American Socialist Tradition

If Democrats ‘Don’t Have the Guts’ To Battle For-Profit Healthcare Industry, Says Sanders, ‘We Should Be Ashamed’

“I get a little bit tired, I must say, of people defending a system which is dysfunctional, which is cruel. Eighty-seven million uninsured, thirty-thousand people dying every single year, five-hundred thousand going bankrupt—for what reason?—they came down with cancer.” Common Dreams Staff (10/15/19) During a portion of Tuesday night’s Democratic debate focused on healthcare, Sen. Bernie Sanders interjected to castigate some of his 2020 primary rivals—namely former vice president Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—for again repeating right-wing talking points against Medicare for All and defending the primacy of the for-profit insurance industry. “I get a little…

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What Really Happened To American Socialism?

La Crosse area Democratic Socialists make the scene at recent Labor Day activities. Both Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy are American made. Accept no substitutes. By Harvey Wasserman Reader Supported News (10/10/19) espite the corporate hype, Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy are deeply rooted in the mainstream of our nation’s history. The lie that they’re “foreign ideologies” starts with the fascist assault Woodrow Wilson waged against them during and after World War 1. Their marginalization today by corporate Democrats and Trump Republicans is itself profoundly un-American. Here’s the reality (as explained in greater length in my new People’s Spiral of US…



They Make It All Possible: The Protectors Our Corrupt Economic Overlords

“In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communications workers, garbage men and firemen. These people –the employed, the somewhat privileged — are drawn into alliance with the elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.” -Howard Zinn


YES! — “I Don’t Think Billionaires Should Exist”: Sanders Proposes Wealth Tax To Slash Unearned Fortunes Of Ultra-Rich

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (9/24/19) To tackle “outrageous and grotesque and immoral” levels of inequality in the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday proposed a new wealth tax on the richest Americans that economists say would slash the fortunes of billionaires in half over 15 years and raise an estimated $4.35 trillion in revenue during the first decade. “I don’t think that billionaires should exist,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, told the New York Times in an interview. “This proposal does not eliminate billionaires, but it eliminates a lot of the wealth that billionaires have, and I think that’s exactly what we…


The Sunset Of Old ‘Politics-As-Usual’ Corporate Dem Neoliberalism

The not unlikely shortcomings of a President Joe Biden could lead us straight back to the current dilemma, perhaps with a younger, smarter version of Trump. By Max Sawicky Jacobin (8/24/19) Cheer up. The Left is winning the battle of ideas. Ideas are the basis for organization, and organization is prior to change. The signs are in the evolution of statements and platforms presented by Democratic presidential candidates. As the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote, eighty and some years ago: “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist….


‘SOCIALISM’ — The All-American Tradition That Made Us Once Great

The GOP hopes the S-word will scare you, but great public works projects transformed this country for the better. By Tim Butterworth Other Word (9/1/19) From single-payer health care to climate change, the 2020 Democrats have ambitious plans. But these new, grand, and green deals aren’t as radical as some make them sound. In fact, big public projects are what made America great. When President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower took office in 1953, America had been buffeted by the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s. The Cold War put us in competition with Soviet “5-Year…


After Decades Of Corporate ‘Decimation’ Of Unions, Sanders Calls For Workers To Win The Class War Waged Against Them

“If there is going to be class warfare in this country, it’s time that the working class of this country won that war.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/21/19) After he unveiled a comprehensive plan to double union membership and strengthen labor rights, Sen. Bernie Sanders said during an AFL-CIO event in Iowa on Wednesday that it is time for America’s workers to win the class war against corporate elites. “If there is going to be class warfare in this country,” said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, “it’s time that the working class of this country won that war.” Sanders explained…


Joe Rogan Interview With Bernie Sanders

  Link to 1-Hour, 7-Minute Video ***** If You Think Bernie Shouldn’t Have Gone On Joe Rogan, Or Fox News, You’re Leaving Fellow Americans For Dead Ultimately, this is about reach. Electoral College Mindset has led us to believe that there are certain demographics who are lost to us totally, but this is ridiculous. Great interview! Read the Rest


