HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Groups » Bernie Sanders (Group) » What the hell is an "...

Sun May 17, 2015, 08:53 AM

What the hell is an "avowed Democratic Socialist," anyway?

The minute you see "Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist," you can bet you are in for a slanted info and/or about to hear from someone who doesn't know what he or she is talking about. Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist. But, that doesn't sound as bad as "Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist," now does it?

What is the difference between a socialist and a Democratic Socialist? First, socialists believe in government or other collective ownership, whereas US Democratic Socialists believe not only in working within capitalism, but also in working within the Democratic Party. (The US Democratic Socialist Party existed only from 1898 to 1901. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Democratic_Party_of_America )

US Democratic Socialists are political activists, not a political party.


Who we are & what we do
Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. We are a political and activist organization, not a party; through campus and community-based chapters DSA members use a variety of tactics, from legislative to direct action, to fight for reforms that empower working people.


http://www.dsausa.org/

The DSA does not run its own candidates, but sees its strength as within the Democratic Party.


In electoral politics, DSA, like DSOC before it, was very strongly associated with Michael Harrington's position that "the left wing of realism is found today in the Democratic Party." In its early years DSA opposed Republican presidential candidates by giving critical support to Democratic Party nominees like Walter Mondale in 1984.[9] In 1988, DSA enthusiastically supported Jesse Jackson's second presidential campaign.[10] DSA's position on US electoral politics states that "democratic socialists reject an either–or approach to electoral coalition building, focused solely on [either] a new party or on realignment within the Democratic Party."[11]

During the 1990s, DSA gave the Clinton administration an overall rating of C-, "less than satisfactory."[12]

The DSA's leadership believes working within the Democratic Party is necessary because of the nature of the American political system, which rarely gives third parties a chance politically. That said, DSA is very critical of the corporate-funded Democratic Party leadership.[13] The organization believes that:
Original DSA Logo

"Much of progressive, independent political action will continue to occur in Democratic Party primaries in support of candidates who represent a broad progressive coalition. In such instances, democratic socialists will support coalitional campaigns based on labor, women, people of color and other potentially anti-corporate elements... Electoral tactics are only a means for democratic socialists; the building of a powerful anti-corporate coalition is the end..."[14]


Indeed, since becoming a member of Congress, Sanders has worked with, and been welcomed by, House and Senate Democrats.

In 1991, he became a member of the U.S. House and, that same year, co-founded the House Progressive Caucus and became its chair for eight years. He still caucuses with the House Progressive Caucus, as well as with the Senate Democratic Caucus. (The Senate has no Progressive Caucus.) While in the House, he indicated that he would like to run for the Senate, but only if and when Senator Jeffords chose to retire. (The late Senator Jeffords had begun as a Republican, changed to Independent and caucused with Senate Democrats.)

....and after Jeffords's announcement that he would not seek a fourth term, Sanders entered the race on April 21, 2005. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, endorsed Sanders: a critical move, as it meant that no Democrat running against Sanders could expect to receive financial help from the party. Sanders was also endorsed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Dean said in May 2005 that he considered Sanders an ally who "votes with the Democrats 98% of the time."[46] Then-Senator Barack Obama also campaigned for Sanders in Vermont. Sanders entered into an agreement with the Democratic Party, much as he had as a congressman, to be listed in their primary but to decline the nomination should he win, which he did.[47]

In the most expensive political campaign in Vermont's history,[48] Sanders defeated businessman Rich Tarrant by an approximately 2-to-1 margin. Many national media outlets projected Sanders the winner before any returns came in.

Sanders was reelected in 2012 with 71% of the vote.[49]

Tenure

Polling conducted in August 2011 by Public Policy Polling found that Sanders's approval rating was 67% and his disapproval rating 28%, making him then the third-most popular senator in the country.[50]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders

So, it seems that being a Democrat Socialist is not very radical, after all.

I am the first to admit that I don't know much about anything in this post, except for the Democratic Party--and I did not start learning much about that until relatively recently. So, I welcome corrections and other input.

