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Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:42 AM

God, I am so tired of the confusion/discussion/obfuscation/ignorance about "socialism".

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by JudyM (a host of the General Discussion forum).

Look, there are currently two flavors of the word:

Socialism == the workers control the means of production, the industrial proletariat overthrows the industrial bourgeoisie, up against the wall capitalist pigs, etc. etc.

This form of "socialism" is what everyone fear mongers on - it's the Cold War, it's left wing South American juntas, it's blah blah blah. It's why people think other people will be scared of "socialism", and why Chris Matthews thinks he's about to be executed.

And then there is

Socialism == paying to have civilization. Pulling resources together so that no one's life is a complete and utter miserable horror story just because they aren't heirs to fortunes. Paying for common goods like roads, courts, the military. Keeping people in poverty from dying of starvation or preventable medical crises. Making the rich pay their fair share for the wonderful society they live in.

This second form of "socialism" is also "society" or "civilization", or "building a world that's better to live in". It's the basis for a lot of government decision making in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, where people are happy and healthy. It's why when I hear "socialism", I get ready to hear about things I like.

The word has been ruined by its first sense. So, can we find a better term for the second sense? "Democratic socialism" is so-so as a label. The democratic part is great - people all need to help decide how we can pull our resources for a better life - but again, 'socialism' is pretty ruined. "Social Democracy" may be slightly better.

But what about "civilization"? or a "fair society" (echos of the "Fair Deal" )?

How about saying for example, that Democrats are running on a platform of "civilization"? If we can't get billionaires to help pay for things, civilization will go away.

I don't know. this nonsense is killing me. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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Reply God, I am so tired of the confusion/discussion/obfuscation/ignorance about "socialism". (Original post)
ProfessorPlum Feb 2020 OP
PatrickforO Feb 2020 #1
dalton99a Feb 2020 #2
ProfessorPlum Feb 2020 #3
handmade34 Feb 2020 #36
delisen Feb 2020 #8
murielm99 Feb 2020 #4
Sancho Feb 2020 #5
Tracer Feb 2020 #6
ProfessorPlum Feb 2020 #11
handmade34 Feb 2020 #38
5X Feb 2020 #7
ProfessorPlum Feb 2020 #12
Arazi Feb 2020 #9
Alliepoo Feb 2020 #10
ProfessorPlum Feb 2020 #13
Baclava Feb 2020 #14
ProfessorPlum Feb 2020 #15
Alliepoo Feb 2020 #16
malaise Feb 2020 #17
Happy Hoosier Feb 2020 #18
ismnotwasm Feb 2020 #19
pampango Feb 2020 #20
cry baby Feb 2020 #21
VarryOn Feb 2020 #34
LanternWaste Feb 2020 #22
ProfessorPlum Feb 2020 #25
handmade34 Feb 2020 #39
H2O Man Feb 2020 #23
NurseJackie Feb 2020 #24
evertonfc Feb 2020 #26
Fiendish Thingy Feb 2020 #27
pnwmom Feb 2020 #29
pnwmom Feb 2020 #28
Squinch Feb 2020 #30
Thomas Hurt Feb 2020 #31
Loki Liesmith Feb 2020 #32
MyNameGoesHere Feb 2020 #33
brewens Feb 2020 #35
brooklynite Feb 2020 #37
JudyM Feb 2020 #40

Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:47 AM

1. Well said. Bernie, Elizabeth and the rest are running on

a "Fair Deal."

I like it.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:50 AM

2. Bernie should launch a campaign to educate the masses on proper terminology and usage



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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:54 AM

3. I think that is a great idea

but at that point I'm willing to cede the ground on the basis of it being lost. Every time I think we are making process, some idiot on FB posts about the US being plunged into "socialism", like we don't already have the post office and medicare.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:17 PM

36. and

the Republicans want to privatize the post office and cut Medicare

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:16 AM

8. One problem that Sanders has not been able to do so

So I think that task needs to be done by someone else.

I am curious about your use of the term "the masses." I have often thought it to be derogatory and very reminiscent of college educated elites or self-styled "intelligencia" depersonalizing and otherizing the majority of people -

Why would you not just say "the people."

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:55 AM

4. If we have to keep explaining it to people,

they will tune out and vote for someone else.

Four more years of trump. Get ready for it.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:56 AM

5. Maybe it would be easier if the largest democratic socialist organization in the US would go away?

Your second form of "socialism" may exist, but the differences are lost in the loud noise of the first "flavor":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Socialists_of_America#Policy_and_ideology

We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo. We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships. We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision, for building a majority movement that will make democratic socialism a reality in America. We believe that such a strategy must acknowledge the class structure of American society and that this class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population.


For the 2016 presidential election, the DSA endorsed Sanders as the favored presidential candidate. While making it clear that Sanders' New Deal-inspired program did not fulfill the socialist aim of establishing social ownership of the economy, the DSA considered his campaign as a positive development in the context of contemporary American politics.[40] The DSA noted the importance of his candidacy as a self-identified democratic socialist candidate as well as "a lifelong champion of the public programs and democratic rights that empower working class people".[41] The DSA managed the #WeNeedBernie campaign, an internally focused initiative directed towards mobilizing DSA supporters for Sanders.[41] After Sanders' defeat in the 2016 Democratic primaries, the DSA called for the defeat of Donald Trump, but it did not officially endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.[42]

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:59 AM

6. Here's a very simple definition of democratic socialism that I recently read:

"Government-provided Services."

Simple as that and easy to understand.

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Response to Tracer (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:26 AM

11. I like it!

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Response to Tracer (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:20 PM

38. and

the old Republican mantra

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help"

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:09 AM

7. We are currently heading to an almost feudal system,

upper classes of almost royalty, lower classes of workers supporting the upper classes.

Watched "Sanditon" on pbs last night. Based on Jane Austen's unfinished work where Jane's
story was changed and there was no usual happy ending but, the differences between the classes
was a little more visible.

I sometimes think the GOP would love for us to move in that direction.
I would prefer some kind of capitalism backed up by social fairness and heavy regulation.

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Response to 5X (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:26 AM

12. me too

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:18 AM

9. Thank you. Need this

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:22 AM

10. Do you really think the huge number of low info voters

Know, or even care to know, the difference? And yep-I’m talking about Dems too. Most folks out there are so busy living their lives and trying to make it that they have no time or inclination to pay much attention to politics. They hear socialism and it’s a huge negative. I’m guessing most folks don’t realize that roads, libraries, schools, police and fire protection etc are forms of socialism that they accept and benefit from. And it’s much too late in this game to try to explain it to them. The repubs have def won the branding war on this one.

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Response to Alliepoo (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:27 AM

13. no, I don't think they know the difference

which is why I'm suggesting smarter branding on our part.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 11:27 AM

14. I fear you're wasting your time, when Bernie praises Fidel Castro and Soviet subways it just ...

...reinforces the stereotypes for those over 50 that "socialism=communism" in their minds, no matter how wrong that thinking is.

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Response to Baclava (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 11:28 AM

15. when he praises soviet subways and then condemns soviet human rights violations

people get confused about which is important. apparently

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:09 PM

16. I honestly don't think it's going to get beyond that word-

Socialism. That’s all they’re going to hear with the negative connotations that go along with it and the repubs are going to pound away with great success I fear.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:15 PM

17. Great post

One is what the Communists called Scientific Socialism; the other is Democratic Socialism with a mixed economy and where the social good is a critical component of ensuring basic needs - education, healthcare, good roads, clean water, a clean environment, safety, access to parks and playing fields and so on.

I will die a democratic socialist

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:16 PM

18. You think you're sick of it now....

Wait until October.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:37 PM

19. People are afraid of taxes I think

In order for socialism to work, you put taxes in for services. For instance I want public schools with well paid teachers, police, firefighters, good roads— you get the idea.

The topic gets out of my league quickly, especially when one makes the jump from state to federal dollars. In other words, the stewardship of the maintenance of roads may differ from state to state, or county to country, or every city to city, but large federally funded programs with funds dispersed to states is a different animal. Still, the ACA failed in states that refused Medicare expansion

So while socialism doesn’t bother me, (we have many forms of it. I like to call it sharing) the implementation of “socialist” programs that individuals states deem interfering with their rights will run into lawsuits time and time again,

Thing is, I work, and I make an ok wage. I will never be rich. That’s ok. My husband is disabled, and on the socialist program of SSDI. I have good insurance, I have a pension.

Paying enough taxes to endure healthcare, pension, the care of my husband in a way where I didn’t have to worry about the stress of it is a reasonable exchange to me.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:40 PM

20. The GOP attacked FDR and the New Deal we 'socialism'. They attacked LBJ and Medicare

as ‘socialism’. From some reason Democrats did not cower in fear in those eras in the face of being called ‘socialists’. Granted that a trump nomination is a better name-caller some earlier conservatives but I bet we can beat him too.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:42 PM

21. Better have a cocktail, it's going to get 1000 times worse. nt

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Response to cry baby (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:58 PM

34. You are so right...

Be prepared to get schooled in economics between now and November. We will all learn the slight variance between socialism and communism.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:44 PM

22. The various interpretations are as silly...

The various interpretations are as silly as pretending we'll all catch the new virus in the nest year or two. But I s'pose that's what happens when non-academics pretend a knowledge not in possession.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:23 PM

39. not nice... n/t

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:46 PM

23. Recommended.

Thank you.

Last week, a good friend who I used to work with stopped to see me. We talked about politics. He holds Trump in contempt, but said he wasn't comfortable with a socialist being president. I reminded him that we both worked at a county mental health clinic, attended public schools, had gone to college in the state university system. More, I noted that he had driven on public highways to get to my house, since there are no longer functioning turnpikes in our area.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 02:54 PM

24. Stand by. You ain't seen nuthin' yet.

If you're explaining and justifying, you're losing. At this late date... none of this will matter. Our country will not elect a Socialist to be its President.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/1287570879
The constant cries about how being a “Democratic socialist” doesn’t mean he IS a communist-type socialist is a moot point. Unless you plan to go door-to-door and explain the difference to all of the voters who equate ‘socialism’ with USSR communism, you are not going to change their minds. They hear “socialist’, and they attach their own (albeit ill-informed) meaning to the term – and it’s NOT the style of government they will vote for.

I’ve seen this repeatedly on the sites I participate in where both Dems and Repubs post: “I don’t want Trump to be re-elected – but I’ll be damned if I’ll vote for a communist.” You can shout all you want about how these people don’t understand what socialism is, or how what Bernie is proposing isn’t socialism as they perceive it. But people vote according to what they believe, and not according to what you think they should believe.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:36 PM

26. me to

 

but with Bernie it's already baked in. He will just gave to come up with ways to articulate around it

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:37 PM

27. Paul Krugman wrote today : Sanders is not a Socialist nt

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Response to Fiendish Thingy (Reply #27)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:42 PM

29. We need Bernie to say it. nt

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:41 PM

28. So why does Bernie insist on sticking with the brand, when he knows he doesn't accept

the first definition (unless, of course, he does)?

Why confuse/obfuscate, etc. for no good reason?

Why is that brand so important to him?

If he's the nominee, there will be many vulnerable members in swing districts of Congress who will have their campaigns become harder by having that label smeared all over them.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:42 PM

30. Imagine how voters who aren't into politics will feel about it.

Their eyes will glaze over as we tell them about the very important distinction between socialist and Democratic socialist. Then the republicans will blanket them with the video of Bernie saying, "I am a socialist."

It's gonna be GrEaT.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:54 PM

31. Socialism is whatever the people controlling the narrative say it is.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:55 PM

32. So you're tired.

You know there was a way for you to have made sure there was at least one less post on it.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 09:57 PM

33. Cool can I use this to update wiki

with another of the 40 or so types of socialism we don't understand?

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:01 PM

35. Socialists have been involved in a lot of great things in this country. Farmers being able to

earn a living. Factory and mill workers no longer working for slave wages. We stopped killing off a few thousand miners and railroad workers every year. That whole middle class thing was going pretty well for awhile. Maybe we can bring it back.

None of the reforms socialists helped bring about made us a socialist country.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:18 PM

37. Outside of Sanders, AOC and their friends, who else uses the second definition?

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Mon Feb 24, 2020, 10:29 PM

40. Locking

This was alerted on for being in the wrong forum... all threads that relate to the candidates or the primaries/primary issues are restricted to posting in the Dem Primaries forum... here are the rules about Primaries, FYI: https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1013&pid=9260

Fine to repost if you’d like to copy it over there

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