American Socialist Tradition

Share Our Nation’s Collective Wealth With All Citizens? Hell, Yeah! Let’s Start Now – Here’s How

  By Sam Pizzigati OurFuture.org (10/2/18) By In the United States, back during the Great Depression, three simple words animated a grassroots upsurge that would help make this nation the world’s first mass middle-class society: Share the wealth! And the nation did. By the end of the 1960s, the top one percent’s share of America’s national income had dropped by more than half. The bottom 90 percent share, meanwhile, had jumped from half the nation’s total income to over two-thirds. Redistribution — via the tax code — drove this dramatic egalitarian shift, as high incomes faced high tax rates throughout the middle decades of…

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History They Don’t Want You Know: How Depression Era Co-Ops Built A Healthy Alternative Economic Model

Public domain photo. The idea of a genuine economy shorn of Wall Street contrivance touched a chord.  By Jonathan Rowe Yes! Magazine (9/14/18) he mood at kitchen tables in California in the early 1930s was as bleak as it was elsewhere in the United States. Factories were closed. More than a quarter of the breadwinners in the state were out of work. There were no federal or state relief programs, nothing but some local charity—in Los Angeles County, a family of four got about 50 cents a day, and only 1 in 10 got even that. Not long before, America…


A Labor Day Reminder From American Socialist Icon Eugene Debs

“The capitalist who does no useful work has the economic power to take from a thousand or ten thousand working men all they produce, over and above what is required to keep them in working and producing order, and he becomes a millionaire, perhaps a multi-millionaire. He lives in a palace in which there is music and singing and dancing and the luxuries of all climes. He sails the high seas in his private yacht. He is the reputed “captain of industry” who privately owns a social utility, has great economic power, and commands the political power of the nation…


DNC Dems Are Plagued With Democratic Socialism Derangement Syndrome

By Kate Aronoff & Miles Kampf-Lassin NBC (8/16/18) After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory in New York earlier this summer, pundits warned of a socialist takeover. The front page of the New York Post put the city on “Red Alert,” cheekily depicting the likely incoming congresswoman in bright red lipstick. Following the primary elections on August 7 — where leftist challengers Abdul El-Sayed and Kaniela Ing lost their bids — just as many outlets declared socialism dead on arrival. Then on August 14, a string of progressive insurgents — including Ilhan Omar, Jahana Hayes, Randy Bryce and Christine Hallquist — clinched victories, leading to a…


Socialism On The Rise As Americans Seek Out Bold, Humane Alternatives To The Failed Brutality Of Trump & Capitalism

If you want to learn about the central role of socialism in American history then read this book! By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (7/31/18) The thousands of democratic socialists in the United States who have been organizing and fighting for justice in political obscurity for years likely never thought their ideas would be the subject of heated debates on prominent talk-shows like “The View” or feature pieces in such establishment mainstays as PBS and NPR. But—driven in large part by the persistent popularity of Bernie Sanders’ brand of politics and the recent landslide victory of self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s congressional primary—the past several weeks have…


What Socialists Wanted & Brought To Milwaukee In The Early 20th Century

  “Yes, we wanted sewers in the workers’ homes; but we wanted much more, oh, so ever much more than sewers. We wanted our workers to have pure air; we wanted them to have sunshine; we wanted planned homes; we wanted living wages; we wanted recreation for young and old; we wanted vocational education; we wanted a chance for every human being to be strong and live a life of happiness. And, we wanted everything that was necessary to give them that; playgrounds, parks, lakes, beaches, clean creeks and rivers, swimming and wading pools, social centers, reading rooms, clean fun,…


Time For Boomers To Let Go Of Their Old Brain Baggage: Socialism Is Good Now

  By Zach Carter The HuffPost (7/29/18) It’s a shame that Merwin K. Hart’s life has drifted into obscurity, because in his prime he was a real dazzler, one of the brightest stars from the Golden Age of American Paranoia. In the 1940s and 1950s, Hart ran an organization called The National Economic Council. Neither a government agency nor a laboratory for research, the NEC served as a propaganda funnel for the anxieties of the postwar corporate elite. Men of fortune, like the du Ponts (chemical magnates) and the Pews (of Charitable Trust fanfare) would turn over large sums of…