62 replies, 6350 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 62 replies Author Time Post
Reply What the hell is an "avowed Democratic Socialist," anyway? (Original post)
merrily May 2015 OP
djean111 May 2015 #1
merrily May 2015 #3
cantbeserious May 2015 #4
merrily May 2015 #15
cantbeserious May 2015 #23
merrily May 2015 #24
cantbeserious May 2015 #26
merrily May 2015 #27
RoccoR5955 May 2015 #16
SusanCalvin May 2015 #32
Jackpine Radical May 2015 #38
LineLineLineLineReply !
SusanCalvin May 2015 #39
riqster Jun 2015 #53
Smarmie Doofus May 2015 #2
malthaussen May 2015 #5
merrily May 2015 #14
Joe Chi Minh May 2015 #22
fasttense May 2015 #17
Jackpine Radical May 2015 #40
malthaussen May 2015 #42
KingCharlemagne Jun 2015 #54
malthaussen Jun 2015 #55
kacekwl May 2015 #6
merrily May 2015 #9
rock May 2015 #7
merrily May 2015 #13
Cheese Sandwich May 2015 #8
merrily May 2015 #11
Cheese Sandwich May 2015 #18
merrily May 2015 #29
Cheese Sandwich May 2015 #45
merrily May 2015 #48
JDPriestly May 2015 #28
merrily May 2015 #30
JDPriestly May 2015 #35
merrily May 2015 #37
JDPriestly Aug 2015 #56
FairWinds May 2015 #10
merrily May 2015 #12
merrily May 2015 #31
Autumn May 2015 #19
merrily May 2015 #33
Dustlawyer May 2015 #20
merrily May 2015 #34
Thespian2 May 2015 #21
JDPriestly May 2015 #25
merrily May 2015 #36
jwirr May 2015 #41
merrily May 2015 #43
FairWinds May 2015 #44
merrily May 2015 #47
eridani May 2015 #46
merrily May 2015 #51
vive la commune May 2015 #49
merrily May 2015 #50
TBF May 2015 #52
stevenleser Aug 2015 #60
merrily Aug 2015 #57
walkthewalkorstfu Aug 2015 #58
merrily Aug 2015 #59
jessjgonz Nov 2015 #61
merrily Nov 2015 #62

Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:10 AM

1. Whenever I see that phrase, "Avowed Democratic Socialist" - I feel the rest of that dog whistle

 

is "but WE know what he REALLY is, right? He is a Commie Marxist Socialist!"

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:17 AM

3. Who believes in working within capitalism AND the Democratic Party.

Last edited Sun May 17, 2015, 11:06 AM - Edit history (1)

Odd that he was welcomed and embraced by the then head of the DNC and then head of the DSCC, but some DUers can't wrap their minds around his running for President as a Democrat. (Catch 22: If he had run as anything but a Democrat, he would have gotten the DU Nader treatment. So, the real bottom line is, "Don't anyone challenge Hillary from the left." Especially anyone whose populist positions have been consistent for over 40 years, while Hillary was busy promoting centrism at home and abroad.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #3)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:34 AM

4. Correct - HRC - Hope And Change Redux - America Never Seems To Learn

eom

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cantbeserious (Reply #4)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:12 AM

15. If you are implying that Bernie is insincere, may I remind you that this is a group for

those who wish to see Bernie win the primary and the general?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #15)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:48 AM

23. Implying Just The Opposite - Others Are Not Sincere

eom

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cantbeserious (Reply #23)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:05 AM

24. OK. In that case, post is consistent with supporting Bernie for President (and beyond).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #24)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:12 AM

26. Bernie Has My Full Support For Both The Primaries And The General Election

I have already contributed and will continue to do so.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cantbeserious (Reply #26)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:14 AM

27. Yep. Good for you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:17 AM

16. Bernie Ain't A Commie Marxist

 

If he was, he'd be calling for the end of capitalism.
Capitalism is killing the planet, so if he was against capitalism it wouldn't be a bad thing in my book!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:29 AM

32. Yep.

To quote (mangled - I can't find it in the books right now) from the _Tales of the City_ series, "Known stockbroker"? "Admitted banker"? "Avowed CEO?" You'll never hear words like that unless they are meant in a negative way.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SusanCalvin (Reply #32)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:47 AM

38. Jamie Dimon,

notorious bankster.

I kinda like this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #38)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:49 AM

39. !

