Democratic Socialism in America

How It has Failed Everywhere It was Tried; Why the Allure Keeps Bobbing to the Surface

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

The economic fallacy of Socialism and redistribution
The economic fallacy of Socialism and redistribution
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This article was updated on 01/24/21.

Recently there has been a surge in Democratic Socialism in America. Bernie Sanders may have run against Hillary Clinton as a Democrat but in reality he is a self-described Democratic Socialist. He campaigned hard and gained an impressive following who subscribed to his fascination with creating an entitlement society. In the end he was sabotaged by Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

That election and the following one are over. Bernie faded back somewhat but he is a loyal trooper and has done his job for the movement. Not a whimper of complaint about how the DNC through chicanery gave his campaign the boot. Donald Trump won, served his 4 years, and now Joe Biden beat him through more political chicanery, this time at the ballot box.

Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) won the Democratic primary on June 26, 2018 in New York’s 14th congressional district. In doing so she defeated the incumbent, Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley. This victory has been described by some as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm-election season. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and has been endorsed by a number politically progressive organizations.

As of this writing she is the darling of the Democrat party in general. Coming up on mid-terms though, the old hands were realizing that she is a liability. They were torn though because she was energizing the base which to a large extent consisted of low-information millennials who are suckers for the mantra, “free health care, free university, high pay for flipping burgers, more safe spaces.” Many of these individuals, although not all, are more likely to be members or sympathizers of the domestic terrorist organization Antifa rather than productive society which is supposed to pay for their freebies.

AOC and her squad, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the far-left Democrats, the mainstream media, and many large corporations have come together to protest, riot, loot, and take over parts of major cities to produce a cultural shift in America. The COVID-19 pandemic provided the perfect opportunity. The main goal is to topple President Trump in the upcoming 2020 election.

How Can They Make the Give-Away Nanny State Work?

In an interview on “The Daily Show,” with host Trevor Noah, Ocasio-Cortez basically trotted out the tired, boring, unrealistic party lines. “If they pay their fair share; if corporations and the ultra-wealthy, for example as Warren Buffet likes to say, if he pays as much as his secretary paid, a 15% tax rate…”

She then goes on to say, “raise the corporate tax rate to 28%.” I suppose to hell with all the job creation and repatriated corporate cash that the Trump tax cuts have created.

Next she goes after the military budget. She drones on, “Just last year we gave the military a $700 billion budget increase which they didn’t even ask for. They’re like ‘We don’t want another fighter jet; they’re, like, don’t give us another nuclear bomb’. They didn’t even ask for it. And we gave it to them.”

Tell that to the USAF jet mechanic on the flight line patching up jets with “gently used” replacement parts.

This is the very same Ocasio-Cortez that tweeted that the GOP is weak on national security. So come on Alexandria, which is it? We all feel better knowing that under your Socialist party you can achieve strong national security without funding the military. How will that policy ensure our national sovereignty? Sounds a bit like unicorns and rainbows.

Socialism and Communism’s Failures Throughout History

Both Socialism and Communism have failed where ever they were tried; there are subtle differences between the two but for the purpose of this discussion, they have both enslaved vast populations and substituted the family structure for government authority. As Hillary Clinton said, “It takes a village,” referring to child-rearing. Although touted as altruistic economic systems, that has always been smoke and mirrors. Certainly there have been “true believers,” but in the end it has always boiled down to human nature.

The leaders have always become murderous, confiscatory tyrants. The followers have always submitted because of the prospect of benefiting from the labor of others. As our nature, we are for the most part a greedy lot.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

― Margaret Thatcher

  • Plato’s Republic depicted a type of collective society in his dialog, (360 B.C.). This was more of a thought experiment.
  • In 16th-century England, Thomas More’s Utopia drew on Platonic ideals for his , an imaginary island where money has been done away with and people live and work communally.
  • Early socialists such as Henri de Saint-Simon, Robert Owen and Charles Fourier conceptualized their models for social organization that were based on cooperation instead of. This was largely driven by the Industrial Revolution. Saint-Simon promoted a system where the state manages production and distribution of goods for the benefit of all society. Fourier (French) and Owen (British) advocated systems made up of small collective communities rather than a centralized state.
  • Owen had owned and operated textile mills in Lanark, Scotland. He set off to the United States in 1825 to launch an experimental community in New Harmony, Indiana. His doomed commune was based with the expectancy of self-sufficiency, cooperation, and public ownership of property. The experiment was at odds with the American spirit, soon failed, and Owen lost much of his fortune.
  • Over 40 small cooperative agricultural communities were inspired and built per Fourier’s theories across the United States. Only one of these, based in Red Bank, New Jersey, lasted into the 1930s.
  • Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto offered theories that were taken up and slightly modified by various political parties (such as the German Social Democratic Party) and leaders like Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong. Thousands of deaths and acts of brutality ensued.
  • After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the formation of the Soviet Union—social democracy and communism emerged as the two most dominant socialist movements throughout the world.

History of Socialism in America

In the United States Socialism found its beginning with utopian communities in the early 19th century. A good example is the Shakers. Labor activists who were usually British, German, or Jewish immigrants founded the Socialist Labor Party in 1877.

The Socialist Party of America was established in 1901. It is interesting to note that anarchism also established itself around the nation. At this time socialists of different stripes were involved in early American labor organizations and struggles. One thing led to another resulting in the Haymarket affair in Chicago which started International Worker’s Day.

This evolved into the main worker’s holiday around the world except in the US, which observes Labor Day on the first Monday of September.

The Socialist Party of America presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs was opposed to World War I and his influence led to the governmental repression we know as the First Red Scare. The Socialist Party declined in the 1920s, but nonetheless often ran Norman Thomas for President. Fast forward to the 1950s; socialism was affected by McCarthyism and in the 1960s it was revived by the general radicalization brought by the New Left and other social struggles and revolts.

The socialist movement has always had its adherents on our soil but has never been able to sway the majority of the population. For one thing, many hard-working Americans are well informed enough to know that socialism does not work.

Democratic Socialism in America is also hampered by the freedom of citizens to participate in a capitalist system where hard work pays off.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

3 Replies to “Democratic Socialism in America”

  1. That’s a fairly strong condemnation of the lefties but I suppose the facts bear it out. The upcoming elections will be interesting.

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