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Sun Jul 26, 2015, 06:27 AM

Populists: support the Democratic Socialists of America!

Last edited Thu Aug 20, 2015, 11:26 AM - Edit history (4)

http://www.dsausa.org/

To my shame, I confess to knowing nothing about the Democratic Socialists of America until Bernie ran. The three most significant things of which I was ignorant were that:

1. The DSAUSA is a movement, not a political party.

2. The DSAUSA believes in working within the Democratic Party.

3. The DSASUA believes in working within capitalism.


Do I wish they had chosen a different name, rather than one that has people thinking of Tsars and Joe McCarthy? Yes, I confess to that, too. However, at bottom, this is a movement that wants to move the Democratic Party to the left, which is where I want to move it. This is a movement that believes that a society should take care of all its members, especially those who have the most trouble taking care of themselves, which is what I believe in. Why have I not been supporting it all along? Ignorance.

It has endorsed Bernie. I think the reasons for that are obvious and good. However, that is only one candidate in one election. If you want the Democratic Party to veer left more than it has, consider that that is what the DSAUSA wants as well.

In the recent past, my donations went to individuals, rather than to the DNC, the DSCC or the DCCC. More recently, however, I learned that a portion of the donations that I make to populist Democrats end up subsidizing less populist Democrats in Congress anyway. http://www.democraticunderground.com/12778505



Right now, my political donations and support will be going to Bernie. When Bernie is no longer a candidate, at least a good portion of my political donations and support just may go to the DSAUSA, where they will not end up subsidizing DINOs.

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Populists: support the Democratic Socialists of America! (Original post)
merrily Jul 2015 OP
rogerashton Jul 2015 #1
merrily Jul 2015 #2
rogerashton Jul 2015 #7
merrily Jul 2015 #8
rogerashton Jul 2015 #17
merrily Jul 2015 #18
rogerashton Jul 2015 #21
merrily Jul 2015 #22
rogerashton Jul 2015 #23
merrily Jul 2015 #24
daybranch Jul 2015 #13
merrily Jul 2015 #15
magical thyme Jul 2015 #3
merrily Jul 2015 #4
magical thyme Jul 2015 #5
merrily Jul 2015 #6
magical thyme Jul 2015 #9
merrily Jul 2015 #10
magical thyme Jul 2015 #11
merrily Jul 2015 #12
LiberalElite Jul 2015 #14
merrily Jul 2015 #20
daybranch Jul 2015 #16
merrily Jul 2015 #19
sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #25
Kath1 Jul 2015 #26
merrily Jul 2015 #27
sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #28
merrily Aug 2015 #29

Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 07:24 AM

1. I don't speak for DSUSA, but

working within capitalism.


Fabian or "revisionist" socialists throughout the 20th Century advocated working within capitalism to transform the system from capitalism to something that would no longer be capitalism -- "Capitalism, . . . will be changed . . . into an order of things which it will be merely a matter of taste and terminology to call Socialism or not," to quote Schumpeter. This was consistently the program of the Socialist Party of the United States before the 1960s. The European Social-Democratic Parties, largely under Marxist influence, in theory rejected both gradualism and Leninism, but their practice was gradualist until the late 20th century. Under the influence of the neoliberal "Washington Consensus" for free-market capitalism those parties pretty much abandoned any attempt to transform capitalism from within by the 1990's; "New Labor," for example.

To the extent that Bernie takes European social-democracy as his model, it is not clear that he envisions any fundamental transformation of the capitalist system into something else. He's old (as I am) and perhaps it is the social-democracy of the 1950's that he has in mind, rather than "New Labor." To transform the Democratic Party into a gradualist socialist labor party would indeed be a "political revolution."

All that said, if DSUSA makes sense for you, go for it.

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 07:53 AM

2. Thank you for that thoughtful post. Right now, the crushing of the middle class and the ignoring of

those who are no longer middle class needs to be countered.

Although the DSAUSA is a movement, not a political party, as you know, Germany has a Social Democratic Party as one of its two major political parties. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Democratic_Party_of_Germany I don't see Germany as a socialist country.

The presenting economic problem in the USA right now is not Marxism, but the one described earlier in this post. If we ever get anywhere near the Marxism bridge, let's worry about the billionaires then. Right now, I'm more worried about the thousandaires and the people who can't make it to hundredaires.