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #38)

Sat Jun 6, 2015, 10:00 AM

53. A perfect description.

Crossed paths with him a few times. Felt better when encountering venomous reptiles.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:17 AM

2. Thanks. Lots clarified here. K and R. n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:38 AM

5. I've asked that myself

One answer is that "self-avowed Socialist" is a remark designed to disavow that the label is the responsibility of the pundit, that is "He calls him that himself, I'm not calling him that to insult him." Which is as may be, but it does presuppose that the Socialist label is somehow a denigration, which speaks volumes.

Bernie is no socialist, as others have mentioned. He most closely resembles what in Europe are called Social Democrats, but so far as I know, no one has asked him why he doesn't use that label. He's certainly no radical, except in the US anyone to the left of Ronald Reagan is called a radical (and it appears the only radicals are leftists, as you don't often hear about the "Radical Right.".

-- Mal

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malthaussen (Reply #5)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:11 AM

14. Yeah, but....

Even self-described sound better than "self-avowed." Besides, inasmuch as he has never denied it, but is proud of it, no harm can come from saying simply that he is a Democratic Socialist (which, again, is quite different from socialist). Even the most extreme conservatives don't call Harry Reid a self avowed Democrat (or call Bernie a self-avowed Independent).

I have to agree with djean. It's a dog whistle.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #14)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:41 AM

22. It's a good dog-whistle. Politic is the art of the possible.

I should think he's saying:

'Don't expect me to be Republican light. If I don't go down the full Socialist road, it's not because I allow myself to be brainwashed by the would-be demonizers of anyone to the left of Genghis Khan - or when Khan's in a more docile mood, Reagan. The idea that 'Socialist' is a dirty word is beyond laughable.... especially when you see the American alternative. But that's all we have to work with right now - the status quo. I just don't want the opposition to be soiling their pants to the detriment of my prospects - our prospects.

I could be wrong in that, in any case, but I doubt it. He knows better than to shout it from the roof-tops.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malthaussen (Reply #5)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:19 AM

17. Exactly right.

 

He resembles some of the socialists in Europe who work with in the capitalist system.

To my way of thinking a socialist who works within the frame work of capitalism is like an organic farmer who grows GMOs and uses round up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malthaussen (Reply #5)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:49 AM

40. Jeb Bush, avowed Republican…

I think the word "avowed" has come to carry a negative connotation all by itself, almost a marker that the following label is a pejorative.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #40)

Sun May 17, 2015, 12:06 PM

42. I see it that way myself...

... there's also a connotation that the "avower" is not telling the truth. But the excuse used to justify the word frequently resembles what I've said. I've even seen it on DU.

-- Mal

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malthaussen (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 6, 2015, 10:36 AM

54. The 'radical right' in this country would be the Freikorps that showed up at the

 

Cliven Bundy ranch to threaten federal officials and the various militia that manifest in states like Idaho and Wyoming. (Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols come to mind.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #54)

Sat Jun 6, 2015, 10:41 AM

55. Agreed, but they are never called that.

More likely they will be called "true patriots," which come to think of it, so were the Freikorps.

Somewhere the "Horst Wessel Lied" is playing.

-- Mal

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:39 AM

6. Maybe if we stoped looking at

labels and started looking at the person and positions this kind of nonsense would stop. I don't care if Bernie were a 3 legged raccoon I will support him because he in my opinion will support me and my country.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kacekwl (Reply #6)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:54 AM

9. AGREED! Labels are not a problem for me. I do think it's helpful to have info handy when

communicating with people, on or off DU, who may be hung up over Sanders' label, though.

I have a relative, a lifelong Democrat, like all but one of my extended family, who will celebrate her eightieth birthday on the Queen Mary this year. When I told her Bernie was running, she got so excited. Never asked which Party, what label, nutthin'.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:48 AM

7. I could rant about repiggies all day

But suffice it to say that their ideas are worthless and have no value to society. They resort to empty rhetoric and this is just one example. They use a simple concept: if you're a little bit liberal, you're all liberal; if you're a little bit socialistic, you're all socialistic. Such a rule avoids having to use your brain for something other than to keep your head filled out. Now an important point: not all socialistic ideas are bad. Some institutions deserve to be handled by the society at large, that is , these activities should be handled by society and not individuals or groups of individuals and not for profit. For example: government and schools; I would include health care in that class. Now that's what I call a Democratic Socialist or a Socialistic Democrat.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rock (Reply #7)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:06 AM

13. Thanks. From what I've seen on this board, Republicans are not the only ones who are

not good at distinguishing between a socialist and a Democratic Socialist.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:52 AM

8. Bernie might be a socialist at heart, he calls himself that,

 

but there's nothing too socialist in his policies.

