American Socialist Tradition

American Capitalism Has Dropped Its Mask — And Its Face Is Cold, Cruel & Selfish

The shortage of supplies is directly the result of a capitalist system so unregulated that it is designed to benefit only shareholders, not societies. By Sonali Kolhatkar Independent Media Institute (4/6/20) Among the countless distressing news stories covering the COVID-19 pandemic over the past month are the heartwarming ones that focus on what ordinary human beings are doing to help one another during this historic crisis. Many of these “good news” reports have focused on a nation-wide effort by fashion industry labels, domestic apparel manufacturers, and amateur seamstresses to mass-produce the much-needed masks that are in short supply. But what most of the stories…

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Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness Is Getting More Radical

By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (4/6/20) Setting aside the pain and suffering of the infected for a moment, the most amazing part of the pandemic is its pulling back the curtain on the fragility and venality of the economic/political system in the “greatest country on earth”. Yah, sure. Some of those hybrid “planned economies” had better resources, and quicker responses, when their nationally supported professionals did the jobs they had trained lifetimes for: So What? We have better bombers. In fact, a bipartisan committee (that means Dems are in on it) is insisting, in the midst of the health…


Letter From A Fired Worker: Dear Jeff Bezos, Instead Of Firing Me, Protect Your Workers From Coronavirus

Amazon thinks we are expendable. By Chris Smalls The Guardian (4/2/20) Dear Jeff Bezos, When I applied to work at Amazon, the job description was simple. It said you need to have a high-school diploma or a GED (general educational development) and you have to be able to lift 50lbs. That’s it. Now, because of Covid-19, we’re being told that Amazon workers are “the new Red Cross”. But we don’t want to be heroes. We are regular people. I don’t have a medical degree. I wasn’t trained to be a first responder. We shouldn’t be asked to risk our lives to come…


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Declaration Of Independence: Progressives Can’t Divide A Party We Don’t Belong To

As an Independent, I’m far more interested in policy than party. Whoever presents the most Progressive candidate will get my vote. Simple stuff. By Kathy Copeland Padden The Ghion Journal (9/23/19) l don’t think I know a single Progressive and/or Independent who isn’t accused on a daily basis of “splitting the party” or “being divisive” by centrist Democrats. The self-centered assumption that anyone who’s not a member of the GOP owes the other half of the oligarchy allegiance is beyond mind-boggling. I’ve been an Independent since 1983. I’m not dividing any party, as I don’t belong to any party. That’s the whole point of being an Independent….


Toilet Paper Teaches You All You Need To Know About Economics & The Political Parties

    Capitalism: You have a case of toilet paper. You loan one roll to someone in exchange for regularly receiving more rolls from them. Vulture Capitalism: You buy up the world’s supply of toilet paper, and sell off the individual pieces at a steep markup. Free-market Capitalism: You have a roll of toilet paper, which you are free to use as you wish… or you could sell it, if you want to eat. You have total freedom of choice in the matter. Late Stage Capitalism: You have one roll of toilet paper. Some people have none. I have warehouses…


A Stinking Mess: Toilet Paper Wars And The Shithouse Of Capitalism

Looking out for number one, so you can continue to do your number twos in peace. By Simon Spring Common Dreams (3/15/20) The run on toilet paper has brought the failings of capitalism front and center to the bathroom of every house across Australia, a trend that has now spread to other countries. We are witnessing, in real-time and with stunning consequence, the stone-cold fact that markets are an ineffective mediator of resources, prone to the worst vagaries of herd mentality. Perceived impending shortages of toilet paper owing to the spread of COVID-19 set off widespread panic. We might be…


When Socialism Was Tried In America — And Was A Smashing Success

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.” By John Nichols The Nation (4/2/19) If I owned all the real estate in the world, I wouldn’t feel so powerful as I do on the streets of this socialist city,” declared former New York City councilman Baruch Vladeck when he arrived in Milwaukee in 1932 for the Socialist Party’s national convention in that city. Norman Thomas, the famed civil-rights and economic-justice campaigner who became the party’s presidential nominee that year, celebrated the fact that he was chosen for that honor…


Martin Luther King Jr’s (Democratic Socialist) Dream

  Featuring audio clips and quotes from King that will not be featured & celebrated on the evening news or taught in schools. By Michael Moore Rumble (2/20/20) Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy has been sanitized by mainstream American society, erasing his fierce anti-capitalist and anti-war advocacy. Before he was assassinated, King was forcefully denouncing the “three evils” in America — racism, militarism and a corrupt economic system — and arguing that these three evils were all tied together. For this MLK Day episode, Michael Moore shares audio clips and quotes from King that will not be celebrated on the…


Want To Attack “Democratic Socialism” – Bring It On Corporate Socialists!

Taxpayers don’t want our commonwealth being owned by tax-dodging, gouging corporations. By Ralph Nader Common Dreams (2/15/20) Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism. Others are joining the socialist labeling bandwagon, including corporatist right-wing radio talk show blowhards, themselves freeloaders, profitably using the public airwaves. This pack includes Lloyd Blankfein, former lawbreaking chairman of Goldman Sachs. Bernie knows, of course, how to rebut this distorted interpretation…


UW-Green Bay Historian Harvey J. Kaye Warns Dems: Only A Progressive President Can Save America

If Democrats don’t embrace their progressive legacy the party is toast — and so is America. By Chauncey Devega Salon (1/23/20) The Democratic Party has a very difficult choice to make. Will it choose a progressive candidate such as Bernie Sanders as the 2020 presidential nominee, in the hope that his populist vision will vanquish Donald Trump? Or will the Democrats instead choose Joe Biden, a former vice president, a “centrist” and “moderate” who wants to find ways to compromise with Republicans in order to “heal” the nation, and a “calming” presence who symbolizes a return to the supposed state of normalcy that…


A 2020 Reminder: 55% of US Women Between 18 & 54 Would Rather Live Under Socialism Than Capitalism

  By Jon Queally Common Dreams (1/19/20) As Democratic primary voters get ready to head to the polls beginning next month for the first votes of 2020, a reminder was issued Sunday that a majority of voting-age American women between the ages of 18 and 54—and just shy of half the people overall—would prefer living under under an economic system that more closely resembles the democratic socialist Nordic countries compared to the winner-takes-all capitalism that currently dominates in the United States. Not raving Marxists clamoring for a state-run economy or communists calling for the abolition of private property, but the…


Millennials Are Looking To Socialism Because They Want To Make America Great — But For Everyone

How do you know whether you’re a socialist? Could you be one already without knowing it? By Nathan Robinson NBC (1/2/20) The word “socialism” is becoming more and more mainstream. When Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his 2016 presidential bid, only a fringe few dared to use the label. To call yourself a socialist was supposedly a political death sentence. Now, in part thanks to Sanders, many are wearing “socialism” as a badge of pride. Dozens of socialist candidates have won seats all over the country, including two members of Congress, and membership in the Democratic Socialists of America has exploded. According to a 2019…


The Book Corporate Dems Do NOT Want You Reading: Recent History Of Democratic Party Reveals Corrosive Influence Of Corporate Cash, Betrayal Of Workers & The Road To Reform

This is a book of real hope for progressives. In his new book Intercept journalist Ryan Grim lays out what exactly has happened to what used to be known as the party of the working people. Grim shows that when democrats truly stand for progressive ideas and values they win. As Grim documents in this fascinating book, over and over, tired old usual program of Democratic Party Wall Street obsequious corporate ‘centrism’ is the ticket to failure and ruin. If we — and the climate crisis stressed planet — hope to survive, we must wrest back control of the Democratic…


America’s Rich Socialist Tradition Is As American As Apple Pie — Especially In Wisconsin!

  By Nathan Robinson The Guardian (12/10/19) It is often claimed that the United States differs from Europe in that it lacks a socialist tradition. The title question of Werner Sombart’s 1906 book Why Is There No Socialism in the United States? was answered nearly a century later by Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Wolfe Marks’ It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States. It is common to say that socialism “failed” here; this is true insofar as socialists never became a substantial force in American politics. But it overlooks the fact that we did, for a short time, have…


Bernie Sanders Tells Of His Early Vermont Campaigns & Formation Of His Political Principles

  The Daily Podcast / New York Times (12/6/19) Today: Part 2 of our series on pivotal moments in the lives of the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. Michael Barbaro speaks with Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist senator from Vermont. Mr. Sanders reflected on his early schooling in politics and how he galvanized grass-roots support to evolve from outraged outsider to mainstream candidate with little shift in his message. Guest: Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator and candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. We also speak with Alexander Burns, who covers national politics for The New York Times. For more information on…


Cornel West: Now Is Not The Time For Timid Centrism

By Mark L. Taylor The commoner Call (12/5/19) Cornel West is one of the best teachers in America. In this short video he provides a serious assessment of the positive role American socialism has played in national progress and the march to equality. He shows how timid half-measures are exactly the wrong response to moments of challenge and crisis. Given the fevered fascist threat growing in our nation and worldwide, West’s assessment and prescription for political redemption is a serious message to hear, take in and boldly act upon. As West would acknowledge, the ultimate teacher for our moment of…


Poll Sponsored By Anti-Communists Discovers 70% Of US Millennials Ready To Ditch Capitalism For Socialism

Considering the damage the U.S. capitalist system has done to millions of families during their lifetime, wrote Oliver Willis of Shareblue, “I’m surprised the support for socialism isn’t higher.” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (10/28/19) A survey released Monday revealed that 70 percent of U.S. millennials—those between the ages of 23 and 38 in 2019—would support a socialist candidate for president, a result which a number of progressives viewed as an outgrowth of the damage wrought in recent decades by neoliberal capitalism and the ruling corporate order. Among those slightly younger, voters between the ages of 16 and 22, the…



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…


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