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Response to merrily (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:10 AM

7. Raising the floor -- I understand

That has been the program of European social-democratic parties in most of the 20th century and sometimes of the Democratic Party here. The "social safety net," public education, codetermination. This has been successful in many ways. It has created what we call the "middle class" -- Tom Picketty's phrase "patrimonial middle class" is more precise, since we mean working people and small businessmen who have enough wealth to retire on and assist the kids. That is a change from 19th century capitalism, and perhaps the key question is whether this "middle class" can survive or, better, grow to incorporate a larger, even a principle, proportion of the population.

Perhaps. But this is the 21st century, and I agree with Huey Long, Picketty, and, yes, Karl Marx in thinking that we will have to lower the ceiling. The reason is that great concentrations of wealth are also concentrations of power, and that concentration of power is destructive of democracy. We can talk about "getting the money out of politics," but Citizens United may be the lesser evil by comparison with the kind of oligarchy we see in Ukraine and the Russian Republic.

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #7)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:39 AM

8. You don't often raise the floor without lowering the ceiling. It's a matter of speed and degree.

Bernie and, I think, only Bernie--among the top 3 candidates anyway-- talks of wealth inequality as well as income inequality.

As to income inequality, in reality, you can dust off your palms after you raise the minimum wage to wherever you think it should be: Apart from government employees, the private sector determines income levels. Still, even the minimum wage moves money from someone to someone else. Perhaps from the wrong someones, in the case of struggling small businesses, though laws usually exempt the smallest businesses.

Addressing wealth inequality, however, is different.

I must state, however, that many owners of small businesses are not businessmen, but businesswomen. And I have a similar object to "patrimonial."

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Response to merrily (Reply #8)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:30 AM

17. We agree.

And I concede your points about inclusive language -- but in the case of "patrimonial," the reference is to family wealth. Can you suggest a better term? "Matrimonial" won't work, I think ....

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #17)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:57 AM

18. Patrimonial means wealth inherited from a father or other male family member.

Maybe matrimonial was original related to dower?

Our language reflected the way that our society functioned. In turn, language affects the way society functions. I wonder how many little girls aspired to be firemen or policemen? How many little boys aspired to be a schoolmarm? When the words changed, the gender mix in those professions changed, too.

The cycle has to be broken sometime. Inherited family wealth is gender neutral. Granted it's three words instead of one (as is law enforcement officer), but it's more accurate than "patrimonial" as well as more gender neutral. Women now control more than half the wealth in the US.

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Response to merrily (Reply #18)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:28 AM

21. More than three words!

"working class and small business proprietors in possession of sufficient family wealth to retire and pass something to the next generation" is, by my count, 21 words.

The noun "patrimony" is defined as wealth inherited from a male ancestor, in my dictionary, anyway. However, "matrimony" is "the state of being married." The Thesaurus lists several synonyms for "patrimony," all gender neutral, but none lends itself to a formation like "patrimonial." Perhaps we could innovate "gentrimony," from "gens," but I am not knowledgeable enough about Latin to be sure.

Anyway, it is Thomas Piketty's word, and I wanted my reference to his terminology to be clear.

There does seem to be a trade-off between gender-neutral language and clear writing, sometimes.

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #21)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 12:04 PM

22. Come on now.

I said replace "patrimonial wealth" with "inherited family wealth." I did not say replace an entire section of Picketty's book with the term "inherited family wealth."


It has created what we call the "middle class" -- Tom Picketty's phrase "patrimonial middle class" is more precise, since we mean working people and small businessmen who have enough wealth to retire on and assist the kids.


By your own words, "patrimonial middle class" was not a widely-used and recognized term, like "middle class" alone. Rather, "patrimonial middle class" was a totally arbitrary term coined by Picketty, which he (or you?) defined to mean "working people and small businessmen who have enough wealth to retire on and assist the kids."

His arbitrary neologism and the definition of it are both male-centered, which does not reflect the reality of modern society. If anyone is going to choose a term arbitrarily and then define it, choosing a term and a definition that are not sexist is not that hard.

And, wtf, don't any small business people work? Why distinguish "working people" from small business people? And where does someone with a medical or legal practice fall? Are they covered by "patrimonial middle class" or not?