There’s One Bipartisan Heresy That Really Sets Bernie Apart From All Other Dem Contenders To Unseat Trump

By Greg Grandin The Nation (7/16/19) Let’s be clear: Bernie Sanders’s heresy, what sets him apart from every Democrat running to unseat Donald Trump, is not simply that he calls himself a socialist in a country long proudly identified as capitalist. Those two labels, socialist and capitalist, are open to too many interpretations and represent too many historical examples (everything from Norway to the United States, Stalin’s Soviet Union to Hitler’s Nazi Germany) to pin down. Rather, a more precise way to define the historic nature of Sanders’s campaign would be to focus on his promotion of social or economic rights and how…


Eugene Debs: “I am suspicious of leaders…”

“I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week. “If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and misrepresentatives of the masses — you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. “I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be…



This Past Weekend’s National Socialism Conference Featured US-Bankrolled Right Wing-Friendy Regime Change Activists

  [Editor’s Note: This article came out the day before this past weekend’s 2019 Socialism Conference in Chicago. There are important questions raised, which DSA members need to be asking. If the growing DSA is to be a much-needed force for political change in the nation any cover, soft-pedaling of or collaboration with US corporate empire building and support of right wing dictators and criminal regimes within the DSA needs to be challenged. — Mark L. Taylor] By Ben Norton & Max Blumenthal The Grayzone (7/6/19) Socialism is now apparently brought to you by the US State Department. From July 4…


Forget Trump’s Carnival Show Fourth: A Lincoln Remembrance Appropriate To July 4th

  “In March 1864, a decade after Alvan Bovay founded the Republican Party in Ripon [WI], a delegation from the New York Workingman’s Democratic Republican Association came to the White House to offer the country’s first Republican president an honorary membership  in their labor organization, “None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people,” Abraham Lincoln told them, after accepting the honor. “Let them beware of prejudice, working division, and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer was the hanging of some working people by other working…


Should We Abolish Billionaires? Oh, Hell, Yeah! The Sooner The Better.

  About 60 percent of all the wealth in America today is inherited. By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Blog (7/2/19) America now has more billionaires than at any time in history, while most Americans are struggling to make ends meet. With such staggering inequality, it’s fair to ask: should we abolish billionaires? There are basically only four ways to accumulate a billion dollars – and none of them is a product of so-called free market capitalism. Billionaires themselves aren’t the problem. The real failure is in how our economy is organized. One way to make a billion is to exploit…


Full ‘Face The Nation’ Interview With Bernie Sanders

Face The Nation (6/23/19) Margaret Brennan sat down with 2020 Presidential Candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail in Columbia, South Carolina. Link to 23-Minute Video Sunday (6/23) MSNBC Interview With Bernie Sanders — Senator Bernie Sanders reacts to President Trump’s announced delay of mass immigration raids that were to start Sunday saying, “I’m glad that Trump made this decision, but that’s not good enough. What we need to do is move toward real immigration reform.” Link to 6-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


June 15, 1918: The Speech That Made Eugene Debs Federal Prisoner NO. 9653

  “I would rather a thousand times be a free soul in jail than to be a sycophant and coward in the streets.” By Marlene Martin SocialistWorker.org (6/15/18) One hundred years ago [1918], Eugene V. Debs spoke out against the First World War in a speech in Canton, Ohio — and was given a 10-year prison sentence for it. Marlene Martin recounts one of the most famous moments in the history of socialism in the U.S. THE FIRST thing Eugene V. Debs did when he walked to the stage in Canton, Ohio, on the afternoon of June 16, 1918, was to gesture…


Sanders Brilliantly Brings Together Old-School Socialism With American Liberalism

  Sanders isn’t among the most popular politicians in America despite his socialist past and identity – but because of it. By Bhaskar Sunkara The Guardian (6/13/19) In a speech yesterday at George Washington University [6/12] in Washington DC, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders brilliantly articulated what he means when he calls himself a democratic socialist. With characteristic concision, he decried the rule of “a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires”, and argued that the future belongs to either rightwing nationalism or democratic socialism, which he defined as a bedrock set of economic and social rights. Even for many sympathizers, Sanders’ decision…


