RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Sawant writes: "In this system the market is God, and everything is sacrificed on the altar of profit. Capitalism has failed the 99%."

Sawant ran a grassroots campaign and said she ignored warnings that she had no chance of winning without corporate money or Democratic endorsement. (photo: Ted S. Warren/AP)
Sawant ran a grassroots campaign and said she ignored warnings that she had no chance of winning without corporate money or Democratic endorsement. (photo: Ted S. Warren/AP)


I Wear the Badge of Socialist With Honor

By Kshama Sawant, Vote Sawant

10 January 14

 

y brothers and sisters,

Thank you for your presence here today.

This city has made glittering fortunes for the super wealthy and for the major corporations that dominate Seattle's landscape. At the same time, the lives of working people, the unemployed and the poor grow more difficult by the day. The cost of housing skyrockets, and education and healthcare become inaccessible.

This is not unique to Seattle. Shamefully, in this, the richest country in human history, fifty million of our people - one in six - live in poverty. Around the world, billions do not have access to clean water and basic sanitation and children die every day from malnutrition.

This is the reality of international capitalism. This is the product of the gigantic casino of speculation created by the highway robbers on Wall Street. In this system the market is God, and everything is sacrificed on the altar of profit. Capitalism has failed the 99%.

Despite recent talk of economic growth, it has only been a recovery for the richest 1%, while the rest of us are falling ever farther behind.

In our country, Democratic and Republican politicians alike primarily serve the interests of big business. A completely dysfunctional Congress DOES manage to agree on one thing - regular increases in their already bloated salaries - yet at the same time allows the federal minimum wage to stagnate and fall farther and farther behind inflation. We have the obscene spectacle of the average corporate CEO getting seven thousand dollars an hour, while the lowest-paid workers are called presumptuous in their demand for just fifteen.

To begin to change all of this, we need organized mass movements of workers and young people, relying on their own independent strength. That is how we won unions, civil rights and LGBTQ rights.

Again, throughout the length and breadth of this land, working people are mobilizing for a decent and dignified life for themselves and their children. Look at the fast food workers movement, the campaigns of Walmart workers, and the heroic activism to stop the Keystone XL pipeline!

Right here in SeaTac, we have just witnessed the tremendous and victorious campaign for fifteen dollars an hour. At the same time, in Lorain County, Ohio, twenty-four candidates ran, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as 'Independent Labor' and were elected to their City Councils.

I will do my utmost to represent the disenfranchised and the excluded, the poor and the oppressed - by fighting for a $15/hour minimum wage, affordable housing, and taxing the super-rich for a massive expansion of public transit and education. But my voice will be heard by those in power only if workers themselves shout their demands from the rooftops and organize en masse.

My colleagues and I in Socialist Alternative will stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who want to fight for a better world. But working people need a new political party, a mass organization of the working class, run by - and accountable to - themselves. A party that will struggle and campaign in their interest, and that will boldly advocate for alternatives to this crisis-ridden system.

Here in Seattle, political pundits are asking about me: will she compromise? Can she work with others? Of course, I will meet and discuss with representatives of the establishment. But when I do, I will bring the needs and aspirations of working-class people to every table I sit at, no matter who is seated across from me. And let me make one thing absolutely clear: There will be no backroom deals with corporations or their political servants. There will be no rotten sell-out of the people I represent.

I wear the badge of socialist with honor. To the nearly hundred thousand who voted for me, and to the hundreds of you who worked tirelessly on our campaign, I thank you. Let us continue.

The election of a socialist to the Council of a major city in the heartland of global capitalism has made waves around the world. We know because we have received messages of support from Europe, Latin America, Africa and from Asia. Those struggling for change have told us they have been inspired by our victory.

To all those prepared to resist the agenda of big business - in Seattle and nationwide - I appeal to you: get organized. Join with us in building a mass movement for economic and social justice, for democratic socialist change, whereby the resources of society can be harnessed, not for the greed of a small minority, but for the benefit of all people. Solidarity.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
-101 # Rain17 2014-01-10 17:48
Good luck trying to sell that outside of Seattle in many parts of the country, where large numbers of Americans simply don't support that agenda. "Socialism" is not viable in America, nor will it ever be. Running against "capitalism" is a guaranteed loser outside of places like Berkeley, San Fransico, Boulder, Ann Arbor, Madison, Amherst, Cambridge, other college towns I can't think off of the top of my head, Greenwich Village, and parts of Manhattan.
 
 
+115 # peterjkraus 2014-01-10 18:12
You´re wrong. Not only in the cities you name, cities with a large percentage of monetary and intellectual elites, but also in small towns and big cities have people learned to take a real look at Socialism -- and they see a human face where the Capitalists have only lied about Socialism´s inhumane creed. Too many of us have lived Capitalism and been deprived of liberty, of a chance at a better life for ourselves and our children, even of food and shelter.

Keep your pessimism. You´re entitled to it. I know there´s a better tomorrow. One without the ravages of capitalist greed.
 
 
+76 # Vardoz 2014-01-10 19:11
Socialism for all! Not just those at the top!
 
 
+34 # hillwright 2014-01-10 21:55
Many of the leading Socialists of the US have been from the Midwest and rural communities. Eugene Debs comes to mind. La Follett and many more that would take too long to name.
 
 
-20 # Rain17 2014-01-11 00:55
And they were around 100 years ago. Those communities in the Midwest, especially in the line of states from Oklahoma up to North Dakota, are now conservative.
 
 
+22 # ericlipps 2014-01-11 07:03
Quoting Rain17:
And they were around 100 years ago. Those communities in the Midwest, especially in the line of states from Oklahoma up to North Dakota, are now conservative.

They're conservative until things go sour, as they have been doing for years. Then "You're on your own, buddy; if you starve in the street, it's your own fault" doesn't sell so well even there.
 
 
+1 # Rain17 2014-01-12 13:50
Well we just went through a very bad recession and it looks OK is as bloody as red as it was before it hit.
 
