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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:22 PM
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The Century and a Half War against Socialism in the United States
The war against socialism in the United States neither began nor ended with the Cold War. It began with the onset of the industrial age in the United States, shortly after our Civil War, and it continues today, with little evidence of abating.

It was in evidence during the Republican Presidential debates last Thursday when John McCain responded to a question about national health care, his voice dripping with contempt, as he explained that the provision of health care by our federal government would constitute socialism. No additional explanation was given or needed. It is the unshakable ideological dogma of todays Republican Party and their adherents, written in stone, that socialism is a terrible or even evil principle that would ruin our country if it ever took root here. Im not talking about a system of pure socialism. The provision of health care by our federal government to our 43 million currently uninsured fellow citizens would constitute merely the addition of a touch of socialism to a predominantly capitalistic system. But the Republican Party and a small portion of the most wealthy and powerful U.S. citizens who are the beneficiaries of their policies must fight the slightest tint of socialism at every turn, lest it become an acceptable topic for conversation.

How did we ever reach this state of affairs? The ultra capitalism advocated by todays Republican Party benefits only a small minority of our citizens. Consider the Bush tax cuts, for example, which composed a major part of the platform on which George W. Bush ran for president and garnered enough votes in the 2000 election that our Supreme Court was able to select him as our 43rd president. Those tax cuts benefited perhaps 1 to 2% of our citizens, and yet Bush received close to 50% of the presidential vote. Likewise, Bushs foreign policy benefits only a small proportion of our citizens, such as those who own Halliburton, Blackwater, or Bechtel. Yet, Bush continues to receive around 30% approval ratings from the American people, which is for now apparently good enough to prevent him from being impeached by our House of Representatives for his numerous crimes against our Constitution and the American people. Yet when anyone points out how our current economic policies benefit primarily the wealthy in our country they are accused of advocating socialism or class warfare. And that tactic works well enough to nearly silence the good majority of the Democratic Party on this issue. Given that the good majority of the American people favor a national health care program, most Democrats advocate some kind of national health care, but they are always very careful to choose their words and policies so as to avoid accusations of socialism or class warfare. Why is it that the good majority of todays American politicians feel that they must walk on eggshells when advocating policies that will benefit the good majority of the American people?

A large part of the answer to that question is the long war against socialism in our country, which is waged today largely with the help of a national news media that is owned by a small number of wealthy and powerful corporations. That war, which has supplied a century and a half of nearly continuous propaganda, has conditioned a good portion of the American people to think of any hint of socialism solely in highly negative terms. Reversing the consequences of that propaganda will not be an easy task.


Reasons for the war on socialism in the United States

A simplified distinction between capitalism and socialism (discussed in some more detail here) is that with capitalism economic transactions are handled by individuals, whereas with socialism economic transactions are handled by the community (or by a government which represents the community). In reality, however, the idea of pure capitalism is a myth. Capitalism cannot exist without government intervention because government is required at the very least to make and enforce the laws and policies that govern the capitalistic system. Corporations require government licensure and enforcement of financial rules in order to operate, without which a state of anarchy would exist. Those financial rules are not God-given and they are not natural. Rather, they are created and enforced by government.

Therefore, the question is not whether government should intervene in the economy of its society, but in what manner should it intervene and who should receive the benefits of that intervention. More to the point, the financial rules of a society may be set mostly for the benefit of the rich and powerful, or they may be set up to more broadly benefit everyone. Policies which tend to benefit the less wealthy and powerful include such things as: protections against environmental degradation; protection for consumers against the risks of dangerous products; protection against dangerous working conditions; anti-trust laws to ensure competition; anti-discrimination laws; progressive tax laws; minimum wage laws; provision of government health care, education, and child care assistance; promotion or assurance of full employment for those able and willing to work; and labor laws that strengthen the bargaining capabilities of workers. I believe that these policies can operate without inordinately reducing the profit incentive to the point where the public suffers from a non-productive economy. And I believe that these policies should be used because: 1) they provide needed protections to the most vulnerable of our population; 2) I believe they benefit about 98% of the remainder of our population; and 3) I believe that they are fair.

The wealthy conservative elite of our society tag the socialism label on all those laws and policies, listed above, that benefit approximately the less wealthy and powerful 98% of our population, and especially those that benefit the poor. They accuse anyone who advocates those policies of being socialists and of engaging in class warfare. They do that, very simply, because those laws and policies reduce their own wealth and power. That is what the century and a half war against socialism in the United States is all about. Those conservative elites are right about one thing. The policies that they rail against are indeed socialistic. When added to a primarily capitalistic system, such as operates in our country, they produce a mixed capitalism/socialism system which can maintain the production incentives of capitalism while at the same time guarding against the harmful excesses of capitalism which tend to drive people into poverty and reduce the quality of life of millions of our citizens.


The war against socialism

A thorough description of the war against socialism in the United States is way beyond the scope of this post. The following merely provides some of the highlights.

Early labor movement in the United States

James Green in his book, Death in the Haymarket A story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America, describes in detail some of the early struggles of the labor movement in the United States. Here are some of the major issues he discussed:

With the onset of the industrial age working people in the United States had it very rough. They often worked very hard, under very bad physical conditions, for very little money, and for so many hours that they had very little time for leisure or to spend with their families. Labor unions began to form as a response to these conditions, and industry vigorously resisted their demands, greatly assisted by the leading newspapers of the time, as well as the powers of government.

On May 5, 1986, during a major labor protest, a bomb exploded in Haymarket Square, Chicago, following which police fired into a crowd, resulting in the deaths of 7 policemen and 3 civilians. That terrorist attack set off hysteria throughout the country. In the following days many of the leaders of the labor movement in Chicago were rounded up and held for interrogation. Eight of them were indicted on conspiracy to commit murder. These eight men were mostly anarchists, Communists, or socialists.

The trial of the eight men became one of the most controversial trials in American history because of its many irregularities. In the first place, people were admitted to the jury only if they expressed prejudice against the defendants. The person who threw the bomb was neither identified nor charged, and indeed many people suspected that it was thrown by someone whose motivation was to cast a cloud over and destroy the labor movement. Furthermore, it was made clear to the jury that the defendants were being tried on the basis of their political beliefs rather than on the basis of their relationship to the specific events of May 5th. 7 of the 8 men were found guilty of murder and sentenced to be hung. A new mayor several years later pardoned those who remained alive, based on the paucity of evidence against the defendants, the numerous irregularities of the trial and the finding that most of the witnesses for the prosecution had been bribed, threatened, or tortured into testifying against the defendants.

Nevertheless, the hysteria and fear occasioned by the terrorism unleashed at Haymarket Square led to aggressive suppression of the labor movement in the following years, very possibly setting back the labor movement in the United States by decades. By the first decades of the 20th Century, the United States was in the midst of such a Red scare that Eugene Debs, perennial Socialist candidate for President of the United States, was repeatedly imprisoned for speaking out about his beliefs.

An overall idea of the violence involved in conflicts between labor and employers in the United States is provided by the historian Richard Hofstadter, writing in 1970. Hofstadter concluded that the United States had experienced at least 160 instances in which state or federal troops had intervened in strikes, and at least 700 labor disputes in which deaths were recorded, with clearly most of the violence being perpetrated by state or federal authorities.


The counteroffensive by FDR

Probably no figure in American history is despised as much by conservatives as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was accused in his day of being a Communist by many a conservative. Cass Sunstein, in his book, The Second Bill of Rights FDRs Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More than Ever, describes the philosophy that motivated Roosevelt to fight for his radical (at the time) programs to benefit the American people:

To Roosevelt, human distress could no longer be taken as an inevitable by-product of life, society, or nature; it was an artifact of social policies and choices. Much human misery is preventable. The only question is whether a government is determined to prevent it. Foremost was the idea that poverty is preventable, that poverty is destructive, wasteful, demoralizing, and that poverty is morally unacceptable in a Christian and democratic society.

Consequently, FDR introduced the concept of economic and social rights, which had not gained much traction in the United States until his Presidency. FDRs Presidency and fervent advocating of these rights coincided with circumstances (The Great Depression) that made their need glaringly apparent to a large proportion of American citizens.