Moreover, does the term he coined include people who have enough to pass down to the kids after retirement because they themselves inherited family money, though not necessarily big bucks? Does his term really mean only anyone who has enough money to pass down to the kids after a comfortable retirement, regardless of how they acquired it? You've given me no way to know that. If that is all it means, the definition is off the mark.

If I know the answers to the questions I asked above, I can probably come up with a less sexist term and maybe a clearer definition, too.


There does seem to be a trade-off between gender-neutral language and clear writing,


Disagree. As I said, women own more than half the wealth in the US. They also own lots of small businesses and hold down a lot of jobs. Sometimes they are the only earners or owners of wealth in the nuclear family. Why should a term like "patrimonial middle class," which evokes wealth earned by and belonging to men, be considered more clear than a term that is more inclusive of female earners and female owners of wealth?

And, as my questions above indicate, I am not sure the term that you borrowed from Picketty is all that clear to someone who has not read the book.

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Response to merrily (Reply #22)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 04:27 PM

23. This sort of "gotcha" quibbling

over words does not advance our cause or benefit anybody.

It certainly is a waste of my time -- and after we seemed to agree, now we are enemies. Congratulations on scoring more points than I did.

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 27, 2015, 01:50 AM

24. Enemies? That's a surprise. Thanks for letting me know, though.

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Response to merrily (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:14 AM

13. I happily claim to be a populist/progressive

and I believe representative democracy is sufficient to restrain the billionaires and Wall Street, Bankers, Corporations etc..
Of course I know that money builds power and becomes for many their primary driving force. I also know that those with larger amounts of money become elitist and want to control those around them in many ways that provide satiation and proof in their eyes at least that they and their rich class are superior. Throughout the history of mankind there have been battles waged between the very rich who have often taken almost everything for themselves by creating division and trampling the dignity of others of less fortune. We may talk of Marx as the start of this class warfare but it started long before Marx in this country. People in the Colonies before our revolution knew well this crushing by the rich, they called it "grinding the face of the poor". Today we keep hearing middle class as if we really are middle class, just a lie we tell ourselves as we proceed to get poorer and poorer. The rich at every turn are willing to take away our dignity, grinding our face again and again to suit their purposes.
I believe that progressive measures are sorely needed to restore what at times has been much closer to a representative democracy. I believe that the needs of our people must be paramount over the greed for money and power of the rich. As a progressive democrat who wants his party moved more to the left, I am very happy to know that we actually have greater consensus with the democratic socialists, the Greens, and socialists, the Black Lives Matter supporters etc.. I am also thrilled that we have begun to coalesce around agreed ideas and the knowledge of what we as a people believe based on polls.
A unified class movement is arising against the misdeeds and crimes of the rich. It did not start or will not end with Bernie who bravely and defiantly says the name. Yesterday I, a man of 67, happily went on a canvass for volunteers with young people in their early 20s to mid 30s. Yes they have enthusiasm but most importantly, we of great age differences can unite in a vision of service to ideals expressed by a democratic socialist but accepted as belief across most of our country's people. We were very successful in recruiting volunteers in a neighborhood where we had been much less successful in the past when we campaigned for Obama. Today's young people and many of the old see a change is needed and many of us rush to make that change because in every human is a need to feel they are doing the right thing for our people and the world. It is so clear that the rich must be stopped. We Progressives, Greens, Working Peoples Party, New Black Panthers, Socialists, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists, Democrats and those of you who call yourselves Independents etc. and etc., we must unite and win this fight. We all share a very similar vision. It is time to start making that vision with this common recognition. We must no longer let the rich divide people by supposed economic class or race.
Go Bernie!

