Social Democrats

I’d be happy to support Social Democrats, who represent a venerable political tradition that has done a lot of good. Social Democrats were viciously persecuted by Socialists and slaughtered by them in huge numbers, so it’s not like one can use these appellations interchangeably. It’s pretty much like confusing socialists and national socialists (aka Nazis.)

“Social Democrats” is easier to pronounce than “Democratic Socialists.” Yet that’s not the term that was chosen. This is not a bug but a feature. But folks are so starved for a progressive alternative that they are choosing not to notice how much the alternative they are getting stinks.

21 thoughts on “Social Democrats

  1. That’s just out of context and false. I’m lukewarm on the DSA despite being a member, but we have no military organization and have perpetrated no massacres, and people like my longtime representative Ron V. Dellums, RIP, were DSA. The broader point is that democratic socialism is an old concept. And a large part of the “moderate reforms” & institutions you approve of came to us from the left, not from the liberals.

    Some of the confusion comes from pragmatics. DSA claims to be committed to actual transformation toward socialism as in, more collective ownership of means of production and wealth, not more privatization, but its actual tactics and programs are reformist, making them look like social democrats and not democratic socialists. There have been huge arguments over the years as to whether this kind of thing is good or bad: the standard leftie line is that liberals are not your friends, but some say yes they are: your role is to pull left so that at least the liberals stay liberal.

    Another issue is the so-called third way — Clintonomics, you know. In this context what used to be liberal calls itself socialist so as to distinguish itself form what is now called liberal and is really centrist. In any case there is long history of discussion and action around these things in US and it’s not the same discussion as in USSR.


      1. I believe it is? Sanders using the phrase, etc.? People saying they are “socialists” because they are left of Clinton/Obama … when they might be more objectively classed as left liberals?


        1. I have no beef with Bernie who, at his age, can’t be expected to ditch the rhetoric of his youth. My problem is with a bunch of middle-aged and youngish folks who could very well avoid using a term that millions of people associate with genocide and horror but who are choosing not to. This is the same crowd that would eviscerate one for some minor transgression against inclusive language and all that kind of stuff. This is the same crowd that thinks it’s murderous not to use words like “zie” and whatever. It’s the hypocrisy that gets to me. It’s the eternal “some people are more equal than others.”


          1. I’ve talked to younger people about this, and they have zero association between the forms of socialism being discussed by Bernie and practiced in Western Europe, on the one hand, and the USSR. on the other. Telling them not to use “socialism” is like telling them not to use “republic” or “people’s” because the words appear in the names of countries led by dictators. (I’m not saying this is right, but I think it’s a lost battle.)


            1. I don’t know how else to say it but there are no forms of socialism practiced in Western Europe. None whatsoever. Zero.

              As for the younger people in question, if they want to limit their chances of political success because of stubborn ignorance, it’s their right. As we all know, youth is the only character flaw that is guaranteed to be cured by time. 🙂


            2. The Republicans have taught them that Social Security, Medicare, safe abortion, decent roads, etc., are all “socialism” – so of course they are for it


      1. I obviously meant the stalinist purges of social Democrats. Social Democrats conducted the February revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Romanov empire. And then they were in turn overthrown by Lenin and Co. I’m completely supportive of the February revolution and its goals but not of the October revolution.


        1. Yes but I don’t think these are the reference points used here any longer. This is why people of my parents’ generation stopped flirting with the idea of socialism. Here, now, you have people who want social democracy and mean, capitalist economy with redistribution and some social guarantees, welfare, and public institutions, the US as created by FDR and Johnson’s Great Society, and some are calling that “socialist” which it isn’t. Democratic socialism as aspirational ideal is different and if attained would mean some changes to the capitalist system itself. At this time, we are going in the other direction every day — private prisons, private military contractors, charter schools, privatized janitorial service at my public university. Rolling that kind of thing back, and moving back to public utility companies with citizens on the board, would be steps toward … well, toward the U.S. of my younger days, which was fervently anti-socialist and anti-communist, but actually had many more socialist-inspired features than the country does now. I am not at all sure much of U.S. actually wants to take on the daily work a more participatory democracy like that would require, or is non-authoritarian enough that they wouldn’t, in a state-form that tried to be socialist, just let some authoritarian group take charge. People who say these things off the cuff just aren’t thinking it all through. I’d say what is frustrating in so much of this talk is the superficiality


          1. Well, the democratic socialists, or the social democrats — whatever they’re called — won big in tonight’s Democratic primary election in Florida.