Russia Monitor: Lot’s Of Smoke. Lots Of Lies. And A Expanding Russpublican Complicity

  “Donald Trump says it’s okay for him to lie since “people agree with me.”” — Donald Trump on ABC News 2016   By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (7/30/18) Dear Fellow Readers, The last two editions of the Russia Monitor covered Putin’s assurance that he did interfere in the U.S. election for the benefit of Trump: Trump Colluded With Putin & Russia To Help Him Get Elected. We now have Trump lawyer Michael Cohen saying Trump had advance knowledge of Donnie Jr.’s meeting with Russians to get ‘dirt’ on Hillary: Cohen Claims Trump Knew In Advance Of 2016 Trump Tower Meeting. “Michael…


Hey, Dems, If You Want To Win: Progressives Are The New Silent Majority

  By Theo Anderson in These Times (1/17/17) Something remarkable has happened over the past few years: A new silent majority has emerged, decades after Richard Nixon made that phrase famous. Nixon meant the people whose values were, he said, dominant in American culture, but underrepresented in American politics. Calling them the silent majority was a way of channeling the white backlash against the civil rights movement. The new silent majority is defined by the broad consensus that has emerged in the United States around progressive policies. This consensus isn’t widely reported. In fact, it’s obscured by the oft-repeated idea…


INTERVIEW: Bernie Sanders On Labor’s Future & Why Democratic Socialists Keep Winning

  By Miles Kampf-Lassin In These Times (7/17/18) WHEN I ASK BERNIE SANDERS ABOUT THE SURGE OF TEACHERS’ STRIKES that swept the country earlier this year, he perks up, applauding the teachers’ display of working-class power. “The teachers may be the tip of the spear here,” he declares in his heavy Brooklyn accent. In many ways, the strikes illustrate Sanders’ theory of political change. He has long insisted that the key to moving the country in a more progressive direction is to make ambitious demands and build movements capable of achieving them. Striking teachers in states from West Virginia to Arizona…



Rattled Republicans Are Terrified Of What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Started

  By Jay Willis GQ (7/2/18) It took the right-wing pundit class all of four days to decide how it planned to attack Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Bronx native who won her New York City congressional district’s Democratic primary on the strength of some really, really good policy ideas. Their chosen approach, however, might be characterized as a novel one. You should know, says this basic-cable talking head, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—and this is a Certified Politics Bombshell, so please make sure you’re in a place where you can audibly gasp—grew up in a house. Oftentimes, the surest sign of a viable political…


The Biggest Lesson From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Win? Run On Democratic Socialism.

The energy in the party lies squarely with its left wing.  By Miles Kampf-Lassin In These Times (6/28/18) On Tuesday morning, just hours after unseating one of the most powerful Democrats in U.S. Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in which she offered a succinct, yet compelling, rundown of her insurgent campaign’s “laser-focused” message: “Economic, social and racial dignity for working-class Americans, especially those in Queens and the Bronx. We were very clear about our message, we were very clear about our priorities and very clear about the fact that, even if you’ve never voted before, we are…


A Commoner Writes: What Wisconsin’s ‘Sewer Socialists’ Wanted Sounds Good Today

  Emil Seidel, a pattern maker by trade, was elected Mayor of Milwaukee in 1910 in a landslide in an election which gave the Democratic Socialists a majority of seats in the Milwaukee Common Council. John Nichols’, in his book “The “S” Word”, quotes Seidel “explaining the point of socialist rule in human terms”: “Some eastern smarties called ours a Sewer Socialism. Yes, we wanted sewers in the workers’ homes; but we wanted much, oh, so very much more than sewers.  “We wanted our workers to have pure air; we wanted them to have sunshine; we wanted planned homes; we…


This Country Was Born In Incivility. Simply Being ‘Civil’ Won’t Save It Now

Neither will burying the truth under false equivalences between bad words and racism. By Charles P. Pierce Esquire (6/21/18) I was saying to a friend on Wednesday night that what was sustaining me in this time of trouble and woe was reading the works of my favorite uncivil Americans—Tom Paine, Mercy Otis Warren, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, late-period Mark Twain, a touch of Mencken here and there. Thus, I was able to read this incredible pile of piffle in The New York Times with comparative equanimity, which is to say without lighting my laptop on fire. Mr. Trump’s coarse discourse increasingly seems to…


The Denver Democratic Party Platform Now Has An Anti-Capitalist Plank, Thanks to Socialist Activists

By Miles Kampf-Lassin In These Times (3/28/18) In a sign of how far left the political axis has shifted since Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run, on Saturday the Democratic Party of Denver officially ratified an anti-capitalist plank in its platform. The move was spurred by members of the Denver chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) who petitioned Denver County Democratic Assembly delegates to vote for an amendment to the official party platform. The language states: “We believe the economy should be democratically owned and controlled in order to serve the needs of the many, not to make profits…


Behind The Growing Interest By American Teens In Socialism

  By Rebecca Stoner In These Times (2/14/18) TAMPA, FLA.—In a fluorescent lit classroom with handmade posters covering one wall, approximately 15 high school students are chanting the words of black revolutionary Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and we must support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” With some embarrassed giggling, they recite it once, twice, three times, led by their visiting speaker, Pamela Gomez of the Hillsborough Community Protection Coalition, an alliance of local progressive groups. These students…


Time To Wrench The Power & Our Money Back From The Billionaires

  By Bernie Sanders The Guardian (1/14/18) Here is where we are as a planet in 2018: after all of the wars, revolutions and international summits of the past 100 years, we live in a world where a tiny handful of incredibly wealthy individuals exercise disproportionate levels of control over the economic and political life of the global community. Difficult as it is to comprehend, the fact is that the six richest people on Earth now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – 3.7 billion people. Further, the top 1% now have more money than the bottom 99%. Meanwhile,…


Virginia’s New Socialist Lawmaker Calls Out Noodle Spine Dem Governor-Elect On Health Care

  By Zaid Jilani The Intercept (12/23/17) DEMOCRATS IN VIRGINIA and around the country rebuked Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam for softening on a campaign promise to push for Medicaid expansion in a recent interview with the Washington Post. Newly elected state Delegate Lee Carter, a Democratic Socialist, says enough is enough, warning that Northam may be alienating the Democrats who put him in office. Northam told the Washington Post last weekend that he will not try to force a vote on expanding Medicaid — an issue that was central to his campaign — in the legislature. Responding to criticisms, the governor-elect’s spokesperson told the Washington Post that Northam still wants to expand the…


The Public Bank Option – Safer, Local & Half The Cost

Note: Phil Murphy, a former banker newly elected as New Jersey Governor, has made a state-owned bank a centerpiece of his platform. With his win on November 7, the nation’s second state-owned bank in a century could follow. By Ellen Brown Web of DebtBlog (11/4/17) A UK study published on October 27, 2017 reported that the majority of politicians do not know where money comes from. According to City A.M. (London) : “More than three-quarters of the MPs surveyed incorrectly believed that only the government has the ability to create new money. . . . “The Bank of England has previously intervened to point…


The Humane & Affordable Luxury Of Socialized Medicine

  By Megan Day Jacobin Magazine The standard case for a single-payer health insurance system is pretty well known. Anyone can get care without courting financial ruin. Monumental personal decisions, like when to have a child or whether to leave or take a job, no longer hinge on the whims of an employer or the dysfunctions of the private insurance market. Surprise hospital bills, endless phone calls with insurance companies, juggling premiums, copays, and deductibles — all will be things of the past. The case against single-payer often boils down to a single word: rationing. When critics peddle scare stories about Canadian or…