Roosevelts method for establishing a Second Bill of Rights was through more than twelve years of advocating for these rights and putting them into practice through executive orders and pushing Congress to enact legislation.

Some of the most concrete results of FDRs efforts were the Social Security Act of 1935, the creation of several agencies that produced greatly needed jobs, labor protection laws that created the right for workers to organize into unions and a federal minimum wage, antitrust policies, the GI bill of rights, and to help pay for some of those programs, record tax rates on wealthy corporations and individuals. But perhaps more important than these concrete accomplishments, by the end of FDRs Presidency large segments of the American population accepted many aspects of his Second Bill of Rights as legitimate rights for example, the right to a good education.


Military and CIA interventions against Communism, socialism, or just plain leftist regimes

The United States has a long history of CIA or military intervention against countries that posed no threat to us whatsoever, based solely on the fact that they were either Communist or socialist or simply a leftist regime and therefore (so the reasoning went) susceptible to Communist takeover.

This practice began long before the onset of the Cold War. We first intervened against the Communists in Russia as early as 1918, by sending troops to Russia to unsuccessfully fight in the Russian Civil War to oust the Communists from power. Some other examples include the following:

Iran 1953
In 1953 our CIA intervened in Iran to overthrow a popular prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had done much to improve the lot of the Iranian people. Here is how Stephen Kinzer describes Mossadegh in his book, All the Shahs Men An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror:

His achievements were profound and even earth-shattering. He set his people off on what would be a long and difficult voyage toward democracy and self-sufficiency He dealt a devastating blow to the imperial system and hastened its final collapse. He inspired people around the world who believe that nations can and must struggle for the right to govern themselves in freedom.

In Mossadeghs place we installed the dictatorship of Mohammad Reza Shah. The stated reason for our overthrow of Mossadegh was that we were concerned that he would open his country to Communist influence (his nationalization of the Iranian oil industry was also undoubtedly part of the reason). This is how Kinzer sums up the effect of that intervention:

In Iran, almost everyone has for decades known that the United States was responsible for putting an end to democratic rule in 1953 and installing what became the long dictatorship of Mohammad Reza Shah. His dictatorship produced the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which brought to power a passionately anti-American theocracy that embraced terrorism as a tool of statecraft. Its radicalism inspired anti-Western fanatics in many countries

The violent anti-Americanism that emerged from Iran after 1979 shocked most people in the United States. Americans had no idea of what might have set off such bitter hatred in a country where they had always imagined themselves more or less well liked. That was because almost no one in the United States knew what the CIA did there in 1953.

Indonesia 1965
A power struggle in Indonesia in 1965 that resulted in the overthrow of Achmad Sukarno and the installment of a military dictatorship resulted in the massacre of up to a million people, mostly civilians, including a substantial portion of women and children which the New York Times called one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history. With respect to this episode it was later reported by Kathy Kadane that:

The U.S. government played a significant role in one of the worst massacres of the century by supplying the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian army, which hunted down the leftists and killed them, former U.S. diplomats say. Nobody cared about the butchery and mass arrests because the victims were Communists, one Washington official told me.

Vietnam 1954-73
The Geneva Conference Agreements, which officially ended the war between France and Vietnam in 1954, provided for general elections which were to bring about the unification of Vietnam. However, the United States, fearing a Communist victory in those elections, intervened to prevent the elections from taking place and so began our long involvement culminating in an eventual Communist victory, but not until two million Vietnamese and 58 thousand Americans were dead.

South and Central America
As described by William Blum in his article, A Concise History of US Global Interventions, 1945 to the Present, the United States intervened in eleven different South and Central American countries during the Cold War including Guatemala, Costa Rica, British Guyana, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. The main purpose of these interventions was to facilitate changes to regimes that were friendlier to the United States (and in almost all cases less friendly to the indigenous populations of those countries.) For this purpose, we developed the School of the Americas, which was used to train native personnel in the techniques and ideology of insurgency and counter-insurgency.

This article on reasons to shut down the School of the Americas (SOA) provides a good description of what was involved, and can be summarized as follows:

It describes numerous atrocities committed by graduates of SOA, which are consistent with the SOA curriculum. While SOA torture manuals have been withdrawn, their content has not been repudiated by SOA, and some of the worst abusers continue to be honored as guest instructors for SOA courses.

School of the Americas training is oriented to support the military and political status quo in each country, which places the U.S. in opposition to any who seek free speech to discuss problems, alternative means to solve problems, or democratic means to change governments. More specifically, the enemy is identified as the poor, those who assist the poor, such as church workers, educators, and unions, and certain ideologies such as socialism or liberation theology. All of this just to make sure that Communists or leftists dont get a foothold in any of these countries.


Current status of the war on socialism

We are at the point now where corporate power, closely allied to the political elite, especially of the Republican Party, threatens to get out of control. Our national news media is largely controlled by them, thereby posing a grave danger to our First Amendment rights to free speech; we have a tremendous wealth gap in our country; millions of people either cannot find work or else they can only find work that grinds them down while paying them little; forty three million Americans have no health insurance; a decent college education is unattainable to many millions of our youth; poverty is rampant and on the rise; too many of our elected representatives sell out to the highest bidder; and our election system is susceptible to rampant fraud.

This didnt happen by accident. For a century and a half the wealthy and the political elite (which today is the Republican Party) have carried on a propaganda war against the slightest hint of socialism. Though the good majority of Americans today favor a national health plan, our Republican elected representatives are nearly unanimously and aggressively against it. They call it socialism, and they feel no need to say any more about it. Minimum wage hike? Socialism. Government work projects to reduce unemployment? Socialism. Everything is an all or none proposition for these ideologues. Suggest anything that involves the slightest hint of socialism and they become apoplectic as did the American slave owners of the 18th and 19th Centuries whenever they heard anyone say an unkind word about their peculiar institution.

Thats what McCarthyism was all about. Lets make the American people believe that the slightest hint of Communism is pure evil, and must be completely rooted out so that we can have a free society.

The toll of our anti-Communist wars, in dead, wounded, economic well being, human rights abuses, and thwarting of democracy movements is difficult to imagine. What motivated all of this? The official answer, of course, is that Communism was a deadly enemy, so we had to do all that we could to fight it and undoubtedly many of our leaders who led us in the cold war believed that at least in part.

But nearly a century and a half of propaganda against socialism by the conservative elite of the United States suggests that there were other, probably more important reasons for this. Could our leaders over a 44 year period possibly have believed that almost every single leftist uprising in third world (or first world) countries represented a mortal military threat to us? I doubt it. To the extent that any Communist or Socialist country succeeded in establishing a successful government, that might set an example for Americans. Middle class and poor Americans might look at those countries and ask themselves if they might not provide worth while role models. And our conservative elite couldnt let that happen. The war waged against socialism for the century and a half since the beginning of Americas industrial age has been a major part of a class war waged by the conservative corporate and political elites of the United States against their fellow citizens a class war that continues to this day.

Democrats must recognize what is going on and not be cowed by accusations of socialism or class warfare into conceding the issue to the Republicans. If they stand up for the American people, the American people will be with them.
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. Bookmarked.
This looks fascinating. Thanks! Saved to read later, after work.

:hi:
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. As industry and jobs started to flow out of the US in the late 70s....
Reaganites blamed "socialism" and advocated a return to unregulated Capitalism...

Morning in America...

So, 20+ years later, we have to ask:

How's that working out? :shrug:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
51. "Morning in America"
Chris Matthews' first question to the Republican candidates last Thursday was what they were going to do to make "Morning in America" come back. :puke:

The presumption being, of course, that everyone knows and agrees how good we had it under Reagan. Not that Matthews cares, but Bill Clinton's approval ratings were better than Reagan's despite the fact that our corporate news media did everything it could to tear him down and to build Reagan up.