 
+1 # RLF 2014-01-14 06:54
Everyone is giving you a thumbs down just for telling the truth...that's silly. We can't change anything by pretending people. Look at Wisconsin, for instance. Travel out of your liberal confines and you will find an america firmly in the grasp of corporate media, although I will admit to some smoke signals that change may be in the offing, I'm not holding my breath. When people get screwed by the 1% they can get pissed off and fall left or right...and right now they are going right.
 
 
+29 # Working Class 2014-01-11 13:25
Yes and North Dakota has a state run public bank, the Bank of North Dakota (BND). Rather than send state tax receipts to the capitalist on Wall Street BND holds and uses the money in the interest of its citizens - dirty commies.
 
 
+7 # tabonsell 2014-01-11 15:12
And that part of the nation is suffering with weak economies and substandard living conditions for many.

While the cities you name in an above post are virtual paradises compared to the most-conservati ve outposts like Alabama and Mississippi.
 
 
0 # Rain17 2014-01-12 15:50
That doesn't change the point that voters in AL and MS unlikely to support the agenda Sawant supports. And you have to appeal to Americans in other parts of the country besides the dark blue precincts of Seattle.
 
 
+7 # anarchteacher 2014-01-12 02:03
Rain 17 is absolutely historically correct.

Today Oklahoma is the "Reddest of the Red States," but the rank-and file contemporary "Red State" Republican knows little of the state's earlier history.

These days, rural Oklahoma is the last place anybody would look for leftist revolutionaries , but in 1917 the area exploded into full-blown insurrection.

The state’s tenant farmers, many of whom were Socialist Party members, viewed the Great War in Europe as a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight”. When the federal government enacted a draft, an uprising called the Green Corn Rebellion saw local townspeople skirmishing with rebellious farmers, including whites, blacks, and American Indians.

More than 250 men were arrested, some sentenced for up to ten years imprisonment.

I teach Oklahoma History in high school and refer you to the following authoritative books on these subjects:

Garin Burbank, When Farmers Voted Red: The Gospel of Socialism in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1910-1924;

Jim Bissett, Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920;

Davis D. Joyce, An Oklahoma I Had Never Seen Before: Alternative Views of Oklahoma History; and Alternative Oklahoma: Contrarian Views of the Sooner State;

Nigel Sellars, Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma, 1905-1930.
 
 
-9 # Rain17 2014-01-11 00:54
I'm sorry, but capitalism isn't going away anytime soon. I do agree that the minimum wage will rise and there will be more progressive taxation, but the US isn't going to get rid of capitalism either.
 
 
+15 # David Starr 2014-01-11 12:15
@Rain17: Being an epoch, capitalism will not disappear immediately, but socialist rule should be implemented to monitor, regulate and domesticate capitalism permanently.

Given the Bill of Rights, socialism is possible in the U.S. It'as a matter of going from here to there.
 
 
0 # Rain17 2014-01-11 19:01
We should vigorously regulate capitalism; but socialism, as envisioned by some here at RSN, is electorally dead on arrival.
 
 
+5 # David Starr 2014-01-12 12:20
@Rain17: It isn't the end of history. I wouldn't write an epitaph for socialism just yet.

And given U.S. elections, socialism hasn't had a chance because of ideological reasons. U.S. leaders hate and fear socialism, and so the odds are stacked from the beginning.

But the U.S. electoral system is broken and virtually an auction for the rich. Nothing could penetrate that except for relentless struggle; the latter is utterly necessary.
 
 
0 # Rain17 2014-01-12 16:24
I'm not writing an "epitaph for socialism" but am being brutally realistic that it, as envisioned by the RSN community, is likely electorally dead on arrival in most parts of this country.
 
 
+3 # David Starr 2014-01-13 10:08
@Rain17: While,for now anyway, there's a snowball's chance in hell that socialism will be implemented through elections, there may be exceptions, which in itself is progress in tiny steps, as compared to just "standing around." Well, there is Bernie Sanders and now Kshama Sawant, overall, which I know isn't saying much. It's still worth supporting, but without harboring any illusions about the U.S. electoral system. I guess I'm accentuating the positive.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 07:56
Do you know what minimum wage is? Wage is a price and human labor is a product. Labor can be physical, skilled, mental or a combination. Not all labor is equal. But minimum wage sets inferior labor on a par with superior labor. The uneducated person can do nothing to improve their skills and still accumulate a living they have not earned. This kills the incentive to learn and practice.

The employer is burdened with the cost of labor and as we can see from unemployment which is partly caused by minimum wage outpacing labor price. Companies are forced to do more with less and in the meantime they turn to robotics and other efficiencies.

Socialism and minimum wage which claim to want to help level wages accomplish quite the contrast.
 
 
+12 # Holy Cow 2014-01-11 05:35
peterjkraus, from your mouth (computer) to God's ear, as we'd say in Ireland.

More and more of us have to leave La La Land behind, and get active plus for this 'better tomorrow' to come about. So sick we with any brains whatsoever should be, re. the ravages of capitalist greed.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-29 09:50
Peter, you prefer suffering under the ravages of a dictator to running your own life? oBOMBer has signed an EO that transfers control of virtually everything to the POTUS in the event that POTUS - not Congress - declares an emergency. That is textbook dictatorship. Some schooling here- capitalism is not a form of government but IS a form of raising funds for new or expanding companies - often corporations. It is innocent of the charges. Those charges are merely words to distract the easily frightened - you, obviously. Corporatism certainly IS a form of government. Corporations are created by government with advantages to both. We would hope that OUR advantage would be transparency and accountability. Can you say Monsterousanto? ???? I'm still listening? Anyway, what the corporations get out of it is limited liability (from that accountability) PLUS a revolving door and insider access. Seems to be a key feature in the Communist block, as well but they didn't have shareholders (do NOW, though). What the government gets out of it is unshared transparency (lotta wealthy congress-critte rs, yes) and that revolving door. Back to socialism. It's chief feature is to accumulate control of as many segments of society as possible and institute top-down supervision. It is known for one-size-fits-a ll solutions for thew problems it itself creates. It responds by grasping more control. It often does not wait for a problem to arise but stages false flag events to justify new powers for itself.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-29 10:00
Corporations are evil (ALL governments are incorporated) also in that their only obligation is to return profits to the owners/sharehol ders. The WAY that profits are divided is a story in itself in that often the ones taking the LEAST risk are first at the trough. If I'm not clear, I hate corporations, ALL of them. They give unaccountable power to fallible humans that are ALWAYS corrupted by it. I tellem "You can't even run your own life, I'll be damned if you'll run mine." (Jonathon Edwards). I wish that all would do that. One way (that I pimp) to counter the burgeoning police state is to join/support wagingnonviolen ce.org and warresisters.or g
 
