Meet the MAGA supporter who unknowingly champions Karl Marx's ideas

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My first job was with an employee-owned company. I wish I’d understood at the time what that meant.


It’s so frustrating when they’re soooooooo close to getting it. And you know you’re just not going to be able to get them across the line.


Once in the middle of an argument with a right wing friend, I stopped and said “I don’t think you mean the same thing I mean when I say socialism.”
“So how do you define socialism?” he asked. I gave my definition, and he replied “You can’t just take all the good stuff for your side.”


Yeah most people in the US don’t have the foggiest idea what socialism is, including a lot of Democratic voters. Especially centrists. When they hear “socialist” they picture China, Cuba, Venezuela, the Soviet Union, North Korea, etc. It’s synonymous with authoritarian communism to most Americans. I try to tell them we’re really talking more about countries like Denmark and Finland and, hell, most of Europe, but they just don’t want to hear it.


It really is amazing to me how radical some conservatives actually are, at least on certain points, as long as you don’t actually put a label on socialism. They’re all in for it. They want - and think there already is - a lot less income disparity in the country, want government aid, want workers to own the means of production… the list goes on. They also, perversely, think the Republican party is aligned with their values too. All because they had an insufficient education, only know the labels (“socialism,” “communism”) without having any idea what they mean (only that they’re “bad”), vote the way their parents did, and there’s no discussion of these things anywhere in their lives.


Populism on the economics side isn’t all that different from communism.


Which communism?

It’s Marxism-Leninism, isn’t it? It always ends up being M-L because most people don’t know anything different.


But Europe isn’t really socialist, is it? Private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit is predominant way resources are allocated. Socialists sometimes have power, but never seem to implement socialist economies. They’re mostly capitalist economies with interventionist policies, strong regulatory frameworks, robust welfare systems with some wealth redistribution and a sprinkling of neo-corporatism.


It may be true that they’re in favor of some progressive goals and are simply too misled and uneducated to realize they’re hurting themselves by supporting the party which will guarantee those goals are never reached. But never forget, even when they do want nice things, they only want them for “the right people”. Bigotry and the Republican party are inseparable. As badly as they want good things, they’d rather burn the entire system down and live in squalor than share those good things with anyone who isn’t a white, straight, male fundamentalist Christian. For them, everyone living in equality and prosperity is a much worse nightmare than everyone suffering and struggling.


Yup, I was on a holiday with my family the last few days and it’s incredible to see my brother, who’s in a Twitter radicalisation spiral identify problems like lack of public spending and the deep issues caused by Ireland’s tax policies towards multinationals, and then conclude that the solution is not taking in refugees


By this definition, there are no socialist countries anywhere. That is not to say that all capitalist economies are alike. There as quite a stark difference when you consider

  • tax rates
  • welfare
  • public funds
  • social cohesion
  • public trust in government
  • the power of the labour movement and unions

You would hardly find a politician in any camp who would openly suggest this is a bad thing (aside from the taxes, maybe).

Capitalism, yes, but tweak the parameters a little and see where that will take you.


Currently, there aren’t. Cuba, maybe.

What is being described above is Social Democracy.


Which is a form of socialism. Socialism is a big, broad umbrella term. And the truth is, no country has some theoretically pure form of socialism, nor does any country have some theoretically pure form of capitalism. And this gets to what my point was. Many Americans think socialism=authoritarian communism=the boogey man=pure evil. And that’s just not true. Hell, you’ve even backed up my point by giving Cuba as what you think is the only example of a socialist country. That’s true only if you have a very narrow definition of socialism. Most Western Democracies have varying degrees of socialism and capitalism woven together, including the US. Ours is just a wee little dash of it, while Finland and Denmark have a lot more. Regardless, my point wasn’t to discuss the merits of various political theory or to write a dissertation. I’m just making the point that most Americans don’t have the first clue what it even means. They just take it for granted that it’s bad.


Populism is more about anti-elitism in general than about economic applications in particular. A left-wing populist might oppose banking or corporate elites because they’re exploiting the workers for financial gain. A right-wing populist wants to eliminate them because, for example, they’re supposedly a secret cabal of Jews who are trying to undermine a great Jesus-fearing white nation.

Of course, there are some populists who mix and match or who can be fooled into doing so (the Dirtbag Left is prone to this). However, the MAGAt in this interview is ultimately a right-wing populist.


I was thinking more Classical Marxism. Class struggle/exploitation. Getting angry at rich men north of richmond or something because rich men south of richmond are somehow part of their class?

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My new joke is when someone complains about inflation I say “why do you hate capitalism so much?”

I am not interested in ideological purity-- all these “isms” are invented human concepts-- I only care about what can reasonably be implemented, and work for the most people, and hopefully be sustainable. A nominally capitalist economy that is reigned in by democratically-initiated socialistic regulations is acceptable to me. It’s certainly better than arguing about definitions and not getting anything meaningful done.

“You name it what you wanna, you name it ‘your mammy’ if you wanna!” --Sonny Boy Williamson


Yeah, unfortunately the one thing they do seem to agree on is the racism, and they’re happy for that to be more and more explicit, too.


I’ve had this kind of discussion when I explain my positions where I try to break it down for them in smaller, less radical, chunks to consider but there’s always one hang up that someone will have. For example, some will agree that intellectual property is monopolistic but won’t accept that we need to do away with it as a means to level the playing field for creative work as they think the majority of creative workers need to be protected. They often don’t seem to be able to separate the belief that creative workers get protected from the reality that corporations are the only ones that benefit from intellectual property. It seems that reality is harder to accept than the warm-fuzzy feeling that maybe somewhere a creative worker is benefiting from intellectual property despite the vast majority not.


Wouldn’t that be false conciousness?

MAGA has so much false conciousness it must be in a coma.