Why Democratic Socialists aren't afraid to call themselves "Socialist" anymore

How so? Your story of the wedding cake apartment going from rented residence of a general to one given to him by the state during the 1990s to his having to sell out (probably because he didn’t get in sufficiently on the larger looting) fits in very well with the situation I described – better since a Western banker swooped in to take advantage of the situation, a kind of preview of what became formalised under Putin (despite his rhetoric I’m sure Putin does a lot of business with a certain type of Western banker).

Your crappy apartments in the West are a separate issue as are the enforced communal living arrangements of the Soviet area and nostalgia for childhood. And again, the giveaway of apartments was not an act of socialist benevolence to keep people from debt peonage to the capitalists but a grand stopgap gesture to buy Yeltsin some time.

Compared to their neighbours in Europe who enjoyed real social democracy and mixed economies not riddled with corruption I’d say they were worse off. Of course, the effects might be mitigated for a people who’ve strongly internalised the concept that “suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.”

So can I from my own experience. That said, I’ve always strongly suspected (starting with the etymology of the Russian word for worker) that this attitude predates 1917 and lives on now. What I do know is that the saying is not one you hear in actual social democracies in Europe (it makes me laugh to imagine the absurdity of a German saying that).


No, its still upside-down and backwards.

American conservatives are largely the incompetent inheritors of wealth that twist government to benefit them, gathering unearned wealth by sponging off the rest of us - The government and the masses in Atlas Shrugged. The American lower and middle class workers and laborers are the hard working, get paid for what you do, 40hrs+ per week - the the super competent heroes of Atlas Shrugged.

To see it any other way is to capitulate to the right wing delusion that they have all the money because they are smarter/better than you and I.


I was talking about the real-life American conservatives (“leaders” like Paul Ryan and the temporarily embarrassed millionaires in the base) who’ve adopted Rand as their official popular philosopher and taken her fantasies as their holy writ.

Portrayed hard-working and super-competent, perhaps, but Rand reserved the term “hero” for the tycoons and creative geniuses who could move to a remote valley where lower- and middle-class workers and labourers were nowhere to be seen.


Ouch! Where is your “Russian soul”?

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Except most of those “individual” achievements were far more “collective” than you give credit for. It’s never been the case of an individual genius working alone to come up with breakthroughs. It’s often people working with others together who’ve made advances possible.

When that rests of abuse of the people who works for him, yes! When it rests on his own self-glorification over the health and safety of a bunch of kids stuck in a cave, then yes.

Or that it’s only the individual who contributes to advancements in technology.

But… he put a car in SPACE!!! /s Agreed, though.

Good thing no one here said that… There are plenty of aspects of society that you just can’t use to make a bunch of already rich people richer. Education, healthcare, public infrastructures we ALL depend on, the means of feeding ourselves, etc, none of these should be privatized to make a profit for someone else. The free market does not do a better job distributing those goods to the public, because it’s goal is not the building of a just and freer society, but to accumulate wealth for a few.

Clearly not, since we know how he feels about unions.

You do know how quickly the Soviets developed their space program, right? in less than a decade. Musk is not reinventing the wheel, here, he’s building on technologies that already existed.


But he actually does all that now.


In that regard, stored safely right in the pages right in the pages of the Dostoevsky novels on my bookshelf. As it stands I take a less sunny view of life than most Westerners do, so there’s no need to upset the balance further.


What gets to me is that people don’t see that our nation of the people, by the people, and for the people is and always has been a fundamentally socialist government. We choose our representatives who in turn debate and and create laws which are mostly concerned with how we as a nation choose to spend our tax dollars on socialist programs like education, police, military, fire, mail, roads, environmental protection, etc etc
That’s socialism 101. Some point to our capitalistic markets as proof we aren’t socialist but that just betrays a lack of nuanced thinking and poor education. Sure we have a capitalistic market but they exists side by side with many other market types we use and has nothing to do with your system of governance.


Well, as I remember the story they certainly took some trusted labor with them, and flipping burgers and flipping them well was not beneath any of these heroes.

More to the point those heroes saw labor who worked hard and worked competently as great assets, and paid and treated them well. Rand’s class of spoiled 1%ers only see labor as an unnecessary evil, and one to be exploited, competent or hardworking or not.

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This sums things up better than I could.

If there was burger-flipping it was the backyard BBQ kind, not the “if I don’t do this I’ll miss the rent and starve” kind.

The wise and benevolent employer being the rule rather than the exception was another fantasy, especially at the time she was writing. Absent a union, workers at best were seen as cogs in a Taylorist machine that needed to be regularly oiled and cleaned.


Look - my point is by condemning the text as right wing you reinforce the conservative right’s claim to the role of super competent (and persecuted) industrialist, which they are so opposite from being.

Instead if you argue the points of how much more similar the right is to the entitled manipulative benefactor of a bought government I think it would be much more useful to the cause. And by the way, truer to the text.

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I’m condemning the right-wingers who took on the text as their Bible and the heroes therein as their aspirational avatars. I condemn the text itself as a sub-par scientific-romance potboiler with a childish ideology that has obvious appeals to right-wingers. If the American right hadn’t taken them on as the basis of Objectivism the books and their author would have been relegated to well-deserved obscurity decades ago.


All the better reason to undermine their claim to those Avatars by documenting how their own behaviors parallel the anti-heroes of the book, and not the heroes. By just slamming the book you hand them their prize.

There are plenty of real-life examples I can point to of how they fail to live up to their ideals without wasting time with taking examples from fantasy fiction.


That’s not the point. The point is they are taking up the text and saying “Hey - this is us!”. Undermining that with their actual leach like sponging behavior does more damage to the base of their rhetoric than just pointing at “hey, you were a dick over here”. Use their own tools to crack them over the head.

To which I usually reply “yes, you’re someone who fancies himself a tycoon in a fantasy novel but who knows nothing about running a business in the real world.”


I find it sort of, but not really, entertaining to watch people define ‘socialism’ as something other than what it is. It’s like saying “Autocratic theocracy is not really about absolute power of the church. It’s really very similar to an atheist anarchy!”

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I have always wondered who unblocked the toilets in Gault’s Gulch? Or maybe the super competent visionaries dont do poops which block toilets?


John Galt must have solved the problem with an anti-pooping alloy. A shame he didn’t sell the secret with Andrew Ryan.


To which I would reply “yes, you’re someone who fancies himself a tycoon in a fantasy novel but you are actually more like the fantasy novel’s grifting freeloaders.”

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