 
+55 # Reyn 2014-01-10 18:27
You may be right, but the word has lost its grossly negative shadow - which was largely a created artifice to start with - and young people, who see the world they expected slipping away are more likely to support it than any Americans of generations past.
 
 
+54 # WestWinds 2014-01-10 20:11
Quoting Rain17:
Good luck trying to sell that outside of Seattle in many parts of the country, where large numbers of Americans simply don't support that agenda. "Socialism" is not viable in America, nor will it ever be. Running against "capitalism" is a guaranteed loser outside of places like Berkeley, San Fransico, Boulder, Ann Arbor, Madison, Amherst, Cambridge, other college towns I can't think off of the top of my head, Greenwich Village, and parts of Manhattan.


--- Like I tell the Right-wingers when they try to denigrate all comers except predatory Capitalism by calling them Socialists, as if the word were a slur:

"Better a Socialist than a Fascist."
 
 
+11 # Vardoz 2014-01-11 12:30
I think people are getting it- poverty, no jobs and low wages drive it home. The problem is our sold out reps who allow special interests to write our tax laws and the reality that the very rich and corporations can just move off shore. But as consumers we are having less and less purchasing power and this will increase as energy companies continue to raise their prices which increases inflation. The less money we have to spend the less money people will have to buy and pay. Our govt needs to take the health of our economy into consideration and that means enabling people to have more money in their pockets to spend.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 08:03
Sorry, inflation is not due to energy price increases, rather vice versa. Inflation is printing too much money above what the accumulated capital of the system. It gives the Federalized Banks the ability to use the money at it pre-printed value but as it is distributed into the economy it loses value.

Inflation raises prices at the consumer level. Energy prices are an accumulation of inflation and bogus regulatory fees and corporate taxation.
 
 
+53 # RMDC 2014-01-10 20:24
" "Socialism" is not viable in America"

I don't agree with this. The term "socialism" is not viable because americans have been made scared of socialism and communism. But the majority of americans strongly support social security, medicare, public schools, public projects such as national parks and local parks, employee safety laws, minimum wages, and many more. All of these are socialismm.

Americans just don't understand don't understand what socialism or capitalism is. They've deliberately been mis-educated. They think capitalism is about freedom and the individual.

The mis-education goes back to the Rockefeller created and funded University of Chicago and the Austrian fascist economics. Fredrich Hayek's "Socialism: the Road to Serfdom" is the origin of the damage. Actually capitalism is serfdom for the 99%. Socialism is freedom

American just need to be educated.
 
 
-22 # Rain17 2014-01-11 00:57
And you unwittingly just said a phrase that I wish liberals and progressives would drop when you said "Americans just need to be educated." There are about three phrases that I wish that liberals and progressives would stop using:

"We need to educate people about . . ."
"This is a teachable moment. . . . "
"They're voting against their own interests".

What people here when you use those phrases is:

"You think we're stupid and that we're unable to figure out the issues on our own. You think you know what's best for us and that we're unable to know that for ourselves".

I do agree that Americans support social security, Medicare, employee safety laws, minimum wage, and so forth. But they don't support nationalizing industries and imposing extremely high rates of taxation on the rich either.
 
 
+27 # bingers 2014-01-11 05:49
And socialism has nothing to do with nationalizing industries, although I feel that energy should be nationalized since the private companies have botched the job so badly.

The most socialized countries, like the Scandinavian countries are also the healthiest economically.

Socialism is about keeping the public interests public and treating people with respect and educating them well. Capitalism is about sacrificing people on the altar of profit for the benefit of the few.

And, the rates of taxation on the rich are currently less than on the poor if they make it from capital gains which in any rational place would carry the highest rates. Corporations used to pay about 50% of taxes and the rich had a top marginal rate of 91% and we were at our healthiest economically.

Never listen to conservatives about the economy because they are always wrong and their actions always lead to economic failure.
 
 
+2 # anarchteacher 2014-01-12 02:38
Ideas do not exist in a sterile vacuum but are often intertwined and serendipitously related to each other. Such is the case of various statist doctrines that came to fruition in the 19th century, and which still dramatically affect our world today. “Scientific racism,” “socialism,” “social Darwinism,” eugenics, Comtean positivism, imperialism, and “social imperialism,” were pseudoscientifi c rationales for the expansionary and invasive welfare-warfare state at home and abroad.

Intellectuals and politicians were drawn to Socialism by the same elitist positivism that drew them to other “social control” rationalization s; commitment to the explanatory power of scientific social inquiry to get at the root causes of social and economic problems; the legitimacy of coercive social control, deriving from a holist conception of society as prior to and greater than the sum of its constituent individuals; and the illusion of the efficacy of elitist social control via expert management of the state apparatus.

Socialism is not a political/econo mic philosophy. It is a mass psychosis, whether in its National Socialist manifestation in Nazi Germany from 1933-45, its International Socialist manifestation in the Soviet Union from 1917-1991, or throughout contemporary confiscatory Western European Social Democratic regimes today.
 
 
-1 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 08:10
Private companies have only botched the job in the sense that they were operating under fascist regulatory and commerce laws that forced them into poor choices.

"Socialism is about keeping the public interests public and treating people with respect and educating them well. Capitalism is about sacrificing people on the altar of profit for the benefit of the few.”


This is an emotional and poorly informed statement and it is a logical fallacy called opinion stated as fact.
 
 
+4 # ericlipps 2014-01-11 07:06
The funny thing is, the rich used to be taxed at up to 9 percent, and nobody (except them) minded . . . back in the Communist interregnum known as the Eisenhower Administration.
 
 
+2 # Rain17 2014-01-11 18:59
I do think the rich should pay more in taxes, but I don't support a 90% rate either. That rate is punitive and amounts to wealth confiscation. I could support a rate of maybe as high as 45%, but I don't think anyone should be giving up 90% of his her income after a certain dollar amount to the government.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 08:14
The problem is that the so-called rich do not collect incomes the same way most people do, so the higher tax rates miss the target and are passed down to the income worker.

At least you see the problem of extremely high rates, now we just need to show you how all taxation is wrong.
 
 
+19 # RMDC 2014-01-11 09:01
Thanks but I do feel that Americans are the most propagandized and mis-educated people on earth. I do think they are stupid. I don't say this out of arrogance, though it may be read that way. I say this as a blunt form of criticism. I mean stop being stupid.

Some industries are better operated publicly and some are better being private. All nations have mixed public and private economies. And things change over time and in different circumstances. Some of the things that work better as public industries are the things that all people must have -- water, sewage, trash collection, healthcare, schools, police, fire, roads, regulations on health, safety, banking, and so on. Things like luxury items, fashion/clothin g, or automobiles are better done by the private industry.

People should honor their social industries. They belong to them and they are run for the benefit of all people.

The American road system is a perfect example of socialism. Everyone pays and anyone can use them. Even people who don't have a car use them because they buy food and other things that were brought to them on the roads. Socialism is just modernization.

The US needs more socialism. Healthcare is the biggest area for improvement.

We also need socialist political parties and candidates. Bernie Sanders is one of the best congressmen/sen ators and he is a socialist (though he does not call himself a socialist now). I hope he runs for president as a socialist.
 
 
+11 # RMDC 2014-01-11 10:33
Continued --

Edward Bernays, the father of public relations and American thought control, said that stupid people or members of the masses can always be fooled by "magic" words given to them by their rulers. (See his book called "Propaganda"). Socialism, free market, terrorism, "support the troops," democracy, communism, the individual, and a host of others are the magic words the American ruling elite and their media have given americans. These terms provide a frame for reading social reality. But they are all false terms. Americans have to learn to see through them.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 08:17
The American road system is the perfect example of socialism doing a poor job or outright failing. Once the roads are created by inflated currency how often are lanes expanded to match increased traffic? In the NY/CT/NJ area I have watched for nearly 30 years as the same roads are maintained at 1970 levels.

You have been propagandized already. Time for your to see the problem that socialism cannot fix; public management of infrastructure, services, pretty much anything.
 
 
+13 # whiterabbit 2014-01-11 10:44
Ignorance can be educated, stupidity can not. So if you choose to hear words such as education, teachable, etc... as calling you stupid then please take out a dictionary. Everyone needs educating on certain things, esp an economic system which as proven to work in all industrialized nations yet majority in US believes it is evil. Only because you choose who to listen to propaganda vs facts. People are choosing to open their eyes and see we are going down the very same path that brought the Communist USSR down. Capitalism will fail as miserably as it did due to corruption, the few controlling all the resources while the many go without, systems which sound good on paper but can not work in long run because of inherent greed. Teddy Roosevelt saw it and did something about it, so did FDR as much as he could. I have lived through 12 presidential administrations and corruption is only growing and we are sick of it. I have family and friends who have left the US years ago for better lives in other countries. Asking me all the time why I stay, some have to stay and fight this nation is too dangerous to be left on the road it is headed.
 
 
+7 # Rain17 2014-01-11 19:06
Again messaging matters a lot. Calling people stupid isn't going to get them to change their minds.
 
 
0 # fenox 2014-01-12 12:49
I agree, it is so much more a state of American minds so much more educated and schooled to have than to be. The whole value system is based on possession to be, instead of on knowledge to be.
Yet this value system can only progress into a train wreck. The haves will wage war on the have not's as well as consider it is normal to try to possess more through aggression of other states and property.
 
 
+1 # mdhome 2014-01-11 22:13
And the army, navy, airforce, and marines, police departments, firefighters, and many other "socialist" projects.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 08:06
"Americans just don't understand don't understand what socialism or capitalism is. They've deliberately been mis-educated.”

This is the only sentence you got right, but not for the correct reasons. Americans are being mis-educated about both socialism and capitalism, but you don’t understand either. See my other posts for help.
 
 
+18 # lorenbliss 2014-01-10 20:57
"Guaranteed loser" is exactly what the Ruling Class media tried to make the voters believe in Seattle, where Kshama Sawant beat a Barack-the-Betr ayer Democrat city councilman who was also the council president.

But -- unlike the Democrats, who are clandestine fascists but campaign on Big Lies like "change we can believe in," or the Republicans, who are overt fascists and campaign accordingly -- Sawant campaigned on genuine Working Class issues.

One of these issues is a $15 minimum wage. Others include affordable housing, adequate public transport and taxing the obscenely rich aristocrats, who in Washington state pay less in state and local taxes than anywhere else in the USian Empire homeland.

In other words, Kshama Sawant won election by articulating the justified and growing fury of the 99 Percent.

Other candidates can do likewise -- which is why, probably for the first time since the 1930s, the One Percent is suddenly terrified.

Doubt it? Listen to the changes in Obama's rhetoric -- the most dishonestly despotic president in U.S. history, actually worse than Nixon, now again trying to convince us he's a progressive.
 
 
+7 # Rain17 2014-01-11 01:01
Seattle is one of the most liberal cities in the country. And I fully support raising the minimum wage. I don't think Sawant would be as electorally successful in places like Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and other places far away from Seattle.

