LA Progressive: Lawrence Wittner: ‘Democratic Socialism Has Deep Roots in American Life’

Democratic Socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

Source:LA Progressive– U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Democratic Socialist, Socialist Republic of Vermont) and 2016 presidential candidate.

Source:The New Democrat 

“The shock and disbelief with which many political pundits have responded to Bernie Sanders’s description of himself as a “democratic socialist”—a supporter of democratic control of the economy—provide a clear indication of how little they know about the popularity and influence of democratic socialism over the course of American history.

How else could they miss the existence of a thriving Socialist Party, led by Eugene Debs (one of the nation’s most famous union leaders) and Norman Thomas (a distinguished Presbyterian minister), during the early decades of the twentieth century? Or the democratic socialist administrations elected to govern Milwaukee, Bridgeport, Flint, Minneapolis, Schenectady, Racine, Davenport, Butte, Pasadena, and numerous other U.S. cities? Or the democratic socialists, such as Victor Berger, Meyer London, and Ron Dellums, elected to Congress? Or the programs long championed by democratic socialists that, eventually, were put into place by Republican and Democratic administrations—from the Pure Food and Drug Act to the income tax, from minimum wage laws to maximum hour laws, from unemployment insurance to public power, from Social Security to Medicare?

Most startling of all, they have missed the many prominent Americans who, though now deceased, were democratic socialists during substantial portions of their lives. These include labor leaders like Walter Reuther (president, United Auto Workers and vice-president, AFL-CIO), David Dubinsky (president, International Ladies Garment Workers Union), Sidney Hillman (president, Amalgamated Clothing Workers), Jerry Wurf (president, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), and William Winpisinger (president, International Association of Machinists). Even Samuel Gompers—the founder and long-time president of the American Federation of Labor who, in the latter part of his life, clashed with Debs and other socialist union leaders—was initially a socialist.”

From LA Progressive

“Thom Hartmann says Bernie Sanders needs to put the focus on America’s long tradition of Democratic Socialism in his run for the White House.”

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Source:Thom Hartmann– talking about President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat, New York)

From Thom Hartmann

To add to Lawrence Wittner’s list of American Democratic Socialists: The so-called Congressional Progressive Caucus, that includes Senator Bernie Sanders and sixty or so Representatives in the House.

The Congressional Black Caucus, eighty or more members in the House. A lot of the CBC are also part of the CPC.

It is not that Democratic Socialists are not common in America and that democratic socialism doesn’t have a real movement. It’s that Democratic Socialists tend not to self-describe their politics that way. They prefer to be called Progressives, or what pisses me off as a Liberal, they go by Liberal. Not that I hate democratic socialism, but as a Liberal, I believe there is a real limit to what government can do for people. And I would like to see more public services for moving people off of public assistance, instead of leaving them dependent on them.

Go to the entire MSNBC talk lineup and tell me who over there if anyone, other than Chris Matthews, disagrees with Bernie Sanders on anything? If anything, MSNBC is to the left of Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Especially as it relates to issues of free speech, middle class tax hikes. And are to the right of them at least in Ed Schultz’s case when it comes to marijuana legalization. Big Ed, is opposed to marijuana legalization. Who takes more of a progressive, big government, nanny state, position on marijuana.

But how about RT America and not just Thom Hartmann. How about Al-Jazeera. Again networks that are pretty Far-Left and tend to take a democratic socialist view on the issues. Who if anything are even further left then Senator Sanders.

But if cable talk is not enough for you, how about Salon, The Nation, The AlterNet, TruthOut, TruthDig, LA Progressive, Gar Alperovitz, Paul Krugman, who at the very least leans in a democratic socialist direction.

As Bill Maher has said several times, it is not that there aren’t Socialists in America, because of course there are, but there’s an unwilling for Socialists to come out of the closet. (So to speak) Because for fear as being labeled as Marxists, or Un-American, losing employment opportunities and so-forth and so on.

But of course democratic socialism has had a lot and I would argue proud history in America, going back to at least Eugene Debs and they’ve even had at least one President of the United States in Franklin Roosevelt. But what they’ve lacked is the courage to proud of their political ideology that they self-describe themselves for what they actually are. Democratic Socialists and they should defend who they are, not run way from it.

About Derik Schneider

Blogger on everything that interests me and that I'm knowledgeable about.
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