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In the discussion thread: Bernie Sanders Is Rich [View all]

Response to NurseJackie (Reply #8)

Wed May 29, 2019, 07:25 AM

16. Bernie is not a 'real' socialist, he is a social democrat who foolishly tries to redefine socialism


into something it is not. Why he does this, I have no clue. It is stupid and hurts any chances for bog standard social democrat programmes being passed, including many that a majority of 'regular' Democrats support.

What socialism is according to Bernie Sanders


Bernie Sanders explains what socialism is

Luckily for us, Senator Sanders explained his political philosophy in a speech he delivered at Georgetown University in 2015. (The entire speech can be viewed here.)

He begins by referring to the New Deal of President Franklin Roosevelt and pointing out the good that it did for a country in the depths of the Great Depression:

"He saw one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. And he acted. Against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic royalists, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty and restored their faith in government. He redefined the relationship of the federal government to the people of our country. He combated cynicism, fear and despair. He reinvigorated democracy. He transformed the country. . . . And, by the way, almost everything he proposed was called 'socialist.'"

The senator then muses on several issues facing the United States, income inequality, unemployment, high rates of childhood poverty, the high cost of medical care, and a declining faith in our political system, among others, and decides that the concentration of wealth and power is both the root cause of them and the key reason why we have failed to solve them. His solution, of course, is "socialism." It is then that he gives us his conception of what that is:

"Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy. Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt."

He goes a bit into the particulars of policy and explained that his conception of socialism would require this is what it would look like universal health care, total employment, free college education, more public spending, a living wage, environmental regulations, and a robust democratic culture to come into existence. He flatly denied any interest in nationalization, telling the audience:

"So the next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, remember this: I don't believe government should own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal."

The contents of this speech were very similar to other statements he has made about socialism across his entire political career. The entire speech could have been summed up neatly in a quote he gave to the Associated Press back in 1997:

"To me, socialism doesn't mean state ownership of everything, by any means, it means creating a nation, and a world, in which all human beings have a decent standard of living."

Wait a moment, praise for the New Deal? No interest in nationalization? That definition sounds a lot like capitalism!

You might have noticed that this program focuses on making capitalism work better and not replacing it with an entirely new system based on social ownership. This has made his definition of socialism a matter of contention.

While "socialism" is a system based around replacing private ownership of the means of production with social ownership, which generally means having the workers own and operate them instead either through cooperatives or the state Bernie hasn't shown much of an interest in using the government to promote this change.

Bernie's explanation of "socialism" is, in fact, closer to what political philosophers refer to as "social democracy." This is a capitalist system, since the means of production are still privately owned, where the state heavily regulates the economy and has an active welfare system in place to correct for the worst problems inherent to capitalism like inequality, cyclic instability, or the profit motive encouraging people to do things against the public interest.

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Uncle Joe May 2019 OP
stonecutter357 May 2019 #1
TheCowsCameHome May 2019 #9
Skya Rhen May 2019 #2
SouthernProgressive May 2019 #3
robbedvoter May 2019 #40
peggysue2 May 2019 #4
MineralMan May 2019 #5
zentrum May 2019 #6
NurseJackie May 2019 #8
zentrum May 2019 #10
ehrnst May 2019 #11
zentrum May 2019 #12
yardwork May 2019 #13
ehrnst May 2019 #14
lapucelle May 2019 #30
LineLineLineReply Bernie is not a 'real' socialist, he is a social democrat who foolishly tries to redefine socialism
Celerity May 2019 #16
robbedvoter May 2019 #41
ehrnst May 2019 #31
RandiFan1290 May 2019 #7
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