It's all squarely in the mainstream of the progressive left movement.

In many ways FDR was more of socialist than Bernie, as far as the policies, because he started Social Security, unemployment insurance, and had the programs like the WPA, CCC, TVA, and all that stuff, and he proposed a 100% top tax rate, a maximum income.


Socialism as I understand it means democratic control of the means of production.

Progressives are saying break up the banks. Actual socialists want public control of the banks, or at a minimum to end capitalist banking and switch over to more democratic models like co-ops and credit unions.

As an actual socialist I'm happy to support Bernie but I don't see too much socialism in his policies.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cheese Sandwich (Reply #8)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:00 AM

11. I thought he calls himself a Democratic Socialist and an Independent.

IMO, FDR was very much a rich capitalist who did not want to see a US version of the Russian revolutions. Indeed, when running for President, JFK, whose dad had helped FDR set up the New Deal, described what FDR did as saving capitalism in America. But, I don't really want to get enmired in what FDR was or wasn't.


Socialism as I understand it means democratic control of the means of production.


Maybe, but Bernie is a Democratic Socialist, not a Socialist, and, as the OP says, Democratic Socialists believe in working within capitalism and, indeed, within the Democratic Party.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #11)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:19 AM

18. For me democratic socialism just means socialism with democracy

 

That's fine. I mean the words aren't really universally or consistently defined.

I go with this:

Democratic socialism is a political ideology advocating a democratic political system alongside a socialist economic system, involving a combination of political democracy with social ownership of the means of production. Sometimes used synonymously with "socialism", the adjective "democratic" is added to distinguish democratic socialism from Marxist-Leninist Communism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_socialism

But yet

However, "democratic socialism" is sometimes used as a synonym for social democracy, where "social democracy" refers to support for political democracy, regulation of the economy, and a welfare state.


Or like I said one time before, "Socialism": I don't care what people call Bernie so long as they know where he stands on the issues .


For me democratic socialism means working to create a peaceful transition to a different form of society where the economy is more democratic we have collective control of the major industries. At least. Like either government operated, or worker managed co-operatives.

The terms are used differently though. I'm happy to support Bernie even though he's a liberal progressive in my view because he is the best choice we have right now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cheese Sandwich (Reply #18)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:20 AM

29. "Political democracy, regulation of the economy and a welfare state" could easily have been used to

describe the US around, say, 1970. I don't think a "welfare" state means everyone is on the dole. I also think ownership of "the means of production" (for want of a better term) is key. As long as most things are privately owned and managed, we are talking capitalism. Then, it becomes a matter of how many social programs are injected into the capitalistic framework, as to whether we are a society run for the good of all or a society run strictly for the strongest and/or wealthiest.

Also, please see Reply 10.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #29)

Sun May 17, 2015, 03:49 PM

45. Yeah I don't disagree with anything you've said.

 

There are just different variations that can be called democratic socialism. It's not like one exact idea.

I like DSA too.

Here's an excerpt from the first thing on the DSA intro reading list: Toward Freedom: Democratic Socialist Theory and Practice
http://www.dsausa.org/toward_freedom

While the freedoms that exist under democratic capitalism are gains of popular struggle to be cherished, democratic socialists argue that the values of liberal democracy can only be fulfilled when the economy as well as the government is democratically controlled.

We cannot accept capitalism’s conception of economic relations as “free and private,” because contracts are not made among economic equals and because they give rise to social structures which undemocratically confer power upon some over others. Such relationships are undemocratic in that the citizens involved have not freely deliberated upon the structure of those institutions and how social roles should be distributed within them (e.g., the relationship between capital and labor in the workplace or men and women in child rearing). We do not imagine that all institutional relations would wither away under socialism, but we do believe that the basic contours of society must be democratically constructed by the free deliberation of its members.
...

While the exact details of a socialist economy are open to debate, it will most likely be a mixture of democratic planning of major investments (e.g., expenditure on infrastructure, investment in natural monopolies such as telecommunications, utilities, transport) and market exchange of consumer goods. Large, concentrated industries such as energy and steel would be publicly owned and managed by worker and consumer representatives. Many consumer-goods industries would be run as cooperatives. Workers would design the division of labor within their workplaces and thus overcome the authoritarianism of the traditional capitalist firm. Economic planning would set a guiding strategy by means of fiscal and monetary policy, with the daily coordination of supply and demand left to the market. But this market would be socialized by rendering it transparent. Enterprises would be obliged to divulge information about the design, production processes, price formation, wage conditions, and environmental consequences of the goods that they make. Publicly supported collectives—consumers’ unions—would analyze this data and propose norms to govern various aspects of these practices. Information about actual production processes and proposed norms would then be disseminated via universal, publicly supported communication networks such as the Internet. This would encourage dialogue between producers and consumers over what is socially needed.

Again, there is no final blueprint for socialism. But only under socialism will fully democratic debate over the use of society’s wealth be possible and the satisfaction of people’s basic needs assured. Productive activity will become not merely a way to acquire money, but a means to develop the whole creative potential of all working women and men.



That's democratic socialism. Good stuff.


Here is their intro reading list

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/dsausa/pages/440/attachments/original/1372712435/Introductory_Readings_on_Democratic_Socialist_Theory_and_Practice.pdf

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cheese Sandwich (Reply #45)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:47 PM

48. Thank you for that. I am glad I looked into this. It's been interesting.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #11)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:17 AM

28. I don't think of it as the government owning businesses but rather as a system in which

through their democracy, the voters elect representatives who run the government so as to regulate businesses, tax profits and incomes so as to establish a lot of good social programs like universal, affordable healthcare, support for scientific innovation and research, quality free education, quality childcare for pre-schoolers, apprenticeship programs, pensions, living care for the elderly, affordable housing, a solid banking system that is regulated, capitalist ownership of business but regulation of health and safety and a dedication to peace with other countries and people in the world.

That's what I think a lot of Europeans strive for in their government whether their government is left or right. Rare is the European who would agree with our Koch brothers or our libertarians. There are some, but they are not common.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JDPriestly (Reply #28)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:24 AM

30. When you say "it" in your subject line, does "it" refer to socialism, or to Democratic Socialism?

My OP seeks to, among other things, distinguish between those two.

I think socialism very much does depend on government or other collective form of ownership, whereas Democratic Socialism involves social programs within a system that involves predominantly private ownership.
10
(And, if I may indulge in the logical fallacy of appeal to authority, please see Reply 10 .)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #30)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:35 AM

35. democratic socialism. The European system. Especially in German, Austria and Scandinavia.

I have read and heard that when German tribes first invaded England, they lived in societies in which leaders were chosen by the people and there was little social hierarchy. It may be very traditional in those areas of Europe. I don't know. I have lived there. These are basically capitalist societies that believe in taking care of all people. I enjoyed living there. For one thing, people kept their environment relatively clean compared to our country. Maybe sharing a bit and respecting others makes them want to take care of things better and take more responsibility. Also, a lot of life was more sociable. Our apartment building in one location was very, very old. Instead of having our separate backyard, we shared a "Hof," a sort of garden in the center of the building with our apartments kind of circling it on all sides. We did not have as much privacy as we have with our small back yard, but it was great for raising children. My neighbors would watch my children as they played if I needed to go to my apartment for a moment. We had universal healthcare, great childcare that was free, free education (excellent). Hard work and talent were rewarded as they are here. The rich were less rich than they are here but there were still great differences between the very rich and the very poor. Good transportation. I could ride trains even into the mountains to some extent. Great freeways. Factories were privately owned as were stores and other businesses, but labor unions and labor laws were strong and taken for granted. The newspapers discussed the details of the national budget which was always a topic that was thoroughly argued.