I don't agree with you when it comes to President Obama. Unlike many people here I think that, given with which he has had to deal, I think that he has done reasonable well. I think that he's been a good President. He hasn't been perfect, but he is better than what Bush was.

And frankly I don't that any Democrat--that is, any Democrat who could actually win an election--would many RSN posters. The brutal reality is that some of you demand the politically impossible and then get angry whenever anyone falls short of implementing said unrealistic agenda.
 
 
+4 # cabotool 2014-01-11 05:24
Saying that Obama is better than Bush is like saying Pee is better than Poop.
 
 
+6 # Rain17 2014-01-11 19:08
I think Obama is significantly better than Bush. I guess that, because I'm gay, I see it differently. Gays have more rights than they did before. Also, because a relative died because she didn't have health insurance, I appreciate the ACA even though some on the far left feel like it is meaningless. The ACA would have saved that relative's life.

So yes I do think Obama is significantly better than Bush. I'm sure that some people here are unhappy with him because they expected that he somehow would achieve the politically impossible.
 
 
+17 # bingers 2014-01-11 05:52
Obama is certainly no leftist, but he's far from being what you claim. In fact every Republican president after Ike has been far worse in every respect.
 
 
+12 # john.schoonover 2014-01-11 08:46
Obama's administration works for Wall Street. Just count the Goldman Sachs economic advisors on his staff. That's all the proof you need.
 
 
-1 # john.schoonover 2014-01-11 09:03
You might find it interesting to see where Kshama Sawant's Socialist Alternative Party has offices.

http://www.socialistalternative.org/about/
 
 
0 # john.schoonover 2014-01-13 10:43
Why thumbs down. I am replying to Rain17's remark that socialism is only acceptable in peculiar places like Seattle. Note that the Socialist Alternative Party is active in [gasp!] Mobile, AL!
 
 
+5 # Working Class 2014-01-11 13:22
Quoting Rain17:
Good luck trying to sell that outside of Seattle in many parts of the country, where large numbers of Americans simply don't support that agenda. "Socialism" is not viable in America, nor will it ever be. Running against "capitalism" is a guaranteed loser outside of places like Berkeley, San Fransico, Boulder, Ann Arbor, Madison, Amherst, Cambridge, other college towns I can't think off of the top of my head, Greenwich Village, and parts of Manhattan.


You may be correct in the short term - but if a more equitable system takes hold in any of the places you just named then your point may be eroded and very rapidly. People are fed up with a system that allows a powerful few take more and more from the many. Unrestrained capitalism demands more and more profit for fewer and fewer individuals - it matters not if it contributes to the well-being of the greater society. It is growth for the sake of growth - ie: the philosophy of the cancer cell - it will either kill the host - or be treated and cured.
 
 
-1 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 07:44
Socialism is not viable anywhere when it is understood, something you presently do not do. Socialism and Fascism are flip sides of the same use of government, redistribution and support of special interests. Presently Fascism is ascendent in the US but there is plenty of socialism in operation too. You either don’t appreciate that it is not making the difference as it cannot or you want more which will not help.
 
 
+58 # Gnome de Pluehm 2014-01-10 18:23
There is a difference between socialism and communism; socialism is about equal opportunities and communism is about equal outcomes. Always keep this difference in mind.
 
 
-1 # john.schoonover 2014-01-11 08:49
Well, no. Socialist is a polite way of saying communist. You are probably confusing socialism and social democracy, which is what most of Europe has. Social democracy is an accommodation with capitalism. Socialism is not.

"Of course, I will meet and discuss with representatives of the establishment. But when I do, I will bring the needs and aspirations of working-class people to every table I sit at, no matter who is seated across from me. And let me make one thing absolutely clear: There will be no backroom deals with corporations or their political servants. There will be no rotten sell-out of the people I represent."

That is a socialist speaking, not a social democrat.
 
 
+5 # Working Class 2014-01-11 21:13
So is it safe to assume that you think its ok to do backroom deals with corporations that sell out working people? Just wondering what you have against that quote?
 
 
+72 # A Different Drummer 2014-01-10 18:41
Socialism is a loaded word due to the moneyed elite having the last and only word.

In my nation of WE WERE HERE FIRST,(U.S. Americans call us Indians) we look at the health of the tribe and make absolute certain that everyone has at the very least, subsistence. I can't eat if my grandmother is starving, I can't eat if my neighbor is starving. From my point of view this is the only way to organize a society.
 
 
+37 # WestWinds 2014-01-10 20:14
Quoting A Different Drummer:
Socialism is a loaded word due to the moneyed elite having the last and only word.

In my nation of WE WERE HERE FIRST,(U.S. Americans call us Indians) we look at the health of the tribe and make absolute certain that everyone has at the very least, subsistence. I can't eat if my grandmother is starving, I can't eat if my neighbor is starving. From my point of view this is the only way to organize a society.


--- Beautiful, A Different Drummer. Well said!
 
 
+12 # bingers 2014-01-11 05:55
I grew up in upstate NY and knew a lot of "Indians" and have great respect for your traditions which, no doubt about it, are far more humane and sensible than ours.
 
 
+7 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-11 14:54
Bless you for that and your situation is centered around voluntary participation, thus being a moral choice. Coercion makes it immoral.
 
 
+30 # reiverpacific 2014-01-10 18:59
Could this be a latter-day Eugene Debs?
About time; if I was a citizen and able to vote, I'd be right behind her and fuck the 1.5-party system; she needs support, not negative "I've given up" comments -although I can certainly understand and don't condemn anybody for feeling this way.
 
 
+41 # Vardoz 2014-01-10 19:11
In the USA only the rich think they have the right to enjoy Socialism! They get the tax cuts, subsidies and stash their money off shore.
 
 
+15 # liteguy 2014-01-10 19:26
A rose by any other name... in most . Of the country socialism "the word" has a negative connotation. .. change the name to the 99% ers or something and the concept we ill sell itself. .
 
