Social Democracy Is Not “Democratic” Socialism- Cutting through Bernie’s Confusion.

Social Democracy should not be slandered by comparison with "Democratic" Socialism.
Social democracy and Democratic Socialism are not at all, in any way, the same.
This is coming up more and more every day. Everyone in America, it seems, is completely confused about this, including me. I had to do all types of reading, just to start to figure out what these people are even talking about. I went ahead and did it, though, and from what I could glean from it, all these many headaches later, this looks like the place to start. These are two terms that sound a lot alike but are in fact completely different.
But what is the difference precisely? Is it really such a big deal what you call it? Does it really matter? That’s another easy one. Yes, and we can put the reason why into three short words, as a matter of fact.
The free market.

Where there is no free market, there is no freedom.

When we talk about socialism, we’re talking about a system of governance that has a fully state-planned economy. That means, in regular English, that the government won’t let the people engage in free trade, because of their insistence on imposing uniform equality of misery. They jealously hoard all power to one centralized hub, and from there the inevitable tendency is toward totalitarianism.
Wherever you find a free market, you find a place that socialism has not consumed. Under socialism, incompetent state bureaucrats are the ones investing national capital, and they always run it into the ground because they don’t know what they’re doing.
As a wise man I know once said, “All experiments in Socialism have failed and reverted into fascist dictatorship.”
The Personification of Bureaucracy.
The Personification of Bureaucracy.
He’s absolutely right, of course, and the people promoting this stuff know it as well as we do. They just don’t care. They want to blend the lines of truth as much as possible until things get to the point where the American people hear the word “social” and run.
The word socialism has always been divisive in America, and that has gotten worse instead of better as the idea has taken on more and more adherents. In recent months and years, this has done much to poison the waters for any change that would bring actual progressive ideas to the forefront for a serious American attempt to integrate into our system more of the changes we want.
But what about “Democratic” socialism? What’s the difference? The answer remains vague, and no matter how much Ocasio-Cortez may wish things to be otherwise, a wish list like the Green New Deal does not a political theory make. That means, in the parlance of us laymen, “democratic” is not a qualifier. It has no precise meaning and if it’s deleted from the sentence you’ll be left with the exact same thing.
Even the organization known as the Democratic Socialists of America itself will admit this.
“Most democratic socialists use the terms interchangeably”, said Joseph Schwartz, vice-chair of the D.S.A. “When Bernie is asked, ‘Are you a socialist?’ he doesn’t deny it, and he immediately talks about Scandinavia. He uses them interchangeably,” Schwartz said.
Getting back on track, what makes the social democracies so great are two basic but enormous factors. They have both a good social safety net and a free market. It keeps their economies above water and restrains any would-be dictators. On the other hand, take for an example the only place in the world that calls itself Democratic Socialist, Venezuela. That experiment has been a colossal failure.
To clarify even further, Democratic Socialism is socialism. Leftist media, unfortunately including some good papers, equivocate on this, but the facts show differently. The eight types of socialism are not interchangeable, and the reasons why are worth looking at; it’s just that we don’t have eighty years in which to do it for this particular piece.
For practical purposes, we can define a socialist country as being one with a fully state-planned economy. Social democracies don’t take things to that extreme and are not trying to. Although the two terms may sound alike, they are really different animals altogether, because of the free market.
The idea behind it is to temper liberal democracy, meaning in this context a system in which capitalism is not properly restrained, of its harshness with a social safety net, to keep citizens fed and alive with proper health care among many other things. The best minds of the left came together more than a hundred years ago and began to hammer out these ideas, ideas that guarantee all of us in the Western world the basic right to get help to stay alive.
We have some highly effective models to borrow from in the Social Democratic systems of other countries, like the vaunted Baltic states such as Norway or Sweden, whom Bernie rightly extolls for their excellence. We agree with him on all of that, or rather, he agrees with us, who he pillaged it from. It’s just that he then decided to muddy the waters to the benefit of no one but the right by adding the word “Democratic” to socialism.

“Democratic” Socialist systems, like the imaginary ones, dreamed up by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, do not advocate the use of a free market. Real socialists will openly state who they are and what they believe in. They know it benefits no one to play make-believe about Sweden or Norway being examples of working socialism. 