It wasn't that different from the social system in the US, just generally better organized and more focused on the rights of the majority and less on the influence of the wealthy or influential few. Oddly enough, that is in countries that still have the remnant families of the feudal lords and nobility.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JDPriestly (Reply #35)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:39 AM

37. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #11)

Tue Aug 4, 2015, 09:58 PM

56. FDR was married, as we know, to Eleanor Roosevelt, the niece of Teddy

Roosevelt who ran as the candidate first of the Republicans and then as a "Progressive" who worked for reform.

There were more progressive, more liberal candidates than Teddy Roosevelt, but they could not have won the backing that Teddy won. One of the reasons Teddy won such strong trust from the American people was his military record of defeating the Spanish in the Philippines and in Cuba.

I suggest that you read The Bully Pulpit by I think Doris Kearns Goodwin and The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt chronicles how his character and moral background (the influence of his father and his father's ideas about educating Teddy) caused him, although born into wealth and influence, to become a progressive leader for his time. There were far more progressive politicians in America at the time, but Teddy Roosevelt had the ability to unite people of disparate political parties and leanings behind social, political and economic change. He did not do it alone but successfully fought a lot of corruption and helped working people achieve some basic improvements in their lives.

He set a foundation for progressive change in our country but there is still a lot to do.

FDR was perhaps influenced by and close to his wife's uncle.

An interesting family, I must say.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:56 AM

10. Well, Ahem, I happen to be a founding member (1982) of the . .

 

Democratic Socialists of America. We have an informative web site.

You are generally correct in your description.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FairWinds (Reply #10)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:04 AM

12. Thank you for your input! I believe my OP links, and quotes from, that website?

It's a nice one, as well as being informative.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FairWinds (Reply #10)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:29 AM

31. P.S. Congratulations on having been a founding member. That must have been so exciting.

As a member of this group, I'd love for you to post more about that sometime, if you are willing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:22 AM

19. I always thought I was a Democrat. Now I know I am a Democratic Socialist

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Autumn (Reply #19)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:31 AM

33. Surprise!

A lot of my OP surprised me. For one thing, I thought it was a separate political party.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:31 AM

20. K&R! Thanks, learned a lot from this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #20)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:32 AM

34. Me, too! And you're more than welcome.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 10:38 AM

21. K & R !!!

Labels are meant to characterize a person...none fit precisely into a label, unless it is someone like Scott Walker who is completely defined by his Koch-sucker label...

Bernie is a very intelligent man who works long and hard for 99% of the people...his naysayers have no clue what "socialism" is...parts of the American system meet the definition of socialist program, but most do not know that...or care...

Low-information people do not wish to be confronted by facts...


Go, Bernie, Go

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:09 AM

25. When I see the words, "democratic socialist," I think Germany and Austria and generally

Europe where the countries are robust capitalist economies with a lot of social programs that are generally desired, democratically supported and very beneficial for the people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JDPriestly (Reply #25)

Sun May 17, 2015, 11:35 AM

36. "Liberal" also has a somewhat different connotation in Europe than it does in the US.

With globalization and the "world wide web," those differences will disappear eventually. Meanwhile, Scandinavian countries rate pretty high in many good things, like happiness, good places to be a working mom, etc. Now, it's a matter of educating voters and potential voters.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Reply #36)

Sun May 17, 2015, 12:01 PM

41. Thank you Merrily. Very informative.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jwirr (Reply #41)

Sun May 17, 2015, 12:09 PM

43. You're most welcome. My pleasure. I learned from putting it together.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 03:37 PM

44. More info on US Democratic Socialists

 

One of the debates they have had over the years is whether or not
to be a part of the democratic party - similar to the debates the
Greens and Nader supporters have.

A dem socialist wag once justified being a part of the Dems by saying, "We should treat
the Democratic Party with the same contempt as everyone else."

Sort of a joke, but look at the harm the 3rd way, Koch's & DLC have done to
the Dem Party. They obviously have contempt for it.