 
-17 # The Buffalo Guy 2014-01-10 20:09
Much to my aggravation,I'v e read many a comment about the power and influence corporations INCREASINGLY have in the USA, some at this site. Yet when a comment by Rain17 says Socialism is a loser against Capitalism, it gets slammed with thumbs down. peterjkrause, if what you say is true, then who and where are the Socialist election "winners". Face it; Rain17 is right and Socialists are the losers. Dr. Phil is right, you cannot change what you won't own. You have to earn a "Better Tomorrow".
 
 
-9 # Rain17 2014-01-11 01:03
The bottom line is that I don't see the US abandoning capitalism anytime soon, if ever. That's the brutal reality. Americans aren't socialists and will never be. Americans want equal opportunity, but not equality of condition.
 
 
+8 # john.schoonover 2014-01-11 08:52
"I don't see France abandoning feudalism anytime soon." - Louis XVI
 
 
+5 # john.schoonover 2014-01-11 08:51
Well, there is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
 
 
+7 # whiterabbit 2014-01-11 11:16
If you want equal opportunity then capitalism should be your enemy. Every person starts on equal playing field and can work their way upward if they choose in socialism. Same decent housing, utilities, healthy food, education even beyond HS, health care, and protection of our air, water, and soil for future generations.
Socialism is not giving anyone a free ride, you still have to work but depending on how you work (not by a family trust nor name) you can rise as high as you want. Socialism is only an equal start, giving everyone the same tools to achieve and the ability to own their own future. Minnesota has been one state where their third party became successful and based upon workers and farmers rights. Originally called the Farmer–Labor Party today it is the Democratic Farmer Labor Party. Across the US we are seeing more and more socialist elected at local levels, though many run as Independents because of the propaganda stigma.
And Rain17 you are right, the US won't abandon capitalism, it will abandon us.
 
 
+31 # MidwesTom 2014-01-10 20:15
Aren't modern day Church Food banks, and free health clinics, a form of socialism we all are familiar with.

Remember, if the US truly practiced Capitalism, GM, AIG, Goldman Sacks, JPMorgan, and others would all have failed, because in true capitalism if you gamble and lose, you lose, and are not bailed out. This would have hurt the 1% big time.
 
 
+23 # RMDC 2014-01-10 20:36
"true capitalism"

No. True capitalism is a coalition between government and a ruling elite to control the majority of a population. Capitalism has always been linked to governments. It is only the myth that capitalists put out that talks about the small independent producer who grows into something huge -- the bill gates or horatio alger myth.

Small businesses are not capitalism. they are just shopkeepers or craftsmen. Capitalism is about the ownership and manipulation of "capital" -- the vast wealth of nations in stock markets, central banks, and the like. J. D. Rockefeller said the miracle of the stock market is that someone like himself only needed to own 15-20% of the stock to control the whole amount and whole company. He said the stock market was how New York controlled the whole nation. No small business owner does this.

Capitalism is slavery or serfdom for the 99%.
 
 
+25 # Gnome de Pluehm 2014-01-10 20:55
That is an oligarchy. We are now the OSA --Oligarchic States of America.
 
 
+13 # lorenbliss 2014-01-10 21:22
I would amend RMDC's excellent definition of capitalism as "slavery or serfdom for the 99 Percent" only slightly, by showing its definitive components.

From this perspective, with Ayn Rand as the true prophet of ultimate profit, true capitalism is infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue -- the deliberate rejection of every moral, ethical and humanitarian principle; the deliberate embrace of moral imbecility; hence our species' closest approximation to Absolute Evil.

When politically fulfilled, it results in capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us -- the reality that in other realms at other times proudly proclaimed itself to be Nazism or fascism.
 
 
+11 # MidwesTom 2014-01-10 23:37
The role of government in a capitalistic system is to prevent the gathering of extreme wealth and power by a few. Witness in our history the breakup of Standard Oil, the government forcing the railroads to let pipelines be constructed across their right-of-ways.

Today we have a government made up of people either from the Ruling Class, or owned by them. Witness the 'punishment' of the banks, but not the bankers.

Government has allowed the development on derivative trading, microsecond stock ownership (on the great Casino we call Wall Street), facilitated the trapping of millions in government dependency, unlimited injections of cash from unknown sources into elections.

The rapid expansion of the money supply sold to us as job saving, has in reality created much greater wealth for those who own labor assets, but not working people. Capitalism worked when government did it's role, but government is failing us.
 
 
+5 # lorenbliss 2014-01-11 00:21
Sorry, but as indisputably proven by history -- Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany, Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile and now Ayn Rand's Imperial United States -- the role of government in a capitalistic system is to facilitate absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us.

Indeed that was precisely the intent of most of the (slave-owning) USian founders. That's why, under capitalism, as under Nazism or fascism (which are merely other names for capitalism), government is ALWAYS the enemy of the people.

More to the point, only under socialism -- worker ownership and management of the means of production and the economy in general -- is government NOT the enemy, and are self-serving bureaucrats and politicians thereby forced to genuinely serve the people instead.
 
 
-1 # Rain17 2014-01-11 01:05
And here is another point. "You will never be rich" is not a successful political message that will win votes. And even I disagree with it.

I do think that one can work hard and be successful in this country. Yes the odds of people being extremely rich are slim, but there are stories of people who start businesses and become successful.

You're not going to win people over by saying that they will never succeed or become rich. It's a losing political message.
 
 
+8 # bingers 2014-01-11 06:01
Quoting Rain17:
And here is another point. "You will never be rich" is not a successful political message that will win votes. And even I disagree with it.

I do think that one can work hard and be successful in this country. Yes the odds of people being extremely rich are slim, but there are stories of people who start businesses and become successful.

You're not going to win people over by saying that they will never succeed or become rich. It's a losing political message.


Sadly, a study a couple of years ago showed the United States to be the hardest free world country in which to realize the "American Dream".
 
 
+3 # Rain17 2014-01-11 19:10
I didn't say it was easy to become rich, but some people do beat the odds. Again "you will never be rich" is not a winning political message.
 
