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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/2/20

Why is "democratic socialism" a dirty word?

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Socialsm vs. Democratic Socialism - not the same thing
Socialsm vs. Democratic Socialism - not the same thing
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Why is "democratic socialism" such a dirty word? Why do people think "fascism" or "communism," when they hear the word "socialism"? Often these misconceptions have been enhanced by those trying to turn the word into a weapon to advance their own nefarious purposes.

Bernie Sanders says, "We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights. That is what I mean by democratic socialism."

Standard socialism may sacrifice individualism and freedoms, but democratic socialism aims to instill human values into a democracy.

There, that wasn't so bad, was it?

 

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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8 people are discussing this page, with 16 comments


Don Smith

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Paul Krugman, Noam Chomsky, Cornel West and others say Bernie is a social democrat, not a democratic socialist. Why risk confusion and set himself up as a target? Democratic socialism IS a form of socialism.
Bernie Sanders, please stop calling yourself a socialist. You're a social democrat!

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 5:40:59 AM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

In my research I found several conflicting definitions for the same terms"so that's part of the point, that it is incumbent upon citizens to do some research ;-)

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 7:14:24 PM

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Maxwell

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At this point I don't know how he fights the misconception that if he wins, anyone who disagrees with him will be sent to the Gulag. Nuanced discussions about "social democrat" versus "democratic socialist" won't do it. Obama was deemed a "socialist" for proposing a slightly more progressive/less regressive tax structure. By Joe the Plumber, who rose to become a Faux Noise pundit. We're in for some ugly and extremely dishonest campaigning.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 2:00:41 PM

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911TRUTH

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It's only a dirty word to RepubliCONS and RepubliCRATS.

To working people, it's what we desperately need.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 4:06:43 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to 911TRUTH:   New Content

It's certainly a step in the right direction from where we are, thanks for your comment!

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 7:13:30 PM

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Larry Robinson

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It matters not whether you call it Democratic Socialism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, or Democracy. They are all variations of the tyranny of the majority utilizing forced Statist Collectivism to subjugate the sovereignty of the individual and the natural rights of the individual.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 6:42:55 PM

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Harold Novikoff

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Nice try, Meryl Ann, but it is not that simple. Words have certain stigma associated with them. You have distinguished socialism and democratic socialism, implying and supporting the association of socialism with Stalin"s communism. There is good and bad socialism.The Scandinavian countries represent a good form of socialism in their cooperative influenced government. Actually, there is even good communism in historical examples of communal living. There is good, bad, and fake democracy. Dictatorships that use "democratic" in the names of their countries are fake democracies. Countries like ours that have fraudulent and money-influenced elections are examples of bad democracy. I don't know examples of really good democracies other than the Scandinavian "socialist" countries.

It would be best not to categorize Bernie's policies by attaching a political label to them rather than evaluating them on their merit.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 6:49:52 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Harold Novikoff:   New Content

This is about Bernie attaching that label to himself, so you might want to take that up with him ;-)

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 7:11:47 PM

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Harold Novikoff

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Reply to Meryl Ann Butler:   New Content

Good reply, but maybe you have more influence with him than me.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020 at 5:47:00 PM

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I'm not sure what to say about Sanders in this regard, but it seems pointless to insist that his self-description is wrong. Saying "democratic socialism aims to instill human values into a democracy" implies that it's a good thing, although it doesn't offer any justification for that description. It also sidesteps the question of how democracy can exist without human values. After all, at its core, the definition of democracy is government by the people (whose values are obviously those of humans). Are we in code word territory?

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 7:00:52 PM

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Nels Wight

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Keep up the good work/word, M.A.B.. You're a treasure better

than all the gold.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 9:42:07 PM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Nels Wight:   New Content

Aw, thanks, Nels! ;-)

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020 at 3:45:29 AM

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Man, you likely speak Mega veracity.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 2, 2020 at 9:46:06 PM

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Don Smith

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I strongly disagree. Democratic socialism is a form of socialism. But the fact of the matter is, Bernie isn't a socialist, not even a democratic socialist. He's just a social democrat, and he's making a HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE mistake by calling himself a democratic socialist.

One might argue that the definition of "democratic socialism" isn't set in stone. Maybe. But why try to use such a loaded word if what you really mean is social democracy: FDR liberalism, aka the Nordic model?

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020 at 2:22:53 AM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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Reply to Don Smith:   New Content

I agree that using different language would be to Bernie's benefit, for sure, but so far he hasn't taken my advice ;-)

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020 at 3:44:50 AM

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Don Smith

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Reply to Meryl Ann Butler:   New Content

Are you actually in communication with him? I've been trying to reach him, via various people. Paul Krugman is trying to reach him! He was in an interview recently with Democracy Now in which he was lamenting the fact that Bernie calls himself a socialist unnecessarily.

Yes, when some people say "democratic socialism" they mean "social democracy" or "FDR liberalism." But why shoot yourself in the foot? It's handing ammo to the Repugs and mainstream Dems. Bernie should at LEAST explain the issue clearly and clarify that he is not against capitalism completely. He just wants it regulated, taxed, and balanced by a good social safety net. I presume!

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020 at 5:11:45 AM

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