‘Socialism for the rich’ — The Real Life Evils Of Bad Economics

“There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years and my class has won.” — Warren Buffet, billionaire investor By Jonothan Aldred The Guardian (6/6/19) In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think there’s not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Inequality inevitably rises. Attempting to reduce inequality via redistributive taxation is likely to fail because the…


Watch Bernie Sanders Deliver Speech On Why Democratic Socialism ‘Only Way to Defeat Oligarchy and Authoritarianism’

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (6/12/19) In a speech at George Washington University on Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out his vision of a democratic socialist society and made the case for why an ambitious agenda centered on economic rights for all is the only way to confront America’s deep inequities and defeat far-right authoritarianism. “We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights,” said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “And that is what I mean by democratic socialism.” Decrying an economic system that…


‘Let’s Expand Employee Ownership’ — Bernie Sanders Backs Plan To Give Workers Power Over Corporate Decisions

  “Employee-owned companies will not provide starvation wages to workers and huge compensation packages to CEOs. They will not allow for unsafe working conditions.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (5/28/19) Decrying an economic status quo that “produces huge CEO bonuses while millions are paid starvation wages,” Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday backed a pair of policies aimed at reducing soaring inequality by giving workers more power over corporate decision-making. According to the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein—who first reported on Sanders’s plans—the Vermont senator is developing a proposal that would force large companies to “regularly contribute a portion of their stocks to a fund controlled…


Author Bhaskar Sunkara Answers The Question: Why Socialism?

Real News Network (5/17/19) Most people know capitalism is unjust. Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara says he wrote The Socialist Manifesto to lay out an alternative. Link to 13-Minute Video ***** Part 2: What Would US Socialism Look Like?  Real News Network (5/17/19) Bhaskar Sunkara, founder of Jacobin and author of The Socialist Manifesto, explains what socialism could actually look like in the United States. Link to 16-Minute Video


How A New Generation Of Socialists Can Win Power (While Avoiding The Mistakes Of The Past)

‘The Socialist Manifesto’ is both a warning and guide to the struggles ahead.  By Kristen R. Ghodsee In These Times (4/25/19) Tucked away in a corner in the permanent exhibition of the Deutsches Historisches Museum in what is now the heart of reunified Berlin, a humble placard captures one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th Century Left: The fall of the Weimar Republic in the early 1930s. Fresh from the annual Liebknecht-Luxemburg demonstration commemorating the murders of two of socialism’s most beloved martyrs—Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg—I spent a few hours lingering among the cases of posters and memorabilia…


Boeing Might Represent The Greatest Indictment Of Short-Sighted 21st-Century Capitalism

‘symptomatic of a much bigger problem’  [Editor’s Note: the article also traces the corruption that spread through Boeing as they grew closer to the shady shortcut world of US War Department contracting. — Mark L. Taylor] By Marshall Auerback Independent Media Institute (4/26/19) A veteran commercial pilot and software engineer with over three decades of experience has just written the most damning account of the recent Boeing 737 fiasco. At one level, author Gregory Travis has provided us with the most detailed account of why a particular plane model once synonymous with reliability became a techno-death trap. But ultimately, his story is a parable…


Podcast ‘The Dig’ — How & Why Socialism Won Big In Chicago

    [Editor’s Note: This broadcast was shortly before the April 2 Chicago municipal elections. — Mark L. Taylor] The Dig Jacobin Magazine (3/24/19) Four of the five candidates endorsed by the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America either won outright or advanced to the runoff election on April 2, leading to talk of a Socialist Caucus on the city council. And other progressive candidates throughout the city knocked off corporate-friendly incumbents. Dan passes the mic to guest host Micah Uetricht for an interview with United Working Families Executive Director Emma Tai and In These Times web editor Miles Kampf-Lassin on how years…


How Wide Is Bernie Sanders’ Appeal? This Cheering Fox News Audience Provides A Clue

Bernie drew cheers from the audience when he spoke about healthcare, revealing just how popular his policies are. By Bhaskar Sunkara The Guardian (4/16/19) Bernie Sanders was supposed to be deep behind enemy lines on Monday night. He was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for a live town hall, hosted by Fox News, a network “not everyone thought [he] should come on”. It was a resounding success, and a reminder that Bernie, not Trump, can actually rally together a majority of Americans. The Fox News moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum didn’t figure that out at first. Early on Baier asked those in…


Wall Street LOVES Socialism … For Bankers – But Not For Ordinary Americans

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon decries socialism. Unless of course it’s the banks wanting government bailouts! By Robert Reich The Guardian (4/8/19) In his annual letter to shareholders, distributed last week, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon took aim at socialism, warning it would be “a disaster for our country,” because it produces “stagnation, corruption and often worse.” Dimon should know. He was at the helm when JPMorgan received a $25bn socialist-like bailout in 2008, after it and other Wall Street banks almost tanked because of their reckless loans. Dimon subsequently agreed to pay the government $13bn to settle charges that the bank overstated the quality of mortgages…


Here’s Something They Don’t Want You To Know! When Socialism Was Tried In America It Was A Huge Success, Right Here In Wisconsin!

For much of the 20th century, Milwaukee was run by socialists—and Time magazine called it “one of the best-run cities in the U.S.” [Editor’s Note: If you want a good overview introduction to the rich and promising role of socialism in America, check out Nation Columnist John Nichols’ 2015 book “The “S” Word: A Short History Of An American Tradition”. A tradition that goes back to the American Revolution and includes Karl Marx fan boy Abraham Lincoln. As is so often the case, the republicans don’t know their American history from their next dose of Faux News bilge. — Mark L. Taylor]…


Economic Update — Failing Capitalism’s Rescue By Fascism, Brutish Nationalism & Corporate Welfare

Fascism is used by the wealthy to save the corrupt & broken system that made them wealthy and to get rid of the critics. [Editor’s Note: Professor Wolff puts the chaos of  the Trump administration in context, revealing the metastasizing fascist order and strategy at work in the nation. – Mark L. Taylor] Economic Update / Democracy at Work (3/25/19) On this week’s show Prof. Wolff presents an in-depth analysis of fascism as massive government intervention to protect and save a crashing capitalism. We focus on today’s examples, historical parallels (in Germany and Italy), and how “strong men” leaders push…


Bernie Isn’t Kidding About Medicare For All

    By Jack Crosbie Splinter (3/27/19) One of the biggest arguments against Medicare for All or single-payer healthcare is that it would disrupt or destroy the current existing system of employer-provided private health insurance. This isn’t a good argument, of course, but it’s one that gets a lot of air time from the shrill handwringing crowd that wants to make sure the profits from private companies are safe. Kill the insurance companies. Replace them with a federal system. You don’t have to shop on the private market for firefighters when your house burns down, and there’s no reason you…


Long Before Bernie & AOC, Eugene V. Debs Was The Face Of American Socialism

  By Paul Buhle & Mari Jo Buhle The Guardian (3/2/19) Socialism is in vogue in America. Radical left politics, embodied by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is gaining traction among millennials who came of age during the Great Recession. And conservatives, in turn, have reverted to using decades-old Red Scare tactics in response. With the hype around a resurgent American left, it might feel like socialism is a newcomer to political discourse in the United States. But only if you don’t know your US history. Long before Bernie Sanders came along, there was Eugene Debs. It is impossible to understand the…


Socialism In America? Let’s Cut To The Chase

“This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.” – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.” – Noam Chomsky By Mark Ash Reader Supported News (3/10/19) “This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.” – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.” – Noam Chomsky You are going…


