Snippets from William Blum here
Consider the darlings du jour of the American Left, Senators
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. They very seldom speak out
critically about US foreign policy or even the military budget. The
anti-war/anti-imperialist segment of the American left need to put
proper pressure on the two senators.
Mr. Sanders should also be asked why he routinely refers to himself
as a “democratic socialist”. Why not just “socialist”? It’s likely a
legacy of the Cold War. I think that he and other political figures who
use the term are, consciously or unconsciously, trying to disassociate
themselves from communism, the Soviet Union, Marxism, etc., all those
things that are not good for you. (The word “socialist” once connoted
furtive men with European accents, sinister facial hair, and bombs.)
It would be delightful to hear Sanders openly declare that he is
simply a “socialist”. Socialism can be democratic; indeed, a lot more
so than capitalism, particularly concerning the distribution of wealth
and all the ramifications of that.
Presented here are some relevant
thoughts on these issues, from myself and others:
It’s only the socialists who maintain as a bedrock principle: People
before Profit, which can serve as a very concise definition of
socialism, an ideology anathema to the Right and libertarians, who
fervently believe, against all evidence, in the rationality of a free
market. I personally favor the idea of a centralized, planned economy.
(Oh my God, a damn Commie!) Modern society is much too complex and
technical to leave its operation in the hands of libertarians,
communitarians, or anarchists seeking to return to a “community” or
“Washington has always regarded democratic socialism as a greater
challenge than totalitarian Communism, which was easy to vilify and made
for a handy enemy. In the 1960s and ’70s, the favored tactic for
dealing with the inconvenient popularity of economic nationalism and
democratic socialism was to try to equate them with Stalinism,
deliberately blurring the clear differences between the world views.” – Naomi Klein
Without a proclaimed socialist vision, radical change becomes too
many different things for too many different individuals and groups.
“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must
be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s
children.” – Martin Luther King
The United States is so fearful of the word “socialism” that it changed the “social sciences” to the “behavioral sciences”.
If for no other reason than to save the environment, the world needs
to abandon the capitalist system. Every day, in every spot on earth, in
a multitude of ways, corporations are faced with a choice: to optimize
profits or to do what’s best for the planet.
The great majority of people in any society work for a salary. They
don’t need to be motivated by the profit motive. It’s not in anyone’s
genes. Virtually everybody, if given the choice, would prefer to work
at jobs where the main motivations are to help others, improve the
quality of life of society, and provide themselves with meaningful and
satisfying work. It’s not natural to be primarily motivated by trying
to win or steal “customers” from other people, no holds barred, survival
of the fittest or the least honest.
And what about this thing called “democracy”, or “majority rule”?
Many millions marched against the invasion of Iraq before it began. I
don’t know of a single soul who marched in favor of it, although I’m
sure there must have been someone somewhere. That lucky soul was the
one they listened to.