But it's little subtle messages like that, continually vomited up by our corporate news media, that prevent the Republican Party from total disintegration and mover our country way to the right.
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lildreamer316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
3. THIS IS A MUST READ.
Thank you very much. K&R.
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&R bookmarked!
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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
5. Excellent - b'marked, k/r
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R-- I agree, this is a must read post....
eom
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The Magistrate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. An Excellent Piece, Sir!
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Norrin Radd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
8. k+r
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
9. Excellent - I suggest you post your thoughts on other sites - indeed can we
quote you/paraphrase/steal your formulation?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 01:13 AM
Response to Reply #9
23. Thank you -- you most certainly can
That's why I post these things.
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Change has come Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 09:06 PM
Response to Original message
10. K&R
:kick:
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me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
11. k&r!
:kick:
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Glorfindel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
12. Splendid! Thank you for posting this; it expresses what I think
but couldn't put into words. Very well done indeed. What we have now in this country IS socialism, but it's just about exclusively for the wealthy, with their employers paying for their health insurance and taking up the slack otherwise. "Free enterprise" is for the poor and stupid, who consistently vote against their own best interests so that special favors and tax cuts can continue to be lavished upon the ALREADY WEALTHY. There's a special, extra-hot spot in hell waiting for Repukes who promote this sick inequality.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #12
54. Thank you -- I strongly believe that
the reason why the poor (and the middle class as well) so frequently vote against their own interests is that they are consistently misled by our corporate news media into doing so. We get bombarded with misinformation, and just as important, the things that people really need to know are usually withheld from them (unless they dig for them, that is).

The Iraq War for example. If they corporate news media had reported, as they should and could have, that the case for war was a fraud, there wouldn't have been any support for it, and Congress wouldn't have voted for the IWR, nor would Bush have been able to start that war.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
13. Good work.
Especially the part about the Iranian coup.

Americans have an attention span that can be counted in days.

Other countries like Iran remember what happened to them - and who did it.

The rise of the Ayatollahs was not only foreseen, but almost inevitable. Now that they've been demonized again, it is also inevitable that there should be a counter reaction.

And although it's purely a defensive reaction, it will be interpreted as hostility.

History will never be learned by these idiots in charge now.
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rfranklin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 05:55 AM
Response to Reply #13
31. They can ignore history because most Americans are ignorant...
of how we have bullied and beaten countries around the world. They would rather believe the myths of "spreading democracy" which of course is code for extending the reach of rapacious corporations.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #13
62. The idiots in charge now don't give a damn about history
And why should they -- God speaks directly to them, who needs history?

But you're right, it should be seen as inevitable that we will pay for the democracies that we've overthrown by the hostility directed towards us by the people whose lives we affected.

I don't think that it's the short attention span of Americans that is the biggest problem as it is the fact that often they don't even know what's going on in the first place. How many Americans know that we overthrew Iran's democratically elected government? Or any of the other governments that we overthrew? Or the dictators that we propped up?
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
14. Excellent! Thank you!! k/r
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AnnieBW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
15. Haymarket was in 1886
You had 1986 in your editorial. Sorry to nitpick. It was a great commentary.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 01:13 AM
Response to Reply #15
24. Right, thank you
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tomp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
16. and then, around the turn of the century...
...american capitalism became american imperialism, in which "we" claimed the rights to the worlds resources and markets. and that is bipartisan policy.
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cagoldensun5050 Donating Member (200 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
17. Saved.
Thanks! :yourock: :applause:
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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
18. Wow...what a great post.
You just gave me enough reading material for a day! I may have to take it in chunks...my mind wanders faster than a ferret on crack.

Thanks again...best post on DU in awhile...and we've had some great ones.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #18
65. Thank you very much
Hope you like it when you get your mind settled.
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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #65
66. I've already absorbed a good chunk of it.
And I do like it. :)
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
19. The Democratic Party has largely been complicit in the war due to its silence when...
Edited on Sun May-06-07 10:45 PM by Selatius
it was time to stand up for the economic rights of the people. It either won't broach the issue directly or simply won't bring it up, and it often retreats when Republicans red-bait them as communists. It is one reason why so many dubbed "far left" in political view have been angry at the Democratic Party for a very long time, and why many have simply concentrated on single-issue causes like the environment or labor issues instead of directly supporting the Democratic Party.

It's a welcome sign that people are more frank in talking about things like universal health care, but it's also true to say that if the political discourse on economic issues wasn't so stifled, the US would've had a national health care program in place decades ago instead of simply talking about it now...in 2007, the 21st century.
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nolabels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 06:14 AM
Response to Reply #19
33. They have basterdized the education system so well that..........
in the end when push comes to shove that may be their downfall. Most oligarchs have a hard time existing in cultures with diminishing social etiquette and tradition. In short, if you trash everything then eventually you will end up living inside the trash.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #19
67. That's right
The Democrats retreat, as you say, when they are red-baited, because they know that the corporate media is ready to pounce on them if they give the slightest sign of acting like socialism is an acceptable issue to talk about. The defeat of Clinton's health plan was a great victory for the conservative elite fascists in our country.
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followthemoney Donating Member (745 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #19
81. I like Castro. I mean, if we have to live under a dictator why not one that
Provides Universal Health Care?
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #81
89. Why give up the Bill of Rights to obtain an Economic Bill of Rights? n/t
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 04:21 AM
Response to Reply #19
96. We must not forget our roots. Back in the early days of the "war on socialism"
it was us, the Democrats, that were on the wrong side, and indeed the principle architects of that war. This was long before any propaganda campaign ever existed, before there were such things as communism or socialism, back then it simply was, as it still is, owners and debtors (and of course slaves) and for the most part, both competitors vied for the support of the owners.

The essential truth is that neither party is, or ever has been, "for the people". It is only a claim made by both sides during elections in order to convince enough of the sheep that "this time we're serious" long enough for them to cast their ballots, and then it is once again stowed, to be brought out and dusted off in two years for the next parade.


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november3rd Donating Member (653 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 11:39 PM
Response to Original message
20. Thanks for the opus
Wow, and I thought Keith Olbermann was informative!

We need to keep perspective on what has happened since the rise of electronic media, consumerism, oil and automobile suburban America, deregulation and globalization.

WE're not in any kind of equilibrium.

These factors are all coming from somewhere, and going somewhere else. Society and the economy are trending, in other words.

Where things trend is up to us NOW.

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PinkyisBlue Donating Member (617 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-07 11:49 PM
Response to Original message
21. Good piece. But the system we have in place today is fascism more than capitalism.
Fascism: ideology that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of opposition, and extreme nationalism.

Over the last six years, the goal of our government has been to take money (via taxes and fees) from the people (with more and more of it coming from the middle class and less well-off) and give it to corporations (to provide public services and run government programs). This has proven to be a very inefficient and expensive way to run the government. The goal of corporations is to make a profit, so in order for money to be made, the people being served are cheated out of what is due to them. Corruption is rampant in this type of system. The primary example that comes to mind is, of course, Halliburton. Halliburton received lucrative government contracts to provide food to our troops in Iraq. Instead, they cut corners and gave our soldiers expired food and unpotable water.

Another example, which I just read about in today's Boston Sunday Globe, involves health care services for prison inmates. Instead of having the doctor and nurses work directly for the prison system, the government has a contract with a private company to provide health care to prisoners. Because of this, no doctor was available to attend to a 24 year-old diabetic mother of two, incarcerated while awaiting trial for a drug offense. She had a violent reaction to withdrawal from drugs and was dead within 24 hours after being placed in her cell.

The goal of this administration is to privatize all government services and programs. Social Security has been a very successful government program with extremely low overhead and relatively high output. If the surpluses over the years were allowed to accumulate, as they should, Social Security would be solvent for years and years. The Bushies can't wait to privatize this program. Any profits to be made will go to the corporate administrators first and to Social Security recipients last.

So what is happening now is a partnership between our current government and private corporations. Our money is offered to corporations for our benefit, but little of it "trickles down" to provide the goods and services needed. A lot of people are getting rich off of this system.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 01:24 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. Yes, I agree, we are rapidly heading towards fascism
As a matter of fact, I've talked about that in more detail in a previous post:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Do you think that that changes what I've said in this post?
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PinkyisBlue Donating Member (617 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #25
40. I agree with everything you said in the post.
I didn't mean to imply that I took issue with what you said. I'm just elaborating on your post and trying to say that we may need to alter our semantics to get people on board. A lot of people will say that they are not a liberal, even though they believe in everything a liberal believes in. The Republicans have been able to equate the word liberal with so many negatives that many people won't admit that their beliefs are liberal.

