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Democratic Socialism (1 Viewer)

timschochet

Footballguy
I want to have a discussion about this growing movement, and what it means specifically to the United States of 2018 (as opposed to what it's meant in the past). In order to have some common ground to discuss, I decided to use the platform of one of the most visible Democratic Socialists, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (For the record, she calls herself a Democratic Socialist and is a member of Democratic Socialists of America). Here is her national platform:

Medicare for All

Ocasio-Cortez wants a single payer health care system that would cover medicine, vision, dental, and mental health care.

"Almost every other developed nation in the world has universal healthcare," Ocasio-Cortez's website says. "It's time the United States catch up to the rest of the world in ensuring all people have real healthcare coverage that doesn't break the bank."

Fully funded Public schools and Universities

Ocasio-Cortez, who is still paying off student loans, wants to establish tuition-free public college and trade school. She also wants to cancel all student debt.

Universal Jobs Guarantee

Ocasio-Cortez believes there should be a Federal Jobs Guarantee, creating a "baseline quality for employments that guarantees a minimum $15 wage (pegged to inflation), full healthcare, and paid child and sick leave for all," according to her website.

Housing as a Human Right

Ocasio-Cortez believes housing is a right and "that Congress must tip the balance away from housing as a gambling chip for Wall Street banks and fight for accessible housing that's actually within working families' reach," her website says.

She says she wants to extend tax benefits to working- and middle-class homeowners, expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, provide housing for the homeless, and permanently fund the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Justice System Reform

Ocasio-Cortez calls for ending the war on drugs, demilitarizing police departments, and abolishing for-profit prisons.

She also supports legalizing marijuana at the federal level, releasing individuals sentenced for nonviolent drug offenses, ending cash bail, and "automatic, independent" investigations when people are killed by law enforcement officials.

"Mass incarceration is the latest iteration of a long line of policies (Jim Crow, redlining, etc) rooted in the marginalization of African Americans and people of color," her website says. "Comprehensive criminal justice reform is part of the work that must be done to heal our past and pursue racial justice in the United States."

Immigration Reform

Ocasio-Cortez wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and believes there should be a "clear" path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

"As overseen by the Trump administration, ICE operates with virtually no accountability, ripping apart families and holding our friends and neighbors indefinitely in inhumane detention centers scattered across the United States," Ocasio-Cortez said on her website.

She also wants more protections for young unauthorized immigrants known as "Dreamers" and immigrants who have temporary protections from deportation.

"New Green Deal" to combat Climate Change

Ocasio-Cortez wants the US to implement a carbon-free, 100% renewable energy system and a fully modernized electrical grid in the US by 2035 in an effort to combat climate change.

She says climate change is the "single biggest national security threat for the United States and the single biggest threat to worldwide industrialized civilization," according to her website.

She's pushing for a "New Green Deal," a federal plan to thwart climate change via investing trillions in infrastructure.

"The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan," she recently told HuffPost. "We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy."

Campaign Finance Reform

casio-Cortez ran a low-budget campaign, raising around $200,000 and refusing to accept donations from lobbyists.

She says changing the way elections are funded is the "only way for real reform to happen in Washington," according to her website.

To bring about campaign finance reform, Ocasio-Cortez calls for overturning the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United via a constitutional amendment. She also wants to push for legislation that would require wealthy people and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going.

 
I like almost all of her platform.  I'm not sure exactly how the "Universal Jobs Guarantee" works exactly so I might not be in favor of that one.  

 

timschochet

Footballguy
So here's where I personally stand, for the record

Medicare for all- in favor, only because once we eliminated pre-existing conditions, this became the inevitable and most efficient way to handle healthcare.

Fully funded public schools and universities- Unsure.

Universal Jobs guarantee- Opposed. I am inclined to favor BIG.

Housing as a human right- Opposed. I do believe in sheltering homeless, but not as a right.

Justice System reform- In favor.

Immigration Reform- strongly in favor.

New Green Deal- strongly in favor.

Campaign finance reform- in favor, I suppose, but also indifferent- I've never agreed with the notion that this is a key issue.

So would I vote for a Democratic socialist? I might. The New Green Deal alone is so important, and so underdiscussed by both major parties that it might make this worth voting for, despite my other disagreements.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
The other issue is political: can this platform win in the midwest? If Democratic socialism takes over the Democratic party, will that then doom the Democratic party in national elections?

Despite all sorts of claims on these questions, at this point nobody really knows. 

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
Medicare for all - I'm in favor of moving in this direction. But I don't think it will work nearly as well as its proponents expect it to. There are difficulties we face in the United States that make things more complicated than they are in Europe. (I'll skip the details since that seems like a diversion from the thread.)

Fully funded public schools and universities- Education is way too expensive. There are much better solutions than publicly funding it. At the very least, I would hold off on anything like this until we have "housing as a human right" fully implemented. Handouts for students don't seem like a high priority when other people are homeless.

Universal Jobs guarantee- Opposed. I am inclined to favor BIG.

Housing as a human right- The details are important, but I favor something like this in principal. Probably through a BIG or housing vouchers.

Justice System reform- Yes.

Immigration Reform- Yes.

New Green Deal- Good in concept. The details matter, and seem hard to get right in a democracy.

Campaign finance reform- No opinion in the abstract. The concrete details matter.

 
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Henry Ford

Footballguy
Medicare for all - I'm in favor of moving in this direction. But I don't think it will work nearly as well as its proponents expect it to. There are difficulties we face in the United States that make things more complicated than they are in Europe. (I'll skip the details since that seems like a diversion from the thread.)

Fully funded public schools and universities- Education is way too expensive. There are much better solutions than publicly funding it. At the very least, I would hold off on anything like this until we have "housing as a human right" fully implemented. Handouts for students don't seem like a high priority when other people are homeless.

Universal Jobs guarantee- Opposed. I am inclined to favor BIG.

Housing as a human right- The details are important, but I favor something like this in principal. Probably through a BIG or housing vouchers.

Justice System reform- Yes.

Immigration Reform- Yes.

New Green Deal- Good in concept. The details matter, and seem hard to get right in a democracy.

Campaign finance reform- No opinion in the abstract. The concrete details matter.
Sign me up for this platform.

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
There’s a Socialism thread by the way. Can we please have a delineation of why this is not that. I think *I know but I’m curious what others say.

 
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timschochet

Footballguy
There’s a Socialism thread by the way. Can we please have a delineation of why this is not that. I think *I know but I’m curious what others say.
From Business Insider:

https://www.businessinsider.com/difference-between-socialist-and-democratic-socialist-2018-6

In the present day, "Democratic socialist" and "socialist" are often treated as interchangeable terms, which can be confusing given Democratic socialists don't necessarily think the government should immediately take control of all aspects of the economy.

They do, however, generally believe the government should help provide for people's most basic needs and help all people have an equal chance at achieving success.

Democratic socialists also believe strongly in democracy and democratic principles. They are by no means proponents of authoritarian government systems many Americans associate socialism with.

 

lod001

Footballguy
The woman is in a dream world. Completely impossible financially but for humor:

Medicare for all-  Ok but only if fatties are monitored. Don't lose the tonnage, lose your bennies. They are a massive drain on the budget. They are also linking fatties to low IQ. Yeah, I'm not kidding.

Fully funded public schools and universities- No but the costs are way too high due to greed in the system. We need ditch diggers too. 

Universal Jobs guarantee- BIG works when you have normal humans. This country is way below that. Want $? You gotta work. No sitting around getting fat while the rest of us work.

Housing as a human right- Get a job or live under a bridge. There's a dude down the road who is fine under his bridge. Been there a long time too.

Justice System reform- Yep. No reason it should take decades to execute a confessed murderer. Appeals should take minutes not years. LWOP in hard brutal labor camps if not 100% sure of guilt. Crime needs to be punished and made so horrific, that it would scare off Chuck Manson. Drugs? Bring it on. Definitely MaryJane.