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Response to daybranch (Reply #13)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:26 AM

15. Agree: People of all ages and of all kinds can and should unite for their shared vision.

And that shared vision is not right nor center right, as politicians have been telling us. http://www.democraticunderground.com/12777036


BTW, no one I know of suggests that we do away with the republic. Plutocracy is effectively what we have. though.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 07:59 AM

3. I want to thank the alerter for bringing your OP to my attention, so I could req it.

 



ALERTER'S COMMENTS

Promoting a third party, which is against the site's Terms of Service.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Sun Jul 26, 2015, 06:54 AM, and the Jury voted 0-7 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: DSAUSA is a MOVEMENT, not a party. Just like Moveon is a movement, not a party.
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: After a few min of research, DSUSA doesn't run their own candidates, but advocates for reforms they support. TOS violations are handled by the admins, not juries.
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: You didn't read this very carefully, did you?
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: The person clearly states the Democratic Socialists are a movement not a political party and that they believe in working within the Democratic party.
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: Unclean!
Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: No explanation given
Juror #7 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE
Explanation: Alerter should learn to read.


p.s. I'm juror #1

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 08:10 AM

4. Yet, the OP itself said that the DSAUSA is not a political party. In italics even.



Thanks, juror #1.

Also jurors 2 through 7.

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Response to merrily (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 08:14 AM

5. and juror #2 took the time to research and confirm that the OP was correct

 

and not just making stuff up

Juror #7 was a little more to the point.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 08:27 AM

6. In my mind, the burden of proof is on the alerter.

The link to the DSAUSA's website was right in the OP. All the alerter would have had to do was go to the website and give the jury the damning lanugage. Instead, the alerter didn't even bother to read the OP before alerting, such was the zeal. As a result, the alerter caused 7 people to waste their time in a truthful, factual OP.

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Response to merrily (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:40 AM

9. on the bright side, the alerter introduced 7 people to the DSAUSA

 

which group they may not otherwise have been familiar with.

edited to add that the alerter also helped ensured the thread go to the greatest page (I added req #5, now it's at 17), when it might otherwise have sunk on a Sunday morning.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #9)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:43 AM

10. So, in addition to thanking the 7 jurors, I should have thanked the alerter?

Maybe, but I think I'll pass.

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Response to merrily (Reply #10)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:50 AM

11. you don't have to do anything of the sort, nor did I suggest it.

 

Iirc, I already thanked the alerter for introducing me to the DSAUSA.



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Response to magical thyme (Reply #11)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:55 AM

12. You did indeed. No need for excessive repetition.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:17 AM

14. Bookmarked for later - thanks!

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Response to LiberalElite (Reply #14)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:14 AM

20. My pleasure!

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 10:29 AM

16. Calling out DINOs

means you believe the democratic party as the party of Franklin Roosevelt is not true to its core values. I personally believe the already bought and paid for infrastructure of the Democratic party will be very useful if we can shift the party further left where it becomes once again the party of the working man and not led by neo-liberals, some of who now falsely claim to be progressives.
So please give your money, and your efforts in the way you think most effective but keep your eyes open, the Democrats may become what you have always wanted them to be and worthy of support. Until that day, I send money to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Sherrod Brown, not DINOs but bold progressives. Yet I remain in the party pushing to the left and seeing that movement to the left every day. Many, many local democratic organizations are already there in their leadership and the change will filter up or there will be revolt within the party. We will call out and primary DINOs. We believe in People first and Democratic party second.

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Response to daybranch (Reply #16)

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 11:00 AM

19. Like you, the DSAUSA believes in working within the existing Democratic Party structure.

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Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon Jul 27, 2015, 02:39 AM

25. Interesting, don't much about them either, but if they work within

the Dem Party to get good Progressive Dems/Populists elected, that is excellent. The party needs to be dragged back from the Center Right.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 27, 2015, 02:45 AM

26. Very true.

"Center Right" is still Right. We need committed Left/Progressive voices.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 27, 2015, 02:58 AM

27. That seems to be their objective.

As I said, if it ever gets anywhere near looking as though potato farmers will topple the Washington monument, I can start worrying about the possibility that some in the DSAUSA have a hidden Marxist agenda. Until then, I will support this group, though not financially right now. While Bernie is running, "all my base belong to" his campaign.

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Response to merrily (Reply #27)

Mon Jul 27, 2015, 10:32 PM

28. Lol, 'all my base' belong to him too. But the idea of the Left infiltrating its own supposed

party appeals to me. The Third Way infiltratied it, pushed the Left out, so we need to sneak back in sadly.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #28)

Sun Aug 2, 2015, 08:34 AM

29. We were not pushed out, only pushed resolutely to the side. Third Wayers sure wanted our votes.

They still do. Bernie is getting mine, though. My vote, my efforts and my donations. Unlike Third Wayers, he needs all three.

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