We need to inform the citizens that: 1) the Bush administration is for bigger, not smaller, government, 2) that dismantling the government's regulatory role in business can hurt or even kill you, and 3) the system in place currently is not capitalism but fascism. These corporations would not profit without lucrative government contracts that siphon money from the people into the pockets of the wealthy. The problem is that our media won't say these things.

The Republicans throw around the words "communism" and "socialism", knowing the negative reaction people will have to them. We need to use the term "fascism" to describe what's happening in our country, as fascism has an equally negative connotation and more accurately describes our current situation. Capitalism, which is what Republicans want to call our system, is thought of favorably by most people. Maybe instead of calling for socialism, we should call it populism: government by the people, of the people, for the people.

Anyway, I always like your posts and you presented an excellent analysis.
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loudsue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #40
45. The media laughs and mocks anyone that equates what is happening w/ fascism.
Edited on Mon May-07-07 10:03 AM by loudsue
That is where the propaganda machine has been extremely effective for the corporatist/fascists in this country. And it is one great reason for the legions of protesters in this country to begin targeting the media.

We need billboards and newspapers and ham radios or whatever to try to get out the message about what is happening to our corporate-owned government. It's extremely dangerous to democracy to have the propaganda machines running 24/7 mocking liberal ideas. That, and the fact that we've already lost our elections to privatization.

As I said in a post yesterday:

"The economic collapse is coming, and it's going to be really ugly. We've been violated in every way possible by the republicans, and it's going to literally be the DEATH of millions of Americans, and the horrible suffering of many millions more.

It's truly a shame that it will have to come to this for people to realize just what kind of HUGE responsibility a Democratic Republic places on people. Unfortunately, the majority of our people have taken their free ride on the backs of us liberals who have fought hard for every good thing this country has ever produced FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE.

WE (liberals) are the SOLDIERS WHO HAVE BEEN SPAT UPON."


:kick: :kick: :kick:
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lefador Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #40
46. Symbolism is one of the main tools for Fascist movements
Symbols avoid going through the thinking/rational process and go straight to our reptilian mins. That is why you will see fascist organizations wrap themselves in flags and nationalistic symbols, so that they can bypass any sort of rational debate by owning the concept of "nation." Republican are masters at framing the debate in this fashion. If you observe the nazis or the Spanish/Italian fascist movements, you will see the pervasive use of symbols... you can then watch a FOX News broadcast to get a glimpse about how such propaganda machine would look in current times: Well groomed all-American anchor, with plenty of American flag lapel pins, with a nice American flag graphic waving 24/7 in the corner of the screen, with well coordinated red-white-blue graphics through the broadcast, the furthering of the us against them agenda, the catapulting of propaganda, and the reminder of the viewer of the constant danger posed by a common enemy with the contrasting reporting of the national-savior role of the government. If you look at a German news reel of the late 30s and a FOX news broadcast the narrative is so close as to be frightening.

The term Liberal is thus quickly becoming the new Communist and Socialist of yore. To this day, I have plenty of friends who would try to debunk any sort of rational debate about socialism (i.e. having a social network in this society to protect its citizens) because they have been brainwashed into associating socialism with a taboo. Yet, neither of the preople who scold me when I defend a socialist point of view can define or enumerate me what socialism is and what it stands for. In the same sense that they will always assume that this country is supposed to be a Capitalist society, yet nowhere in the constitution there is any sort of specification to the economic organization of this country since it just refers about how the government should be organized.

Same goes with the term "fascist" for example, FOX news will use the term "islamo-fascist" with impunity, but in reality there is little correlation with the fact that the muslim extremist are pushing for a quasi-feudal agenda, which is quite different from what fascism stands for. According to Mussolini, Fascism and Corporativism are basically the same thing, if you observe the current state of affairs in American society in which the corporation and state are deeply interwined, to the point that the State is becoming the main actuary for the Corporate interests. The point could be made that indeed America is a fascist society, however even when backing this with facts, any FOX News anchor will diminish this talking point... not with any sort of logical retort but with something like "this is America, we are not fascist.... land of the free... blah, blah, blah." That is, always directing their respose to the gut of their intended target audience, not their minds. Yet, they will not thing twice about associating the term "Fascism" and "Islam" to the point that it then becomes a new reality, even though they are not similiar terms by a long shot. In short, we are seeing "Newspeak" in action, as fascinating as I find it... I also find myself deeply disturbed.


This has been due mostly to the push of certain assumptions as truth, to this day a lot of people I know assume this was supposed to be a Christian country, yet again... nowhere in the constitution there is any sort of specification about the religious organization of this country, other than it should not be enforced nor interfere with the government. These are all proofs of the perversion of discourse exercise by the GOP, if you look at their behavior is frightening: within minutes you can switch any news channel and encounter a right-wing talking head spewing word by word the same talking point... to the point of making Goebbles look like some sort of amateur And the fact that Americans don't get it, it is just frightening to me...
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PinkyisBlue Donating Member (617 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #46
82. Interesting info on the use of symbolism in political discourse.
It's disturbing to me, as well, that so many Americans have bought what this administration is selling, from the need for an unending "war on terror" to keep us all safe, the erosion of our freedoms and civil liberties to ensure our safety, the enhanced role of religion in our systems of education, justice, etc. I can't believe anyone couldn't see what a disaster Bush and his entourage would be, from day one on. I have to admit, though, his policies have been more damaging and destructive to our country than I had originally thought possible.

I have saved an interesting opinion piece by Paul Campos, a law professor published by Scripps Howard News Service, entitled "Opinion would change if Bush were a woman". It was printed about 18 months ago, and it points to the power of propaganda. Let me just reprint two paragraphs:

"One way to appreciate just what a colossal failure he has been is to
imagine for a moment that he wasn't a straight-talking, brush-clearing,
football-loving fellow from the hardscrabble West Texas countryside, but
was instead someone whose outward appearance didn't lend itself so readily
to projecting a superficial image of strength.

"Imagine, if you will, how George W. Bush's performance as commander-in-
chief would be perceived if he happened to be a woman. To help this
thought experiment along, let's give him a woman's name. Don't think of
him as "George," think of him as "Hillary.""

Can you imagine what would have happened had a Democratic President ignored warnings of an attack prior to 9/11, lied to the people about who was responsible, led us into a disastrous war under false pretenses, and never apprehended the man responsible for the attack? Can you imagine what would have happened had a Democratic President been in power during hurricane Katrina and screwed up so grandly? Can you imagine what would have happened had a Democratic President been in power during the whole Walter Reed Hospital fiasco, or any of the dozens of other mishaps that have occurred under the "leadership" of this president? The press and the 'liberal media' would have skewered him (or her) right away, and he/she would have been impeached. I'm sick of how the media gave this president a pass on almost every issue.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #40
56. Thank you -- Those are good points
The Republicans and the corporate news media have made "liberal" into a bad word, and I'm afraid that liberals have been complicit in that by not objecting strongly enough. I don't believe it has served them well to find other words (such as "progressive") to define themselves, when IMHO they should be proudly defending their choice to be liberals. We can't hide from it by simply calling ourselves by another name. I believe we're playing right into their hand when we do that.

As far as calling them Fascists (or saying that we are living in a Fascist society), I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, you're right, they are fascists (and I have often referred to them as such in my posts). But as loudsue and lefador point out, calling them that may carry risks of its own, since the corporate media will paint us as some sort of cooks. But maybe that's just as well. If we don't point out what they are, then who will? But perhaps we need to be careful about how we say it.
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PinkyisBlue Donating Member (617 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #56
84. I do like how some of the Democrats are fighting back against the media.
Bill Clinton scored some major points when he appeared on Fox last year and called the host (was it Chris Wallace) on his bias. And I applaud the Democrats for refusing to debate on Fox.

You're right, names can be changed only so many times. I wish the Democrats would continue to speak the truth to the media, and not take advice from faux (or Fox) Democrats. The spokespeople who I think should speak for the party of the people include Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Al Gore, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Bill Moyers, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, etc. Be wary of Democratic "consultants," like James Carville and Donna Brazile, and corporate Democrats like Hillary Clinton.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #84
86. Very nice list
Speaking of Howard Dean, here's an imaginary response that I made up for him as to how I would have liked to see him respond to Tim Russert on Meet the Press the Sunday morning that Russert ruined his candidacy:

Tim, I dont need a lecture from a Bush administration shill on my qualification for the presidency. As you might remember, when you asked presidential candidate George Bush in 1999 how many missiles would be in place if a new START II nuclear weapons treaty were signed, Bush had no idea what you were even talking about but you didnt seem to think that that had anything to do with his qualifications to be president.