Immigration Reform- The wall. Fill out the application for citizenship like you are supposed to.

New Green Deal- Yeah, sure. But I'm keeping my sports car.

Campaign finance reform- Sure. I hate 'em all on both sides so lose the lobbyists.

Socialism works if everyone is a robot. When you insert greed, you get Venezuela. Since humans are greedy by nature, it won't work. It's a nice pipe dream that I actually agree with but it is in fact a pipe dream.

 

toshiba

Footballguy
Democratic socialism and socialism are so far different terms it’s a shame they both have the word socialism. I think better question is what’s the difference between the progressive agenda and the democratic socialist agenda.

 

TobiasFunke

Footballguy
Democratic socialism is a laughing stock and if Democrats elect one of these wackjobs in the primaries they will be steamrolled worse than Hillary was.  End of story.
I don't particularly like democratic socialism but if people keep talking like this I'm gonna vote for democratic socialists just to spite them.

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Democratic socialism is a laughing stock and if Democrats elect one of these wackjobs in the primaries they will be steamrolled worse than Hillary was.  End of story.
I think you're being a little short-sided here- both in your flippant reaction and in your failure to recognize the prevailing winds of change. 

 

timschochet

Footballguy
She's pushing for a "New Green Deal," a federal plan to thwart climate change via investing trillions in infrastructure.

"The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan," she recently told HuffPost. "We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy."

I think this is going to be very popular in the years ahead, particularly if we have more and more hurricanes on the east coast like the one about to strike and if scientists relate that to climate change. Public opinion in general does not share the Republican head in the sand attitudes on this issue.

 

Henry Ford

Footballguy
I mean, it seems to work well in Australia.  Democratic socialist principles as a basis for the Labour Party seem to work well in the UK.  How big do the numbers have to get before playing with them makes it not work?

 

fantasycurse42

Footballguy Jr.
I mean, it seems to work well in Australia.  Democratic socialist principles as a basis for the Labour Party seem to work well in the UK.  How big do the numbers have to get before playing with them makes it not work?
Didn't they vote to leave the EU 2 years ago? Seems like everyone isn't happy with these principles as immigration was a sticking point in the vote. So I guess, 65mm? 

 

TobiasFunke

Footballguy
I mean, it seems to work well in Australia.  Democratic socialist principles as a basis for the Labour Party seem to work well in the UK.  How big do the numbers have to get before playing with them makes it not work?
Well, Australia's population is about 24 million, and Venezuela's population is about 31 million. 

So based on which countries are and are not considered valid examples by opponents of socialism, we can conclude that examples become viable somewhere in the 25-30 million range. Obviously.

 

Henry Ford

Footballguy
Norway: 5 million

Finland: 5 million

Sweden: 10 million

Denmark: 6 million

Iceland: 350,000

The Netherlands: 17 million

New Zealand: 4 million

Australia: 24 million

 

urbanhack

Fight The Power!
Norway/Finland each have a population of 5MM, this works differently on massive scale.
Do they have corporate welfare, corruption, special interests and lobbyists? 

I think we can scale this to take care of 95 to 99% of the population if we didn't have the above.

 

Henry Ford

Footballguy
Didn't they vote to leave the EU 2 years ago? Seems like everyone isn't happy with these principles as immigration was a sticking point in the vote. So I guess, 65mm? 
Wait, why does Democratic Socialism form the basis of the decision to leave the EU?  Wasn't the big selling point the ability to funnel money into the National Health Service?

 

TobiasFunke

Footballguy
By the way fantasycurse hasn't even explained why scale matters. Neither has anyone else.  Shouldn't the burden be on them to explain why it's relevant? We're only talking about one order of magnitude here.

People use states as "testing ground" for national policy all the time and that's a similar size differential.  In fact, before conservatives lost their minds this was one of their primary arguments for state's rights. Now all of a sudden the information is useless?

 

Henry Ford

Footballguy
I don't particularly like democratic socialism but if people keep talking like this I'm gonna vote for democratic socialists just to spite them.
I'm not for that reason, but I'm definitely on the fence on a number of areas.  If the best people can come up with are the terrible arguments I hear and read, I'll probably vote for them just because their opponents have no good arguments and the supporters have good ones.

 

fantasycurse42

Footballguy Jr.

Henry Ford

Footballguy
By the way fantasycurse hasn't even explained why scale matters. Neither has anyone else.  Shouldn't the burden be on them to explain why it's relevant? We're only talking about one order of magnitude here.

People use states as "testing ground" for national policy all the time and that's a similar size differential.  In fact, before conservatives lost their minds this was one of their primary arguments for state's rights. Now all of a sudden the information is useless?
That's what I'm trying to do.  I don't see any support for that claim.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
Democratic socialism and socialism are so far different terms it’s a shame they both have the word socialism.
This seems to be the fault of the Democratic Socialists. They should call themselves something that doesn't already have a Wikipedia entry inconsistent with how they're using the term.

"Democratic Socialists" in the United States should follow the lead of the Scandinavian countries, or Australia and New Zealand, or Canada ... all of whom have governments kind of similar to what it seems like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez et al. want, and none of whom call themselves "Democratic Socialists."

 
By the way fantasycurse hasn't even explained why scale matters. Neither has anyone else.  Shouldn't the burden be on them to explain why it's relevant? We're only talking about one order of magnitude here.

People use states as "testing ground" for national policy all the time and that's a similar size differential.  In fact, before conservatives lost their minds this was one of their primary arguments for state's rights. Now all of a sudden the information is useless?
I don't think the size of the population matters, but i do think that the average American thinks differently about the world than the average Dane, and that creates some challenges in implementing things here.  

 

Henry Ford

Footballguy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_vote_in_favour_of_Brexit

1/3 of respondents voted to leave due to immigration - just saying, feels like a large swath of the population didn't like the Labour Party platform. I don't think using the Labour Party was a good example. 
Just to clarify, according to your own link, half of respondents voted for Brexit for reasons of national sovereignty.  Which has nothing to do with a democratic socialist platform.  Which would also be involved in "immigration."  This argument is not persuasive.

 

fantasycurse42

Footballguy Jr.
Just to clarify, according to your own link, half of respondents voted for Brexit for reasons of national sovereignty.  Which has nothing to do with a democratic socialist platform.  Which would also be involved in "immigration."  This argument is not persuasive.
Just curious, what synonym would you use to replace the words "national sovereignty" ? 

 

TobiasFunke

Footballguy
Just curious, what synonym would you use to replace the words "national sovereignty" ? 
All due respect,  but we seem to be getting off track here.  Critics said democratic socialism doesn't work, they were given counterexamples, and then you dismissed the relevance of those counterexamples due to the size of those countries. But why does their relatively small size (largest is 24 million if we eliminate the UK example altogether) invalidate them?  We can't we replicate their model on a larger scale? It seems to me and some other people that we can, and I think the burden is on you to explain why we're wrong about that.

If New York had a law that improved the lives of the average New Yorker, nobody would just dismiss the idea of implementing it nationally due to the size difference. In fact, as I pointed out earlier conservatives used to use this possibility as one of their primary arguments for state's rights. What's changed? Why can't we implement the Nordic Model in America?

 
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dgreen

Footballguy
They do, however, generally believe the government should help provide for people's most basic needs and help all people have an equal chance at achieving success.
How would you define "basic needs" and how do you determine when something new has become a "basic need"? In the OP, I see health care, education, employment/income, and housing as basic needs. Food seems to be missing. A couple other things that I think play a big role in our society are transportation and communication/connectivity. Is the Democratic Socialism thinking that food, transportation, and communication/connectivity are currently being handled well by the free-ish market that government doesn't guarantee those for everyone?

 

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