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

I find it very telling that lately, whenever these democratic socialists or socialists policies come up, the right-wing’s response is to say, “But what about Venezuela!?” Sometimes that’s literally their only response, the only thing they can come up with as an attempt at a rejoinder. To which the obvious response in turn is, “But what about the rest of the developed world?

There’s also the opposite; I was reading about the positive economic indicators in the US right now - everyone is spending more money, including the poor and middle class. People think things are going well, economically. Yet wages haven’t gone up. At all. So where’s the money coming from? Savings and debt, it turns out. If those people don’t foresee the bubble bursting and realize how precarious their lives are, they will soon.


Socialism doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Socialism.


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If you put construction of “the internet” to a vote of the workers in 1970, do you really think it would have ever been created. And the build out of the internet into the World Wide Web has largely been driven by private industry.

I’m in no way against pure research or R&D by the government. Not every advance has a payoff period that is tenable to private industry. I do not want “pure capitalism”. I am saying that collective ownership being the only mechanism for production of goods and service just isn’t going to give us the kind of innovation we need and expect.

Socialism is the collective ownership of the means of production. Democratic Socialism is still socialism. Read their mission statement on their website!

I really think people in the USA clamoring for “socialism” want something like the Nordic Model of Social Democracy, which is definitely still capitalist at its base, but with lots is safeguards to promote equity.


I’m not disagreeing, but I’m also not understanding this line. Could you elaborate on why they’re not compatible?


“Socialism” doesn’t mean putting every single decision to popular vote.


How many times do I have to repeat the words “Workers’ Self-Management” before it finally gets through to some people?

ETA: further reading shows you have taken this into account but are not a believer. I disagree but don’t have the time to make a proper reply right now.


I mean, socialism worked so well in Albania, Algeria, Angola, Burma, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Laos, Somalia, Vietnam and Yemen, lets totally implement an ideology that mostly brings misery and death (‘b-b-but, Norway!’) to the nations that practice it.

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No one is talking about introducing Marxism-Leninism, except you.


But flowers. :rose:


Note: The National Popular Vote bill is 64% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

It simply requires enacting states with 270 electoral votes to award their electoral votes to the winner of the most national popular votes.

All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.


It’s true that not all socialism ends in the tyranny of Leninism or Stalinism or Maoism or Castroism or Ba’athism or Chavezism or the Khmer Rouge—but most of it does. And no, Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t intend to set up gulags in Alaska. Most “democratic” socialists—the qualifier affixed to denote that they live in a democratic system and have no choice but to ask for votes—aren’t consciously or explicitly endorsing violence or tyranny. But when they adopt the term “socialism” and the ideas associated with it, they deserve to be treated with the kind of contempt and derision that all those adopting authoritarian philosophies deserve.

Another reason that socialism is less of a dirty word is, paradoxically, successful marketing by conservatives. They’ve spent decades insisting that every economic position to their left is “socialist,” but didn’t expect that the popularity of these positions would be more popular than the socialism was unpopular.


I don’t understand. You explicitly state that socialism does not necessarily imply tyranny, and that democratic socialists don’t intend tyranny, but they still deserve to be treated as though they do? Why?


I like the word “comrade”. I like its implication of fellowship, and as an honorific it has the excellent qualities of both class- and gender-neutrality: even that mass-murdering narcissist Uncle Joe was Comrade Stalin to one and all.

If we can reclaim “socialism” – and even “communism” – from the tankies, maybe we can reclaim “comrade”.


Even the libertarian socialists, who were calling themselves that for decades before the October revolution?


I think the differences are a lot bigger than what you’re suggesting here. A socialist system has the means of production controlled by the government. A social democracy still has (most*) of the means of production run via a market economy, and just harnesses some of the surplus that it produces to provide things like health care, education, a decent standard of living, and a social safety net.

*Things that are natural geographic monopolies (roads, utilities, etc. ) are pretty clearly better off being run as municipal utilities. Basic research is also something that is apparently done better by a government. OTOH, most other things are not nearly as amenable to centralized control and planning.

Which I am fully in support of, and which project I think is being damaged by calling FDR-like social democrat policies “socialist.”


I’m not all that worried about it. The kind of American who immediately gets frightened by the word “socialist” tends to be the kind of low-information/low-education voter who wouldn’t support an establishment Dem politician let alone one supported by Our Revolution or the DSA.

The idea that the Know-Nothing 27% in the U.S. will suddenly wake up and recognise that social democracy will deliver more to them than it would to a privileged liberal coastal elite like me is a left-wing romantic fantasy. For the immediate future they have to be written off while we work on the project of replacing Third Way policy and politicians with social democratic ones in the duopoly party of the left.

For voters who are capable of drawing the distinction between the two despite having conflated them under the category “socialism” after decades of propaganda and who are know the history of the New Deal there is hope for change.


And their position has been moving to the right, increasing the number of things to their left.