You criticize my tax plan by quoting from a highly partisan and inept analysis of it. You tell your viewers erroneously that my son has been indicted for a crime. And now youre telling me that Im not qualified to be president because I dont know the exact number of soldiers currently serving in our military.

I have described for you and your viewers in great detail my foreign and domestic plans for making America a stronger and better country. You can ask me any question you like about my plans for our country, and I will not evade your questions. But if you want to question my fitness for office I suggest that you do so in an honest editorial format, rather than in the guise of a neutral nonpartisan journalist who is supposedly conducting an interview.

Do we have an understanding on that?


If he would have responded like that we may be living under President Dean right now.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 03:58 AM
Response to Reply #86
94. Russert unfortunately never sets himself up to be attacked
I didn't see the interview but I would imagine Russert's question was something like "Governor Dean So and So, says you aren't qualified to be President, what do you have to say to that?" This requires Dean to respond to So and So instead of Russert, when Russert is really the one asserting that he isn't qualified to be President
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #94
100. Actually, Russert did state it as his own opinion, I'm pretty sure
In my opinion, that doesn't make it much better. I really do believe that Democrats need to call him out on his bullshit. I believe that the imaginary Dean response that I wrote would have worked very well. The only problem is that it took me probably 100 times as long to think of it as Dean had to respond.

Also, I'm not certain of Meet the Press is live. If it's not, Russert could have cut out anything that might be embarassing to him.
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #21
59. Sligthly off topic
but "health care" is given or withheld as a tool of discipline in jails and prisons -- and is mostly withheld.
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Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 12:26 AM
Response to Original message
22. Another Beauty! Recommended.
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intaglio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 02:32 AM
Response to Original message
26. A fascinating insight - over here we know little of this
and it is worthy of a great deal of thought
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HCE SuiGeneris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 02:39 AM
Response to Original message
27. You continue to
be an invaluable source of great information T F C. Thank you. K & R
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 02:48 AM
Response to Original message
28. K & R, Bookmarked n/t
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
29. Well! Since St. Ronnie eradicated Communism when the USSR
collapsed, at least they shouldn't be able to level that particular charge against populist reforms anymore. . at least not with impunity.
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ClintonTyree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. The right has so blurred the terms "socialism" and "communism"..
that they are one in the same in the right wing lexicon. They've convinced an easily confused public that anything Socialistic is automatically Communistic. Not true. But you'll never convince them of that and they've so poisoned the well of Socialism that a great majority of Americans couldn't be convinced otherwise as well. At the same time they've convinced Americans that unbridled capitalism and the "free market" theory is to be exalted and in NO WAY could ever lead to fascism.

If there's one thing the right wing is good at it's framing the debate. Whether that frame is straight and strong or not doesn't matter a bit. They lie, repeat the lie ad nauseum and it becomes the truth, at least as far as our incurious public is concerned. They're masters of propaganda.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #30
36. It also depends on what you define 'communism' as
Is it the original theory, almost utopian, that ownership of anything more than your personal belongings would be done away with, and everyone would work "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs" - and that this would be a worldwide movement, so that the idea of countries that could go to war would disappear? Or is it what happened in practice when 'communist parties' were in control of countries, such as the USSR or China under Mao? The latter situation is worth avoiding; the former sounds nice, but I've never seen how we get there from here, and it may be ignoring a certain amount of inate human behaviour.

The blurring between 'communism' and 'socialism' was helped by the USSR - after all, that was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, with the Communist Party in charge.

The dividing line needs to be drawn between democratic socialism, where fairly (and regularly) elected politicians can direct the economy, and write laws, for the general good, with checks and balances; and authoritarian socialism, where someone in charge (whether initially through democracy or through force) gets to direct the economy and legislation without any restraint, and gets to stay in power and appoint their successors - and even if they think they are doing it for the sake of the people, pretty soon they won't be.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #30
39. Actually your beef is with Marx
He used the terms interchangeably, and one would think he would know.

Socialism is the worker's ownership of farms, factories, and other means of production; I suppose nowadays we distinguish that from communism in the sense that communism is a dictatorship of the proletariat to effect workers' ownership of farms and factories (but generally with the practical effect of a different elites' ownership of them).
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lefador Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #39
44. Huh? Marx was pretty clear about Socialism vs. Communism
Marx was clear in his economic theories, which stated that a desirable progression would be from Capitalism to Socialism, once Socialism was in place, there would be enough infaestructure both phisical and mental to go into Communism. In Socialism there is still a government which is in charge of effecting the distribution of wealth and resources, once the distribution structures are in place... government dissapears and it becomes a distributed society, i.e. Communism.

Anyhow, Marx was a theorist so you always have to take his ideas with a grain of salt, although he was clear in the fact that he expectd human social evolution to progress in the following fashion: Feudalism -> Capitalism -> Socialism -> Communism. The main problem is that the societies that attempted communism went from Feudalism -> Communism and thus avoided two very important steps according to Marx: Capitalism puts in place the production infraestructure, and Socialism puts in place the distribution. Both are necessary, and both take time, i.e. his theories expected to take decades to hundreds of years... at least a few generations. Both Russia, China, et al. attempted to go from pretty much Feudal societies to a Communist utopia in a generation and as such they were bound to fail.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #44
57. I've only seen him use them interchangeably
At least in The German Ideology he does. I've only read that and Capital, which as far as I remember only mentions communism or socialism once in passing (it is, after all, about capitalism). Where have you read him distinguishing between them?
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 05:56 AM
Response to Original message
32. The destruction of the public transportation system in the US
when General Motors bought up trolley lines all over the US and had them ripped up in order to sell busses. The elites remain in control of Amtrak and continue to make sure that it is a failing proposition in order to eventually kill it.

It is a class war of the top 1% against the 99%.
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lefador Donating Member (224 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #32
48. Ironically the 1% always use the "class warfare" rethoric with impunity
There has been a systematic perversion of the national discourse to the point that a GOP mouth piece can outer the words "Class warfare" and get away with it. I am waiting for the day in which there is a GOP head saying that is "Class warfare" and having a labor-movement representative saying "Damn right it is."

It is class warfare when the average american works more and makes less money than 30 years ago, this is, the productivity of the workforce has risen significantly, yet salaries have failed to keep up with inflation. However, what no one has noticed is that it is acceptable to have representatives for the top 10/20% of the population, in the sense that there are plenty of business/economic/financial representatives in government and media. Yet there is little to no labor representation, which makes for the most part the rest of the 80% of the society. The American dream is thus the greates invention of the past century, because it has managed to keep in check millions of people who are proactively working agains their interests. The average GOP voter is not in the 1% of the earning bracket, yet they keep voting against their own interests, why? First they are uneducated, so they can fall for the whole "Class warfare" rethoric (even though there is indeed a Class war being waged), second they assume that at some point they will become part of the 1% so they don't want to pass any sort of legislation that would harm their possible status... yet they ignore any legistation that helps/supports their current status.

In the end education is the key, because an educated mass knows that they rich may have the wealth and bullets, but the working class have the numbers. An educated mass is also harder to divide, you can take a look at the contrast between the European and American labor movements. In this country the top 1% has gotten away with everything, heck even May 1st, which everwhere in the world is celebrated as labor day is ignored in this country. May 1st, by the way celebrates a key victory for the American labor movement... yet most Americans don't even know about that. So the rest of the world celebrates American labor milestones, while Americans are busy working two jobs just to make ends meet. Idiots that we are....
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #48
79. And another big reason why the average GOP voter votes against his interests
I believe you mentioned it in another post: Our corporate news media. That's why the GOP is able to maintain viability as a national Party despite its virulant anti-people policies. If their monopoly on the news ever gets broken up that will be the end of the Republican Party, unless they move way to the left. The interenet has done a lot to partialy neutralize the situation, but it's not enough -- at least not yet.
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nxylas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #32
58. You've hit on one of my hobby horses
Is there an organization in the US similar to The UK's/Canada's Transport 2000, advocating for better public transportation? Or is any challenge to the dominance of King Car considered crazy talk here?
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #58
64. Didn't you know?
Edited on Mon May-07-07 03:53 PM by formercia
Cars and superhighways is the future.


I'm waiting to see the 20 Mule team Hummer.

That's ok, we're one step ahead of you. While you were fleeing the city for the burbs, we were buying up depressed urban property with 2% Federal loans and now we get to sell it back to you when you return with your yuppie tails between your legs.

Now, we get to sell it by the square foot.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #32
70. That's another terrible shame
Ruining the climate of the world and polluting our air just so they can make a bigger profit. Makes one wonder how people can defend a system like that.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 06:22 AM
Response to Original message
34. Brilliant!!!
K&R!
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ms liberty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 06:59 AM
Response to Original message
35. K&R...and bookmarked...n/t
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unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:17 AM
Response to Original message
37. K&R n/t
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
38. Thank you! This is my general understanding of socialism in America
You also have to include, imo, the assassinations of left-leaning American leaders in the '60s and general repressive reaction against the Left as part of the "war against socialism."

Just one minor correction on an obvious typo in your post: Haymarket was in 1886, not 1986.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #38
71. Yes, I believe you're right about that
I'm very familiar with JFK's assassination, and there is virtually no doubt in my mind that he was not shot by Oswald. His head and throat wounds were both identified by all the doctors who saw them at Parkland Hospital to have come from the front. I'm less certain as to who actually shot him, but common sense would say that it was, as you say, part of the war against socialism. And also, part of the war against peace, which is highly related. Just a couple of months prior to his death, JFK have a major speech signaling an all out peace offensive. I'm sure that there were many on the right who weren't happy about that at all.

I know less about the details of the assassinations of MLK and RFK, but they seem mighty suspicious to me, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if it was part of the same war, and I know that there are many people who believe that.
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 05:15 AM
Response to Reply #71
97. I was also referring to the murders of Blank Panther leaders and
the covert operations (some lethal, some not) against other leftist groups in America during the '50s and '60s, in particular.

Regarding JFK: I don't know if you know about the possible plot to oust FDR in the early '30s, but wealthy industrialists allegedly wanted to stage a coup against him and install a fascist regime. The plotters tried to recruit Retired Marine Smedley Butler (a well-known war hero) to be their figurehead, but he exposed the plot. There were Congressional hearings and I think they determined that there had indeed been a plot, but nothing was ever done about it.

Kind of like the House Select Committee on Assassinations determining in '79 that a conspiracy probably was behind JFK's assassination, but nothing was ever done about that either.

I've speculated that the same elites that wanted to stage the coup against FDR but failed were concerned that JFK could become another popular Democratic president with the ability to reform our system against their interests. Only this time they made sure he was eliminated more effectively.

I hope I don't sound like a crackpot...I don't live and breathe this stuff, but I do try to peer into this dark underbelly and make sense of it. This kind of class/power struggle goes back to the Romans and Greeks and, as the murders of the Gracchi Brothers in ancient Rome attest, there were violent consequences for reformers who muscled in on the ruling elites' interests.

Why would modern America be any different?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #97
101. To me you don't sound like a crackpot at all
Edited on Tue May-08-07 02:03 PM by Time for change
Probably to many conservatives you do sound like one. That's because they lack imagination, or the ability to think outside of the box.

Why would modern America be any different indeed? We do have some great founding documents -- our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence. Problem is, like most countries, we often fail to live up to our ideals.

The attempted coup against FDR is a fact.
The plan to shoot down an American airliner and blame it on Cuba (Operation Northwoods) as an excuse for an invasion of Cuba (vetoed by Secretary McNamara) is a fact.
Our overthrow of numerous sovereign governments is a fact.
Our genocide against the American Indians are a fact.
The lack of any legal evidence that would justify war against Iraq is a fact.
Our hideous murderous treatment of our African slaves for 90 years after declaring ourselves independent is a fact.
The failure of the 9-11 Commission to even attempt to answer numerous very important questions about 9-11 is a fact.
Our illegal torture of hundreds or thousands of prisoners for whom we don't even have enought evidence against them to charge them with a crime is a fact.

Given all that, how difficult is it to believe that our government carried out assassinations against some leftist leaders who could have changed the course of history? Can anyone seriously believe that ALL the atrocities carried out by the government of the United States have been identified and are on the record?
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Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:32 AM
Response to Original message
41. K & R and bookmarked
Thank you! for taking the time to put this together.

I don't have time to read in depth and give the thoughtful response your thoughtful post deserves, so all I can do for now is scan it and say...

:yourock:

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RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
42. Hey, great post.
:thumbsup:

DU needs more of THIS kind of stuff and less "Here's my opinion on John Edwards' haircut."
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warren pease Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
43. Nice analysis. Thanks. Also...
Note that the phony war on terror has replaced the phony cold war as the excuse for insane military budgets, and further enrichment of the upper few percent, as taxes transfer wealth from the working class to the investor class.

The war on terror is also the new social control mechanism keeping the serfs in line, the mass media compliant (not that the latter is a particularly hard sell for these dipshits), and the rampant violations of the Constitution and international law by BushCo deemed "necessary" to combat this new threat.

It's all bullshit, but this is particularly dangerous bullshit because the war on terror, by definition, can never end. There's no territory to conquer, no armies to defeat, no state to surrender. Just a bunch of ghosts and multinational religious fanatics.

As long as the US is committed to waging war against these people -- rather than treating it as an international police problem -- the domestic and foreign policies of BushCo will continue in some form or other, no matter who's in the White House.

Otherwise, they'll be called "soft on terror," the new "soft on communism" that no viable politician can afford to have placed around their neck.

Happy 21st Century.


wp
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #43
73. Yep, I couldn't agree more
We just replaced one cause for war with another. How convenient for Bush and the Neocons!!

How could anyone not be highly suspicious about that, especially when we find out that they were trying to pin the whole thing on Iraq on September 11th?
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
47. K & R!
:applause:
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
49. A call for the Democrats to fight for working people
:kick: :toast:
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
50. Sounds as if the moguls of big-business consider that, as far as their employees are concerned,
Edited on Mon May-07-07 11:24 AM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
if couples don't have to hold down 2 or 3 jobs, working around the clock, in order just to keep their heads above water, their life style is all together too pastoral. Sarkozy thinks along the same lines, too, by the sound of it. Shame on those Scandinavian idlers...

As for themselves, that's a different matter, all together.
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milkyway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
52. Most Americans want some socialism, they just don't want it to be called that.
Great post. Rightwing elitists excel at using language to get people to support policies that are against their own self-interest. When growing up I was always amazed at peoples' willingness to go to war, to kill and be killed, to fight against a word, communism, of which they had little understanding. I always enjoyed listening to Ronald Reagan talk about Marxists-Leninists. I wished someone would ask him to explain what Marxism was, what Leninism was, what were their similarities and differences, and how were the characteristics of each changed when combined into a Marxist-Leninist soup.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #52
69. I thought it was a terrific laugh when Michael Moore parked a great, long, shiny, bright-red,
Edited on Mon May-07-07 04:46 PM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
articulated truck, emblazoned with a large "Hammer and Sickle" insignia on the sides, opposite the White House. The police arrived, but just warned him it was prohibited to park there!

Then he drove it down to the rural Deep South, where there was at least one choice interview on the subject with an elderly petrol-pump attendant, if I remember correctly!
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LeahD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
53. Bookmarked! Thanks. n/t
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2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
55. is john mcCain willing to give up his socialized health care paid for
by us taxpayers - the republics are good at dissing socialism but they are all on the take from taxpayers for the same things they diss - they just want it all for themselves
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
60. Well done and laid out
K&R

We have "Socialism" for the rich and a 1890's style "free market" for the rest of us. A return to the kind of "socialism" that FDR saved capitalism with in the 30's would be good first step right now.

It will take the Dems getting some courage for that to happen. I'm sure it's true that most of the Dems are in the upper 2% who are benefiting. They would have to grow a LOT of courage to go "against their own best interests".
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #60
80. Thank you -- A return to FDR would be a great first step
You're right, it will take a lot of courage for Dems to do that. Check this out -- a plan to end poverty within 30 years. 30 years is a long time, but at least someone's talking about it:

http://johnedwards.com/about/issues/poverty/
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slipslidingaway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
61. Excellent and thank you. n/t
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
63. I will add one observation to this
ironically they are not defending capilatism either, that is also a horror they just pay lip service to.

What they are defending is fascism
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happydreams Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
68. One son-of-a-bitch ran this country back then...
his name was JP Morgan. He financed a war against labor and civil rights that extended up to the 1920's, where JP junior took over. Martin Luther King's grandfather was even harassed by the fascist loving bastards. Morgan's banker buddies filled the Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt administrations. Morgan interests systematically destroyed the free press in the US, by buying them up or other forms of influence peddling.

The Oil companies are doing similar things to renewable, or sustainable energy systems today.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 03:46 AM
Response to Reply #68
93. As I recall Teddy Roosevelt stood up to JP Morgan
Did you mean that Morgan's banker buddies filled the Cleveland and McKinley administrations?
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happydreams Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #93
105. It is one of the grossest distortions in history. T R was a bought
and sold Morgan lapdog. I'm researching the House of Morgan

Google: "I took Panama"+Teddy Roosevelt. The blatant theft of Panama from Columbia was later acknowledged by the US government which compensated Columbia with about $20 million shortly after Teddy died. The truly bizarre fact is that one of the people working for TR was later cited as a key figure in the FDR coup attempt.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 02:18 AM
Response to Reply #105
110. I still don't see the connection
JP Morgan was a huge target of Teddy Roosevelt's Trust Busting. The Panama situation, IMO, is more reflective of Teddy's sense of American superiority and his feeling that the American empire could do whatever it wanted in Latin America. Not saying it was a good thing, but I still don't see how the Panama is all tied to JP Morgan.
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happydreams Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #93
106. Book: "How Wall Street created and Nation. "....
Edited on Tue May-08-07 03:44 PM by happydreams
by Espino is a must read on the Morgan--Roosevelt relationship.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
72. Great post
K & R and bookmarked!
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
74. My dad was a union organizer
back in the bad old days of the 30s and 40s. You showed up on a picket line, you got your head busted open and you got dragged off to jail, $100 bond, which was a month's wages for an affluent person then.

He said that any time someone called him a Communist, he was probably doing something right.

He voted for Norman Thomas in 1932 because there was no difference in the Dem and Rep platforms. The stuff in Norman Thomas' platform eventually became the basis of the New Deal. FDR was smart enough to keep quiet about that until after he was elected.

I miss him. He went to night school on the GI Bill and became a poor but honest lawyer. He's the reason I wanted to go to law school, and I did.

I miss him.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #74
75. I guess that says it all
FDR had grand plans to help bring people out of poverty and into the middle class, and he had to keep quiet about it until he got elected.

Sounds like your dad was quite a guy. I'd love to see some Democratic candidate use that quote: "Any time someone called me a Communist I was probably doing something right".
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Lena inRI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
76. Excellent post TFC and an affirmation. . .
of what I have always viewed as the supra-discrimination. . .elitists' oppression of the masses. . . .far worse than sexism or racism because those discriminations are just subsets of the supra elitism.

Let there be another Great Depression. . .the great equalizer and correction for our current growing gap between haves and havenots.

Let the working people vote with their feet in the streets again. . .I'M READY.

:smoke: :smoke: :smoke: :smoke: :smoke:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #76
77. Thank you Lena - I'm hoping
that it won't take another Great Depression, but unfortunately it might.

Edwards sounds like he would be inclined to make some big changes -- He even speaks of a RIGHT to have a job:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I'm inclined to think that if we elect him along with another Democratic Congress there will be no need to march in the street -- at least for quite some time.
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Lena inRI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #77
88. Yeah . . .but Edwards is a newbie progressive. . .
because his past posturing on the political scene has been all about playing to the safe center-zone. . .

so when the Great Depression hits, I'm banking on the Kucinichs and the Bernie Sanders of our nation to multiply with us working people fully behind them. . .

BTW, the REALLY POTENTIALLY BEST PROGRESSIVE LEADER is General Wesley K. Clark. . .yeah, my candidate of choice, because his life experiences, especially his 34 military years, shaped him to respect consistently working people who put in an honest day's work . . .in 2004, he laid out impressive progressive positions on social/economic issues- - -
http://securingamerica.com/issues/overview . . .

on universal health rights alone, we Americans have to wait for a Depression to push our leaders toward the social medicine that countries like Denmark or Canada have had since post-WW II. . .good grief, we are so exploited while the media distracts us with Paris Hilton escapades!



:argh: :argh: :argh: :argh: :argh:
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #76
78. You realize the working people took it in the chin
but the very rich didn't

The very rich will not be affected by a depresion, and if there should be violence, they will head for the exists
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Lena inRI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #78
83. You're correct, Nadin, if. . .
the next Great Depression were to be exactly like the 1930s one; but that never happens in history. . .

so what I'm actually hoping for is that the next "big one" DOES take down the elite rat-bastards (Bush et al) because the artificially supported US economy is so entangled with the global markets, that EVEN the old wealth will suffer deeply depreciated assets AND. . .

as for heading for the exits, the Bush elite, for example, are foolhardy to think retiring on a Paraguayan ranch will be so secure when all hell breaks loose. . . Latinos have plenty of experience with street action and partisan sabotage. . .ya know, guerrilla warfare easily fueled by desperately impoverished working people.



:hide: :hide: :hide: :hide: :hide:
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #83
111. I hate to tell you this
but the very rich did not loose much wth the French Revolution either

So some lost their heads (literally) most didn't

Nor did they loose their shirts during every major recesion or depresion in the world

Yes they are entangled, but they will not loose their shirts, not even close

You know why?

Unlike you and me, they do NOT live in the economy. those of us who do are in for a hell of a time

And as to Latin people able to carry out street actions... the militaries in Latin America are quite practiced in the methods of represion that would make us blanch.

Again, if you think that the bushies will not be safe at the ranch, I have a bridge to sell you

As an actual student of history I know history does not repeat itself pattern for pattern but only when you have outright imperial failures do you have even close to a hope for elites to loose more than just a couples hours of sleep.

So if you are hopping for Rome to fail, or perhaps the British East India Company... then you may see that... but a depresion... so they will not be able to afford two boats this year, or this decade, big fricking boo... you and I will not be able to afford bread.
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Useless in FL Donating Member (67 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
85. Best - Post - Ever
This is one of the best posts I have ever read here on DU. They fooled the public too. I remember my grandmother and her siblings (late 1940) railing against the FDR policies. Boy, they had nothing, but blamed FDR policies for everything that was wrong in the US.

Before my Mother died at age 92 (about a month ago) we were discussing the current state of healthcare, or lack thereof in the US, and I said that it should be every person's right to have access to affordable healthcare. While she agreed, she remarked that it would then be "SOCIALISM" and we wouldn't want that. She was brainwashed at an early age.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-07 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #85
87. Thank you very much
Well, that really says something about the power of a word, doesn't it?
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
90. brilliant...
i'll come back and read the whole piece when i have time
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 03:28 AM
Response to Original message
91. Excellent essay.
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demobabe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 03:36 AM
Response to Original message
92. Dang. Can't recommend - past the time.
Start a DU Journal and add this to it... you really should. Thanks for this fantastic essay.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #92
103. Thank you -- I've already done that
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 04:09 AM
Response to Original message
95. Very good piece, too late to recommend but it's hardly necessary.
I do think that it is noteworthy that even in this excellent piece, many of the myths and omissions of the American Oligarchy are included. A fact that fortifies the essential message, and truth, of the essay.

Well done, and thank you.


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #95
102. Thank you
No doubt there are numerous omissions in this post.

But I'm curious about what myths you feel that I included in it.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #102
107. Firstly, you are welcome. Secondly, I in no way mean to imply any criticism of you,
your post, or your views, I merely wanted to point out that the indoctrination is ubiquitous, and therefore difficult to see clearly (does a fish know what water tastes like?).

The first thing I saw was the understatement of the number of uninsured, you said 43 million, official figures say between 45 and 47 million and when the homeless and illegal residents are added the number tops 50 million, in itself not a big error but this is how they nibble and fudge to skew the facts. The extra 6 - 10(?) million are a significant number especially when we consider that the corporatization of health care over the last 20+ years has diminished our delivery capacity to boost profits. Add this figure to the underinsured guesstimated to be in the neighborhood of another 20 million, and we're talking about 1/4 of our population that we have told to literally drop dead if they get sick.

The financial rules are enforced by government but are created by the oligarchy through campaign contributions (bribery) and lobbyists (bribery by proxy).

You stated that FDR paid for his new deal policies through increased taxation of the wealthy, while the majority of the bill was picked up through his confiscation of gold bullion held by working people and specifically excluded the gold held, primarily by the wealthy (rare coins and jewelry). It can be argued that this was a fair sharing of the burden, but to exclude the "contribution" of the working class gives the impression that the rich footed the whole bill. (BTW, this confiscation also served to eliminate the extra-governmental economy that the people created on their own to bypass the corrupt banking system that he left in place, thus ensuring that his class would remain in control of all monetary matters)

In the final section you lay the blame on the Republik party. Yet, in the early part of the war it was the Democratic Party that was the force for oligarchy and we have continued to enable and support it throughout our history. It is the ruling class that has instigated, and continues, this war not a political party. They change sides depending upon who has the power at the moment (corporate campaign contributions received by the Democratic Party have nearly doubled in the last year).

Again, this was overall an excellent piece and I'm glad so many have read it. You stated the case so clearly that the usual suspects have not even ventured into it.

Thanks again.


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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #107
108. Thank you greyhound
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bobbie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
98. GREAT thread
I tried to K&R it but it was too late.
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bobbie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
99. Really great write up Time for change
Everything you say is dead on.

I've long felt that McCarthy was all about destroying labor unions.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #99
104. Thank you bobbie -- regarding McCarthy
Certainly political opportunism was a large part of his motivation. I don't know what he personally thought about labor unions, or even if he had an opinion on them.

But certainly much of the right wing's war on socialism had to do with their hostility to labor unions. Many of them would never pass up an opportunity to try to make a connection between labor unions and Communism.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-07 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
109. Great post!
It's been a long hard battle mostly conducted by one side, the rich, and I hope that eventually this imbalance is beaten.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-12-07 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #109
112. unite
:hi:
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-12-07 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
113. While I agree that socialism isn't the "enemy" our government makes it out to be...
...we shouldn't be fooled into believing socialism would solve all of our problems. There isn't a form of government that has been implemented by humans that has gone uncorrupted by those who want power above all else, and we have no shortage of these people. Our problems would simply be different, though a change right about now, even lateral as it may be, sounds good to most.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-12-07 08:59 PM
Response to Original message
114. another good essay
and I almost missed it on page 2.

I need to put you on my buddy list, but right now the journal feature does not seem to be working anyway.

I take some issue early:
"Those tax cuts benefited perhaps 1 to 2% of our citizens, and yet Bush received close to 50% of the presidential vote."

First, the tax cuts were never sold honestly. Gore's valid criticism was called 'fuzzy math' and written off as partisan. Shill who claimed that it was fair and balanced were given loud megaphones and wrote columns and so on. Wealthy journalists like Ted Koppel pretended to be confused by the math. Not once did any member of the SCLM report the simple truth "Today Bush LIED about his tax cuts again". So twice, in 2001 and 2003, Bush got to use taxpayer's money to fly all around the country and give speeches, which were then quoted on local newscasts, telling lies, saying that his tax cut was mostly going to help the middle class and the unemployed.

Second, the tax cuts did benefit perhaps 80% of the citizenry. If you read my journal I wrote a couple LTTEs explaining this. My signature line is a quote from one. It is a contradiction. On the one hand 80% of the citizenry got some benefit from Republican tax cuts. On the other hand, 80% of the benefits went to the top 20%. Top 20%, not the top 1 or 2%. It was a nickel for me, and $5,000 for Dick Cheney. Voters were mesmerized by their nickel and dreamed of all the candy they could buy with it ("My name is Mikey. I've got a nickel. I've got a nickel, shiny and new. I'm gonna buy me, all kinds of candy. That's what I'm gonna do." - a song from the 1970s, if you remember it) Daschle tried to point that out - muffler for ordinary Joe, Lexus for Bill Gates. But the millionaire M$M (really a branch of the RWNM) gave more air time to people who claimed 'Democrats don't want you to have a nickel'.

There is a third problem. Rich people are more likely to vote, and to be eligible to vote, than poor people are. The top 20% of the economy comprises perhaps 35% of the electorate, and people with above-median income, who also got decent tax breaks, comprise probably 70% or more of the electorate.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-13-07 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #114
115. Sunday kick!
:kick:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-15-07 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #114
118. Thank you hfojvt
I couldn't agree more that the tax cuts were not sold honestly.

With regard to your statement that 80% of the citizenry got some benefit from the tax cuts, you use the phrase "It was a nickel for me..." Ok, take that nickel and then consider all the minuses, like the increases in state taxes and the decreases in numerous social programs, etc. Do you think that after all that there was anything left of that nickel?
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-13-07 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
116. a few disagreements about Haymarket and Debs
although alot of what I 'know' about it comes from fiction. The book "The American" by the Communist Howard Fast, tells the story of John Peter Altgeld, governor of Illinois, who posthumously pardoned all of the Haymarket 8.

"Just picture the scene, some six thousand striking members of two unions holding an outdoor mass meeting, and within sight of them, scabs leaving a plant. I saw what happened. The McCormick strikers began to move toward the plant. No one urged them; no one harangued them; they stopped listening and moved away toward the gates. Maybe they picked up some rocks; maybe they said things not nice to hear - but before they did anything, the plant police started to fire. My god, it was like a war! The strikers were unarmed, and the police stood like men on a range, pistols at arms length, rifles too, potting, potting away.

They say the plant called for reinforcements - that would take a little time, wouldn't it? But, withing minutes, a patrol wagon filled with police dashed up, and behind them, on the double, came a detail of 200 armed men.

Well, it was a kind of sight one would see in the old country, not here. The workers dropped like men on a battlefield. When they tried to stand fast, the police rushed them and clubbed them apart; when they broke up and ran, the police followed them from the rear. It wasn't nice to see; it wasn't kind; it was a brute thing that made you want to go away and vomit."

It was after that that August Spies, who was speaking at that meeting, rushed back to his printing office and wrote a paper with a headline that said "WORKING MEN TO ARMS! TO ARMS!" and called for the May 5th rally where the bomb was thrown. 8 anarchist leaders, the original Chicago 8 were arrested and sentenced to death. Only 7 of 8 faced the gallows because Louis Lingg was found in his cell with his head blown off by dynamite. It was called suicide, Fast hints that some people say he was murdered. The other 7 were Robert Parsons, August Spies, Michael Schwab, Sam Fielden, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, and Oscar Neebe.

The near killing blow to the labor movement and the socialist party though, was not so much a red-scare, the Russian Revolution not occuring until 1917, but it was US entry into WWI and the jingoism and repression of anti-war activists, many of whom were labor leaders and leftists, like Eugene Debs and Scott Nearing. Even Baptist minister and seminary professor Walter Rauschenbusch was villified and harrassed for his opposition to the war. It probably did not help that he was a German speaker and a social gospel author. Eugene Debs was sent to jail the final time, not for labor activities, but for speaking against the war. In 1920 he was in a Federal prison, but still ran for President. As Convict 9652, he got 913,693 votes, or 3.41% of those voting. It was the 3rd time he had run as the Socialist candidate. 1912 was the high point as he got 901,551 which was 5.99% of those voting. He got his highest percentages in states like Oklahoma and Idaho and Montana, where he got 16%, 11% and 13% of those voting. Aged and in poor health, he was pardoned by President Harding and died soon after.

With the suppression during the war and the prosperity of the 1920s, the labor movement was hit hard. Another problem was that Gompers and his AFL took the lead, and sold out IMO. No longer did the unions ask for more respect and seek to change the system. Under Gompers, they asked for primarily a bigger slice of the pie - more money and benefits. Thus union workers became an elite of the working class instead of lifting up all of the working class. Workers were divided and conquered.
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KYDEM Donating Member (213 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #116
117. kicked
n/t
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