Source:The New Democrat
Before it became a dirty word, socialism was relatively popular in the United States. So, what happened? #HistoryChannel
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“Eugene Victor Debs (November 5, 1855 – October 20, 1926) was an American socialist, political activist, trade unionist, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and five times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States. Through his presidential candidacies as well as his work with labor movements, Debs eventually became one of the best-known socialists living in the United States.”
“Henry Agard Wallace (October 7, 1888 – November 18, 1965) was an American politician, journalist, and farmer who served as the 11th U.S. secretary of agriculture, the 33rd vice president of the United States, and the 10th U.S. secretary of commerce. He was also the presidential nominee of the left-wing Progressive Party in the 1948 election.”
“Norman Mattoon Thomas (November 20, 1884 – December 19, 1968) was an American Presbyterian minister who achieved fame as a socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America.”
“George Stanley McGovern (July 19, 1922 – October 21, 2012) was an American historian, author, U.S. representative, U.S. senator, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election.”
“A self-described democratic socialist and progressive, Sanders supports labor rights and emphasizes reversing economic inequality. He advocates for universal and single-payer healthcare, paid parental leave, as well as tuition-free tertiary education. On foreign policy, Sanders broadly supports reducing military spending, pursuing more diplomacy and international cooperation, and putting greater emphasis on labor rights and environmental concerns when negotiating international trade agreements.”
The video makes it clear why the words socialist and socialism are unpopular. Everything from the end of World War I and the start of the Soviet Union with their communist revolution in Russia, to Senator Bernie Sanders and his presidential campaigns today. With the start of the Cold War with Russia after World War II and the so-called red scare, with Congress first with the House of Representatives in the late 1940s and the later with the Senate in the 1950s investigating Socialists and Communists in the U.S. Government and the rest of the country.
Before the rise of the Millennial Generation in America, when Americans thought of socialist or socialism they automatically assumed people were talking about Communists and other leftist authoritarians, wether they be in Russia or anywhere else in the world. And Americans regardless if they’re on the Right or Left in America and somewhere in between tend to hate authoritarianism. Even self-described Socialists in America whether they’re Bernie Sanders or others don’t view themselves as Communists or other leftist authoritarians. They might have a hard time speaking ill of Communists and communism and leftist authoritarianism whether it’s in Cuba or Venezuela, but they themselves are not Communists.
But when Millennials think of Socialists, they think of politicians that are going to give them a lot of free stuff ( another way of saying welfare programs ) like health care, health insurance, college, day care, etc. And take on greed in corporate America, as well as tax the rich, but not take heir property away and force them to work in work camps and other horrible places that we saw in Soviet Russia and in North Korea today. Whether you view socialist and socialism as either positive or negative, a lot of that is generational. If you grew up during the Cold War and in my case at the end of the Cold War just starting high school when the Cold War came to an end in the early 1990s, you’re probably not a fan of Socialists and socialism, because you tend to think of Communists and communism. But if you weren’t even born until the 1990s, when you think of Socialists and socialism, you tend to think of Europe and the social democracies there. Which is a helluva lot different from the communist states.
Communism, really was the biggest threat to America, American freedom, our individualism and individual rights in the 20th Century. And of course a lot of Americans in and out of government went too far with their anti-communism and outing people simply for having Far-Left beliefs whether they were Democratic Socialists or Communists. But the Cold War really was about liberal democracy versus communism and was a war that America, Britain, and Europe really had to win.
And because of this good people were put down and denied access in society simply because of their Far-Left beliefs to the point that American Leftists were scared as hell to ever be tabled as a Socialist ( even if they were ) for fear that being known as a Socialist could ruin their careers and lives. And preferred other political labels like liberal or progressive even though their own politics was much further left than both liberal and progressive. Which is how socialist and socialism became dirty words in America, because Americans didn’t want their lives ruined simply because of their socialist politics.