

      By taking a theory a placing it on a such a scale, diminishes it and reduces it to where it loses all utility. It is an attempt to not address problems or call certain problems inevitable.

      We need to look upon this model of scale with skepticism if we seek to address our problems in a straight forward fashion.

      The thought that we can attain the good by averaging the often ill defined extremes gets us nowhere in the conversation on what the Left should or should not support. The question is: why support it?

      Another issue with this model is how do we pick these extremes and doesn't that effect our middle or our average.

      If we have only Keynesians and monetarists we are left with a skewed continuum.

      What occupies the place of capitalism and socialism on our scale? This question has its own huge discussion that is constantly being had - had on this very thread, I might add.

      With just the smallest amount of thought we can see this meme is unusable at best or ideologically motivated propaganda at worst. Aimed at dismissing discussion of our problems and of the solutions to solve them.

      Thanks for the Diary MB.

      "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

      by thethinveil on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 02:33:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is good stuff. Nothing wrong with a little (8+ / 0-)

    socialism as long as the door swings all ways.
    Socialism for corporate losses however?
    Socialism for AIG?

    "I am my own forerunner"

    by Cassandra77 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:15:01 PM PDT

  •  The rest of the world does not consider Socialist (21+ / 0-)

    to be a bad word.  Some of the most wealthy countries on Earth have Socialist governments.  For example in the UK.  In the US the masses hear Socialist, and think USSR and PRC instead of Norway or Sweden.

    "Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodilla." E. Zapata

    by Mas Gaviota on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:15:21 PM PDT

  •  The Fed Gov't Is NOT "Experimental" (7+ / 0-)

    Love Henwood's idea:

    And with the housing market not likely to recover for at least several years, why not experiment with different models of ownership? For example, instead of foreclosing on houses, why not turn them into limited-equity co-ops, which take the speculative motive out of that essential of life? These things won't happen spontaneously; they need state action, prodded by organized and thoughtful activism. The public isn't with us yet, but we're a long way from the days when The Market seemed like a fresh idea.

    however, I'm betting not only will "these things not happen spontaneously; they need state action...", they are not likely to happen, period, unless one counts abandoned homes in certain suburban areas being used illegally by homeless squatters.

    why not? simply because the for profit only paradigm is now so deeply entrenched in the American psyche that it will take multiple generations to get reduce it or, it will take a crushing economic depression- the latter may yet happen.

    "The most dangerous thing in any economic crisis is denial". Simon Johnson, MIT

    by Superpole on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:15:45 PM PDT

    •  Doug Henwood's (6+ / 0-)

      Left Business Observer is actually an excellent publication and his points of view are consistently interesting and refreshing and usually on target.

      It is a pleasure to see his comment on this site!

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:43:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pHunbalanced, LithiumCola

        The tragedy is there are numerous brilliant minds out there like Henwood's- the problem is the current paradigm which is 1,000's of years old. equally tragic, this paradigm wasn't here until Cortez and Columbus sailed west from Spain looking for gold and slaves.

        "The most dangerous thing in any economic crisis is denial". Simon Johnson, MIT

        by Superpole on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:32:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The current paradigm in economics begins (0+ / 0-)

          only in 1870 with the marginalist revolution. The earlier paradigm, that of classical economics literally began with the Physiocrats in France and was extended to deal with the discussion of capital and profits by Adam Smith. I am including Marx in the classical school irrespective of the fact that his analysis is a critical development of the theories of the school as the manner in which he derives labour value, prices of production and profits are extremely classical. We can, of course, put him as the founder of his own distinct school of thought which recognises his distinct contribution to economic analysis

          Before capitalist relations of production and distribution there was really no need to develop economic analysis as what was produced and how much (composition and level of output), the distribution of the product (between landed aristocracy, artisans, serfs and the monarchy), and the prices of the goods produced (if sold rather than paid in kind) was strictly determined by law and custom.

          On its surface capitalism appears completely anarchic. It was due to the fact that new relations of production and distribution developed that the social science of economics was born.

          No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

          by NY brit expat on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 10:11:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  His book "After the New Economy" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat

        about the dot-com burst, was terrific. Good writer.

        Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you. -- Fry, Futurama

        by LithiumCola on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:19:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Socialism is not a crime!..... (23+ / 0-)

    I cannot for the life of me figure out how or fucking why it has become so vilified here. Perhaps it is too French or too European. All I can say is that when I get sick, I wish I lived in Europe.

    Savez-vous quelque bien qui console du regret d'un monde?

    by DawnoftheRedSun on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:17:58 PM PDT

    •  You're right, it isn't but, the owners of the (15+ / 0-)

      means of production will kill or be killed before they let that happen. Ok, I'm a little over the top, but when you read that Glenn Beck is pushing the idea that Obama is using FEMA to create concentration camps to impose military law and he has a large public forum to push this lunacy, I think I want to be prepared for the worse.  What that is exactly, I don't know.

      •  You're not over the top. The owners of ... (23+ / 0-)

        ...the means of production will kill before they give up. But that will be a last resort, not something they want to do. You have to wonder about the likes of Beck and Norris. However clownish we may take them for, you get the sense that they would enjoy killing.

        "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

        by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:30:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I watched a remarkable film today, (7+ / 0-)

          Sansho the Bailiff.

          Your comment reminded me of the scene where Sansho's thugs were tearing up the countryside trying to destroy signs indicating that Zushio, who had regained power after once been enslaved to Sansho himself, emancipated those he was enslaved with.

          Kenji Mizoguchi, the director, narrated through the behaviour of these thugs the ridiculous, barbarous lengths that power will go to to keep power.

          I don't know what third-rate hacks like Beck get out of the deal, being the absurd enforcers for more "powerful" men.

          Maybe they've acquired an insatiable taste for boot-licking. Maybe they think they'll find their own power in the chaos of a revolution. Or maybe they've been so wrong for so long that they can't face being right anymore.

          Who knows.

          My difficulty at the moment stems from not quite knowing how to talk about their effect on discourse without triggering unwarranted fears among my allies or unintentionally escalating the aggressive rhetoric between opponents.

        •  the killing has been going on for a long time (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          melo, JanL, lightfoot, trueblueliberal, Marja E

          according to John Perkins in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.  Assassinations of dictators in latin American countries, people who get in the way of a corporatocratic business deals in Saudi Arabia, politicians and corporate employees who don't cooperate are taken out are deposed. Then there are the wars, the killing fields in Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam (Perkins didn't have to tell us about those).

          Of course the killing for greed and profit has been going on throughout the history of the human race--we have opportunistic traits hard-wired into our brains.  But thankfully, we also have wired in altruistic traits that serve us as well.  The latter helped us produce the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the former, the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War.

          Until we evolve in some way as to transcend the duality of our nature and find the "harmonic third" that lifts us into a unity of behavioral integrity, we may have to find some structure of economy and governance that balances the two tendencies.  As it stands, one without the other leaves the whole in jeopardy.

          Just my take from a social-psychological point of view.

          Find your own voice--the personal is political.

          by In her own Voice on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:26:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  melo--I just read your America the (0+ / 0-)

            Beeyoutiful--wow!  It was so rich--so palpable--so moving...and no comments.  Amazing how many soulful essays can just roll right off the list without being seen here.  Glad I checked your page.

            Find your own voice--the personal is political.

            by In her own Voice on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 05:49:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  This is why capitalism (16+ / 0-)

        in its purest form is unworkable and why socialist components are mandatory to the viability of otherwise capitalist economies.

        Capitalism simply does not work in the long run without a socialist component IMO.  Otherwise capitalism morphs into a system by which current economic winners can strangle innovation and growth in the all-too-human quest to preserve what they've got at everyone else's expense.

        With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

        by GN1927 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:35:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  not over top , they have killed many tens of (10+ / 0-)

        thousands in each of many places , post WW2 . Think Nicaraugua , Bolivia , Chile , Iraq , Afghanistan, Algeria ,South Africa ,Congo , former Mozambique , and in the United States. During and prior to the Great Depression , to differentiate it from the Reagan Depression , police and Pinkerton hired killers murdered union organizers and strikers regularly. Regularly.If you grew up in a town whose earlier wealth was forged in steel and mined from coal , you would have relatives who saw this happen. Not over the top. Beneath the pale .

    •  Forgive my abysmal grammar in my (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      above comment.

      Savez-vous quelque bien qui console du regret d'un monde?

      by DawnoftheRedSun on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:26:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No capitalist society (10+ / 0-)

      will be able to preserve the best aspects of this type of structured economy: growth, innovation, fluid class mobility, without some component of socialism.  There is simply no way that this generation's economic winners won't devise a means to pull up the ladder of economic mobility, blocking out the potential of the next generation, without constant and deliberate socialist measures, like public education available to everyone, serving as a balance.  Pure capitalism too easily morphs into feudalism without a socialist component IMO.  Something that the mouthpieces of the temporary ruling class, like CNBC, won't ever understand much less choose to articulate.

      With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

      by GN1927 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:32:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The closest we've come to a socialist president (13+ / 0-)

    was FDR (he crossed that line, in fact), and he was considered the savior of the nation.  It's now wonder the wingnuts are trying to desecrate his memory.

    We could do worse than a full-on attack against that revisionism, and then when FDR's rep is back to what it was even 4 years ago (when mini-Bush was actually comparing himself to that giant) we could then begin rebranding FDR as a bona-fide American socialist.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

    by nailbender on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:20:08 PM PDT

  •  Here is an article people should read (11+ / 0-)

    on the mostly forgotten division between social democracy and democratic socialism.  When I'm done hammering the gong on NY-20, I plan to discuss it.

  •  wild-eyed bomb-throwers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, NoMoJoe, LynneK, LaFajita

    If you buy into the notion - as do Glenn Beck, Chuck Norris, and maybe reporters from The New York Times - that socialists are wild-eyed bomb-throwers

    The people doing that, throwing the bombs and assassinating world leaders over a hundred years ago, were the Anarchists. They where like today’s Libertarians (and a bit like Republicans), in that they didn’t believe in government. Not like Socialists at all.

    Bush Jr's Iraq farewell tour. Nobody could have predicted shoes being used as a missile.

    by William Domingo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:30:18 PM PDT

    •  Anarchists ARE socialists (9+ / 0-)

      And every political movement had its assassins back then.

      Russian populists killed the Tsar. Serbian nationalists killed Franz Ferdinand. Their own campaign staffers killed Garfield and McKinley, although anarchists got the blame for the latter.

      The Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency killed Sid Hatfield.

      The American Legion killed Wesley Everest.

      Frankly, any non-violent political movement must be an anarchist one because governmental authority is violent force. Leo Tolstoy pointed this out at the time.

      Frankly, more anarchists have been assassinated than have ever been assassins.

      Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

      by Marja E on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:47:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Anarchists ARE socialists (4+ / 0-)

        No, the two don't believe in the same goals. And most of the assassinations of world leaders around the turn of the twentieth century were done by Anarchists who thought they could get rid of government just by killing off it's leaders. Most Socialists on the other hand felt a mass movment was needed to change the system.

        Bush Jr's Iraq farewell tour. Nobody could have predicted shoes being used as a missile.

        by William Domingo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:14:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most anarchists believed a mass movement ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          EthrDemon, thethinveil

          was necessary too.

          The early twentieth century saw the heyday of anarcho-syndicalism. Many anarchists helped build labor unions. In addition, there were mutual aid societies, and many other forms of anarchist organizing.

          Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

          by Marja E on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:04:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Plenty of socialists are bomb throwers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marja E

            the ones that believe in violent revolution and happen to attempt one - generally in favor in more organized forms of violence against the state and other counter revolutionaries.

            I am not a pacifist. Not attempting to smear them.
            Violence when use is often used when people see no other option for redress. And I think we can expect violence by capitalists and their supporters on socialist if they attempt to enact socialist policy.

            So in some ways violence used by socialist by be a defense of radical policies that are enacted. So it could be seen as sort of a self defense.

            To me it is a last resort. And violence in socialism is reserved to few instances in history - no I do not count opportunists that are using it to unjustifiably (ie no democratic support) gain power.

            However if looking at conservatism you can see it is in the blood of their ideology - Haulocaust, War, military coups, s Human cost of capitalism - so on so forth.

            If any group should be smeared with calls of thuggery it should be the Right wing.

            "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

            by thethinveil on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 01:33:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  A few things (socialists ARE NOT anarchists) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pHunbalanced, Superpole, LaFajita

      Anarchists are people that believe in extremely limited forms of government or no form of government at all.  They're not necessarily violent.

      Socialists generally believe in the worker owning the means of production, although it's harder to categorize them and I know less about them.

      What do you mean they're like today's Libertarians?  Libertarians do believe in some government, although some members of the Libertarian Party are anarchists.

      •  socialists ARE NOT anarchists (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanL, LynneK, chrome327

        That's what I was trying to say. I'm suprised it didn't come though in my post. As far as some Libertarians this and some Libertarians that, all the Libertarians I've ever run into wanted to get rid of all government. Republicans want to git rid of any government that helps out working folks, they hate helping them, but Republicans don't mind government that controls workers.