In Case They Are Interested: Socialists Just Showed The Democratic Party How To Win Across The US

  By Miles Kampf-Lassin In These Times (11/9/17) One year ago, a wave of disbelief, gloom and rage washed across the country. A vile orange manifestation of America’s darkest id had won the presidency, Republicans held control of all three branches of government, and new nightmares awaited. Trump is still president, the GOP still has the House and Senate, and every day we witness new threats to the environment, the social safety net and—with an incoherent man-child’s hands on the nuclear football—the very future of humanity. But last night we saw a very different kind of wave, one that moves us…


How A Democratic Socialist Led An Upset Over Major Republican Power Broker In Virginia

  By Megan Dean Jacobin (11/10/17) n Tuesday, democratic socialist Lee Carter unseated Jackson Miller, the Republican majority whip of Virginia’s House of Delegates. Buoyed by the enthusiasm around the Bernie Sanders campaign and backed by the Washington DC chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, Carter successfully campaigned on single-payer health care, getting money out of politics, and putting the interests of working-class Virginians above those of big donors. Running in Virginia’s 50th district, which includes the city of Manassas, Carter won with a nine-point spread, 54 to 46 percent. His Republican opponents distributed red-baiting mailers comparing him to Stalin, and the state’s Democratic…


History Dem Party Rulers Don’t Want You To Know: Today’s Progressives Need To Know The Courage Of Visionary Henry A. Wallace

  “The greatest remedy for fear is to stand up and fight for your rights.”  – Henry A. Wallace By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/26/17) In one of the most tragic pivot points in American – and world – history, Henry A. Wallace, FDR’s strong and visionary progressive vice president from 1941-1944 was elbowed aside in 1948 by the party’s corporate wing in favor of machine pol Harry S. Truman. What the democratic party Clinton/Obama establishment did to Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election was a replay of the nightmarish duplicity and mugged dreams and betrayed promise of 1948….


‘Medicare for all’ Would Be A Lot Cheaper Than You Might Think

  By Gerald Friedman The Conversation (9/19 Public support for single-payer health care has been rising in recent months amid failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. That’s perhaps why Sen. Bernie Sanders on September 13 introduced a new version of his single-payer plan with the support of 16 Democratic colleagues, a sharp rise from 2013 when none signed on to a similar proposal. It would not only expand Medicare to all Americans but make it more comprehensive by covering more services like mental health, dental care and vision, all without copayments or deductibles. But Sanders’s plan would come at a steep price: likely more than…


Bernie Releases Blueprint For GOP Demise

    By Scott Galindez Reader Supporter News (9/5/17) “If there was ever a time in history for a generation to be bold and to think big, to stand up and to fight back, now is that time.”  – Bernie Sanders   That statement is on the inside cover of Bernie Sanders’ new book, “Guide to a Political Revolution.” Bernie dedicates the book to the younger generation: “You are in many ways the most progressive generation in the history of our country. You have opposed racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and oligarchy. You understand that greed and the grotesque level of…


1945 Short Film ‘The House I Live In’ Celebrated A Time When The US Aspired To Be Better Than It Was

  By Mark L Taylor The Commoner Call (8/14/17) Unlike now, in the years immediately following WW II the government and Hollywood would speak out forcefully in the popular media against (some) forms of racism and prejudice. Following the war homegrown American fascists were pushing a lot of anti-Semitism. In the 1945 award-winning short film  The House I Live In Frank Sinatra was featured as the main character intervening with a gang of kids bullying a Jewish boy. The film featured the song The House I Live In which was written by black-listed writer Abel Meeropol who wrote the lyrics…


