Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are poster-children for a political idea whose time has come — democratic socialism. But it may not be possible for that idea to flourish in the DNC.
I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Warren. The fact that she stood up to be heard put her on the map. I look forward to voting for her for President, one day.
But if Bernie Sanders did one good thing, it was to make “democratic socialism” into a positive buzzword. The idea of “socialism” isn’t new. But the idea of democratic socialism is. And that’s an idea we need to get behind.
In Where Marx Went Wrong, I point out that Marx correctly identified capitalism’s major flaw — that the actions of individual companies to maximize profits have, in the aggregate, the unintended consequence of destroying the very market they seek to sell into. However, Marx’s solution was to endorse socialism — which as we all know turned into a self-defeating attempt to enforce equality on everyone.
The idea of democratic socialism, however, implies that such changes will not be forced, so much as collectively decided. Done right, it means that government can put restraints on corporations to prevent actions that are ultimately self-defeating. Of course, corporations will chafe under those restrictions. But without them (as we have been finding out ever since corporate money effectively took control of government), only the truly wealthy do well, and everyone else suffers.
So I applaud Bernie’s ideas, and the term he coined to promote them. Unfortunately, he persists in attempting to work within the Democratic party.
What he may or may not realize is that the DNC, once it began accepting large contributions, effectively became just another wing of the Big-$$ party. So the sad fact is that, these days, whether the Democrats or Republicans “win”, it is the Big-$$ party that remains in charge.
The parties have differences in social issues — but there, we are effect deciding whether the deck chairs belong on the left side or the right side, on the economic ship of state known as the Titanic.
Perhaps Bernie will be successful in changing the DNC from within. That would be an effective strategy, especially if accompanied by a voting advice system like the one I recommend. But the problem is that the roots of Big-$$ run very, very deep in that party. I suspect that it would be better to scrap it, and start over.
Of course, he’s unlikely to do that, because decades of experience have taught him that it takes a big organization and a lot of money to win an election. But widespread adoption of a voting advice system would make money irrelevant to the process, and would allow the idea of democratic socialism — and idea whose time has come — to flourish.
Learn more: Organizing a Voting Advice System
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