They are not.
They are just as “capitalist” as America.
Sweden is NOT a socialist country!
Sweden is NOT a socialist country!
The prime minister of Denmark was annoyed by this claim of the Bern’s enough to weigh in specifically, saying that Bernie doesn’t understand what socialism means in the context of their system, but that did not even slow down the grumpy old socialist. He has done his best to confuse this issue more with each and every single passing day. This is bad for absolutely everyone.
Jacobin Magazine, the one serious socialist publication around, used a similar title for their piece as I’ll be using in this one, and makes the same point about the Nordic countries not being socialism.
Many others will weigh in to make this point by the time 2020 rolls around because right now Donald Trump is getting so much mileage off of slandering the latter using the former’s out-there wackiness. He used his State of the Union Address this year to transition into his new narrative as to why he deserves to keep being the president, that being to keep the country free from socialism. The socialists are ruining all our good ideas and making it very difficult to sell them to a public who is rightly-and generationally- wary.
After all this talk, one thing is true and has been true. Socialists and Democrats both agree that in order to keep our rights intact, the most vigorous political action has been and will continue to be necessary.
That will not be possible if the Democratic Party ends up getting hijacked by the radical left. We are the sole protection around for the people of America and the system that allows our fair nation to thrive.
But American socialists like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez see the Democratic Party as being little more than a hermit crab shell they wish to occupy. They believe that America is broken and that it should be discarded. Our system is getting in the way of their brave new world, and so they want to run out in the streets and smash it up and light the night on fire with it.
Left-wing radicals setting fire to the campus.
Left-wing radicals setting fire to the campus.
They scoff at America as being outmoded and “capitalist”- as if the Nordic countries were not also capitalist. What “Capitalism” means in the context of a political system varies from one place to the next in its proportions, but one thing is always the same.
Again- The free market!
People think of capitalism as being a system of government, but all it really is is a power source. Even a purely socialist country is still going to trade. The Soviets did. Every person on Earth is engaged in the process of trade, even the few hunter-gatherers who are left around trade with each other, such as the Khoi Khoi people of Botswana.
The nomadic Khoi Khoi people, engaging in hunter-gatherer intergroup trade practices.
The nomadic Khoi Khoi people, engaging in hunter-gatherer intergroup trade practices.
The difference is that a communist/socialist (students of political science will be taught to use the term interchangeably by comparative political scientists) system will only allow financial business to be done through an official state apparatus. Those who run it are not well-qualified to do so. They’re utopian dreamers, not developers. This is why five million of the Soviet Union’s people died of starvation during Lenin’s first Five-Year Plan.
Ever since the Soviet Union fell, people have gradually forgotten about all the old anti-democracy qualifiers like “popular,” “guided,” “bourgeois,” and “formal” to modify “democracy”, although it’s true they’re rolling them back out. Their new trick was to come up with a way to use democracy itself as a qualifier, e.g. Power to the People plus socialism.
It’s an untrue slander.
Socialism and democracy are irreconcilably opposed because the former is not based on principles that are consistent with human nature and does not tend to satisfy the needs of citizens for happiness, a coefficient now measured by political scientists using something called the World Happiness Index- pretty cool idea! Deserving of an honorable mention.
At any rate, every time someone has tried to force socialism down the throat of a free society, they have caused a child-eating revolution followed by a dictatorship. Don’t even bother with the good old H.I. in Venezuela. Just turn on the news.
“Can we ignore the fact that none (socialist parties) has been successful in terms of its own dreams and designs, that not one has brought to realization the very purpose of its foundation?” Adam Przeworski, Capitalism and Social Democracy. (104)
Call me a skeptic, but it is very hard to believe that an organization calling themselves the “Democratic” Socialists of America can be unaware of all this. It’s much more likely they are lying on purpose and misrepresenting completely the ideas and concepts they are claiming to represent.
One thing, at least, has become very clear. These people should not be underestimated. They do not know what they’re doing, but they are rabidly serious about doing it. It has become necessary on every level to take a thorough look at these ideas and examine their doctrines fully. If we cannot show the people why the socialists are wrong, they’re going to beat us.
The first thing to understand, in my view, is that the people who codified socialism, especially the greatest of all socialists, Karl Johann Kautsky, did not believe that social democracy would ever bring about socialism, which was envisioned as a good option for people who are living in a society that has collapsed totally and utterly. Marx himself envisioned it as more, but it wasn’t Marx who created Marxism. It was Kautsky, and he was very clear on this point. Socialism is a post-disaster plan for any democracy that has collapsed. That’s all it is.
