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Old 03-05-2019, 05:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
and this is an easy story to tell when you have no evidence of anything. tell me how well Left (not liberal) candidates have done in Democratic primaries, let alone a general election. and tell me again how the 19990s and the Obama years were miserable failures in which nothing good happened. there's a lack of understanding, to me, of exactly what kind of country this is, how vast it is, how culturally distinct it is, and how change that comes incrementally is change that lasts -- like the ACA. that's how the Democrats won in 2018.

the razor-think margins of victory in 2000 and 2016 by the GOP demonstrates that the Democrats lose when they don't have an impossibly charismatic candidate and succumb to their narcissism of small differences.

as for "where we are" ... by many, many measures (in fact, most measures), the world is a better place than it was in 1980. of course liberal economic policies aren't perfect. of course we have vast problems. of course we are feeling the effects of those left behind by globalism and it must be addressed. but i find the sweeping statements of MISERABLE FAILURE to be about as compelling as when it's presented by the Right, which is to say not at all.
It was not really the ACA that was the major issue; it was specifically the preexisting condition mandate, which was the only part of the ACA that addressed a specific issue fully. Everything else was "incremental," and all of those parts have been stripped away to varying degrees. Do you think healthcare is good in this country right now? It's a fucking disaster. The number of people dying because they cannot afford healthcare is insane, and to defend it by saying "Welp, better than the 1980s!" is to whitewash a horror show in an offensively flippant manner.

The planet is dying, we have hundreds of thousands of homeless people, we have millions of people in financial peril, a hopelessly broken healthcare system built entirely on enriching investors in pharmaceutical companies, an entire generation boxed out of financial security by skyrocketing costs of living and massive debt ... and did I mention the climate is on pace to kill many of us within our lifetimes?

The progress we have made culturally is significant, of that there is no doubt. But I would think the fascist backlash and mainstreaming of right wing extremist political figures would send the signal that this can all be very temporary. And I think using that as a shield against criticism is extremely naive. Gay marriage can be legal ... so long as it's not preventing someone from refusing to hire a gay person. Racism is outlawed by an amendment ... so long as police officers can view any minority as a threat whenever they want and kill them sight unseen. Roe v. Wade remains ... so long as it's legal for each state to strip funding to the point where it's inaccessible for many of the people who need it most.

I think some of you who are a little bit older fail to understand how significant my generation is diverting from yours. The two most significant events of our formative years were 9/11 and the subsequent forever wars launched thereafter, and the economy cratering and recovering only for those with stock portfolios and the ability to buy real estate.

You continue to map out a blueprint for how to win elections for people who view politics as being the way it was 10-20 years ago, and it may work again in 2020, if you're lucky. But I would not count on it. Creating an entire political movement around just wanting to feel normal again like we did before Donald Trump is where many Democrats are. And that's not a place that's going to help most people.
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:47 PM   #17
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Flippant references to Venezuela are hugely unhelpful in a serious conversation, and more befitting of your generic conservative. It also shows a complete lack of understanding of the current predicament that country is in (+ the various factors affecting it, it's not a 'duh it's socialism that's why' situation by any stretch), and the ongoing American role in it over the last two decades.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:05 PM   #18
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i hated this thread at first but now i love it.
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:59 AM   #19
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(This is going to be long. There is criticism here, but I intend for it to be constructive criticism. My thesis is not that this movement is bad, but rather that while there is much good in it, it needs to be better. I am trying to have a productive conversation, to state my grievances without attacking anyone. I hope it is taken well.)

I have read the whole article(if you haven't - here it is), and found it fascinating. This is an important debate to have, and this article has illustrated, in several ways, why I am weary of fully embracing this movement.

I want to be clear, I support the following things:

Medicare-for-all
Raising the minimum wage
Free public college tuition
Green New Deal(or something like that, maybe scaled down a little)
Quality education as a right for every child
etc

I lay this out as a way of saying that I don't think there's actually that big of an ideological divide between leftists and what you call liberals. I'm not talking about elected officials here, that's something else, I just mean among regular people, I don't think there's that big an ideological divide. I think the bigger divide is a tactical/strategical one.

First, I feel like the personalities and mindsets presented in the article paint a picture of a movement that is dogmatic, exclusive, and unapproachable to outsiders.

Take this this snarky comment said by somebody selling a new dating app:

Quote:
Who wants to slog through a few bad dates only “to find out that someone is a liberal?”
We have already endured decades of the GOP making liberal into a dirty word, now the people who should be our friends on the left are doing the same? You(this is the collective you here) cannot demonize a group and then act all frustrated when they are not in a hurry to join you.

Quote:
For those on the left not enamored of democratic socialism, these trends have been destabilizing. “If you set yourself up to represent the progressive flank of politics and someone says, ‘Actually, you’re a centrist, we are the left,’ it shakes your identity, your career, your influence,”
This resonated with me. It is really frustrating to support all the things I laid out above, for years, and still be told, 'nope, not left enough, you're a centrist' just because I dare suggest that capitalism is not 100% evil and that some things, like medicare-for-all or the green new deal, might need to be done in less than the complete sweeping all-at-once revolutionary fashion the movement wants.

And look at this about the darling of the movement, AOC:

Quote:
Even Ocasio-Cortez, DSA’s proudest export, hasn’t emerged unscathed from the organization’s purity tests. After Senator John McCain died last summer, she had the temerity to say a few nice words about him on Twitter. Twitter, being Twitter, slammed her for it. Not long afterward, she held a closed-door DSA town hall in Queens, where members submitted questions. And she was grilled about the tweet. In December, after George H.W. Bush died, Ocasio-Cortez did not tweet her condolences.
I obviously understand why people on the left would have a problem with these two men, but should tweeting a few nice condolences when they die really be disqualifying?

The purity tests, the making anyone who disagrees with you into the enemy, it just rubs me the wrong way. Operating like that moves the discourse away from critical thinking and towards religious fervor and cultish behavior, and I don't think that's a good thing, no matter the ideology.

Second, I feel as though the movement might have a problem in attracting and/or appealing to the very people it purports to be fighting for. Take this from the article:

Quote:
Ross Barkan, a 29-year-old local political journalist who ran unsuccessfully for State Senate in his native Bay Ridge last fall, told me he aggressively courted DSA’s endorsement as “one of the very few groups anywhere that can put a lot of bodies on the ground.” (DSA declined to endorse anyone.) Still, Barkan says, “DSA can be intimidating for outsiders. If you are not steeped in the vernacular and jargon of the socialist left, if you did not attend college, if you did not take the right classes, you will not know what they are talking about.”

DSA’s closest historical analogue is probably not the century-old socialism of Sanders’s hero Eugene Debs but the New Left of the 1960s and its campus organizing vehicle, Students for a Democratic Society. SDS laid the groundwork for a lot of effective antiwar activism, but the New Left was far from a mass movement and never got close to wielding political power.
“DSA needs to become a genuine working-class organization,” Barkan said. “And it’s not yet. It’s still driven by affluent, college-educated people.”
Like it or not, there is a perception that this movement is one of white, college-educated people(that would be you and me). The talk is always about the working class and the underprivileged, the people struggling to pay the bills, but it seems like the working class wasn't convinced. Look at the 2016 primaries. In South Carolina, Hillary won 'income < 30k' 81-19. In Georgia, it was 73-26. In North Carolina, 55-42. In Ohio, 59-38. In Pennsylvania, 60-40.

The numbers say Bernie could not reach large percentages of the working class. And race? The argument from the movement is always that the rising tide lifts all boats, that helping the working class and the poor is helping minorities. But a lot of you also reject identity politics which means those minorities are going to feel like you're not talking directly to them enough. So while the rising tide thing is true, I think it hasn't been communicated effectively or enough to the minorities in question. Bernie lost the African-American vote to Hillary in the above mentioned states by similar margins.

Further, look at this from the article:

Quote:
Despite the hype around her campaign, Nixon lost the gubernatorial primary to Cuomo by basically the same amount Teachout had four years earlier. Salazar, incredibly, won. But the results weren’t contradictory.
Nixon and Salazar appealed to the same core set of voters: white, college-educated progressives. Proportionally, there were just way more of them in Williamsburg and Bushwick than in the rest of the state. Salazar’s remarkable accomplishment, besides winning as an ethically suspect socialist, was getting so many usually apathetic Brooklynites to turn out. The more awkward aspect of her victory is that she had less success with poorer black and Hispanic voters. The gentrifiers, not the gentrified, carried her.
Another 'socialist' candidate who didn't do great with minorities.

I'm just saying, a Democrat NEEDS those minorities to win the nomination. And you can decry identity politics all you want, but I don't see why it has to be an either-or thing. Why can't we speak to both class and race/gender/orientation. Why can't we walk and chew gum at the same time? Thus far, minorities have not jumped aboard the train at the same rate as caucasians, and that's going to be a problem for getting 'socialists' elected. It needs to be remedied.

Third - you might've noticed I put quotes around the word socialist twice. Words like socialist and socialism are used so much now, but I think we need to be clear about whether we are talking about Democratic Socialism or Social Democracy, because they're not the same thing.

I am sure that a lot of these people genuinely believe in full socialism wherein there is communal or public ownership of means of production. But I also think there's probably a lot of people, particularly younger people, who don't really understand or know the difference. I am more supportive of Social Democracy, i.e. FDR new-deal type stuff, adding socialist-leaning wealth redistribution programs into a capitalist system, and less supportive of Democratic Socialism, because I am highly skeptical of the ability of a democracy to exist in a socialist state. I look at history and I see power vacuums that lead to dictatorships. Of course it would be nice if we could all play nice, have no bosses, divide our income fairly, etc, but it sounds like a fairy tale to me.

I am at least heartened to read this on wikipedia:

Quote:
While ultimately committed to socialism, the DSA focuses their political activities on reforms within capitalism:
"As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people."
I don't know which side of this particular divide you fall on, but I think in order to win, it is important to hammer home at every opportunity that it is social democracy, and not socialism, that is being pushed for.

So those are the three big things that are making me hesitant - the dogmatism and the making of 'liberals' into the enemy, the failure to reach the working poor and minorities(yet), and the zeal in some quarters to do away with capitalism altogether. And I guess all of that falls under the umbrella of just being more inclusive, more inviting movement, because right now it comes off as a combative movement unfriendly to outsiders.

I've read some Jacobin articles, and it's like their favorite thing is to find some mainstream Democrat to write a tear-down piece about. At some point you have to stop tearing everyone down and try to extend a hand instead.

When you see people who are basically in favor of universal healthcare, green energy, serious policy to combat climate change, free public college tuition, etc etc etc, but who are hesitant to buy into the rallying cry of revolution, instead of calling them 'liberals' with a sneer, instead of raging against 'establishment democrats', reach your hand out and be more welcoming, try to build a more inclusive coalition(I'm justing talking amongst the left here, I'm not taking the Cory Booker line of trying to compromise with the GOP, 'cause that's not possible at this point in time), because all politics is ultimately numbers, and ALL of our votes are going to be needed to win.

And yes, I FULLY understand that the Democratic Party has had its share of responsibility for the state we're in and that both parties have had a bias towards people with money for a long time. That is indisputable to anybody who's been paying attention, and it should change. I just don't think the way to do that is to shout down every Democrat who has supported the party over the years and who doesn't automatically and fully buy into the socialist party line right away.

I think the movement is important and I think a lot of the policies it espouses are the right ones, but I think it needs to be more inclusive and inviting to outsiders in order to build a broader and more politically powerful coalition.

Anyway, I've rambled enough. I hope you found this post constructive.
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:17 AM   #20
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The DSA has a lot of problems, and actually a number of people who are referenced/quoted in that article have come out and said they resented the implication they were part of DSA just because they commented on socialism.

The problem we have with Ocasio-Cortez's comments on McCain is a problem with a lot of American leftists have, where they cannot place the events occurring in America into a broader global context. It is a lack of understanding of how America's foreign policy impacts other places, and how the socialist movement must be a global one. Ocasio-Cortez has been doing a horrific job of trying to explain her thoughts on Omar, simply because she can't get to "Omar is correct, and did not do anything wrong." She is trying to bend over backwards to accommodate those arguing in bad faith about the Israel/Palestine divide, who deserve no such benefit of the doubt.

It's the same thing alluded to above by Vlad with the discussion surrounding Venezuela. Even leftists in America fail to reckon with the horrifying global damage American empire has wrought.

But ultimately the problem is that too many Democrats/liberals think capitalism works and just needs better managers. It does not. Capitalism is about profit and hoarding of resources. That is a feature, not a bug. And until we can bridge that divide, this is not going to work.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:14 AM   #21
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AOC and Bernie...

They're quasi-socialistic. They're not "socialists" in the classical sense, demanding that private property is abolished. Their desire for state ownership of industry is relatively minimal by comparison.

Hyper-Keynesian, perhaps, redistributionist, undoubtedly.
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:05 PM   #22
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That’s a rather strict interpretation of socialism.
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:40 PM   #23
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That’s a rather strict interpretation of socialism.
Why settle on a loose one?

Terms are coined to be as precise as possible.
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:48 PM   #24
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Why not do the same with "democracy"

There's plenty of "democratic" elections in history that are rigged and illegitimate. East Germany was called the "German Democratic Republic."

Likewise, the Nazi Party advocated for a "socialism" that fell short of a more orthodox definition.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:35 PM   #25
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Milton Friedman was a government monopoly road socialist next to 2/3 of "socialist" Sweden, which ranks higher on the Economic Freedom Index than the United States.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:35 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Macfistowannabe View Post
Why settle on a loose one?

Terms are coined to be as precise as possible.


No they’re not. Terms are coined for various different reasons, scopes, and goals.

Why settle on a loose one? It’s not “settling.” You’re misinforming people. All Toyotas are cars but not all cars are Toyotas.

Socialism generally criticizes the notion of private property. Generally. There’s no classical sense of *abolishing* private property. For that statement you have to be more specific and use a different term.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:03 PM   #27
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I'd day this is well within the pre-nuanced definition.

Quote:
1:*any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2a:*a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

b:*a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

3:*a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between*capitalism*and*communism*and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:07 PM   #28
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Yeah whatever not worth it.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:22 AM   #29
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I'm not Joe PolySci over here but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that using dictionary definitions to describe political and economic forms or governance probably doesn't capture the whole picture.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:04 AM   #30
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well they did say specifically that AOC and bernie are not socialists "in the classical sense", which is true. they certainly aren't calling for the outright abolition of capitalism.
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