            The long-shot “abolish ICE” candidate Andrew Gillum won the Democratic gubernatorial primary election over Gwen Graham, the favored former centrist congresswoman and daughter of a famous Florida governor and senator, thanks to the endorsement of Socialist Bernie Sanders and the billionaire ImpeachTrumpNow idiot Tom Steyer.

            Gillum will be running in the general election against the long-shot Republican primary candidate Ron DeSantis, who came from far behind to defeat the popular incumbent Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam solely because of Trump’s last-minute endorsement.

            It should be a very interesting election — Sanders’ man vs. Trump’s — on November 6th.


            1. Inside the mind of a low-information voter:

              Gillum and Levine ran a lot of ads on social media and sent out a lot of flyers. I didn’t hear a darn thing from Gwen Graham, but I got a quite a bit of attack flyers. Of course, my exposure to ads is different since I use a DVR and have about two different ad-block filters on my main browser.

              The race I was most interested in did not appear on my ballot as Rick Scott and Bill Nelson were unopposed in their primary. There were a whole bunch of judges, county commissioners, and school board members to vote for. The Pulitzer Prize winning Tampa Bay Times has an opinion guide but it’s basically worth a bucket of warm spit when it comes to influencing elections. I went with, do I like the Times reasoning? Are any of the candidates insane?

              Sanders, bless him, had no turnout in 2016. It wasn’t even close and Sanders fans were more content to talk about evil Hillary than boring shit like “getting people registered to vote and making sure they send in their ballot/are able to vote in person.”

              I almost didn’t vote. Driving to the polls near my house was a bit of an ordeal because there was a flood advisory and the back roads were filled with water. The gas station nearest the polling station had its garbage cans floating around in the water. If last minute turnout was a factor it definitely didn’t help.


              1. Welp. The Daily 202: Gillum’s upset in Florida primary captures the story of the midterms in miniature

                Another primary with record turnout: About 2 million Floridians voted on Tuesday. Democratic turnout was up about 70 percent compared with the last midterms, in 2014, though in total more Republicans voted

                Several updates show record turnout– for Democrats anyways

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Ok, I only just now found out what’s going on in Florida. The nYT is super unhelpful and is doggedly sticking to the identity narrative which is completely useless. Gillum sounds like a good candidate. I hope he wins. He’s definitely more exciting than our Pritzker. But I heard his name for the first time today, so my understanding is limited. How do you feel about him?


  2. Andrew Gillum is charismatic. The state badly needs to reverse the trend of constantly cutting the budget for education (they found lead in the water in some of the schools over in the next county). Not sure about his plan to tax marijuana sales (something John Morgan, who owns a giant law firm is in favor of.) I’m glad he’s focused on the environment, which is an issue as so much of the jobs in Florida are tourism based or affected by how tourism does.

    But I expect to hear “FBI investigation” roughly a billion times within the next couple of months.

    Of course DeSantis decided he was going to trend this morning with “Monkey This Up” because at this point “FBI investigation” will be met with a yawn because of the progress of the investigation and who DeSantis has decided tohug (super thirsty ad in which DeSantis only relates to his kids through Trump catchphrases).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point on the environment. If I lived in Florida, I’d vote on nothing but the environment. This is a state that desperately needs very strong environmentalist candidates, in my opinion.

      I read the article on the FBI investigation and it looks like a nothing burger. I’d vote for this guy.


  3. U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question

    — On paper, he’s a devoted U.S. citizen.

    His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.

    But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.

    As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown on their citizenship….
    In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States. As the Trump administration attempts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, the government’s treatment of passport applicants in South Texas shows how U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies….
    Juan said he was infuriated by the government’s response. “I served my country. I fought for my country,” he said, speaking on the condition that his last name not be used so that he wouldn’t be targeted by immigration enforcement….
    …When Juan, the former soldier, received a letter from the State Department telling him it wasn’t convinced that he was a U.S. citizen, it requested a range of obscure documents — evidence of his mother’s prenatal care, his baptismal certificate, rental agreements from when he was a baby….
    …I thought to myself, you know, I’m going to have to seek legal help,” said Juan, who earns $13 an hour as a prison guard and expects to pay several thousand dollars in legal fees….

    Liked by 1 person

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