Until then, argued Kautsky, the workers will serve their own interest best by cooperating with the capitalists of their countries and fighting within their own systems for democratic reforms. His ideas for how to do this were developed into a system, and that system became what in Europe is called Social Democracy.
In America, we just call it democracy. As for fighting for the rights of the workers, and everybody else, that is what the Democratic Party does here in America. Therefore, if you really care about the people, if the so-called “masses” are really more to you than a shapeless concept to invoke for political clout, you had better stick with the Democrats and care about keeping our party healthy.
By now it should be clear that real socialists, which is to say social democrats, and we American Democrats, are mostly in agreement about what we feel is best for society, and also in the methods that we want to use to get things done. There’s no bad blood here!
This is what the nuts will not look at. They’re still mad that Bernie lost, and so they’re still mad at the Democrats who fight for them so hard. So they call themselves “Democratic” Socialists to sling feces at the whole shebang. Little do they appear to know, that in so doing, they are undermining their entire value system.
This whole disastrous confusion in terms was the work of Bernie Sanders, who did it on purpose to cloud the issue and to deliberately befoul the Democrats and their values. His Bots still repeat these same talking points, well- Robotically! That guy and his pack of shrieking brats are the most obvious example of controlled opposition there ever was.
 The key thing to keep in mind here, and what the point is, is why the divide on the left the Bernie Bots all caused was manufactured. At whose behest? To whose benefit, are these foreign actors ripping up our country? The Conservative Political Action Conference was dedicated to fighting the spread of socialism this year, but actually, they’ve been encouraging them all along.
The far left and the alt-right operated hand in hand together in 2016. Three top strategists in the anti-Clinton effort, two in Trump’s team (Paul Manafort and Rick Gates) and one in Bernie’s (Tad Devine), had been doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding fixing elections for over a decade. Bernie’s bromance with Trump is still going on all the while too. It’s like a threesome. “I like Bernie,” Trump said, with a huge and genuine smile.
You bet he does.
The thought of Bernie actually being his opponent makes Trump drool, as it does the rest of the right. Likewise Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They desire nothing so much as to paint those two as the face of the Democratic Party. But why would that be the case, if they were genuinely interested in fighting socialism? Don’t they realize that if that happened, they’d be staring down the barrel of civil war?
It doesn’t make any sense until you come across the historical truth that the right has never considered communism and the far left to be the true enemy.
They consider liberals the enemy.
That is why they are supporting the socialists, and why they will continue. It’s why Bernie Sanders suspiciously benefits from so many things the Koch brothers do, such as the study they did last year suggesting we could afford his health care plan- which costs $9 trillion dollars more than the total worth of America! It is very convenient for them to have Bernie’s crazy plans for something to point at and say “See? We told you they were crazy!”
This is not new, either. This is why Wall Street financiers paid so much money to help along the Bolshevik Revolution.
Here’s another thing from this guy Przeworski I’ve been reading, my PoliSci professor recommended him. Wherever Communism (socialism) has been an option for the people, social democracy has failed.
That is to say, wherever the rich right has paid for a cliff the far left can run off of, they will usually do so, goaded to one extremity after the next by their more fanatical comrades. That is what they are setting up for.
The free market cannot, by necessity, exist wherever socialism is. The indispensable condition for socialism is the free market's demise.
The free market cannot, by necessity, exist wherever socialism is. The indispensable condition for socialism is the free market’s demise.
By now, it should be clear that this line of thinking is far more serious than the scoffers or the usual conspiracy theory (a term invented by the CIA to discredit their opponents) suspects would have us believe or suggest with their personal silliness. The socialists are insane, but the right is absolutely murderous. Those people will stop at nothing to beat us and keep power safely out of our hands because they know they can beat the socialists with the greatest and most ultimate ease. After that they can set up fascism in earnest- and fascism is itself a type of socialism. It fits together almost too well.
We all know how disingenuous and ruthless Trump and the rest of the fascist right can be; just this morning, we found out Trump was attempting to use his state power to interfere with the mergers of two private companies, AT&T and Time-Warner. Why? Because that means good things for CNN, and bad things for Rupert Murdoch of Fox News.
In addition to being a good example of how flagrantly Trump is willing to misuse his power, this incident is also a good example of what working socialism looks like. Far from getting rid of rich and poor, it merely sets up a new elite, based on party loyalty (complete with punishments reserved for those who do not enthusiastically demonstrate it, like Trump is doing to the merger for Murdoch), cronyism, and bureaucratic efficiency. Here, what Trump is doing is completely unacceptable. In a place like Russia, however, it’s just the way things are, and in the days of the Soviet Union it was official and lauded as just.
Angry socialist gathers his forces for battle on his own Party.
Angry socialist gathers his forces for battle on his own Party.

This is not what we want for America.

The difference between social democracy and Democratic Socialism is far more than merely semantical. One is an example of a working, logical, and perfectly viable way to administer the affairs of a given state. The second is a catch phrase aimed at a slander. The public needs to know, and as usual, the task of raising awareness falls to us.
As American hero G.I. Joe used to say to us Millennial Democrats when we were kids, “Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.”
It really is.
It really is.
God bless our dear good country.
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How the GOP Grew Gangrenous- Jim Crow, Anarchy, and Immigration,Pt.3

It is a well-known fact that economic recessions give the forces of radicalism a shot in the arm. We have seen that as recently as 2016, as evinced by the popularity of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. This is what made it so easy for Trump to knock aside and disregard the rank-and-file Republicans that have made our life a hell all these years.

We have also seen that the far right is the inevitable beneficiary of the consequences, when the far left loses control of themselves and does something stupid. The emails dumped by Wikileaks the day before the Democratic National Convention in 2016, that led to rioting in the streets and the forced resignation of Debbie Wassermann-Schultz illustrate a particularly grotesque example.

People don’t take it well, when they lose everything due to government incompetence. No one is as aware of that as people who came of age in the new millennium. If you grew up in the 1990’s, under the benign and prosperous reign of Bill Clinton, you just were not prepared, for the slaughterhouse reality of watching it all go to the dogs after 2001.

The turn of the millennium was a very hopeful time for our generation. We all grew up talking about it, watching movies about it, and dreaming of what the world would look like, when the big year finally came. The years just prior had been some of the best the country had ever seen.

The Soviet Union was gone, the Internet boom had created a whole new infinity of possible ways to spend your future, and the Stone Temple Pilots were actively touring. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that Purple was a superior album to Core.

When George W. Bush got together with Ralph Nader, and stole the 2000 election from Al Gore, he turned all that prosperity into an unjust war. Watching the country start resembling a garbage dump, when all indicators had pointed to a magnificent, futuristic era, was the most heartbreaking and disillusioning thing you could imagine.

It was the worst thing he ever could have done for the country. The resultant war, catastrophe, and repression has caused a terrible anger to start brewing in the hearts of our people. Failure to properly cope with that anger is why people voted for Trump.

It was the financial crisis known as the Great Recession that set the stage for the chaos we are living in now. In Teddy Roosevelt’s time, also, the stage was set by a terrible financial crisis. It was known as the Panic of 1893.

The Panic of 1893

Employee unions had become an increasingly ubiquitous force in American life, during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. They sought to improve working conditions, and their methods were not always nonviolent.

Strikers had clashed violently with police and the military, in many places nationwide. In Chicago’s Haymarket Riot in 1886, a bomb was thrown at police, and seven were hanged in the aftermath. The European “doctrine” known as anarchism had showed up on the scene. Its presence was unwanted and so were the immigrants that brought it. These tensions exacerbated the situation further. Communication started breaking down between the people and the government, which barely stayed open.

The year before the Panic, the Carnegie Steel Trust cut the wages of its workers at the Homestead Works near Pittsburgh, sparking one of the greatest labor battles of the day, and bringing the name of Emma Goldman, the revolutionary socialist, to the forefront of American politics for the first time.

Image result for emma goldman
Emma Goldman

Goldman’s circle devised a plan to assassinate the plant manager, Henry Clay Frick, and her husband Alexander Berkman actually tried it. The plan did not work, Berkman went to prison, and it ruined the strike for the strikers. The law had their excuse to suppress the workers, and Goldman was soon forced into exile. The pressure on the streets began approaching critical mass.

Image result for frick assassination
Anarchist Alexander Bergman attempts to assassinate Henry Clay Frick.

In 1901, President William McKinley was interacting with a crowd at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York, shaking hands with someone, when a 28-year-old anarchist named Leon Czolgosz ran up and shot him in the chest. He died eight days later, and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was immediately sworn in as president.

The assassination of President William McKinley.

When the far-left lost their collective temper, it expressed itself in the shooting of the President. This event worsened their lot tremendously. The press associated the assassination with “crazed” anarchists in the public mind, costing it whatever public sympathy it had.

Political Cartoon
McKinley’s assassination reaps its dividends

The authorities used the assassination attempt as an excuse to arrest and imprison leftists of every stripe, radical or not. They will do it again anytime they have to. This is one of many reasons why we will always take a strong position against rioting and bedlam for any reason.

Whatever else is going on, Democrats remain lawful and nonviolent. We don’t poison our own waters with crap like this.

As a result of all this disorder, the immigration question suddenly took on a paramount importance. It was perceived in terms very similar to what we see today, although no one on our political scene back then was stupid enough to think this could be fixed by building a wall.

Image result for immigrants in the age of teddy roosevelt
The Melting Pot of America

Then as now, the nation was being challenged to find ways to accommodate a massive influx of immigrants. Most of these were from South America, Eastern Europe, and Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, areas which have traditionally been host to agricultural countries with dated political systems.

It was under these conditions that Teddy Roosevelt became the first president in office to explicitly link immigration with the security of the country, and put the immigration issue high on his political agenda. Although he considered immigrants to be a key building block of the nation’s success in the future, his predecessor had been murdered by one, and he never stopped considering them a threat.

TR’s immigration policy

TR suspected the public’s mood would darken in this direction, and he moved to take advantage of their outrage. Thanks to the excesses of anarchists, the executive branch was able to set the basic course of immigration debate and policy for decades to come, with the ultimate goal being for the federal government to gain the ability to pick and choose at the gate.

Our Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have a unique perspective on this issue, and particular focus should be paid going forward on hearing their stories and receiving their input.

Under Republican guidance, the problem has gotten steadily worse, and the government responses more extreme. Most recently, the 45th President of the United States, Republican Donald Trump, ordered immigration checkpoints to remain open in Texas during the evacuation process from Hurricane Harvey.

Although Millennial Democrats opines that Theodore Roosevelt is rolling over in his grave, to see what today’s GOP has been doing with his ideas, the fact remains that he can legitimately be held responsible for setting in motion an immigration policy that revolved around a selection process that included stereotyping, racial profiling, and immigration.

TR’s views on race and people of color are repugnant by the standards of today. But it’s important to remember that he came to office at a time when racism was all-pervasive. Jim Crow laws had recently begun taking effect down South.

The famous scientist Sir Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics”, a set of beliefs and practices designed to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Eugenicists were universal in declaring for the inferiority of the black man. This theory remained popular until the Nazis applied it to its logical conclusions. These days, Republicans do not like to talk about it.

Although Galton himself ridiculed it, part of the so-called scientific racism eugenics evolved from included another “science” called phrenology, attempting to measure one’s intelligence, ability, and personal characteristics by the shape of one’s skull. The conclusions drawn by that pack of louts were, to say the least, ungenerous in their assessments of African- Americans.

But TR did not pay any of it much mind. The great Booker T. Washington served as his close adviser on racial relations, and at his invitation, became the first African-American to eat dinner in the White House. This was one of the things that inflamed the conservative wing of the Republican party against him, and this is of the highest significance.

In that inflammation, was the seed of the modern deplorable.

It was a very horrible time to be in America for anyone except white males, as we moved into the 20th century. These were free to murder a black man, or rape a black woman, with all but complete impunity in most of the nation. Discrimination against minorities and women was a part of the American bedrock, and perfectly legal, and this manifested in acts of murderous violence all the time. In 1915, a Jewish man named Leo Frank was dragged out of prison by a mob and lynched.

Leo Frank
Leo Frank

This event caused a great deal of controversy, so much so that two famous and familiar institutions were born and reborn from it- the Anti-Defamation League, and the Ku Klux Klan. The merest mention of the latter’s sickening name, let alone its history, should be enough to make anyone understand why we can’t equivocate when it comes to philosophies of hatred. When it comes time to call a foul abomination like Charlottesville by name, you have got to make a choice. Either you do, or you don’t. Inside that choice, lies the key to what manner of person you are.

Between racial issues and economics, the beginnings of the ideological schism in the Republican Party had become quite clear already. In 1908 TR decided not to run for a full second term, and went hunting in Africa instead. He came home displeased at the direction things were going, and opposed his former Secretary of War, William Howard Taft, in the 2012 primaries.

Image result for taft
William Howard Taft

Taft used his control of the party machinery to gain a bare majority of delegates, and kept control of the nomination by dubious means. Roosevelt left the party at once, and formed the Progressive Party.

The remainder of the Republican Party was now to be solely comprised of the reactionary Conservative faction represented by Taft, his successor.  Here we find the nucleus of the Party of Hate that the GOP is today.

But the Democrats still had plenty of racists, too. It wasn’t to be until the decline of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party was complete after 1960 that we managed to mostly rid ourselves of this pernicious and unworthy influence.

Woodrow Wilson, who defeated both Taft and Roosevelt in 1916,  was a Democrat. He was also a Southerner, who did great harm to the cause of black people, far more than either Taft or Roosevelt would have. But with the two old friends now at each other’s throats in a third-party disaster, like what we have gone through with the Green Party, his victory in 1912 was a fait accompli.

The Republicans got beat that year, and their party split in two, because of their inability to come to terms and see eye to eye. The same thing happened to us on the left wing in 2000, and again in 2016. When decent people fail to work together, it is always the villains who profit.

 World events were about to shake things up. The two World Wars were right around the corner, and they would prove capable of drawing many new boundaries, both geographical and ideological. For the Republican Party and the rest of the world, many changes were on the horizon.