Eugene V. Debs And The Enduring History & Essential Role Of American Socialism

Socialism has been carried into the twenty-first century by way of Sanders, a Debs disciple, and by way of the utter failure of the two-party system. By Jill Lepore The New Yorker (2/17/19) Eugene Victor Debs left school at the age of fourteen, to scrape paint and grease off the cars of the Vandalia Railroad, in Indiana, for fifty cents a day. He got a raise when he was promoted to fireman, which meant working in the locomotive next to the engineer, shovelling coal into a firebox—as much as two tons an hour, sixteen hours a day, six days a…


Robert Reich: Why Nation Owes Bernie Sanders Our Enduring Gratitude

  By Robert Reich Common Dreams (2/19/19) It’s easy to forget the condescension and amusement that greeted him when he announced his first campaign for president, on May 26, 2015. How, it was asked, could a rumpled, 73-year-old, self-described Democratic Socialist – a junior senator from tiny Vermont, who was born in Brooklyn, Jewish, hadn’t even been a Democrat for most of his political career, and eschewed money from super PACs – possibly triumph against Hillary Clinton? In the end, he didn’t. But he triumphed in other ways. Bernie won a surprising 46 percent of the pledged delegates to the…


Rutger Bregman : ‘Utopia for Realists’ And The Convincing Case For A Universal Basic Income

  Amazon Review After working all day at jobs we often dislike, we buy things we don’t need. Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian, reminds us it needn’t be this way-and in some places it isn’t. Rutger Bregman’s TED Talk about universal basic income seemed impossibly radical when he delivered it in 2014. His April 2017 talk continues to make the provocative case, detailing the idea’s 500-year history and even its brief success in a forgotten trial in Manitoba in the 1970s. Nearly a million views later, guaranteed basic income is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the…


Trump & Republicans Provide Comfy Socialism For The Rich & Brutish Capitalism For The Rest Of Us

    By Robert Reich RoberReich.com (2/11/19) “America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21bn saved by the nation’s largest banks last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, more than 4,000 lower-level bank employees got a…


Not ‘Left-Wing Fantasy’ But ‘Mainstream & Really Popular’: Poll Shows Enormous Public Support For Higher Taxes On Rich

Billionaire breakdown ***** “Raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t just good policy. It’s also good politics.” By Jake Jonson Common Dreams (2/4/19) Likely 2020 contenders and progressive members of Congress have proposed a variety of plans in recent days to make the rich pay more in taxes and begin reversing soaring inequality—from a wealth tax to a 70 percent top marginal rate to a higher estate taxon the richest families—and a survey published on Monday found that such ideas are extremely popular among the American public. According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 76 percent of registered voters believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay more…


Shameless Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald & Bipartisan Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens

“One of the first things we must get rid of is the idea that democracy is tantamount to capitalism.”  — Eleanor Roosevelt By Paul Street CounterPunch (11/16/18) Caravan of Lies Never underestimate the disingenuousness of top U.S.-American politicos.   They truly have no shame. Notice how little the fascistic president Donald Trump has to say any more about the big bad Central American Caravan that was supposedly menacing the United States with a great criminal “invasion”? The U.S. military “heroes” sent down at great taxpayer expense to “defend our border” will be missing Thanksgiving with their families thanks to this fake…


Chris Hedges: Late Stage Capitalism Is Killing America

“We have to overthrow this system. We have to begin to think in revolutionary terms. These people have to go because we can’t afford to endure much more of their destruction; not only what they are doing to human beings but the ecocide they are carrying out.” Link to 35-Minute Video   ***** Chris Hedges On The Rise Of The Corporate Class & The Call To Resistance Link to 27-Minute Video ***** “The capitalist who does no useful work has the economic power to take from a thousand or ten thousand workingmen all they produce, over and above what is…


Think Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren Are The Same? Um, Think Again

  By Bhaskar Sunkara The Guardian (10/23/18) For progressives subjected to daily outrage from the Trump administration, there’s something to look forward to. In 2020, they’ll be spoiled for choice – presumptive candidates in the Democratic field are tacking to the left and both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are acting like people running for president. While a 2020 campaign by Sanders wouldn’t be surprising given that he ran before, Warren has long denied that she has any interest in becoming president. That seems to have recently changed. Warren said last month that she would “take a hard look” at running in…