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Bernie is Not a Socialist--He's a Traditional FDR Democrat

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The race for the Democratic nomination for president has very quickly whittled down to two contenders: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vt. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Whether or not Bernie Sanders clinches the nomination, he's going to continue having to withstand being called a "Socialist."

For that matter, even Joe Biden will have to confront it since it has been resurrected as the du-jour Cold War, Red Scare-era epithet against anyone not pledging fealty to Donald Trump.

Yet while Sanders correctly and proudly declares himself a Democratic Socialist, the corporate media only repeats the latter half of the term, thus allowing opponents to equate it with right-wing dictatorships like Venezuela.

The journalistic malfeasance in the failure to differentiate between "Socialism" from "Democratic Socialism", although not surprising, is another tool Trump and the Republican party can use against us.

A "Socialist" is someone who believes in nationalizing private industry, like banks, power plants, businesses, auto factories, clothing manufacturers, and farms.

It's basically the antithesis of a Libertarian, who advocates total privatization of everything from roads, schools, police and fire departments, leaving them under "free-market" control.

Socialism does not mean elimination of private ownership.

That's Communism.

There is still private ownership under Socialist governments.

A "Democratic Socialist," on the other hand, only wants one thing--a fair, equitable society and economy in which all its members' basic needs are met.

As the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) explains:

"Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives."

In a 2018 piece for Jacobin, Neal Meyer explained:

"We want to build a world where everyone has a right to food, healthcare, a good home, an enriching education, and a union job that pays well. We think this kind of economic security is necessary for people to live rich and creative lives and to be truly free."

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)
 

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shad williams

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Why waste time on explaining labels? Spend time on the program policy and action to implement.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2020 at 3:22:18 PM

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Maxwell

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I agree with that. "Bernie-splaining" what a "democratic socialist" is gets lost on the average voter. Same with debates on the left whether he is a "democratic socialist" or "social democrat". On someone who believes socialist = Soviet dictator such nuance is so much wasted breath.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2020 at 5:53:33 PM

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Bob Stuart

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In a sane nation, Bernie would be right in the center of the political spectrum. He's about the minimum I'd have hope for.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2020 at 3:44:23 PM

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Maxwell

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Of course he's a traditional FDR Democrat. If he had billed himself as such from the beginning he'd be a lot better off.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2020 at 5:47:52 PM

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DAVID KANEGIS

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Hi Ted, this is perhaps the best, most succinct case I have seen made for Bernie's form of Socialism. Far better than Bernie himself often expresses.

I wish you would make this into a small brochure.

I have written many articles extolling Bernie's virtues and you have probably covered them all in this one article.

Interestingly enough, in my last article I referred to the Socialism aspect of our capitalistic Democratic, Socialism based society as being the humane aspect. Very similar to your comment.

Thanks for such a great article.

Dave Kanegis

Submitted on Friday, Mar 13, 2020 at 4:46:21 AM

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