American Socialist Tradition

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…

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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…


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…


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….