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The Jewish Daily Forward: May Day

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-28-07 05:44 PM
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The Jewish Daily Forward: May Day

http://www.forward.com/articles/may-day /

May Day

Fri. Apr 27, 2007

Springtime, the season of renewal, is a time of expectation and remembrance, a time for looking forward to natures rebirth, while thinking back on the winter just endured. We fill the season with holidays of hope and memory, mimicking the earth in its drama of reawakening: Passover, with its memories of exodus and promise of liberation; Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Day, recalling the Nazi horror and vowing never again; Israel Independence Day, celebrating a millennial moment of rebirth; Memorial Day, honoring those who fell for freedom and pledging to carry on for them. Each holiday unites us as a community or a nation, reminds us of the values we share and of the promises yet to be fulfilled.

This coming week, a holiday of hope will pass almost unnoticed, and we will be the poorer for having forgotten it. Next Tuesday is May Day, observed in most of the world though not in North America as Labor Day. Unlike our own September version of the workers holiday, the Labor Day observed on other continents is typically marked by open celebration of the rights of working people and the poor. The streets are filled with union members, activists, idealists and not a few scoundrels carrying banners and singing songs of justice and hope. Speeches are made, and politicians pay obligatory homage to the ideals of economic democracy and the dignity of the common man. We dont do that here.

Worldwide, it is true, the scoundrels usually outnumber the idealists. The banner of social and economic transformation the red flag of socialism was long ago seized by dictators who used it as a bludgeon to subjugate the very working people they pretended to champion. Trampling democracy, law and basic decency, these self-anointed vanguard parties set about to create what they called a dictatorship of the working class. What they built was nothing more than dictatorship. For many of us, the flag has come to symbolize that legacy of oppression, and the name of socialism has become synonymous with the worst of its claimants.

This has been our loss. There are others who fly the same flag, and do so in the name of democracy and freedom. But these parties, the labor and social-democratic parties of Europe and points south, too often find themselves on the defensive, ashamed and apologetic. The cataclysmic end of the Cold War is understood to be a victory of America over the Soviet Union and of capitalism over socialism. The very idea of economic justice has become suspect among the chattering classes of the West. In its place have come the triumph of the markets and the dictatorship of the investing class.

But the democratic socialists of the West owe no apologies. In England, Sweden, Holland, Israel and dozens of other democratic nations, parties of social democracy have won power over the decades by earning voters trust, and they have used it to improve working peoples lives in countless ways so obvious that they are now taken for granted. Because of them, much of the industrialized world enjoys universal health care, living wages and decent old-age pensions.

FULL article at link.


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MrPrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-28-07 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Asking as a scoundrel...
Dear Forward:

If "The streets are filled with union members, activists, idealists and not a few scoundrels carrying banners and singing songs of justice and hope." can you give us a heads up on which one is who, or is that a secret? Or are we left to think that "union members, activists, idealists" can't also be scoundrels. Def, please?

oops...same problem here...
"Worldwide, it is true, the scoundrels usually outnumber the idealists."

Semantics? Hitler was an idealist as well...? Who are you talking about. Anything specifics would be helpful for this bit of cheap Orwellianism.

The banner of social and economic transformation the red flag of socialism was long ago seized by dictators who used it as a bludgeon to subjugate the very working people they pretended to champion.
Which one's? Your claiming to be part of an 150 year old international movement -- which one's?

Trampling democracy, law and basic decency, these self-anointed vanguard parties set about to create what they called a dictatorship of the working class.
Too numerous examples of similar regimes using another popular flag as standard bearer to their dictatorships; worker or not. Defs for 'democracy' 'law' 'decency' needed here.

This has been our loss. There are others who fly the same flag, and do so in the name of democracy and freedom.????
Whose version? Which one's? Any meat yet on some of these 'tags'? Which 'our'? The longstanding tradition of international socialism that continues to survive? Or the American 'liberal' attempts to either subvert it or eliminate it from the planet?

But these parties, the labor and social-democratic parties of Europe and points south, too often find themselves on the defensive, ashamed and apologetic.
In the US this is the case -- certainly not the case for most academics, politicians, 'people' on the Left outside the US who regularly refer to themselves as socialists and discuss socialism in national election campaigns. So where are these dictatorships of which you speak? These 'prisons of the mind', if you will?

The cataclysmic end of the Cold War is understood to be a victory of America over the Soviet Union and of capitalism over socialism.
Huh? No -- people on the Left outside of America usually laugh when they hear this and figure it's some right wing idiot that reads too much American propaganda.

The very idea of economic justice has become suspect among the chattering classes of the West.
NO -- social democrats and liberal types like Forward stopped talking about it. Usually because those people are just as likely as their counterparts to ignore social justice in preference to a set of mercantile rights from the 18th century from non-social democrats and non-liberals, whose supporters intrinsically hate the red flag, socialists and want to kill them.

In its place have come the triumph of the markets and the dictatorship of the investing class.
Agreed...and the role played by "union members, activists, idealists" was what exactly? Good start though...the hokum homily almost hits reality.

In England, Sweden, Holland, Israel and dozens of other democratic nations, parties of social democracy have won power over the decades by earning voters trust
But over the past two decades, these factions have NOT been popular largely because they lost the trust of the public and are no longer seen as viable difference to the 'other' parties. When people sought relief from the devastation of the global corporatism as practiced by rightwing parties in the 80s, they got a continuance of it in virtually every country that the social democrats took power -- Mitterand, Shroeder, Blair, Chretien, Clinton, etc etc all tried to ram through unpoplar extensions to international trade agreements, financial integration schemes, made deep cuts to the very social programs that Forward is now claiming legacy to...

Well, I'll stop here, because the sweat of desperation of corporate apologists as they try to reinvent themselves (again) has drooled onto the keyboard...

Is Forward even a liberal publication anymore?
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