Why The Democratic Socialists Of America Are Experiencing A Boom

By Douglas Williams The Guardian (8/12/17) For the Democratic Socialists of America, there has been a silver-lining in this dark year dominated by Trump. Thanks to a post-election membership boom, the organization is now 25,000 people strong. The DSA has become the largest socialist organization since the heyday of Eugene Debs and the Socialist Party of America at the turn of the 20th century. Most of the new members of the organization have been young people, whose affinity for socialist ideas – or at the very least a rejection of capitalism – has been growing in recent years as the…


“For the Many, Not the Few:” Yoo-Hoo, Dems! Labour Party Gains In Britain Highlight Political Viability Of Socialism

TheCommonerCall.org   By Ben Dangl CounterPunch (6/13/17) British Prime Minister Theresa May recently called for snap elections to take place on June 8th an in effort to win a more powerful mandate for her Conservative Party ahead of Brexit negotiations. However, May’s plan backfired as the Conservatives lost their majority of seats in the vote. Now no party holds an outright majority in Parliament. While the Conservative Party lost seats, the Labour Party led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn won an additional 24 percent of seats and its largest share of votes since 2005. These gains by the Labour Party underscore…


The UK Elections: How The Democrats Should Learn To Stop Worrying & Love Socialism

  By Kate Aronoff In These Times (6/9/17) Here is a brief and wholly incomplete list of things included in the manifesto that Britain’s Labour Party ran on to rip the Tories’ overall Parliamentary majority out from under them: Nationalize the British rail system; Bring electric utilities under public ownership; Make corporations and the rich pay more in taxes; Ban fracking; Abolish tuition fees; Transition to using 60 percent low-carbon fuels by 2030. This list goes on, and includes several more proposals that have long been considered third rail issues for American politicians afraid of offending both their donors and…


Corbyn’s Surprise Showing Offers Blueprint For Our Party, Say Left-Leaning Democrats

  By Adam Gabbatt The Guardian (6/10/17) Progressive politicians in the US have hailed Jeremy Corbyn’s performance in the British general election “an inspiration” that could shift the Democratic party to the left in the run-up to the 2018 midterms. Bernie Sanders was among those to praise Labour’s result, saying it showed “people are rising up against austerity and massive levels of income and wealth inequality,” while left-leaning members of Congress said the victory would have major implications for the future of Democrats. The Labour party, running on a leftwing platform, gained 32 seats in Thursday’s election as the Conservatives…


Worker Notes: The Benefits Of European Unions Have A Seat In Corporate Board Rooms Are Many

  A different type of union. A different kind of life. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (6/12/17) Many of the chronic problems we now see with the American union movement can be tracked back to the history of European craft guilds and the relationships of masters to apprentices. The constricting effect of one–to–one instruction, portioned out slowly over time to fit market demand and prevent competition between master and apprentice was one cause for the fractured condition of Labor today. The transition to modern American trade unions followed the idea of organizing around skills instead of by entire industries,…


While The Poor Lose Basic Benefits Upper Middle Class Whites Benefit From ‘White Socialism’

  By Chris Ladd Forbes (3/13/17) Election 2016 has prompted a wave of head-scratching on the left. Counties Trump won by staggering margins will be among the hardest hit by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Millions of white voters who supported Donald Trump stand to lose their access to health coverage because of their vote. Individual profiles of Trump voters feed this baffling narrative. A Washington Post story described the experience of Clyde Graham, a long-unemployed coal worker who depends on the ACA for access to health care. He voted for Trump knowing it might cost him his health…


Gee, Thanks! Insurance Companies Just Made The Case For Medicare For All!

By Daniel Marans The Huffington Post (3/9/17) America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade group for commercial health insurance companies, published an infographic this month breaking down how the industry spends every dollar it receives in premiums. The group apparently crafted the visual aid to defend rising premiums its member companies are charging customers. But the chart also inadvertently helps explain why commercial health insurance is a bad deal. The graphic shows that about 80 percent of every premium dollar goes toward medical expenses ― prescription drugs, doctor visits, hospitalization and other services. Approximately 18 percent goes to administrative costs, and some 3…