        Bush Jr's Iraq farewell tour. Nobody could have predicted shoes being used as a missile.

        by William Domingo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:04:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That part about socialists vs. anarchists (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          William Domingo

          was in response to the other person who replied to you.

          With the Libertarian thing - that's just as bad as not distinguishing anarchists from socialists.

          •  in response to the other person (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            OK, I was a little confused cuz it was hooked to to my post, even though it didn't seem be in sync with mine. What I think of when I think of Libertaians is Ron Paul people. I know some Republicans pay lip-service to being Libertarians, but it seems when it comes down to it, Republicans always end up wanting to control the workers and control the workers rights vis à vis the business owners. Examples being a boss can demand anything or even fire a worker any time he wants, but a worker can never demand anything from a boss that the boss doesn't want to voluntarily want to give. Or a landlord can raise the rent or evict a renter anytime he wants by likewise a renter can make no demands on the landlord. In other words, Republicans want the rules of government to always be stacked in favor of the money class and against the working people.

            Bush Jr's Iraq farewell tour. Nobody could have predicted shoes being used as a missile.

            by William Domingo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:32:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Some socialists vs. all socialists? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zeke L

        Anarchism is libertarian socialism. It is a bit much to reduce anarchism to one form of socialism, but anarchism is a subset of socialism.

        So all anarchists are socialists.

        Not all socialists are anarchists.

        Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

        by Marja E on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:07:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        • (0+ / 0-)

          Anarcho-capitalism is the extreme expression of Libertarianism. Not a speck of socialism in it. It's about as realistic as Ayn Rand's literature, however. Anarcho-capitalism, if it was allowed to take hold, would result in a Hobbesian war of all against all which would only end with the biggest, baddest warlords carving up the spoils of a flaming, scorched planet. Think "The Road Warrior."

          Californians: tell Ah-nuld NEIN on May 19th! No on everything!
          Dump Harry Reid. Now.

          by Pris from LA on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 11:19:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no idea how you are getting these mixed up (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            1. Anarcho-capitalism is not anarchism, in the same sense that Marxism is not anarchism. Of course, there are anarchist theories derived from anarcho-capitalism - e.g. through agorism - just as there are anarchist theories derived from Marxism - e.g. through autonomous Marxism.
            1. Small-l libertarianism has referred to anarchism since the 19th century. Hence libertarian socialism. The term libertarianism has only been applied to pro-capitalist movements since the mid 20th century.

            Hopefully Malatesta will clear this up:

            Morally, anarchism is sufficient unto itself; but to be translated into facts it needs concrete forms of material life, and it is the preference for one or other form which differentiates the various anarchist schools of thought.

            In the anarchist milieu, communism, individualism, collectivism, mutualism and all the intermediate and eclectic programmes are simply the ways considered best for achieving freedom and solidarity in economic life; the ways believed to correspond more closely with justice and freedom for the distribution of the means of production and the products of labour among men.

            Note on individualism and anarchism

            Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

            by Marja E on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:38:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  many anarchists believe in self-government (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        mutual aid, direct democracy, community policing, syndicalism. it's not against any attempt to govern, so much as a critique against the way that the state is usually run, and for whom.

        they're radical democrats, really, applying it to the family and economy as well as the political sphere.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 05:56:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wu ming, Marja E

          Think of anarchy as meaning "without hierarchy."  The basic philosophy being that everyone has the right of self-determination, one cannot govern without the explicit consent of the governed.

          (Whether this works in practice, especially in cases of individuals disposed to anti-social behavior, is left as an exercise for the reader.)

          Bring the WAR home

          Starve the corporate beast, buy local!

          by EthrDemon on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 10:45:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Personally (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think that we've reached the point or will ever reach the point where socialism isn't a dirty word. How about we just call it democratic capitalism and try to debunk the assertions that it has to do anything with the command economy system of communism.

  •  By most accounts I qualify as a socialist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty

    but I'm not going to trip over myself to embrace that label. This wasn't a socialist nation in the 1990s, when the top 1 percent had a higher tax rate, let alone in 1950s, when we something approaching an equitable tax code. I'm not going to proclaim myself a socialist just because I want to see a return to that. That would be silly.

    It is... a tyranny up with which we dare no longer put.

    by PLCOT on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:31:22 PM PDT

    •  I don't believe we've ever been a socialist natn. (10+ / 0-)

      It would be nice if we weren't such a ruthlessly capitalistic one, though.

      "All wars end with talking." - CKendall.

      by haruki on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:33:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, haruki

        I'm just thinking of the knee-jerk reaction by right-wingers to call any form of redistributive justice "socialism." It's not, and I'm not going to call myself a socialist because based on my support of redistributive policies alone.

        Maybe once we've worked out an equitable tax system, in which those who got the most out of the system are putting the most back in, and we're in a position to shore up and expand our welfare state, which I support, then I'll embrace that label.

        It is... a tyranny up with which we dare no longer put.

        by PLCOT on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:38:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Uhhhh get real (0+ / 0-)

        are your referring to the U.S.?

        Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, etc., ALL are socialistic programs.

        Labor unions, child labor laws, the eight hour workday, employer paid health care, overtime- ALL implemented for the larger social good, therefore socialism.

        you've got it exactly backward; the U.S. has been a socialist nation for some time now.

        "The most dangerous thing in any economic crisis is denial". Simon Johnson, MIT

        by Superpole on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:42:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. Most of what you listed (4+ / 0-)

          are negotiated benefits between wage labor and capital.  Wage labor and capital disagree over conditions, pay, and benefits, but coming to an agreement through contract is not socialist- that is "a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."  

          A socialist would press for the end of wage slavery per se.  

          by Kab ibn al Ashraf on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:01:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You are confusing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          socialism and social-democracy. The latter is an accommodation with with capitalism in which normal folks have enough political strength to resist being raped and pillaged in public.

          Socialism, OTOH, is a replacement for capitalism, in which normal folks actually determine what to produce, how to produce it and how to distribute it among themselves. No capitalists are invited to the party.

          For detailed information, see Beyond Capital.

          We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

          by unclejohn on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 07:14:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A Socialist wrote an op-ed recently in WaPo (22+ / 0-)

    A real socialist, a card-carrying member of the Socialist Party USA.

    All this speculation over whether our current president is a socialist led me into the sea of business suits, BlackBerrys and self-promoters in the studio at Fox Business News. I quickly realized that the antagonistic anchor David Asman had little interest in exploring socialist ideas on bank nationalization. For Asman, nationalization was merely a code word for socialism. Using logic borrowed from the 1964 thriller "The Manchurian Candidate," he portrayed Obama as a secret socialist, so far undercover that not even he understood that his policies were de facto socialist. I was merely a cudgel to be wielded against the president -- a physical embodiment of guilt by association.

    The funny thing is, of course, that socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us. Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal. Socialists understand him more as a hedge-fund Democrat -- one of a generation of neoliberal politicians firmly committed to free-market policies.

    The first clear indication that Obama is not, in fact, a socialist, is the way his administration is avoiding structural changes to the financial system. Nationalization is simply not in the playbook of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his team. They favor costly, temporary measures that can easily be dismantled should the economy stabilize. Socialists support nationalization and see it as a means of creating a banking system that acts like a highly regulated public utility. The banks would then cease to be sinkholes for public funds or financial versions of casinos and would become essential to reenergizing productive sectors of the economy.

    •  From that op/ed, re: Obama's foreign policy... (9+ / 0-)

      Issues of war and peace further weaken the commander in chief's socialist credentials. Obama announced that all U.S. combat brigades will be removed from Iraq by August 2010, but he still intends to leave as many as 50,000 troops in Iraq and wishes to expand the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A socialist foreign policy would call for the immediate removal of all troops. It would seek to follow the proposal made recently by an Afghan parliamentarian, which called for the United States to send 30,000 scholars or engineers instead of more fighting forces.

      "All wars end with talking." - CKendall.

      by haruki on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:46:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  long national "to do" list for econ rebuilding (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fayeforcure, mrchumchum, thethinveil


    "-- the mandate of clarity requires me to ask: to what state of affairs do we expect to recover? If the answer is a return to an economy based on building ever more suburban sprawl, on credit card over-spending, on routine securitized debt shenanigans in banking, and on consistently lying to ourselves about what reality demands of us, then we are a mortally deluded nation. We're done with that, we're beyond that now, we've crossed the frontier and left that all behind, and we'd better get our heads straight about it.

         I maintain that there are countless constructive tasks waiting to occupy us on a long national "to do" list for rebuilding a national economy, but they are way different than the ones currently preoccupying government and the mainstream media. The Obama White House, Congress, and The New York Times are hung up on exercises in futility -- "rescuing" banks and insurance companies that cannot be rescued (because they are hopelessly trapped in "black hole" credit default swaps contracts), and re-starting a "consumer" binge that was completely crazy in the first place, based, as it was, on a something-for-nothing standard-of-living.
        Meanwhile, if the buzz on the blogosphere is a measure of anything -- and I think it is -- then a new consensus is forming out there about where to start doing things differently. Unfortunately after less than two months in office, President Obama finds himself awkwardly behind-the-curve on this. It begins with the understanding that a general bank rescue is hopeless and, going a step further, that the people who caused the train wreck of "innovative" securities have to be prosecuted. The public's collective voice on this is muted but growing. It has been muted by the general air of blackmail that the banks have used to enthrall policy and opinion -- the "too big to fail" idea -- in effect holding the nation's future for ransom.
         Last week, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo hauled Bank of America chief Ken Lewis..."

  •  Thanks great post (5+ / 0-)

    The Barbara Ehereich interview was informative and interesting.  I had read the Nation pieces.  The way you presented with some people's history and many views greatly will stimulate thought, discussion, and hopefully action.
    Also thanks to the commenter who suggested the Dissent piece by Sheri Berman.  
    We definitely do not need to shun a socialist identity; especially those of us who have been so identified for a long time.  We do need things like this diary that educate and bring forth new definitions or aspects is maybe better of the socialist possibilities.  Thanks again for this diary.

  •  Socialist is good. But they always get it wrong. (7+ / 0-)

    Socialism is perfectly fine.

    The problem is the micro right wing conspiracy (Fox, Disney, GE, Viacom) always gets the definition wrong so they call things like health insurance "socialism" when it has nothing to do with socialism (government ownership of factories, hospitals etc.) For example, the VA would "socialism" because the government owns the hospitals and the people are government employees.  Medicare is not socialism because it is just a payment system which pays non-government hospitals and doctors for services same as Defense Dept. pays Boeing or Lockheed.

    If the corporate media types would at least get the definition right, it would save a lot of meaningless back and forth.

    •  What do the socialists say? (3+ / 0-)

      Here is an excerpt from the Socialist International:

      Democratic socialism today is based on the same values on which it was founded. But they must be formulated critically, both assimilating past experience and looking ahead to the future. For instance, experience has shown that while nationalisation in some circumstances may be necessary, it is not by itself a sovereign remedy for social ills. Likewise, economic growth can often be destructive and divisive, especially where private interests evade their social and ecological responsibility. Neither private nor State ownership by themselves guarantee either economic efficiency or social justice.

      Nationalisation of the means of production is no longer a basic tenent of modern Socialism.

      Declaration of Principles, Socialist International

      "Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodilla." E. Zapata

      by Mas Gaviota on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:11:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope. What is the DEFINITION of Socialism (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrchumchum, thethinveil

        Socialist International is a political party using "Socialism" as a name. Republican Party doesn't get to define the terms of a republican government, same with Democrats and democratic government.

        Socialism is a clear economic theory similar to capitalism. It has a clear definition which is government ownership of the means of production and distribution.

        Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

        Main Entry:
           so·cial·ism Listen to the pronunciation of socialism

        1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
        1. a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
        1. a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

        Government owns the iron mine, the railraod, the trucks, the steel mill, the car factory the car dealership.

        In health care, since that is where it seems to get misused the most, the VA is an example of socialism, the government owns the hospitals, the employees work for the government.

        A hospital that accepts payment for services from Medicare is not socialism, the government doesn't own anything.

        •  No the Socialist International, since they are (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, wu ming, turthlover

          the face of MODERN socialism in the world, does get to define what socialism is, not Merriam Fucking Webster Dictionary.  BTW the Socialist International is not a "political party".  It is an inernational collective of socialist parties in every country. Here is a list of their members:

          Full Member PartiesAlbania Social Democratic Party, PSD
          Albania Socialist Party of Albania, SPA  
          Algeria Socialist Forces Front, FFS
          Andorra Social Democratic Party of Andorra, PS
          Angola MPLA
          Argentina Socialist Party, PS
          Argentina Radical Civic Union, UCR
          Armenia ARF Armenian Socialist Party
          Aruba People's Electoral Movement, MEP
          Australia Australian Labor Party, ALP
          Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria, SPÖ
          Barbados Barbados Labour Party, BLP
          Belgium Socialist Party, PS
          Belgium Socialist Party, SPA
          Benin Social Democratic Party, PSD
          Bosnia and Herzegovina Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, SDP BiH
          Bosnia and Herzegovina The Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD
          Brazil Democratic Labour Party, PDT
          Bulgaria Bulgarian Social Democrats, PBSD
          Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP
          Burkina Faso Party for Democracy and Progress/Socialist Party, PDP/PS
          Cameroon Social Democratic Front, SDF
          Canada New Democratic Party, NDP/NPD
          Cape Verde African Party of Cape  Verde's  Independence,  PAICV  
          Chile Party for Democracy, PPD
          Chile Radical Social Democratic Party, PRSD
          Chile Socialist Party of Chile, PS
          Colombia Liberal Party of Colombia, PLC
          Costa Rica National Liberation Party, PLN
          Côte d'Ivoire Ivorian Popular Front, FPI
          Croatia Social Democratic Party, SDP
          Curaçao MAN
          Cyprus Movement of Social Democrats EDEK
          Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party, CSSD
          Denmark Social Democratic Party
          Dominican Republic Dominican Revolutionary Party, PRD
          Ecuador Democratic Left Party, PID
          Egypt National Democratic Party, NDP
          Equatorial Guinea Convergence for Social Democracy, CPDS
          Estonia Estonian Social Democratic Party
          Finland Finnish Social Democratic Party, SDP
          France Socialist Party, PS
          Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD
          Ghana National Democratic Congress
          Great Britain The Labour Party
          Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK
          Guatemala National Union for Hope, UNE
          Guinea Guinean People's Assembly, RPG
          Haiti Union of Haitian Social Democrats
          Hungary Hungarian Social Democratic Party, MSzDP
          Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party, MSzP
          Iceland Social Democratic Alliance of Iceland
          Iraq Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK
          Ireland The Labour Party
          Israel Israel Labour Party
          Israel Meretz-Yachad Party  
          Italy Democrats of the Left, DS
          Italy Socialist Party, PS

          Jamaica People's National Party, PNP
          Japan Social Democratic Party, SDP
          Latvia Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party, LSDSP
          Lebanon Progressive Socialist Party, PSP
          Lithuania Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, LSDP
          Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party, LSAP/POSL
          FYR Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, SDUM
          Malaysia Democratic Action Party, DAP
          Mali African Party for Solidarity and Justice, ADEMA-PASJ
          Mali Assembly for Mali, RPM
          Malta Malta Labour Party
          Mauritania Assembly of Democratic Forces, RFD
          Mauritius Mauritius Labour Party
          Mauritius Mauritius Militant Movement, MMM
          Mexico Party of Democratic Revolution, PRD
          Mexico Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI
          Mongolia Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, MPRP
          Montenegro Social Democratic Party of Montenegro, SDP
          Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, DPS
          Morocco Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP
          Mozambique Frelimo Party
          Namibia SWAPO
          Nepal Nepali Congress Party
          Netherlands Labour Party, PvdA
          New Zealand New Zealand Labour Party, NZLP
          Nicaragua Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN
          Niger Party for Democracy and Socialism of Niger, PNDS
          Northern Ireland Social Democratic and Labour Party, SDLP
          Norway Norwegian Labour Party, DNA
          Pakistan Pakistan People's Party, PPP
          Panama Democratic Revolutionary Party, PRD
          Paraguay Revolutionary Febrerista Party, PRF
          Paraguay 'País Solidario' Party
          Peru Peruvian Aprista Party, PAP
          Poland Democratic Left Alliance, SLD
          Poland Union of Labour, UP
          Portugal Socialist Party, PS
          Puerto Rico Puerto Rican Independence Party, PIP
          Romania Social Democratic Party, PSD
          San Marino Party of Socialists and Democrats
          Senegal Socialist Party, PS
          Serbia Democratic Party, DS
          Serbia Social Democratic Party of Serbia
          Slovakia SMER-Social Democracy
          Slovenia Social Democrats, SD
          South Africa African National Congress, ANC
          Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, PSOE
          Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party, SAP
          Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
          Tunisia Constitutional Democratic Assembly, RCD
          Turkey Republican People's Party, CHP
          Uruguay New Space, PNE
          Uruguay Socialist Party of Uruguay, PSU
          USA Democratic Socialists of America, DSA
          Venezuela Democratic Action, AD
          Venezuela Movement for Socialism, MAS
          Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change, MDC

          Consultative partiesAntigua Antigua Labor Party
          Azerbaijan Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, ASDP
          Belarus Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada), BSDP
          Burundi Frodebu
          Dominica Dominica Labour Party
          Gabon Gabonese Party for Progress, PGP
          Greenland SIUMUT
          Guatemala Social Democratic Convergence, CSD
          Guinea-Bissau African Party of Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, PAIGC
          Iran Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, PDKI
          Republic of Moldova Democratic Party, PDM
          Namibia Congress of Democrats, CoD
          Palestine Fatah
          Paraguay Progressive Democratic Party, PDP
          Philippines Akbayan, Citizens' Action Party
          Philippines Philippines Democratic Socialist Party, PDSP
          St. Kitts-Nevis St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party
          St. Lucia St. Lucia Labour Party, SLP
          St. Vincent & the Grenadines Unity Labour Party
          Timor-Leste Fretilin
          Togo Democratic Convention of African Peoples, CDPA
          Tunisia Democratic Forum for Labour and Freedoms, FDTL  
          Ukraine Socialist Party of Ukraine, SPU
          Ukraine Social Democratic Party of Ukraine, SDPU
          Venezuela PODEMOS
          Yemen Yemeni Socialist Party
          Pending consultation  
          Cyprus Republican Turkish Party, CTP

          Observer partiesBotswana Botswana National Front, BNF
          Bulgaria Bulgarian Social Democracy, BSD
          Central African Republic Patriotic Front for Progress, FPP
          Central African Republic Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People, MLPC
          Colombia Alternative Democratic Force, PDA
          Democratic Republic of Congo Union for Democracy and Social Progress, UDPS
          Haiti Organisation of the People in Struggle, OPL
          India Janata Dal (secular)
          Jordan The Democratic Socialist Forum of Jordan
          Kyrgyzstan Ata Meken
          Republic of Moldova Social Democratic Party of Moldova
          Palestine Palestinian National Initiative, PNI
          Russian Federation A Just Russia Party
          Turkey Democratic Society Party, DTP
          Polisario Front

          Fraternal organisationsInternational Falcon Movement/Socialist Educational International, IFM/SEI
          International Union of Socialist Youth, IUSY
          Socialist International Women, SIW

          Associated organisationsInternational Federation of the Socialist and Democratic Press, IFSDP
          International Labour Sports Confederation, CSIT
          International League of Religious Socialists, ILRS
          International Social Democratic Union for Education, ISDUE
          Jewish Labour Bund, JLB
          National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, NDI  
          Socialist Group in the European Parliament
          Party of European Socialists PES
          Social Democratic Group of the Latin American Parliament
          World Labour Zionist Movement, WLZM

          I will believe their definition, you have fun reading your dictionary

          "Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodilla." E. Zapata

          by Mas Gaviota on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:13:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope again. Socialism has a REAL definition (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geenius at Wrok, mrchumchum, Lopez99

            It's nice some people call themselves "socialist" but they may or may not be socialists based on actual definition of socialism.  Republicans call themselves Republicans, they don't define what is a republic or republican form of government.

            •  WTF (0+ / 0-)

              is your problem?  If I want to know what, say the Mormons believe, I would look to see how they define themselves.  The dictonary might have a very different definition.  You are confusing the abstract idea of socialism and its definition in a dictionary from the ACTUAL socialist movement of 2009 and what they stand for.  This is not "some people" it is a huge group with millions of members.  

              "Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodilla." E. Zapata

              by Mas Gaviota on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:30:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Uh-huh. And the Democratic People's Republic (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lopez99, thethinveil

                of Korea is a model popular democracy?

                I mean, I can see your side -- nobody gets to say what I believe in but me. But on the other hand, what I call what I believe is subject to socio-linguistic consensus. You can't tell me what I think and automatically be right, but I can't call what I think "socialism" and automatically be right either.

                "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

                by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:39:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Use actual definition of socialism (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lopez99, thethinveil

                Otherwise you become as foolish as Fox News defining "liberal" or "conservative".

                Merriam-Webster Dictionary

                Main Entry:
                   so·cial·ism Listen to the pronunciation of



                1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
                1. a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
                1. a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
  •  thanks again Mr. Blades (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This White House is way different. It's better! ~Rachel Maddow

    by catchaz on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 02:58:01 PM PDT

  •  Socialism is a bit old fashioned (4+ / 0-)

    in a good way.  Socialism implies that values matter -- why else care whether the economy is fair? Bush and his cronies made the nihilism of capitalism too apparent: all that mattered was accumulating wealth -- values and religion-talk was just that -- talk -- and was simply a cynical distraction to gain 50% plus one of the vote.  

  •  A good balance bet Cap & Soc maybe the way to go (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  It's good... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    to see Rebecca Solnit included above. Her work for the last twenty years has been exemplary, insightful, honest, and very well written. She's not as well known as others on The Nation panel, but she should be. Savage Dreams is a great introduction. Check Solnit out.

    Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

    by JoesGarage on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:02:57 PM PDT

  •  My pops used to hang with NAM back in the 70s (0+ / 0-)

    and if I'm not mistaken didn't the New Party folks emerge out of NAM?

    The opportunity Obama gives the left, it seems to me, is a political space to once again build a social movement in the US.  We've done it in the past -- Jacksonianism, populism, the CIO labor surge, the sixties -- and we can definitely do it again.

    It's been strange over the last six months to a year to watch the country shift on a dime ideologically.  I've long believed it was possible, but I never really believed I'd see it.  It might too much to ask for, but I'm hoping the popular shift might some day soon get reflected in the news reporting...

  •  Socialism - better ideas than any of the GOP (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, Philoguy, thethinveil

    stuff that has been put out there.

    This corporate welfare, neoconservative, borrow and spend, trickle-down, rights-denying, gun-clinging, gay-bashing, anti-woman, anti-community, anti-child crap has to stop.

    I'm not a "big government" person, but we have to get focused on sustainability, and I'm just not sure that the GOP has a clue about how to do that, even though Mark Sanford of SC used the word "sustainability" recently as a watchword for the GOP.

    Hopefully, we can get back on track, build new consensus, and continue to organize the GOP into obscurity.  They are out of ideas, out of time, out of energy, and out of leadership.

    I think a multi-party system is great, but I'd rather see libertarians, Constitution Party, Greens, and Socialists out there taking on the Democrats, rather than the GOP.

    Let's hope.

    Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

    by Benintn on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:07:21 PM PDT

  •  Just out of curiosity, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jacob Bartle

    is Meteor Blades suppose to be a really big blogger here at Daily Kos

  •  How are capitalism and democracy related? (10+ / 0-)

    It's always seemed odd to me that capitalism would be the favored economic model in a truly democratic society.  I'm not so naive as to not see how that is so, but remain perplexed as to the why.  

    Then again, successful examples of socialism in our democracy already exist and we just call it something else (medicare, social security, welfare).  Certainly the corporations, enriched by that certain "welfare" which keeps them more-than-whole won't admit to any socialist scaffolding.  Socialism is a dirty word here.  

    Perhaps we should call the fix, whatever it turns out to be, "that which works bestism" with no other values attached?

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:09:20 PM PDT

    •  Capitalism has proved that .... (11+ / 0-) can align itself with various political systems having nothing to do with democracy: colonialism, fascism and even, now that we have red capitalism in the China, communism.

      "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:19:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I cringe every time I see terms (5+ / 0-)

        like socialism (or communism, democracy, capitalism, etc.) thrown around by people who do not what it means or understand the basics.  When did our education system become so weak that it stopped teaching these basic concepts with all the good AND the bad that comes with them?  I must presume that it was sometime around the time of Nixon's reign, because they taught them when I was in school.

        I am appalled at the ignorance I often see displayed in discussions dealing with subjects like socialism.  It's time we got our act together and started educating our youth, before it's too late.

        Calling bullshit on "bracing rhetorical thrusters" since Fall 2006....

        by Got a Grip on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:30:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was after Nixon (0+ / 0-)

          because I learned them, and I graduated the summer he resigned.

          It started with St. Ronald Reagan, who was dedicated to dumbing down America. He got his wish, enabled by all the Republican policies and politicians in power since him.

          "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

          by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 10:45:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Even The Economist Magazine (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigchin, mrchumchum, chrome327

        editorialized in the year 2000 that the next great epochal struggle might quite possibly be between democracy and capitalism.

        I am wondering more and more if the War on Terror was only a distraction and if the larger struggle is rewinding back to 2000, when the large anti-globalization protests were considered to be the most looming threat in the West.

      •  well the only thing communist in china (0+ / 0-)

        is the flag. when the CCP let capitalists openly enter the party, it effectively ceased to be.

        but your point is well made.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:00:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Why? (4+ / 0-)

      There's no real logical connection, of course.  It's simply that all systems with pretentions to legitimacy attempt to plaster themselves with the symbols of other forms of legitimacy.

      It's an instituional power strategy based on one of the less admirable aspects of human psychology.  The power of bullshit, if you will.

  •  Irony Alert (4+ / 0-)

    Free-market fundamentalism, rapacious deregulation, and the resulting Bush Depression is killing conservative talk radio.

    This was completely new information to me.

    The economy's downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

    For that and other reasons, stations have dropped the shows of at least half a dozen radio personalities and scaled back others, in some cases replacing them with cheaper nationally syndicated programs.

    Maybe Washington should give right wing radio a bail out. Looks like they could use a little socialism right now.

    "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

    by greendem on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:15:55 PM PDT

  •  Hitler Accused Everyone of Being "Socialists" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrchumchum, thethinveil

    It's an old tactic, but still popular

  •  "socialism" is not really the issue at all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LokiMom, Mas Gaviota

    The issue is 'revolution' and whether or not it is useful or destructive, which is the point that J. S. Mill made quite a while back when evaluating the claims of the continental socialists.  

    The sticking issue in the models of most first generation socialists back in the 19c was that they insisted that the only way to solve the problem of economic inequality was by ending the current system completely and starting an entirely new system--year zero, revolution.  Mill argued persuasively that the ideas in socialism were sound, but not the approach to implementing them that the socialists demanded through 'hot' rhetoric (e.g., rhetoric predicting the end of the world unless there is a revolution).

    Revolutionaries, of course, come in many flavors, but they all share one thing in common: they want a total reboot of the system based on some theory they claim is the truth--and by virtue of being the truth can produce a perfect future (utopia) if only we stop everything that we are doing now, and start from scratch on a new way based on the truth.  

    George W. Bush, of course, was a revolutionary, despite calling himself a conservative.  The revolutionary experiment he got to run was not here in the U.S., but in Iraq.  It failed miserably and took the whole revolutionary movement down with it.  They're still making noise, but they're over and they know it.

    The alternative to Bush's failed revolution was an anti-revolutionary movement--a movement based on pragmatism, which is not the same as 'practical-ism,' but is a view of change based on the thinking of Dewey in opposition to Marx.  Dewey rejected the idea that we needed a revolution to start over for somewhat arcane philosophical reasons. But the main point was that Dewey believed in an America that pursued those polices most useful to advancing a just and inclusive Democracy.  That is exactly what the Presidency of Barack Obama is about.

    Now, what magazines like the Nation fail to see--fail because they insist on the theory-reality split versions of revolutionism as a way of seeing the world--is that the pragmatists approach to advancing a more just and inclusive Democracy has always been the American version of 'socialism'--and worked for decades without every having to take up the unhelpful jargon of 19c 'hot' rhetoricians.

    If we were serious about embracing this moment, then we should be reclaiming the tradition of pragmatism that once succeeded and which has re-emerged to tackle a new set of problems at this moment.  And we should not get distracted by the allure of presenting ourselves as inheritors of some continental tradition of tossing around hypothetical revolutions--which never, ever, ever worked--not in Europe, not anywhere.  The only revolution that ever succeeded (e.g., that is still ongoing, today) is the one we started here.

    •  The problem with your take ... (6+ / 0-)

      ...on what magazines such as The Nation "fail to see" is an apparent failure to have actually read what the writers in "Reimagining Socialism" wrote about socialism; and, moreover, what other writers in the current and previous issues write when it comes to transformation, Obama-style or otherwise. See, for instance, William Greider's piece on changing the Fed, or Joe Stiglitz's piece on a "bailout that works."

      For the record, one can be both a pragmatist and a revolutionary, or better said these days, a pragmatic idealist. One is not required to be one of the other. Popular Front Democrats, in fact, epitomize pragmatic idealism.

      All that being said, I don't disagree with a good deal of your critique of the way that some socialists have theorized about revolution, both here and in Europe. But a fair reading of socialist theory in the U.S. and Europe recognizes that not all have preached revolution, bloody or otherwise, but incrementalism.

      "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:42:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read them and I see the point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, mentaldebris

        We can salvage the word 'socialism,' sure. I see that project--it's useful.  But also, in a sense, it might be less useful than we hope because the sticking point here is not whether the capitalist era is over or whether we need a new system, but simply that we need to sit down together and make a series of decisions that will produce very useful results for our Democracy--period.  Inevitably that will not be a system described as 'socialist' or 'capitalist' or any 'ist.'  It will simply be a system described as 'it's working much better.' We have to be more than satisfied with that direction--we have to find ways to get ourselves  motivated to fight for 'it's working much better' and wean ourselves off these kinds of big models that demand our allegiance to a theory of society. If people read those essays and find that message already in them--great.  I found something different.

        Look, I'm a fan of Ehrenreich.  Honestly, if I had to name one living writer I wished I could have been--shed' be it.  But what those articles share in common is a revolutionary starting point--even McKibben, god bless him, starts from a revolutionary opening.

        I gave a talk at a socialist party convention of an EU member state this past Fall, and was not surprised to find how absent all this revolutionary thinking was from places where socialists actually govern--so this is fresh in my mind.  Great experience, wonderful people. They have their revolutionaries, sure.  But mostly they are not theorists offering models and critiques of society. They're people who have simply made decisions to expand as much as possible a more just and inclusive democratic society.  They still use ATMs, dream of buying nicer houses, stay in fancy hotels, buy expensive beer, buy designer clothes, eat fancy chocolates, struggle with ways to live sustainably, otherwise engage with 'the capitalist world system'--and,  incidentally, provide universal hc, education, retirement security, etc.  

        Now, when we tried do all that in this country--which we did solidly for about 50 years--historically, we did not call ourselves 'socialists.'  We called ourselves 'pragmatists'--which didn't mean 'like McGuyver,' it meant 'like Emerson, Whitman, Dewey.'   That's not to say 'socialism' is a dirty word.  It's a beautiful word, but it's just not the word we've used over here, for the most part (Rorty has a great discussion of this in Philosophy and Social Hope--and I wish he were still with us).  And to reclaim that word because Rush Limbaugh is using it right now?  There's short term gain in that, but over the long run we are much better off reconnecting with the heritage that is truly ours and trumpeting it to everyone within earshot.

        Anyway...The Nation will survive with our without my endorsement.

        •  i must learn to post (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mentaldebris, thethinveil

          the above comment was a short thoughtresponse to your previous post .....your response to MB's response to you was interesting because it gave a context for experience outside the life i've led....and clarifies (and shows the closeness to but the nuance of the general discussion) why you think what you think....thanks food for thought or thought for food

    •  i think i get your point (0+ / 0-)

      but i would suggest that socialism is much more than a continental tradition and that pragmatism has the risk of eventually being consumed by capitalism...

  •  The GOP has turned capitalism... (6+ / 0-)

    ...into selfishness.  They've made it sound like a bad thing now.  It is their own damn fault that they are making "socialism" seem acceptable to so many.

    I'll tell you what, three years ago, I would never have voted for anybody even accused of socialism.  

    And it pisses me the hell off that these f@#kers get away with demonizing Obama when they've flushed the country down the toilet, made at least 30% of the nation mistrust many of the institutions that are required to have a country running well such as the media and government.  

    These bastards have destroyed our country and some of their leaders are calling openly for the country's leader to fail and for a state to actually secede from the Union.  They are delusional f^#ks and they need to go down hard.

    "If these Republicans can't stand up to Rush, how can they stand up to the Iranians?" - Redmond Barry

    by xsonogall on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:28:26 PM PDT

    •  Rush is a blowhard, idiot.... (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      but I would assume he wants "socialism" in particular to fail, as it has everywhere else in the world.

      Also what about all of the liberals that wanted Bush to fail???

      Bush was a disaster, but the selfish and "euphoric" Democrats helped cause the housing crisis with their unconscionable defense of the government subsidized arms of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, while Repiublicans actually wanted some regulation.

      Not to mention the Democrat notion that everybody should be able to afford a house.

      •  Name one (6+ / 0-)

        liberal that wished for Bush's failure on a national stage. After 9/11 the left bent over backwards to give Bush whatever he wanted. No one hoped he would, but it became evident that failure was imminent.

        Democratic notion.. Your republicanism is showing.

        You forget to mention the unconscionable lenders (outside of the "evil" FMFM and unencumbered by previously existing regulations) targeting people who had no business taking loans, and assuring them that all would be fine.

        Never knock on Death's door. Ring the bell and run!

        by xeromachine on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:02:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Other than Carville... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Never knock on Death's door. Ring the bell and run!

          by xeromachine on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:08:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Carville was never considered the leader... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...of the Democratic party.  Not even close.  If someone pissed him off, they didn't need to come groveling to him and apologize for their transgressions or forever be shunned from the party.

            Look - to be honest I was very right-leaning in the early 2000s (because of 9/11).  And yes, you are right - NOBODY on the left went against Bush after 9/11.  He could have wanted to invade Russia and the Democrats would have signed off on it.  Even the ones who opposed the Iraq war generally did so without making a big fuss, and nobody cared.

            But the way the GOP has acted the last couple of years, especially the way they are treating Obama during this crisis, which is almost like an economic 9/11, has pushed me away from the right completely.  I am a registered independent and never considered registering for a party before, but I am so irritated at the Republicans right now that I am most likely registering Democrat in 2010.

            "If these Republicans can't stand up to Rush, how can they stand up to the Iranians?" - Redmond Barry

            by xsonogall on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:25:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, I agree, (0+ / 0-)

              and Carville's statement was made in a relatively private setting as opposed to Rush's on-the-air screechings. I just tossed that out there as it was surely the inevitable comeback.

              Never knock on Death's door. Ring the bell and run!

              by xeromachine on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 04:23:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Carville isn't exactly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xeromachine, thethinveil

            a Democratic leader.  He is correctly described by wiki as an American political consultant, commentator, actor, attorney, media personality and pundit.

            And you didn't see actual Democratic leaders rush to his defense or heartily agree with the sentiment.  IMdisgustedO, they bent over backwards to cater to the Boy King's criminal flights of utter incompetence.

            Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist.-George Carlin

            by mentaldebris on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 08:04:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Ehrenreich voted for Nader in FL during (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jacob Bartle

    the 2000 election. I forever lost respect for her after that. Instead of choosing to be part of the solution she chose to be part of the problem.

    •  She was wrong. And others on the left ... (5+ / 0-)

      ...told her so.

      "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:48:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It makes it hard for me to take her seriously (0+ / 0-)

        Don't get me wrong, MB; I liked Nickel and Dimed and Bait Switch, even though I don't buy into her vision of socialism either. But it seemed to me very hypocritical and backstabbing that she would vote for Nader. At least when it came to Michael Moore, who voted for Nader in NY, his vote wasn't as decisive. (That doesn't let him off the hook). On the other hand Ehrenreich voted for Nader in FL, which was much more serious.

        Ehrenreich had the luxury of wasting her vote on a candidate who had zero chance of winning. Too bad the people about whom she claimed to care didn't have the luxury of wasting their vote. There were real consequences to her symbolic stunt.

        She comes off to me as one of those self-righteous academics who live out in ivory towers preaching and pontificating while the proverbial Rome burns to the ground. She is one of those liberals who seems to look at poverty as an abstract case study than an issue with real-life consequences.

        Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch were good books, even though I again don't buy into her view of capitalism and socialism. However, having known that she voted for Nader in FL, it has forever made it hard for me to view her through anything but the most cynical prism.

        •  i voted for Nader (4+ / 0-)

          and I still believe if all the people who voted for Gore had voted for Nader then Nader would have won. but they all were too comfortable with the corporate powers..... my how time changes offense meant but to hold someone as a noncontributer over one vote as opposed to numerous contributions leads me to be cynical......and wonder were the Clinton years that great or just seem so because of the total move from humanity of the previous 8 years.....i would suggest listening to the interview above again, hopfully it would ease some of your cyncism, just a suggestion.  

          •  And you wasted your vote (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            trueblueliberal, Cleopatra

            The US isn't a parliamentary system where even fringe parties can be part of a majority government. The US isn't like Israel, where even a fringe party or two can win a seat in the Knessett if it gets a few percentage points of the vote. The US system is winner take all. A vote for Nader was a luxury that this country could ill afford.

            •  wasted MY vote? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TomP, thethinveil

              I have never thought nor felt that......and it is MY vote....I voted for what I believed/still believed would have been best for the world, my country, the people in general, and selfishly myself.    Actuall in my view a vote for BUSH was wrong, but in the nineties so was a vote for CLINTON.  We do not need to agree but a vote is the person's casting it not yours to determine, the outcome and inter play is politics.  Obama for many reasons made me a born again Democrat, i did vote for Carter and Brown in 92 and was raised in a union Democrat home and still am of the working class......and still believe if everyone who voted for Gore had voted for Nader, Nader would have won. But they did not and I respect their right of choice, and when will we move on to the present and people quit saying Nader voters elected Bush; the election even as voted was stolen. Voting is not the be all and end all of politics   side story on 68 i voted for Humphrey, i was for Kennedy but we know that outcome (it was my first time voting) i would have voted lefter but my union father asked me to vote for Humphrey because he despised nixon so deeply. my father went to school with Jerry Voorhis (sp?) the first person smeared as a commie by Nixon when they competed for a congressional seat.  

              •  Again you wasted your vote (0+ / 0-)

                Despite the self-righteousness you wasted your vote. Nader had no chance in Hell of winning. Nader voters did elect Bush. The numbers don't lie. What bothers me even more, though, is that Nader ran an intentionally dishonest campaign.

                I can understand why the 18 year old, college student, or young professional voting for the first or second time would have voted for Nader. I can't, however, feel the same way about those who knew better and who were wiser. I feel the same way about the wealthy celebrities, activists, pundits, talk show hosts, and columnists who voted for him.

                •  I voted (0+ / 0-)

                  the election was stolen anyway you look at it....and i voted as a person who knows the corporate greed and control we live under.....i respect Al Gore but he did not run a campaign that spoke to the issues as I saw them.....and despite what you say he may even agree with me......but that is now the past.........some day maybe i and barbara, and others will grow to meet your the meantime what is to be done today and tomorrow, any suggestions?

        •  Ehrenreich (8+ / 0-)

          "She comes off to me as one of those self-righteous academics who live out in ivory towers preaching and pontificating while the proverbial Rome burns to the ground. She is one of those liberals who seems to look at poverty as an abstract case study than an issue with real-life consequences."

          Apparently you didn't read "Nickel and Dimed" very closely, because that book seemed to me to be precisely the opposite of what you are describing above. She also holds no academic position - she eschewed that in favor of activism and popular writing for a larger audience beyond the rarified halls of scholars.

          As a larger rhetorical question: when is the Nader 2000 vote as ultimate disqualifying factor among a certain breed of Democrats going to be tossed onto the ash bin of history.

          •  I don't think Ehrenreich ever admitted that she (0+ / 0-)

            was wrong. I read Nickel and Dimed. Yeah she played the role of the low income wage earner. But in all honesty it was an "experiment" for her. She could always leave the lifestyle and return back to how she was living. She knew that it was just an experiment for her.

            Don't get me wrong. I found the book interesting. The life of a person in the low wage workforce clearly has its own challenges. But I still find that she backstabbed those same people by voting for Nader.

            •  an experiment (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              it caught the reality.... i worked in motels and lived with others who worked in them for years...and her book along with Jesse Jackson's speech at the democratic convention "...the hands that make the beds"  are legend in the industry.....also she never wrote the book without the clarity of her assuming the 'role' , it was done with honesty and included the difficulties of her experience both on the wider story and her own personal story.....and became a wonderful dramatized play in LA,  which helped bring this awareness too many.

            •  Ehrenreich (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brooke In Seattle, TomP

              "ut in all honesty it was an "experiment" for her. She could always leave the lifestyle and return back to how she was living. She knew that it was just an experiment for her."

              Yes, she admitted this over and over again in the book in an attempt at transparency and honesty. She didn't pretend that she could somehow transcend her class position (which was an additional point she made).

              "But I still find that she backstabbed those same people by voting for Nader."

              I just don't understand this position. I don't know why she voted for Nader, but like many (myself included), I suspect she voted for the person she felt best represented progressive principles. The Democratic Party was much less progressive in 2000 than it is today. Was it a mistake? Damn right it was. But you make it seem as if there was some sort of categorical imperative to vote for Gore - which there wasn't.

              •  Looking at where we are eight years later (0+ / 0-)

                I can say that there was a "categorical imperative". And the US is not a parliamentary system. Unlike Israel, where even fringe parties can win a seat in the Knesset if they poll a few percentage points of the vote, the US is winner-take-all. A vote for Nader was a vote for Bush.

                She and the other academics, activists, celebrities, journalists, politicians, and pundits screwed those people over by voting for Nader. They knew what Bush would be like but they didn't care because they weren't going to be the ones paying the price. And yes I am less charitable about their "mistake" because they clearly knew better.

                So yes I will remind people of Ehrenreich's vote for Nader in FL. At least some of the others who voted for Nader lived in either dark blue or red states.

                •  How (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Justina, TomP

                  could they have "known" what Bush would be like?

                  Nobody could have know how awful Bush would be - he was only able to become truly awful because 9/11 allowed Bush to do things he would never have been able to do otherwise.

                  I just think this post-facto re-rationalization of the 2000 election is highly dubious.

                  People had good reason to vote against the Democratic Party as it existed in 2000, dominated as it was by DLC-type corporate Dems. These folks returned to the fold in 2003 with Dean and again in 2008 with Obama.

                  Was it a mistake - yes. How much of mistake only became clear in 2002.

                  But to argue that there was no conceivable reason to vote for Nader is simply false.  

        •  You've a right to your opinion ... (12+ / 0-)

          ...of Ehrenreich's views and behaviro, of course, but your characterization of her is way off the mark. She knows the real-life consequences of poverty far better than most Americans who aren't now or never have been low-income. She was in the trenches, I suspect, before you were born.

          As for her vote on Nader, let's never forget that many more moderate-to-conservative Democrats - the category you describe yourself as being in - voted for George Bush in Florida in 2000 than did people who voted for Nader. Why is it that those Democrats never come in for the excoriation that Nader did?

          FTR, I kissed off Nader forever because of his 2000 campaign. By running on the Green Party ticket, much of which he didn't even agree with, he proved that high principles weren't always first on his mind.

          "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

          by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:04:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know better than to make that argument (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jacob Bartle

            As for her vote on Nader, let's never forget that many more moderate-to-conservative Democrats - the category you describe yourself as being in - voted for George Bush in Florida in 2000 than did people who voted for Nader

            This argument is intentionally misleading. Yes, FL has more "Democrats" than Republicans. But many of the "Democrats" that you're talking about haven't voted for the Party's presidential candidate since 1976, if not 1964 or earlier. There are some counties in northern Florida that still have heavy Democratic registration advantages that gave Bush and McCain more than 60% and 70% of the vote. They may be "Democrats" on paper and may even support the party's local candidates; but, in national and statewide races, they vote Republican. The only "Democrat" who would have won their vote was someone like Zell Miller, who is unacceptable to the vast majority of Democrats on this site.

            So that argument is misleading. And even if Gore gets just 1% of the Nader vote he wins FL. So really this argument on your part is somewhat misleading and dishonest. These "Democrats" don't vote like "Democrats" on the national level--and haven't for decades.

            •  Are bluedogs ... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shpilk, mrchumchum, thethinveil

              ...Democrats or "Democrats"?

              "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

              by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:26:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You know who I'm talking about (0+ / 0-)

                I'm talking about Democrats in north Florida who, beyond supporting candidates at the very local level, never support the party's candidate for races at the statewide and national level. They aren't even Blue Dogs because at least those Democrat support the party's candidates in statewide and national races. These Democrats are more like Dixiecrats.

                •  You're giving those registered Democrats who ... (5+ / 0-)

                  ..voted for Bush a pass because they're "Dixiecrats," but Democrats (and Republicans and Greens) who voted for Nader, you blast. You don't see any problem with this?

                  "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

                  by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:08:41 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The problem is that they were never (0+ / 0-)

                    "Democratic" voters. And even if Gore adopted the entire Naderite platform he wouldn't have ever gotten their votes. The last "Democrat" they voted for was probably Carter, if not LBJ or earlier.

                    So the "more Democrats voted for Bush line" is dishonest. These voters are de facto Republicans. They wouldn't have voted for any "progressive" candidate. Again the only Democrat who could have conceivably won their vote would have been someone like Zell Miler; and, even then, it wouldn't be guaranteed.

                    I give them a "pass" because their votes were never in contention to begin with. You act like these voters supported Democrats the way that Democrats in California support Democrats. They don't because they just never switched their party label.

                    •  progressive? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      something strange in your last post   they would have never voted for a progressive democrat? the last they voted for was Carter or LBJ......Clinton was not a progressive he was a DLC and Gore went as far right as he could without becoming a LBJ that was the Great Society, Vietnam, the assassination, and Goldwater.......Carter post Watergate and a not successful but attempt to change foreign policy to human rights priority.....i am not clear why you are so hung up on the stolen election of 2000?   and you keep calling people (me included) self righteous;    Bush/Cheney was a diaster but it runs much deeper than what you are saying that next time we vote we all need to check with you so we are not self righteous?    no thanks!

                      •  You know what I mean (0+ / 0-)

                        They wouldn't have voted for a candidate who ran on a Naderite platform. Again the only Democrat who would have won their votes is someone like Zell Miller, someone unacceptable to 95%, if not 99%, of the people on this site.

                    •  Well, let's see, Florida voted for ... (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      shpilk, TomP, thethinveil

                      ...Clinton in 1996.

                      Northern Florida is split evenly with two Democratic Congresspeople and two Republicans. Fourteen of the 36 Northern Florida counties have more registered Republicans than registered Democrats.

                      "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

                      by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:54:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yeah and almost all of those northern FL (0+ / 0-)

                        counties voted for McCain and Bush except for Leon, Gasden, and Jefferson. And Clinton won many of them in 1996 because of Perot.

                        •  Alachua County voted for Obama ... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                 a huge margin, and if you will notice, every county in northern Florida that went for McCain, and Bush in 2004 and 2000 have more registered Republicans than registered Democrats.

                          "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

                          by Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 09:27:55 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Please see ... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            ... my comment below.

                            I've had it with this poster.  If our party is to mean anything at all, the values (or rather, lack of values) illustrated by this person need to be repudiated as thoroughly as those of the Republicans.  Except for voting record, there is no other difference, imo.

                          •  Alachua County is home to the University (0+ / 0-)

                            of Florida. It has always been heavily Democratic. It includes Gainesville. Above Alachua County the only northern FL Counties that Obama won were Jefferson, Leon, and Gasden. Gasden is heavily Black. Leon County contains the state Capital. It also contains FL State University, another college town. Jefferson County has a large Black population.

                            The rest of the Panhandle counties all voted Republican. And many of them have large Democratic registration leads. I know for a fact that Duval County has more Democrats than Republicans but votes for the GOP. In fact, if you look at this link, Democrats have a 50K advantage there. Yet Duval (Jacksonvilel) rejected Gore, Kerry, and Obama (although Obama narrowly lost there). Liberty County has a very large Democratic advantage in registration but rejected Gore, Kerry, and Obama by landslide margins.

                            Thislink shows the voter registration by county in FL. It is as of 8/08, though I doubt that they would have changed that significantly since then.

                            This link shows registration by CD. If you look at FL-1, which is bloody red, Democrats are a solid majority of registered voters in Holmes and Washington counties. Both of those counties gave McCain at least 60%, if not more than 70% of the vote. If you look at the counties in FL-2 alone you will see that many of them have large Democratic advantages. In that district only Jefferson, Leon, and Gasden counties supported Obama. Another example is Baker County, which is right near Jacksonville. Democrats have a several thousand vote registration advantage there and McCain topped over 70%.

                            So your facts are honestly wrong. Both Bush and McCain won most of the counties (except for Jefferson, Leon, and Gasden) in the northern part of Florida where Democrats are a majority.

                          •  As I said, 14 of the 36 counties ... (0+ / 0-)

                   Northern Florida have Republican majorities.

                            And all the maps I've looked at in the past 18 hours show Alachua County as part of northern Florida. So why discount it?  

                            I have no doubt that there are Democrats in northern Florida - and throughout the South - who vote Republican because they are still unhappy over 1964. And others upset over abortion and other social issues.

                            "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

                            by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 08:08:24 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't consider Alachua County "northern (0+ / 0-)

                            Florida" because Gainesville is more of a college town. My definition of "northern Florida" is Jacksonville and the areas encompassing the Panhandle.

                          •  OK. But that's not the definition ... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...that other people give it.

                            Here is one example.

                            "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

                            by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 10:53:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  How can anyone take seriously ... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Brooke In Seattle, TomP, thethinveil

                    ... a poster who supports the racist, human rights abusing Sheriff Joe Arpaio and applauds his reelection?

                    Compared to that, Naderites are patriotic Americans, imo.

                    Oceanstar17 is a DIVO, Democrat in Vote Only.  You are right to bring up dixiecrats, as this poster fits the bill very well.

                    There has to be some point at which the lack of human values, much less political party values, has to be considered here.

                    Oceanstar is only interested in law that punishes, not in laws that protect.

                    Any Naderite is a better American with better values than this joker, imo, and I say this as someone who was outraged at Nader voters back in 2000.

  •  President Obama's no socialist, more's the pity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, thethinveil

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:44:16 PM PDT

    •  Last night I finally saw (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, Agathena, soundchaser

      a Colbert Report show from just before the election, where he had the Socialist Party's actual candidate on, and he categorically said that Obama was no socialist.

      I find all those blather from the right about how Obama's a socialist to be amusing more than anything, because not only isn't he a socialist, but they're just further marginalizing themselves by claiming that he's one.

      Obama is a socialist like Bush was a fighter pilot.

      He who tills his land shall have plenty of bread, but he who chases fantasies is void of understanding. (Proverbs 12:11)

      by kovie on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:12:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish he were more socialist regarding (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the banks and health care especially.

        The banks should be bailed out, regulated and nationalized. Otherwise this financial crash could happen again.

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 10:11:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think we need much better regulation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and of course oversight, and that the government should serve as a lender of last resort, which effective regulation would make mostly moot. I don't know about permanent nationalization, but near-term nationalization does seem necessary.

          He who tills his land shall have plenty of bread, but he who chases fantasies is void of understanding. (Proverbs 12:11)

          by kovie on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 01:52:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've been a workin on this one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm a libertarian [Booo], I am also for

    Free education

    Universal health care

    A defensive army.

    A social safety net.

    Like the idea of a flat tax [hiss..Booo I hear] with a high non taxable first step.

    Other than that get on with it.

    Socio-Libertarian? Too anarchistic.

    Marxo-liberal-tarian? Hmmm

    Libertarian Leninism?


    Red libertarian...Matches the hair that will do nicely.


    I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett [-4.88. -6.97]

    by LaFeminista on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:45:42 PM PDT

    •  I believe the term is libertarian socialism... (3+ / 0-)

      ...or something to that effect. The last time I took the Political Compass, I was in the high dual negatives (~-8,-8). Most of my answers boiled down to keeping politicians out of our bedrooms and providing social safety nets for everyone.

      Live and let live for the individual, and proper care for all.

      "All wars end with talking." - CKendall.

      by haruki on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:03:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but it doesn't accessorize very easily (0+ / 0-)


        I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.~Terry Pratchett [-4.88. -6.97]

        by LaFeminista on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:05:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Libertarian Socialism (3+ / 0-)

          was a long-running synonym for the old working-class anarchism that flourished at the turn of the 20th century, before being eclipsed by Bolshevik communism.

          •  libertarian socialism (0+ / 0-)

            interesting.......the only time i actually remember hearing the term was in the 70's from an English professor at csusac who described himself as such meaning economic socialist and libertarian individual rights/choices....i have no idea if he knew of your reference, since at the time i thought it was an interesting way to have a foot in each camp (not at this moment sure what i think about the term as a 62 year old socilist/pacifist since a child).

            •  Murray Bookchin (3+ / 0-)

              Bookchin, the great ecologist (who we all need to be rereading) used the term frequently.

              Chomsky, when asked, would often refer to himself as a libertarian socialist.

              The word "anarchism" and "anarchist" were tied to terrorism by A. Mitchell Palmer and it was thought folks would find the new term less jarring.

              Also, libertarian socialist have a more complex relationship to Marx than your usual Marxist who rejects him out of hand.

              •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

                i have read some of both bookchin and chomsky just never caught that term or reference...the English prof saying it i can still hear......but i get the violent/terrorism connection probably would even work with socialist being tied to state/revolution ....thanks again

            •  Origins of the term (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TomP, thethinveil, greenmike

              I believe the term derives from Joseph Dejacque. Dejacque supported women's equality; his fellow-anarchist Proudhon supported complementary sexism. Dejacque wrote that Proudhon's position was "[classical] liberal and not libertarian."

              The term libertarian came into widespread use, as a synonym of anarchist, in the late 19th century due to the French censorship.

              I think it was the early 20s when various anarcho-communists drafted the "Platform of the Libertarian Communists" - the term avoiding censorship while emphasizing their differences with the Bolsheviks [or authoritarian communists]. Libertarian socialism is a back-formation from libertarian communism.

              In this context socialism = any egalitarian economic system

              communism = one which abolishes currency, wages, etc.

              The anarchist tradition tends to blur into other traditions. Anarchist communism and collectivism into autonomous Marxism, council communism, etc.; geolibertarianism into Georgism; mutualism and individualism into agorism and the more egalitarian strains of right-libertarianism, and so on.

              Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

              by Marja E on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:21:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  great read Blades... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Jacob Bartle, kirbybruno

    I am a diehard progressive democratic capitialist. I always think it is so funny when I get into a "debate" and someone throws "socialist" at me. It reminds me of religion, athiests always seem to know more about the bible than most christians, and in this case I know more about capitalism than those that say they are but actually do not know a damn thing about economics in general, or economic systems in particular.

  •  Limited equity--had to google it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista, thethinveil

    to be sure my recall was correct.  (From the Henwood excerpt).

    instead of foreclosing on houses, why not turn them into limited-equity co-ops, which take the speculative motive out of that essential of life?

    A link for more info on limited equity co-ops

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:49:21 PM PDT

  •  The good news is, liberal and (3+ / 0-)

    progressive are no longer an anathema.  The attack is against socialism.  It won't be long, I think, before socialism will become as mainstream as liberal and progressive.  Then the right will be right back in the days of McCarthy.  There's no longer a cold war so this could be problematic for them.  Of course we're socialists.  We believe in sharing.

    "Politics is not left, right or center ... It's about improving people's lives." -Paul Wellstone

    by maggiejean on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 03:54:12 PM PDT

  •  Unbridled growth be it... (5+ / 0-) population or in the use of natural resources is unsustainable if we are to maintain any quality of life, and at some point unsustainable period. This fact, central to understanding both the economy and the ecology of the world, is totally misunderstood by most.
    Seeking to use the tax system to modestly redistribute wealth has nothing to do with Robin Hood, but is all about simple economics. We need to put money into the hands of those who will spend it to stimulate our consumer economy. The super rich now possess a huge stagnant pool of wealth while ninety percent of the population don’t have the resources to keep the consumer economy going, nor to save enough to provide for their economic security.
    To see the data go to UCSC.
    The proposed Obama "socialist" tax increase for the super rich is the modest up-tick on the far right of the graph.

    Source: John Cole

    •  Can't help but notice... (0+ / 0-)

      The two sharp declines came right before the two worst economic downturns of our time. Coincidence or conspiracy? Just sayin'...

      "Know that it is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it." - Donald Rumsfeld

      by teej on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 08:44:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dirty words. I don't think so. (5+ / 0-)

    I haven't read all the posts but do have something to say.  

    For years, those on the right who call themselves conservatives, Republicans, have fought us, Liberals, Democrats every inch of the way to the point that we now find our country, and the world in the most dire straits that, perhaps, we have ever found ourselves embroiled in many a year.

    It is high time that we who call ourselves Democrat stand up and say to them all that "Liberal" is not a dirty word.  "Socialism" is not a word to be associated with communism rather it is a commitment to what is best for all.

    I for one am tired of having the good words that describe doing what is best for the common good being turned into "dirty words" against us all.  

    And while I'm at it my son will be leaving Iraq tomorrow to return home to his family.  Yea!  Don't you conservative Repubs out there dare call me "unpatriotic"!  Believe me, I have had my fill of that crap too.

    Consider this a message from a proud Liberal, Democratic, Socialist, Patriot!  If you don't like it, you know where you can shove it.      

  •  I like this quote from Solnit (5+ / 0-)

    It seems to fit with my oddly constructed inner partnership between socialism and libertarianism.  There's a part of me who's always wanted to live off the grid and a realization I can't do it alone...

    The underlying vision is neither state socialist nor corporate capitalist, but something humane, local and accountable--anarchist, basically, as in direct democracy. The revolution exists in little bits everywhere, but not much has been done to connect its dots.

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:35:17 PM PDT

    •  yes.....but..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Guyer, thethinveil

      Solnit is first introduction was her book "walking" (title may not be right but those who know will know, my apologies to others) and every piece and everytime i've seen her on panels or speak the same.  So I get your point, she touches that part of me.  Where I would differis due to the following i lived though the "sixties", and the early gay movement, and worked free clinics, imprisoned for refusal of war, outraged and out....but always my roots take me back to the need for socialism (and i believe a great deal of the road is alternatives see: Ehenreich interview above).  but the larger picture needs the socialist foundation, i think, because alternatives are always within the capitalist beast and survive upon it without reaching the larger goal.....leaving the most suffering, the most left behind, the most exploited behind. some of this problem is tied to being in the strength of capitalism and lessons are to belearned from alternatives in other parts of the world but i think we need a different commitment here.  

      •  I see what you're saying--yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Guyer, thethinveil

        in the scenario in my comment there would be those left behind, and that is not acceptable in terms of supporting the common wealth of all.

        The thing is, when society breaks down, as I fear is a very possible scenario in our near future, survival becomes an issue.  There's an uncomfortable awareness that we won't all survive--that there aren't the resources or the protection of a beneficent government that would support the many.  So the attention diverts to the few among your own in-crowd who strive to survive.  (Yes, I know that is social darwinism--but that's what it will become in a collapse scenario.)

        If we manage to overcome this global meltdown in the economy, critical climate change, and declining energy resources with an ever increasing population and demand, then we have some real thinking, innovating to do about what our best form of economy and government will be.

        Find your own voice--the personal is political.

        by In her own Voice on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:04:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i also see your point (3+ / 0-)

          i think we agree more than we disagree, it is the fine nuances....and the urgency of the time and situation.....that is why i'm crazy about Solnit and your view because it includes the immediate, and joy, and the person next i think it is a melting together of that alternative/possible thing and the bigger overall be cliche about it think globally and act locally, it says but .......thanks your view is appreciated

          •  A decentralized, but networked and not isolated (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thethinveil, greenmike

            sustainable localism is where I see things going. I think this will particularly be true for those of us who see the collapse coming and get out ahead of it in both an individual and collective way. I feel similarly to in her own when she says

            There's a part of me who's always wanted to live off the grid and a realization I can't do it alone...

            I want both the closeness, stimulation, and security of community and at the same time I don't want to be completely subsumed in the collective.

            This tension is one of the dynamics that the Republican capitalist propaganda has played on for a long time. They characterize the collective aspects of social democracy or socialism as being a complete engulfment of the individual by the collective. They create a death anxiety of the sense of individuality, as if collective engagement will extinguish consciousness of individuality. Their conception of freedom is closely associated with this anxiety and at a deep level freedom from constraint from the collective is freedom from extinguishing consciousness of the individual so threats to this type of freedom are very persuasive.

            The problem with this approach is that it leaves everyone absolutely alone and afraid to merge and around issues inherent in their commonality on fear of self dissolution. What we need to create is something that fully supports both because both aspects of living are absolutely true of us as human beings. Any system that denies the legitimacy of one to preserve the other is inherently unsustainable and an unacceptable limitation of human potential and meaning.

            For me combining the essence of what was said by Barbara Ehrenreich & Bill Fletcher Jr., Bill McKibben (who I was happily surprised to see included in the socialist roundup), and Rebecca Solnit, gets at the sense of what I want and I think what we need as a species.

            Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

            by Bob Guyer on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 08:40:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I Like This Quote from Winston Churchill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anna M, Cleopatra

    "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

    •  Take from that: (0+ / 0-)

      "unequal sharing of blessings"
      This can lead to escalating conflict as there develops more and more of a gulf. With modern technology the lowly masses have less of a chance to prod the moneyed interests into change. Tension naturally increases.

      "equal sharing of miseries'
      This can lead to more and more minds working on improving the system so as to minimize the miseries. Tension naturally decreases.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:16:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe we should change the name (3+ / 0-)

    instead of "socialism", call it a "mixed economy" or something less scary.  It would take the bite out of the right-wingnut scaremongers.  I've been engaging some military right-wingers on the boards; they complain about "socialism" and at the same time want more benefits from the VA.  

    "Conservatives and Libertarians dont have a problem with Govt programs that help people who earned it! Thats not socialism. Handing shiite out to people who never did anything to earn it is. Handing money to people/businesses that made crappy decisions after tking it from others is socialism. Theres the difference"

    and another one

    "Take care of me!!!! seems to be the new attitude in america these days. What happened to standing on one's two feet and take responsibility for their ownselves".

    And they they go on complaining about how veterans are not being "taken care of" properly.  Such hypocrisy.  It's like my dad receiving Medicare and Social Security in the same breath complaining about Obama being a socialist and the government giving out free handouts.  How can you even speak to such twisted logic?

    •  That is twisted logic... (0+ / 0-)

      and I don't fall into that camp nor those beliefs.

    •  Problem though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anna M

      we already have a mixed economy - I am done with the lefts ambition here - we are too afraid to think of real solutions because we will be called a socialist or some other smear. The other day someone I was talking was calling Marx a social darwinist - I still find it ridiculous - fine guy in conversation.

      I know that I will be called names for my beliefs. And even if I present in milder tones I still find that conservatives and many liberals will call my views insulting - that "I would take away their hard earned money." Seriously, that was thrown at me today here on daily kos.

      I am done with that shit. Sorry this is more of about venting than a response.

      "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

      by thethinveil on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 01:01:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  terrific links, mb. nice to remember the many (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    rays of hope beginning to shine more brightly in this country i love

  •  From each according to his abilities (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhillyGal, shpilk, thethinveil

    to each according to his needs. For me, that continues to be almost the definition of a truly free society. Whether in Saint Simon's, Marx', or Gene Roddenberry's interpretation. What has changed for me is that I have come to the conclusion that Marx' hypothesis that socialism - in the sense of the government taking control of the economy - might be a way to get there was false. Marx' gamble was that in a well-run socialist society, the state aka the government would eventually "whither away". I think for Marx that was simply an attractive idea. But to continue to maintain its viability today in the face of all the evidence humankind has collected on the world stage since Marx left it is deeply irrational. Institutions have inherent tendencies to self-perpetuate and to maximize their power. That holds for the government just as much as it does for any capitalist corporations. That doesn't mean we need to give up on the idea of a free society. We just need to look for different ways of getting there.

    An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz (cskendrick)

    by brainwave on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:46:31 PM PDT

  •  . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    bookmarked so I can read later.  I must give the computer over to a child who needs to do his homework.

    "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by Clytemnestra on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 04:54:31 PM PDT

  •  Report from Oaxaca (9+ / 0-)

    The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), the umbrella group formed in the great popular uprising there in 2006, held its first official conference since the crushing of the uprising last month.  There's a report from the conference as posted at libcom, and here is one choice excerpt of a can't be missed piece for those of us interested in building a 21st century Left:


    On Saturday the speeches by Gustavo Esteva and Benjamín Maldonado stood out. Gustavo laid out a brilliant analysis of the international economic crisis, relating it to the national situation and the social movement in Oaxaca. We’re at the end of a historical cycle, he noted. But which one? Nobody is absolutely sure about that. The (few) honest economists are giving notice that all the predictions have failed. It’s not just a simple phase of prosperity that’s run out of steam; blind faith in the market has failed, that thing called "neoliberalism," which was neither new nor liberal.

       The mechanisms of the 1930’s, he continued, accentuated stability and prudence. Neoliberalism destroyed these aspects, creating legions of discontent the world over. Today, 100 people own more measurable wealth than all the rest of humanity put together (and, I would add, are ready to defend it, no matter what it takes). Some think we’re experiencing the suicide of capitalism due to the arrogance of a few, but it could be an interminable death that ends up killing us all.

       Deglobalización? What we have here is a deceptive concept because globalization began centuries ago; maybe the novelty is that the United States has lost its imperial status. Formal democracy also died. Should we mourn? No. It was an elitist regimen: a benevolent oligarchy in the best of cases and a foul dictatorship in the worst. And finally, the Enlightenment died, that utopia of capitalism with equality for all.

       In the name of "democracy", we are now experiencing the specter of control over the population and individuals. The imperative is to beat back any and all dissidence. Governments extol the criminal use of power in all its forms in their attempt to stay where they are. What just happened in Gaza may be a general rehearsal of what is likely to happen to all of us. They weren’t trying to do away with Hamas; to the authorities, nothing looks more like terrorism than ordinary people, and maybe they’re right.

    "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" ~J. Lydon

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:07:15 PM PDT

  •  The only thing wrong with Obama (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, mentaldebris, mike101, Cleopatra

    admitting to being a socialist is that it would be a lie. He's not a socialist, and probably never was one. Clearly, his political and economic beliefs lean more towards the socialist end of the spectrum than Bush's or McCain's. But that's like saying that Sarah Palin was a Sovietologist because she could see Russia from western Alaska. (Ok, he's more of a socialist than she's a Sovietologist, but you know what I mean.)

    I don't expect him to become a socialist or embrace genuine socialist ideas and policies. He's a capitalism with some Social Democratic leanings, and that's the best that we can reasonably expect of him. But we can push him to embrace policies that favor the masses more than they favor the elites--i.e. govern as a Social Democrat and not as a New Democrat or neoliberal, whose policies are failed and amoral.

    He who tills his land shall have plenty of bread, but he who chases fantasies is void of understanding. (Proverbs 12:11)

    by kovie on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:09:52 PM PDT

  •  add Wm Greider's Nation article (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, lightfoot

    to that reading list, Fixing the Fed

    Congress and the Obama administration face an excruciating dilemma. To restore the crippled financial system, they are told, they must put up still more public money--hundreds of billions more--to rescue the largest banks and investment houses from failure...

    People everywhere grasp that there is something morally wrong about bailing out the malefactors who caused this catastrophe. Yet we are told we have no choice. Unless taxpayers assume the losses for the largest financial institutions by buying their rotten assets, the banking industry will not resume normal lending and, therefore, the economy cannot recover.

    This is a false dilemma. Other choices are available. ...

    Here is a very different way to understand the problem: to restore the broken financial system, Washington has to fix the Federal Reserve. Though this is not widely understood, the central bank has lost its ability to govern the credit system--the nation's overall lending and borrowing.

    Great to finally hear progressives pointing to the Federal Reserve as ground zero for investigation and reform. Over the years I've had to get my education from right-leaning financial blogs.

    •  Yes, But Government Reform (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler

      is OFF the table, much like Pelosi stated impeachment is off the table back in early 2006.

      look at the worthless SEC. what else, in addition to the Madoff fraud, have they missed the last 20 years?

      clearly knuckleheads at the SEC need to roll.. right out the door. but I'm betting not one single upper level SEC employee will be fired.

      weak, very weak.

      "The most dangerous thing in any economic crisis is denial". Simon Johnson, MIT

      by Superpole on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:53:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Greed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Greed is the soft underbelly of both Capitalism and Socialism, but in opposite ways. Capitalism assumes everyone is greedy and that therefore greed will be a motivator whose negative effects will be cancelled out by "market forces" (i.e., greed). Capitalists say: "greed is good".

    Socialism, on the other hand, ignore greed for the most part. It has no real means of dealing with greed except by trying to implement its most fundamental tenet ("greed is bad") with laws and trying to enforce them in various ways and usually failing.

    Greed is part of human nature, but it is at least as bad as it is good. So the best way to handle it is probably with some sort of limited socialism or limited capitalism. In fact, there are lots of existing governments that can be characterized as either, including our government.

    Both capitalists and socialists tend to try to avoid limits (different ones, but for similar motives). So this means we are probably doomed to an eternity of governments sliding back and forth between the two extremes, probably way beyond the time when the terms themselves will have been replaced.

    Greg Shenaut

  •  When I think of words that could be smear... (0+ / 0-)

    I think of words like "republicanism" or "conservatism".  The word socialism is not a smear.  

  •  press Obama openly, publicly and hard (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes we can!

    die welt ist shizer

    by Unbozo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:36:01 PM PDT

    •  In Yes We Can (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The "we" means small-s socialism. Not Leninism. Like, say, Denmark. Where the people are happy where they live.

      The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by easong on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:52:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Selective Socialism (0+ / 0-)

    for when what everyone should have a right to (health care) becomes generally unaffordable by the median income population, then a socialized methodology for providing it is a good idea.

    Selective Limited Socialism in partial support by the government of certain public services, such as public transportation and perhaps broadcast news are good ideas.

    Regulated capitalism for all else, but without price supports of any kind.

    For years agriculture has been socialized in this country, much to the Republican's delight, especially when it came to tobacco, dairy, and sugar farmers.

    For an economic system to be truly socialized would mean that its financial institutions and manufacturers would be wholly and permanently state owned.  We're nowhere near that circumstance.  And never will be.

    "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

    by Limelite on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 05:59:24 PM PDT

    •  Some say they want a mix (0+ / 0-)

      no such thing as a pure form right.

      This is like all ideals you will never reach it in actuality but you must fight, anyways, as if it could be reached in actuality.

      Think of who actually has these forms of partial socialism.

      Think dammit!

      It is those countries that have parties that really believe in full on socialism. Those were the parties that made it happen and made the sacrifices.

      To have balls you have to believe in something enough to take the hits for it. So when we look around - at Pelosi or Reed for not having balls - we have to look around at each other who do not actually believe.

      It does not work to turn around and attack socialism. You have to wholeheartedly believe in other solutions.

      Please can we rid ourselves of this self defeating cynicism. Enough!

      "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

      by thethinveil on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 12:52:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks MB (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poligirl, Mudderway

    Those are some great links, I wasn't aware there were so many.

    Your title reminded me of an article by Robert Freeman at The US Is Facing a Weimar Moment.

    Sad that this is the reality we seem to be facing.


  •  End Capitalism - - Now! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    haruki, Cleopatra, thethinveil

    If eleventy bazillion bucks ain't enough to fix it -
    Has it occurred to anyone that it CAN'T be fixed.

    The capitalist system is a massive failure.
    When a system thrives on destroying lives, communities, and the entire planet for an ever-diminishing real profit, then don't we - as intelligent human beings - have an obligation to rise up and say, "Enough!"

    That time is now.

  •  Socialism needs to be defined in democratic terms (0+ / 0-)

    There are three levels of democracy. The first is political democracy, which we have to a certain extent. The second level is social democracy (the social safety net) which we have to an even more limited extent. The third is economic democracy, which we lack almost entirely. By expanding any one aspect of democracy we can enhance the others. In my mind socialism is the full and all around development of political, social and economic democracy.

    Let the pastors, rabbis and mullahs mutter their mumbo-jumbo in private and leave the rest of us alone.

    by detler on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:18:36 PM PDT

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thank you for writing this diary.

    Just thank you.

    Not all who wander are lost. J. R. R. Tolkien

    by NCJan on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:34:06 PM PDT

  •  i think the term "social democracy" has much (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, TomP, cumberland sibyl

    more potential than "socialism."  People have lots of negative associations with "socialism" but for the most part people have no freakin' clue what social democracy is, though it's the same thing

  •  Calculating Costs HAS To Be A Skill Of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, shpilk

    Any New and Successful movement.

    First off, spreadsheets are like guns, opiates, booze - stuff that can have a use BUT which is typically misused.

    For decades private and public sector managments have been pre-occupied with their spreadsheets of stupidity, creating ever more complex models to justify their ever more brazen thievery despite their just plain ol ordinary fucking incompetence at anything other than stealing.

    BUT, we the peeee-ons gotta be able to use those great tools to model how EVERY decision affects how our time is used, how we're paid or not paid, or affects a combination of both. GUESS why people are messing with our time and with our money? well, time is money and the more of YOUR time and YOUR money under their control, the less under your control.

    The 'left' suffers from the X syndrome.

    There was an article in ... Foriegn Affairs? ... by George Kennan after WWII, he was working in gov't, and he signed the article "X". It was the, or 1 of the, foundational documents for how we conducted the Cold War against the USSR.

    The 'left' is filled with people who really really want that George Kennan job, clearing your throat seriously, on the Sunday morning talk show or McNeil Lehrer, disseminating Teddy White wisdom.

    We need technicans, not more tome writers aiming for that Kennedy school corner office sinecure.

    I was a 8 or 9 buck an hour cook at the Boston Sheraton when that stupid fuck Dukakis blew his lead by being too noble to deal with Willie Horton. After he lost, the newspapers had article after article of these K-school genie-us-iz telling everyone how dumb this or that was and how bad that or this was ...

    they were all pissed cuz they were counting on 4 years of the Logan to DC Shuttle, writing important tomes.

    I see the same on the 'left'. We need technicians who stand on the soap box, draw a crowd, and make IMPOSSIBLE this shit like today's AIG thievery.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:59:52 PM PDT

  •  Two socialists in Washington (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Even as we all turn red, I've still encountered just two avowed democratic socialists in my daily rounds through the nation's capital: Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders . . . and the guy I see in the mirror when I shave.

    -- Harold Meyerson, Who You Calling Socialist?, Washington Post, March 3, 2009.

  •  Kudos for mentioning DSA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, thethinveil

    My one and only conversation with Michael Harrington occurred when we both road the same elevator. We came up with all the right answers but I can't remember them now.

  •  Far Eastern Bloc? (0+ / 0-)

    Tariq Ali: Globally, it's more difficult to accept a loss of Atlanticist control, but if pressure continues to mount, the Far Eastern bloc might suggest a new set of institutions based on multilateral rather than imperial control, leading to dismantling but also renewal.

    What is this "Far Eastern bloc" Ali says is the "viable alternative" that could enable the "final crisis of capitalism"? There are certainly countries in the Far East with increasing wealth and power. But where's the "bloc"? Most of the Far Eastern countries hate and fear each other even more than most any of them hate or fear even the US. What "bloc" is there among China, Japan, Taiwan, N and S Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand? If that's the "viable alternative", then capitalism can look forward to endless vistas of business as usual.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 07:22:34 PM PDT

    •  and yet they all do a massive amount of business (0+ / 0-)

      with one anither, and resent the current global institutions centered in the atlantic. it does not take much imagination to see how a new set of institutions could arise out of a desire to gain control over an emerging system.

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:10:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Meteor Blades, We Need More Like This. (6+ / 0-)

    It has become obvious to a majority of Americans that our present economic system is wrecking their lives.  It is definitely the time to address the question: what kind of society do we want to take its place?

    I'm an American, but I came here to live in Venezuela because I sensed that Hugo Chavez is attempting to build a new, human society for Venezuela and I wanted to witness the process.

    Having lived here for two years, I'm coming to the realization that it is hard, hard work to dismantle a capitalist economic system and replace it with a human one. Allegiance to the profit motive, both corporate and individual, is deeply entrenched.  The opposition, both local and from the U.S., is fierce.

    Chavez and his government are attempting to build participatory democracy at every level: economic, governmental and social, bringing real power and decision-making to local communities.  These principles have been enshrined in the Venezuelan Constitution, which provides support for unionization, cooperativization and small business growth as well as turning un-used land over to small farmers and cooperatives and nationalizing certain critical industries for the benefit of the majority.

    The Chavez government has made dramatic advances in providing free health care, education and good nutrition to millions who had no access to those things under previous governments.  Venezuela has had the advantage of vast oil resources to finance these improvements.

    Potentially, the United States has the wealth to bring a modicum of these same necessities to our citizens but needs to open its mind to new models of social organization in order to do so.

    We Americans need to thoroughly discuss what kind of society we want and how we will get there.  Thank you for encouraging this discussion.

    Genital Slicing IS Torture: Convict Bush and His War criminals.

    by Justina on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 08:21:51 PM PDT

  •  The bottom line is: experimental evidence (0+ / 0-)

    I think of myself as a capitalist, but I think the ideal would be if people would just have an open mind and try to look, when possible, for evidence about what really works.

    If, for example, even a lot of greedy meanies are horrified by the idea of getting communicable diseases from poor people and seeing poor people starving to death, then maybe you've got to use the government to create some kind of basic food and health programs.

    If the government does the best, most efficient job of getting food and health services to people, then go with the government.

    If private companies do the best, most efficient job, go with private companies.

    If the most bang for the buck seems to come from having the government hire private companies to do the work, or use a mixture of government agencies and private companies to do the work, then rely on some kind of mixed model.

    To some extent, it seems to me that letting government agencies (and charities) compete with private, for-profit companies, then choosing the provider that offers the best combination of quality and affordability, really IS a fine form of free-market capitalism.

    As long as you have a bunch of watchdogs making sure a government agency doesn't use bribery, coercion, etc. to accomplish its tasks, why shouldn't a government agency have a right to compete in the fairest, free-est possible market with charities and for-profit companies? What is so capitalistic or free-marketerish, or honest, about ignoring the fact that a government agency is doing a kick-ass job if, in fact, it is doing a kick-ass job?

    But, conversely, if it turns out that a labor-respecting, environment-respecting, generally nice for-profit company is doing a wonderful job at, say, using advertising sponsorship to feed the hungry, or is distributing delicious, cheap forms of tofu in a quick and affordable fashion, then I think open-minded socialists should be ready to acknowledge that the private company has something to offer. Because, if some wonderful, responsible for-profit company is doing a great job of providing important services and reducing economic inequality (or, at least, the real-world effects of economic inequality), then there's nothing very socialistic, in my opinion, about keeping the wonderful for-profit company from helping regular people.

    •  But the problem is structural. (0+ / 0-)

      Capitalism does not, will not, cannot serve people when the profit motive does not support it.  Perhaps a company has some altruistic motive to be a responsible member of a community.  But then management changes when the board insists that the share price is too low.  There goes all that altruism.  There is no structural reason for corporate capitalism to support basic, humane services.  Markets are fickle and the "rising tide lifts all boats" meme is an outright lie.  One need look no further than the cereal aisle in your local grocery to see how inefficient capitalism is in terms of focusing it's productive capacities on things people actually need.  Which is why it is failing so miserably in housing, food, health care, and the environment.  It's not a question of which one will serve these needs better because one of them doesn't serve them at all.  Capitalism has one master and that master has no concern for human suffering.  If we're looking for structural answers, relying on the beneficence of community minded corporations is not it, imo.

      •  But socialism also has structural problems (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        No society is ever equal, however much it pretends to be, and the people running what pretends to be an egalitarian, nonprofit institution will always end up using their charm, their strategic skills, their physical strength, etc. to end up getting the goodies for themselves and their friends and stifling opposition.

        Think about the Daily Kos community: the closest thing we have to currency is mojo, which doesn't even buy cute little signature animations here, but the insides tend to hog the mojo, and people here gang up every few months to exile someone who may or may not deserve to be exiled.

        I think the real moral is that it's important to have a mix of a capitalist system, a socialist system, a charity system, and maybe even a religious institution-based system or whatever other kinds of systems can exist (fan club systems? blog systems), so that all of the systems are always competing with one another and providing checks and balances on one another.

        If you have some rich capitalists around, it's hard for a government socialist system to get all THAT oppressive, and, if you have a strong system of government institutions, then it's hard for companies to wreck things too badly before someone steps in and stops them.

        •  I agree, partially. (0+ / 0-)

          I would never advocate old-school "socialism" as some people understand it.  I'm not advocating that the government take over the means of production, or whatever.  I don't think there are too many people who are thinking about the problem are saying that we can be rid of markets.  Even Hugo Chavez isn't doing that.  Obviously markets do some things extremely well.  But the thing they are an abject failure at is handling basic human needs.  They do not do it and charity will never, ever fill the gap.  It doesn't come close to doing it now and it never will.  The earth is on the edge of collapse.  I think people think that capitalism as it exists can continue, but it just can't.  No amount of charity is going to fix the catastrophic environmental desctruction that we've already caused and without extremely strong government intervention, the markets will never solve the problem.  We need find a sustainable answer that, yes, is a mix of the guiding hand of the will of the people with a vibrant, competitive marketplace.  Unfortunately, we have neither now.  That's what the referenced article is grappling with.

  •  Oh boy, socialism is NOT the answer here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gangster Octopus

    and no, I don't think it's a dirty word, it's just not meant for every country. What works for Europe doesn't necessarily work for the US and at times, socialism hardly works in Europe - have you tried living in Italy or starting a business there? It's not fun.

    There is a better way to use free markets via social capitalism and creating a social business model. This has been a proven tool for alleviating poverty in some places and doesn't exclude any segment of the population, not even beggars. It uses the creative entrepreneurship of free markets, while building in social dividends, profit is only for sustainability.

    What any society has to understand, is that greed can infiltrate socialism just as much as capitalism which compromises our progress. If we focus on finding innovative solutions while maintaining long term sustainability, then free markets can work to our advantage.

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      The only way socialism would work is if everyone bought into the idea. Of course, that's the recipe of success for any kind of government. But there is only one system that works (somewhat) independently of the sheer mass will it would require to sustain all the other kinds, and that's capitalism. It relies on the bed rock idea that in the Prisoner's Dilemma we call society, the majority of people will not think rationally and make the choice that benefits all parties, but rather they will act selfishly and choose the outcome that works best for them as individuals.

      Cynical, yes. Realistic? Absolutely.

      He didn't choose the times, the times chose him.

      by Porsche51688 on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 10:44:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem with innovation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    is that it isn't ecologically sound. If you  create something new and improved (a  computer,  for example ) you need people to  buy it.  For people to buy it , they need to need a new computer ,  which means building planned obsolesence  into  computers,  which means more waste.... The problem  with capitalism is feeding the beast --  and the amount of resources the beast consumes in the act of being fed .

    Here's my new  slogan: The US: A warmer, larger Norway.

    That's all we need , really. We've done the superpower thing for long enough. Let's try being a really good country to  live in for all residents -- see how that goes.

  •  I thoght those were good articles (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrchumchum, thethinveil

    in The Nation, MB. Just for kicks I posted them on another forum I frequent and no one responded with any comment. I guess the stigma has even struck the Left in some cases.

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- BHO

    by valadon on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 02:18:58 AM PDT

  •  The problem with the lame-duck neocon right (0+ / 0-)

    is that once they've labeled someone or something socialist, they think the argument is over; they've made their point, and they're done.
    The problem is, that this line of thinking -- the assumption that socialism is equivalent to evil and totalitarian, if they're bothering to think that deeply about the terms they're using, is BS.
    But such thinking allows them to sidestep any real discussion of the issues, because to them, then, anything they call socialist is "evil": universal health care, social security, federal highways -- you name it.

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary." -Handmaid's Tale

    by Cenobyte on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 05:27:50 AM PDT

  •  when i'm feeling optimistic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marja E

    in my ideal imagination of what america could be (or, alternately, what a independent california could be), i'm a social democrat.

    but increasingly, as i see the collapse thats coming, i think smaller scale anarchist syndicalism and grassroots democracy is the more pragmatic and likely option.

    it will be interesting to see what new unthinkable things become thinkable as this crisis really starts to make us feel pain, i mean really feel it. it's just the first outer bands of this taiphoon, and we're already talking about pot legalization and socialism. should be a eventful ride, by the time we make it through to the eye.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:13:38 AM PDT

  •  One of the best damn diaries here ever! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Well done!


    Most of the people you cite should be Obama advisers, but none are.

    So, we're not going to get real change, mere tinkering at the edges.

    Obama used to be for single payer before he came out against it.

    by formernadervoter on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:32:26 AM PDT

  •  Good diary, MB. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the collapse of global capitalism, it's time to examine democratic left alternatives.

    "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

    by TomP on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:53:52 AM PDT

  •  I'm surprised I never see Participatory Economics (0+ / 0-)

    addressed seriously in diaries like this.  I would have thought it would have a larger following here.

    What we don't know keeps the contracts alive and movin. They don't gotta burn the books, they just remove em while arms warehouses fill as quick as the cells.

    by Black Leather Rain on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 07:11:54 AM PDT

  •  Your Blip Player looks FANTASTIC!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Hey MB,

    Love your blip embed. Been using Blip since they came out in '05.

    Thanks for the heads up on those articles. Going to chek them out right now.


    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 07:50:38 AM PDT

  •  If they can get everything to run like (0+ / 0-)

    the "socialist" post office here, would be fine by me. Has been a mixed economy for some time and the past few decades shows pretty obviously the scale needs to tip back the other direction to make any sort of correction for the health of this nation.

    A is A. Reality is real. Michael Shermer

    by gereiztkind on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 08:13:40 AM PDT

  •  Capitalism isn't a dirty word either (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sura 109

    I see that a lot on DKos.  Idealistic systems of economy and governemtn are the real problem, whether they be Lassez Faire Capitalism or Centralized Governemnt Socailism.  They fail for the same reasons, they expect too much wisdom from the decisionmakers and those in power and relies a little too much on the goodwill of people.  Power to distribute resources, whether they are in the hands of the goverment or the capitalist aristocracy is always going to end up poorly.

    The fact is that Capitaliksm works fairly well in some areas, government ownership and control works in others.  And this is a living thing, constantly changing.  The real challenge is finding the right mix even as the ground is shifting underneath our feet.

    When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Gangster Octopus on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 08:33:13 AM PDT

  •  What's the name of the NYTimes reporter who asked (0+ / 0-)

    President Obama whether he was a socialist?  I've been googling my fingers off trying to find his name, but all I've found is anonymous New York Times reporters asked blah, blah, blah...

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~ T.J.

    by CIndyCasella on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 08:38:47 AM PDT

  •  I've been covering these folks -- (0+ / 0-)

    in my diaries for the past year or two... don't forget Minqi Li or Harry Shutt or James Petras or James Gustave Speth or Kees van der Pijl... and now maybe it's time we gave some more good press here at DKos for the ecosocialists, Joel Kovel and so on...  nicely done Meteor Blades...

    "It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ Pounds, shillings and pence" -- global anthem, from Roger Waters' song "Perfect Sense"

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 08:53:05 AM PDT

  •  The Nutshell (0+ / 0-)

    What can we do? First of all, we must be clear what the battle is about. It is the battle between the spirit of Davos (for a new system that is not capitalism but is nonetheless hierarchical, exploitative and polarizing) and the spirit of Porto Alegre (a new system that is relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian). No lesser evil here. It's one or the other.

    That is kind of the nutshell right there, I think.

    I wonder which path people here would choose?

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 09:03:43 AM PDT

  •  Did you see Ehrenreich on 20/20? (0+ / 0-)

    Friday night there was a 20/20 special, and I should have known it was going to raise my blood pressure because it was ALL stories by John Stossel, right-wing shill extraordinaire, but I watched most of it anyway.

    He made Ehrenreich look incoherent and silly -- through editing and stupid questions -- while making some other guy who managed to make a living on minimum wage jobs -- by living in hotels and surviving like a hobo -- look like a financial genius in comparison. And that was supposed to prove that she was completely wrong about being able to survive into your retirement years on the income of a waitress.

    There were lots of other objectionable things in that show, and I'm still weighing writing ABC over what a load of crap and propaganda it was.

    It made me sad for Ms. E., who has worked so hard to show the plight of the low-wage worker. I'm still shaking my head over that waste of my brain cells on TV.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 09:06:01 AM PDT

  •  Recommended. I would like a definition of (0+ / 0-)

    socialism, though.

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