 
+6 # john.schoonover 2014-01-11 08:58
J P Morgan is a good example of how the rich get rich by hard work and thrift: He bought defective rifles for $3 each from armories during the Civil War and sold them to Union generals for $22.
 
 
+7 # bingers 2014-01-11 05:58
True capitalism isn't a coalition of business and state. That is the definition of fascism. In fact, capitalism properly only refers to start up financing, but has been misused in a similar way as the misunderstood socialism.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 07:40
I agree with your first sentence, but it has nothing to do with start up capital. Capitalism is the free exchange of goods and services.
 
 
+5 # ericlipps 2014-01-11 07:12
There's some truth to this. Right-wingers tend to tiptoe past the fact that early corporations such as the British East India Company and its Dutch counterpart were government-char tered operations, and that U.S. capitalism benefited heavily from the use of federal money to build such things as the Erie canal and finance (via federal mail delivery contracts) the emergence of commercial aviation--not to mention that the nuclear power industry has always been recognized as "an island of socialism in a capitalist sea." And there are plenty more examples.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 07:38
change capitalism to mercantilism and you have an accurate statement.
 
 
+5 # john.schoonover 2014-01-11 08:53
Food banks, etc. are do-gooder palliatives that do not challenge capitalism, but throw some crumbs to the poor to keep them calm.
 
 
+3 # Vardoz 2014-01-11 11:54
But the Feds printed up over a trillion dollars for QE and the banks kept it and are now using it to pay off all the tens of billions in law suits - and then there was the multi trillion dollar bail out for them and some how there was not enough for Main St! Now with the push to fast track the TPP corporations will enjoy total power and total immunity even if it harms us and our envronment. They will enjoy having a corporate free for all at our expense. There is a global agenda to impoverish the majority in order to enrich the banks, the rich, wall st and the military. Tax payers are footing the bill to the tune of approx 60 billion just to spy on us and the top are paying off reps to economically destroy us - A real Democratic system is a form of socialism, a for for the people, by the people and of the people to achieve happiness and prosperity. This is all Socialism is.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-19 18:15
No, they aren't. They are a manifestation of SOCIETY, a free association of people bound by love. Socialism IS a system of hate and envy, run by control freaks/sociopat hs/psychopaths, wretched and deserving only of death.
 
 
+32 # Rich Austin 2014-01-10 20:24
Part I

Most of us grew up under socialism. The family unit shared in good times and bad. Mom and Pop didn’t eat steak while the rest of us ate beans, we all ate off the same menu. They did not keep us in tatters while the regaled in spats and furs. Back then, a one-wage earner family was the norm. Pop worked outside the home, Mom worked at home. Every kid had chores to do. My family of origin was a classic example of “from each according to their ability to each according to their need”.

If the family unit, in all of its manifestations, is the basis of our society, what is wrong with our nation mimicking it? Has a mass epidemic of low self-esteem overtaken our population? It appears that way. Mouthpieces for the 1% have too much sway with the 99%. They have hoodwinked, conned and cajoled too many working class folks into believing the swill they deliver from their botox-altered faces.
 
 
+33 # Rich Austin 2014-01-10 20:29
Part II

Our Declaration of Independence declares that each of us has “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. A primary principle of reason is to treat others as you would be treated. It is the golden rule. The antithesis to it is sociopathy, however concealed by word like “capitalism”, “neoliberalism” ,
“corporatism”, “plutocracy”, and more recently, “Republican” or “New Democrat”.

We deserve equal access to all that is needed to be live, be free, and happy. We deserve it for one simple reason: We are homo sapiens. That’s it! That’s the price of admission! That’s the lesson I learned as a kid, because I saw it practiced in the home in which I was raised. No two-bit politician will ever be able to convince me that my parents were wrong.

Now we must educate, agitate, and organize if we hope to enjoy the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness our nation’s proclamation of freedom says are our rights. It that’s socialism, let’s get to it!
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 07:37
Rich, the difference between the DoI and Socialism is that the DoI was not guaranteeing outcome as Socialism seeks to do. The Pursuit of Happiness is the key word. No welfare, no collective bargaining, no monopoly granting, no currency inflation, no building of infrastructure by so-called public services, etc.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-15 13:50
A. Lincoln, filthy socialist that he was, built his whole political career upon public works(to expand the party obligated). Did I say filth? Not nearly enough, the worst until Wilson came along.
 
 
+13 # seeuingoa 2014-01-10 21:14
What about changing the name socialist
to empathy´ist.

All these terms socialist, communist,
and, and, are cold war terms not
belonging in the 2100 century.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-15 13:46
YOU that would steal the word 'liberal' from me, tell me that I cannot be gay while enjoying an evening of contra dancing, you are a useful fool in the words of Lenin.
 
 
+7 # ericlipps 2014-01-11 07:14
Quoting ericlipps:
The funny thing is, the rich used to be taxed at up to 91 percent, and nobody (except them) minded . . . back in the Communist interregnum known as the Eisenhower Administration.

Sorry for the typo. But yes, ninety-one percent.
 
 
-14 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-11 07:42
Socialism is the lazy persons solution for delusional "problems". That person believes that there is a one-size-fits-a ll answer to self defined "problems" and then authorizes the hiring of dim-witted thugs to effectuate this "solution", always accompanied by the early loss of innocent life. Only a heartless idiot could be "proud" of that, you and Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Berea, Lenin, Mao, FDR, Wilson and, lately oBOMBer. You forgive yourself these deaths as being 'regrettable collateral damage. You want to call it by the fine term 'empathy' but that only applies to what comes from your own sweat and treasure, NOT the robbing of it from helpless others.
 
 
-15 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-11 08:48
To you socialist murderers: I regret the resources of God's bounty that are wasted on keeping you alive. If I had the power to turn off the oxygen to all control freak/busibodie s, nearly every single problem on earth would be removed except for the pollution you have engendered and true empathetic persons would begin to dispose of the trash.