Bernie is actually sort of a middle-of-the-road FDR New Dealer, and very much
a part of that tradition.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FairWinds (Reply #44)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:26 PM

47. Thank you. It's very true that

centrists consider moderate Democrats to be the far left.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:14 PM

46. The traditional definition of socialism is public ownership of all means of production

This is not Sanders, obviously These days, people ranting about socialism are doing nothing more and nothing less than attacking all public goods--except for those which benefit only red states. Bernie is defending public goods. "Nuff said.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to eridani (Reply #46)

Mon May 18, 2015, 04:08 AM

51. Thank you. A lot has been devoted for many years to make

us knee jerk reflexively whenever we hear Socialism in any context.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Mon May 18, 2015, 03:55 AM

49. The definition of democratic socialism

is problematic, because people use it to refer to more than one thing. Even political scientists disagree about the term. It can mean socialism brought about by electoral (democratic) means instead of revolution (think Salvador Allende), or it can mean an approach to socialism that rejects authoritarianism. It can include phasing in socialism through gradual reforms, or through a radical program. Most people who call themselves socialists of all different types will tell you they believe in some form of democracy, so the term “democratic socialist” can sometimes be politically loaded.

What you are specifically talking about (capitalism plus social programs) is more precisely referred to as social democracy. That's where the distinction should be made—between socialism and social democracy, not between socialism and democratic socialism. People do frequently use the terms democratic socialist and social democrat interchangeably, but this isn't really correct, though they do overlap and there is a historical relationship between the two. The major problem with the definition of democratic socialism is that depending on usage, it straddles the fault line on the left between anticapitalism and capitalism. Some things that people call “democratic socialism” fall on the anticapitalist side, and other things, on the capitalist side, with a big, broad fuzzy line of gradual reformism in the middle. If you try to confine the meaning of democratic socialism to social democracy only, to mean a system that accepts capitalism or a “mixed” economy, you are excluding radical anticapitalists like Eugene Debs. Which isn't really right.

Some quick history--most socialist parties in Europe were established in order to bring about socialism (social ownership of the means of production) through gradual reforms, but they ended up for the most part just compromising with capitalism. Modern social democracy grew out of socialism, or at least out of an idea of a commitment to socialism in the past. I really suggest looking up socialism, democratic socialism, and social democracy on Wikipedia to get some historical background on the subject.

Also, I just want to mention that DSA isn't the only organization in the U.S. that considers themselves in the democratic socialist tradition. For example, there is also the Socialist Party USA, and they are a third party. They don't work within the Democratic Party. Also, they are anticapitalist.

Bernie Sanders refers to himself as a democratic socialist. Is he? Well, he admires Eugene Debs, a staunchly anticapitalist and revolutionary democratic socialist who was one of the founders of the IWW. I think that's probably where his heart lies. I'm sure he'd love to be Eugene Debs. But he also admires Nordic model social democracy, and sees that as a direction he'd like this country to take. Is his platform socialist? Well, he does advocate supporting worker-owned cooperatives, which could be considered a nod in a socialist direction. But he's not, for example, advocating bringing the banks and major corporations into public ownership. Would he like to? Maybe, I don't know. Even if he did, it wouldn't be politically feasible because I don't think most people in the U.S. want that, at least not now. He's running on a practical progressive program to get big money out of politics and to try to prevent the gutting of the social programs that were won by so much struggle and bloodshed by the working class. I think he's very concerned about the state of the nation and our world, and wants to try to wrest some control back from the oligarchy who are destroying us.

You know what? I would just let Bernie be Bernie and let him define himself the way he wants to, and to explain where he's coming from, rather than putting so much energy into trying to define democratic socialism. He is going to get red-baited anyway, and fiercely. He does an excellent job of staying on topic and letting people know where he stands. If I were to try to explain to others what he is and where he comes from if the whole socialism conversation comes up, I'd keep it simple and say “Yes, he does consider himself a democratic socialist. As far as his platform goes, what he wants to do is kind of like FDR's New Deal", and then explain his 12-point program. People will either accept him or they won't.

His platform may be social democratic rather than fully socialist, but I think it does Mr. Sanders a disservice to try to insist that he has nothing to do with the socialist tradition whatsoever, because that's not true, and I think he'd tell people so himself. He has a deep respect for socialism and it's history and tradition, and I'm pretty sure he sees himself as a part of that history and tradition. Personally, when he insists to the media that he is a democratic socialist, I hear him saying "I'm not an authoritarian, stop blowing the Stalinist dog whistle already" rather than "I'm not at all a socialist, socialists are totally different than democratic socialists. I really love the heck out of capitalism and I just want to add a little universal healthcare to the mix". See what I'm saying? I hope this makes sense.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to vive la commune (Reply #49)

Mon May 18, 2015, 04:02 AM

50. Bernie calls himself a Democratic Socialist, not a Social Democrat, and an Independent.

That is why my OP took the approach it did.

I'd keep it simple and say “Yes, he does consider himself a democratic socialist. As far as his platform goes, what he wants to do is kind of like FDR's New Deal", and then explain his 12-point program.


Very good advice. Before I was able to come that, though, I needed some basic info about Democratic Socialism. It didn't take very much energy.

Thank you for a very informative post.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to vive la commune (Reply #49)

Mon May 18, 2015, 08:08 AM

52. ^ Good analysis.

I see Bernie as an FDR-dem in terms of his voting history and what he is likely to do in the future. He's not a revolutionary socialist, which should set minds at ease. I also don't think he loves capitalism, and will do what he can to reign it in and rebuild social nets.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to vive la commune (Reply #49)

Mon Aug 24, 2015, 11:54 AM

60. Agreed and some amplifications.

 

The folks insisting that Democratic Socialism is more like Social Democracy and that Sanders' use of the term really means more like Social Democracy and within the bounds of the Democratic party are forgetting one important thing.

Sanders for his entire political life has insisted that he is not a Democrat and does not want to identify with Democrats because they are not left enough.

That is a big problem for those who are claiming that Sanders is of the more mild Social Democrat stripe as defined in some passages of the DSA belief system (and by the way, other passages of the DSA belief system make it clear they are Socialists and believe that is the economic system we should have).

I think that argument also assumes that Sanders doesnt know the difference between Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism which at its heart is whether one believes that A. Capitalism is the right economic system assuming the right patches (Safety net and regulations primarily) or B. Capitalism is a fatally flawed system that can never be made right and so the country should be moved away from it at whatever speed the Democratic system can tolerate.

I believe that Sanders believes in B. as do most Democratic Socialists while Social Democrats believe A.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Wed Aug 12, 2015, 05:51 PM

57. Bernie Sanders tells us what it means to be a Democratic Socialist.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Wed Aug 12, 2015, 06:24 PM

58. Currently I am a registered democrat for over 25 year but when people ask me I tell them I am a

 

Democratic Socialist.

No shame in being one.

Never allow others to define who you are.

a·vowed

əˈvoud/

adjective

that has been asserted, admitted, or stated publicly.
"an avowed atheist"

oh yea I am one of them too!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to walkthewalkorstfu (Reply #58)

Wed Aug 12, 2015, 06:37 PM

59. LOL! Thank you. The New Deal and the Great Society are great examples of Democratic Socialism.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to merrily (Original post)

Thu Nov 12, 2015, 10:10 PM

61. Bernie needs to have a "What is Democratic Socialism" section on his website and needs to educate...

If Bernie gets past the primaries and is the democratic nominee, he will be attacked and inundated with multiple smear campaigns aimed to scare the American voter away using his "Democratic Socialist" title. This will put Sanders on the defensive and detract from his message. In my opinion, he needs to openly discuss and educate the American audience on what exactly it means to be a "Democratic Socialist" and how he differentiates this from a "Socialist", a "Capitalist", a "Communist" and a "Fascist"..etc. In addition to that, he needs to articulate this in a relatable manner and point out the benefits of such ideology.

I've been building websites for very large and small businesses for years now and have also been a content strategist on top of that. I use audience research to guide and inform my website content decisions. That being said, I strongly feel that Bernie should be proactive and create a dedicated section within his website to explain these things. He needs to get ahead of this BOFORE the right-wing machine does. If not, I truly fear that this will be more than a slippery slope for him and his campaign. One of the main reasons the corporate media isn't covering Bernie is that they don't take him seriously because they feel that a "Socialist" has no chance to be POTUS whatsoever.

Go ahead, and search his website, I challenge you to find any instance of "Socialism" or "Socialist"...

Thoughts?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jessjgonz (Reply #61)

Thu Nov 12, 2015, 10:28 PM

62. Have you considered contacting his campaign about this?

With your skills and experience, they'd be a lot likelier to listen to you than to me. If you wish to do that, send a private message to Omaha Steve. I believe he has some contact info. Or, you could just use snail mail, I suppose?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread