Tag Archives | Socialism

Is Democracy An Illusion?

Karl MarxJohn Stoehr writes on Al Jazeera:

In the US, the dominant political discourse consists of ideas put forth by the ruling class.

Karl Marx never visited the United States, but he nevertheless understood the country, because he understood capitalism. As you know, there’s no American ideology that’s mightier than capitalism. Equality, justice and the rule of law are nice and all, but money talks.

In their 1846 book The German Ideology, Marx and co-author Frederick Engels took a look at human history and made a plain but controversial observation. In any given historical period, the ideas that people generally think are the best and most important ideas are usually the ideas of the people in charge. If you have a lot of money and own a lot of property, then you have the power to propagandise your worldview and you have incentive to avoid appearing as if you’re propagandising your worldview.

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Socialism More Popular Than Capitalism Among Millennials

full_1325738615socialismHere’s what the kids are into: sexting, Bieber, and dialectical Marxism. Good writes:

According to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of [people] age 18 to 29 view socialism in a favorable light, compared to 43 percent who view it unfavorably. What’s more, they like the sound of “socialism” slightly better than capitalism—46 percent have positive views of capitalism, and 47 percent have negative views. This is dramatically different from the country’s population overall: 60 percent say they have a negative view of socialism, versus just 31 percent who say they have a positive view. Young people are the only age group whose support for socialism outweighs that of capitalism.

It’s telling that the number of socialism-friendly young people is on the rise from just 20 months ago, when 43 percent of Millennials favored the word. Between now and then, Occupy Wall Street has swept the country and the headlines, and there are more unemployed teens and 20-somethings than ever.

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Pope Benedict Peace Message Calls For Wealth Redistribution

Pope BenedictWait a second — does this make Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich a couple o' them "Cafeteria Catholics"? From Francis X. Rocca at the Huffington Post:
VATICAN CITY (RNS)— Noting a "rising sense of frustration" at the worldwide economic recession, Pope Benedict XVI said that a more just and peaceful world requires "adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth." The pope's words appeared in his message for the World Day of Peace 2012, released on Friday (Dec. 16) at the Vatican. The message laments that "some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity." Authentic education, Benedict writes, teaches the proper use of freedom with "respect for oneself and others, including those whose way of being and living differs greatly from one's own."
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Worker-Owners of America, Unite!

Gar Alperovitz chimes in on the re-evolutionary convergence of capitalism and socialism into a hybrid paradigm in a recent article in the NY Times:

The Occupy Wall Street protests have come and mostly gone, and whether they continue to have an impact or not, they have brought an astounding fact to the public’s attention: a mere 1 percent of Americans own just under half of the country’s financial assets and other investments. America, it would seem, is less equitable than ever, thanks to our no-holds-barred capitalist system.

But at another level, something different has been quietly brewing in recent decades: more and more Americans are involved in co-ops, worker-owned companies and other alternatives to the traditional capitalist model. We may, in fact, be moving toward a hybrid system, something different from both traditional capitalism and socialism, without anyone even noticing.

Some 130 million Americans, for example, now participate in the ownership of co-op businesses and credit unions.

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The Problem with Social Democracy

FlagAn interesting article that highlights some inconsistencies Center-Left parties have in implementing a social-democratic platform while effectively maintaining and strengthening capitalism … Via Socialist Worker:

With the electoral breakthrough of the NDP in the federal election, attention to the nature of social democracy has returned to the political agenda. What do socialists say about the NDP and social democracy today?

There are two main views about parliamentary — or electoral — democracy in the history of the socialist movement. The social democratic view sees the liberal democratic state as a neutral body that can be peopled by delegates of the right or the left. Marxists, however, have stressed the limitations of the liberal democratic state. This view dates back to Marx’s analysis stated simply in the Communist Manifesto.

Contemporary social democratic parties, like the NDP or the Labour Party in the UK, keep a close eye on every aspect of parliamentary practice.

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Rick Perry Is a Socialist

Rick Perry for PresidentThe Washington Post reports:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has leapfrogged to the top tier of Republican presidential candidates largely on the strength of one compelling fact: During more than a decade as governor, his state created more than 1 million jobs, while the nation as a whole lost 1.4 million jobs.

Perry says the “Texas miracle” rests on conservative pillars that he would bring to the White House: minimal regulation and government, low taxes and a determination to limit the reach of Uncle Sam.

What he does not say is that much of that job growth has come because of government, not in spite of it.

With a young and fast-growing population, a large and expanding military presence and an influx of federal stimulus money, the number of government jobs in Texas has grown at more than double the rate of private-sector employment during Perry’s tenure.

The disparity has grown sharper since the national recession hit.

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How Congress Created Socialized Medicine — In 1798

02-john-adams-12644Is Obamacare a communism-flavored slap-in-the-face to our Founding Fathers? No, it isn’t — Forbes points out that the wigged ones were closet socialists. In 1798, Congress created the first taxpayer-funded, government-run hospital, and mandated health insurance for all sailors — moves that seemed to predict health care in Europe and Canada today:

In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed – “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.

Keep in mind that the 5th Congress did not really need to struggle over the intentions of the drafters of the Constitutions in creating this Act as many of its members were the drafters of the Constitution.

And when the Bill came to the desk of President John Adams for signature, I think it’s safe to assume that the man in that chair had a pretty good grasp on what the framers had in mind.

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Bill Maher: Americans Must Realize What Makes NFL Football So Great — Socialism (Video)

Super BowlFrom last week's Real Time With Bill Maher, also on the Huffington Post:
New Rule: With the Super Bowl only a week away, Americans must realize what makes NFL football so great: socialism. That's right, for all the F-15 flyovers and flag waving, football is our most successful sport because the NFL takes money from the rich teams and gives it to the poor teams ... just like President Obama wants to do with his secret army of ACORN volunteers. Green Bay, Wisconsin has a population of 100,000. Yet this sleepy little town on the banks of the Fuck-if-I-know River has just as much of a chance of making it to the Super Bowl as the New York Jets — who next year need to just shut the hell up and play. Now, me personally, I haven't watched a Super Bowl since 2004, when Janet Jackson's nipple popped out during half time, and that split-second glimpse of an unrestrained black titty burned my eyes and offended me as a Christian. But I get it - who doesn't love the spectacle of juiced-up millionaires giving each other brain damage on a giant flat-screen TV with a picture so realistic it feels like Ben Roethlisberger is in your living room, grabbing your sister? It's no surprise that some 100 million Americans will watch the Super Bowl next week — that's 40 million more than go to church on Christmas — suck on that, Jesus! It's also 85 million more than watched the last game of the World Series, and in that is an economic lesson for America. Because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity...
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