RSN, SHAME on you for pandering to these regrettable monsters.
 
 
0 # jon 2014-01-14 10:18
You evidently missed the following sage comment:

# Gnome de Pluehm 2014-01-10 16:23
There is a difference between socialism and communism; socialism is about equal opportunities and communism is about equal outcomes. Always keep this difference in mind.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-15 08:36
They are both about top down central control by people who fancy that they are qualified to craft solutions to other peoples - or their own - problems. That they are UNqualified goes without saying. That these (if you insist there is a dimes worth of difference between them as in outcomes, there is none) systems of despotism generate victims from those the solutions do NOT fit, we are begged to overlook as being only some of the "percentage" written about in Crime and Punishment. AN-y-way, it is Free Markets, NOT "socialism" that offers equal opportunities. S & C are both about spreading the losses among the population and privatizing the gains among the 'winners'. Generally, control freaks populate ALL forms of 'governance' and are the least worthy of sharing oxygen on earth. PS. Enablers of socialists are equally guilty of the murders/thefts precipitating from their evil.
 
 
+7 # The Buffalo Guy 2014-01-11 10:49
I'm impressed with the debate I've read here. My take: Socialism would do much better by demanding decent jobs and opportunity rather than just wealth distribution. Big Corporations hold the purse strings and that's why Walmart employees depend on being subsidized. Walmart does it because they can and they are not alone but the most publicized. Part time jobs are the new "Company Store". Teddy Roosevelt warned us that corporations could enslave us and it seems it is happening. Check the history. And remember what JFK said,"Ask not what your country can do for you............ ". I can't complete this quote without jobs and opportunities out there. Why is that???
 
 
+8 # jwb110 2014-01-11 12:55
If Socialism means I get my tax dollars back in services directly to me and all other Americans then I guess I am a Socialist.

Anybody else?
 
 
-3 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-11 14:50
When you subtract the "costs" extracted by the bureaucrats, elites and cops/warriors, you get back exactly, what? Dream on peon/mundane.
 
 
0 # jon 2014-01-14 10:19
And what do you get "back" from corporations and insurance companies, a boot on the neck.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-15 08:42
It is hard to Hell-rank the bad "persons" in this world but among them find insurance companies, financial institution and other corporations in the top echelons. Remember that every government entity is incorporated. Ask yourself why (hint: limited liability as in the two cops that murdered Kelly Thomas).
 
 
+2 # dusty 2014-01-11 18:53
Well, if socialism can't work or is resisted harshly by the ruling capitalists then we are in for a dark future. A little group of super wealthy can not and will not support the rest of us nor can a nation survive that way. A few wealthy nations will be surrounded by starving and angry masses of people who will use their countries to attack the US economically and socially -- other world centers are developing that are not dependent upon the US and when push comes to shove they will not be around to help the US. Working class Americans, and that is the vast majority of the 99%, will not continue to tolerate a situation of a declining standard of living, exploitation by insurance companies and the financial capitalists and when that time comes elections will bring in more and more socialist politicians. This will mean jettisoning both the Democrats and the GOP who have lost their moral base by support for predatory wars, spying on citizens, etc.
 
 
+5 # ganymede 2014-01-11 20:07
Our country is slowly but surely moving in the leftward direction. The Christie episode will only hasten the pace. People are waking up to the obvious fact that they've been voting for unqualified, corrupt connivers and will now look more closely at these characters. Basically, the best we can hope for is to create a social democracy on the order of Scandinavia, Germany, France, etc. That alone will be an improvement of the bs we've been experiencing for many decades. 2014 will be the beginning of real reform of our system.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 07:27
I have read a lot of comments that are well intentioned and recognize the problems we face but do not understand definitions, root cause or the failure of their knee jerk reactions.

First of all Capitalism is the free, voluntary commerce between two people or entities, no coercion and no laws favoring one over the other or granting a monopoly. Only government can grant a monopoly, it cannot be achieved by cornering a market. Moreover a market is impossible to corner for long without the aid of government.

Fascism is simply understood as the use of government to control a market sector - it is the economic system that WWII Germany and Italy used. It is contrasted with Socialism which is state ownership of a market sector. In present day US we have both socialism and fascism and few unregulated markets that could be described as capitalism.
 
 
+1 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 08:21
Most of you are mistaking capitalism for the system we have of government control of the economy and market sectors through regulation and granting of monopolies at the federal and state levels. A privately owned business is thought to operate in the free market but all markets are heavily regulated. There is no free market and there is no capitalism as its original definition should be understood.
 
 
+1 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-13 13:39
A Capital - IST is a person willing to invest his/her capital in a new or existing business for a new or existing product in exchange for the chance of getting a return on that investment. A thief is willing to extract a return on the investment of others. Legislators are just such thieves who, when they DO invest, are using privileged/insi de information. Can you say S -C - U - M? Social - ISTS are people that wish to benefit from the labors and investment of others for the benefit of those that did NOT work for it. Can you say that word again? Control freak is another word for them. What is 3,000,000 control freaks on the bottom of the ocean? A good start. BTW, stock exchanges exist as a means of pooling investments of Capitalists to facilitate investment. Labor Unions are big participants in those stock exchanges, yes?
 
 
+1 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 15:38
@JohnBoanerges I do not contest that what you describe is a capitalist, but it is not the only example. A person selling his garden vegetables or apples is a capitalist. A kid selling lemonade is a capitalist. So are the people buying. A person that buys apples may eat them or they may make pies or apple cider and sell it.
 
 
+1 # JohnBoanerges 2014-01-13 18:08
A person seeking willing buyers MAY be a capitalist but that action describes a free marketist. Likewise the buyer.
 
 
0 # UnRiel 2014-01-13 20:36
free marketist = capitalist

You must reduce the concepts to their basest elements, tow parties devoid of class exchanging value for value each accepting as fair what the other offers.

None of this socialism nonsense can suffer reduction, it falls apart and is revealed simply as class warfare by a diverse class of people jealous about the innovation of others
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN