Explaining Socialism To A Republican
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16-04-2012, 09:25 AM
Explaining Socialism To A Republican


Explaining Socialism To A Republican

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I was talking recently with a new friend who I’m just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.

When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word “socialism” came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said “All socialism isn’t bad”. She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?” I smiled and said “No, not at all. Why do you think socialism means taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?

“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.


I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning of the terms “democracy” and “socialism”.

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.

Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!” But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.

To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.

The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America. Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other people’s fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires. But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.

Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school. Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.

When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.

On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions. Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.

EXAMPLE American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.

EXAMPLE European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes. When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.

Question - You might be thinking: How is that fair? If you’re no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?

Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly. If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program. So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Health care is another example:
If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently. The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.

In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period. Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.

In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.

This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.

This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to ”lift themselves up by their bootstraps” and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.

So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.

Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

from http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/04/15/...epublican/

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16-04-2012, 09:26 AM
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
Just the idea of explaining socialism to a republican made me laugh quite a lot. Tongue

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16-04-2012, 10:19 AM
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
The term tends to be misused or misunderstood. We live in a social democratic republic with a capitalist economy. People tend to confuse our system of government with the way our economy is run. They associate socialism with economic socialism. The US doesn't have economic socialism.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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16-04-2012, 10:36 AM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2012 10:39 AM by Quidsane.)
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
(16-04-2012 10:19 AM)germanyt Wrote:  The US doesn't have economic socialism.

The fire and police departments, public education, public library, public works, parks, eco preservations,
roads, bridges, sidewalds, bike paths, armed forces, NASA, welfare, social security, medicare, medicaid,
subways, port authority, Electric Cooperatives, public transit, etc., are all examples of economic socialism in the U.S. Thumbsup

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16-04-2012, 10:39 AM
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
Free healthcare is what y'all really need. Wink

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16-04-2012, 10:40 AM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2012 10:51 AM by germanyt.)
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
(16-04-2012 10:36 AM)Quidsane Wrote:  
(16-04-2012 10:19 AM)germanyt Wrote:  The US doesn't have economic socialism.

The fire and police departments, public education, etc., are examples of economic socialism in the U.S. Thumbsup
No they are not.

From wiki
A socialist economic system would consist of an organisation of
production to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that
goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit driven by the accumulation of capital, and accounting would be based on physical quantities, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time.[5][6] Distribution of output would be based on the principle of individual contribution.

Economic socialism has to do with who controls the means of production and how assets are allocated. Fire departments are a social program controlled by the government. Kind of like how a person can be a social liberal but an economic conservative. There is a difference between a socialist economy and a socialist government. Look it up smart ass. Thumbsup
Also,

Socialism
is a society where this large-scale private ownership of the big
corporations, the banks and the land, is ended. This means that we
can collectively and democratically plan how we use the
world's resources. Hannah explains how:

Quote:This
would mean bringing all the big corporations, controlling around
80% of the economy, into democratic public ownership,
under democratic working-class control.
Ordinary
working class people - the vast majority of society - would then
collectively own and control these wealth producing resources and
would draw up a plan for their best use.

A
socialist society would put people's needs and interests, immediate
and long-term, before profit. Hannah explains what this would mean below.

There
are no countries where this takes place today.


http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/faq.php?question=socialistcountries




We have a socialist democratic system of government but no where in the world is there a socialist economy. Even China is an example of free market capitalism.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

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16-04-2012, 11:04 AM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2012 11:13 AM by Quidsane.)
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
(16-04-2012 10:40 AM)germanyt Wrote:  
(16-04-2012 10:36 AM)Quidsane Wrote:  The fire and police departments, public education, etc., are examples of economic socialism in the U.S. Thumbsup
No they are not.

From wiki
A socialist economic system would consist of an organisation of
production to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that
goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit driven by the accumulation of capital, and accounting would be based on physical quantities, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time.[5][6] Distribution of output would be based on the principle of individual contribution.

Economic socialism has to do with who controls the means of production and how assets are allocated. Fire departments are a social program controlled by the government. Kind of like how a person can be a social liberal but an economic conservative. There is a difference between a socialist economy and a socialist government. Look it up smart ass. Thumbsup

Smart ass? Fuck you. [Image: DoubleFlip.gif]

What you're saying doesn't make sense to me.
I didn't say that the U.S. had a "socialist economic system".
I merely gave examples of what I believe to be economic socialism
in the U.S. which, by the way, seem to fit the wiki definition you posted.

So elaborate and help me understand what you're saying; don't bash
me for not understanding (if that's the case). Lighten up, Francis.




EDIT: Thanks for elaborating. Makes a little more sense now.
(16-04-2012 10:40 AM)germanyt Wrote:  http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/faq.php...tcountries


Hey man, that site is fascinating.

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16-04-2012, 11:29 AM
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
explaining anything besides capitalism to a conservative is almost impossible Tongue

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16-04-2012, 11:32 AM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2012 11:35 AM by germanyt.)
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
(16-04-2012 11:04 AM)Quidsane Wrote:  
(16-04-2012 10:40 AM)germanyt Wrote:  No they are not.

From wiki
A socialist economic system would consist of an organisation of
production to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that
goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit driven by the accumulation of capital, and accounting would be based on physical quantities, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time.[5][6] Distribution of output would be based on the principle of individual contribution.

Economic socialism has to do with who controls the means of production and how assets are allocated. Fire departments are a social program controlled by the government. Kind of like how a person can be a social liberal but an economic conservative. There is a difference between a socialist economy and a socialist government. Look it up smart ass. Thumbsup

Smart ass? Fuck you. [Image: DoubleFlip.gif]

What you're saying doesn't make sense to me.
I didn't say that the U.S. had a "socialist economic system".
I merely gave examples of what I believe to be economic socialism
in the U.S. which, by the way, seem to fit the wiki definition you posted.

So elaborate and help me understand what you're saying; don't bash
me for not understanding (if that's the case). Lighten up, Francis.




EDIT: Thanks for elaborating. Makes a little more sense now.
The government's authority to levy taxes and fund social programs isn't indicative of a socialist economy. In capitalism companies and property are privately owned and production of goods is regulated by supply and demand in the interest of profit.


Wiki explains it better than I do.


A socialist economic system would consist of an organisation of
production to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that
goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit driven by the accumulation of capital, and accounting would be based on physical quantities, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time.[5][6] Distribution of output would be based on the principle of individual contribution.

Economics


See also: Socialist economics and Production for use
The original conception of socialism was an economic system whereby
production was organised in a way to directly produce goods and services
for their use-value; the direct allocation of resources
according to satisfy economic demands without financial calculation and
the mobilisation of the economy based on physical units as opposed to
the economic laws of capitalism (see: Law of value), often entailing the end of capitalistic economic categories such as rent, interest, profit and money.[15]

This is contrasted with capitalism, where production is carried out for profit, and thus based upon indirect allocation. In an ideal capitalism based on perfect competition,
competitive pressures compel business enterprises to respond to the
needs of consumers, so that the pursuit of profit approximates
production for use through an indirect process (competitive pressures on
private firms).

Market socialism
refers to an array of different economic theories and systems that
utilise the market mechanism to organise production and to allocate
factor inputs among socially-owned enterprises, with the economic
surplus (profits) accruing to society as a social dividend as opposed to private capital owners.[16] Variations of market socialism include Libertarian proposals such as mutualism, and neoclassical economic models such as the Lange Model.

The ownership of the means of production can be based on direct ownership by the users of the productive property through worker cooperative; or commonly owned by all of society with management and control delegated to those who operate/use the means of production; or public ownership by a state apparatus. Public ownership may refer to the creation of state-owned enterprises, nationalisation or municipalisation.
The fundamental feature of a socialist economy is that publicly owned,
worker-run institutions produce goods and services in at least the commanding heights of the economy.[17][18]

Management and control over the activities of enterprises is based on self-management
and self-governance, with equal power-relations in the workplace to
maximise occupational autonomy. A socialist form of organisation would
eliminate controlling hierarchies so that only a hierarchy based on
technical knowledge in the workplace remains. Every member would have
decision-making power in the firm and would be able to participate in
establishing its overall policy objectives. The policies/goals would be
carried out by the technical specialists that form the coordinating
hierarchy of the firm, who would establish plans or directives for the
work community to accomplish these goals.[19]

The role and use of money in a hypothetical socialist economy is a contested issue. Socialists including Karl Marx, Robert Owen and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon advocated various forms of labour vouchers
or labour-credits, which like money would be used to acquire articles
of consumption, but unlike money they would not be capable of becoming capital and would not be used to allocate resources within the production process. Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky
argued that, following a socialist revolution, money could not be
arbitrarily abolished. Money had to exhaust its "historic mission"
(continue to be used until it became redundant), and then later
transformed into bookkeeping receipts for statisticians, and in the more
distant future, might not be required for even that role.
Democratic socialism

Modern democratic socialism
is a broad political movement that seeks to propagate the ideals of
socialism within the context of a democratic system. Many democratic
socialists support social democracy
as a road to reform of the current system, but others support more
revolutionary tactics to establish socialist goals. Conversely, modern
social democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative reform of
capitalism in order to make it more equitable and humane, while the
theoretical end goal of building a socialist society is either
completely forgotten or redefined in a pro-capitalist way. The two
movements are widely similar both in terminology and in ideology,
although there are a few key differences.

Democratic socialism generally refers to any political movement that seeks to establish an economy based on economic democracy by and for the working class. Democratic socialists oppose democratic centralism and the revolutionary vanguard party of Leninism.
Democratic socialism is difficult to define, and groups of scholars
have radically different definitions for the term. Some definitions
simply refer to all forms of socialism that follow an electoral, reformist or evolutionary path to socialism, rather than a revolutionary one




Socialism is growing harder and harder to define. So one could view a social program that, would it have been a private company, could have effected the economy as a example of a socialist economic program. In the US we have a social democracy where officials are elected and the government levies taxes to provide basic services to those in need.



Many social democratic parties, particularly after the Cold war, adopted neoliberal-based market policies that include privatisation, liberalisation, deregulation and financialisation; resulting in the abandonment of pursuing the development of moderate socialism in favour of market liberalism. Despite the name, these pro-capitalist policies are radically different from the many non-capitalist free-market socialist theories that have existed throughout history.

In 1959, the German Social Democratic Party adopted the Godesberg Program, rejecting class struggle and Marxism. In 1980, with the rise of conservative neoliberal politicians such as Ronald Reagan in the U.S., Margaret Thatcher in Britain, and Brian Mulroney in Canada, the Western welfare state was attacked from within. Monetarists and neoliberalism attacked social welfare systems as impediments to private entrepreneurship at public expense.

In the 1980s and 1990s, western European socialists were pressured to
reconcile their socialist economic programmes with a free-market-based
communal European economy. In the UK, the Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock made a passionate and public attack against the party's Militant Tendency at a Labour Party conference, and repudiated the demands of the defeated striking miners after the 1984–1985 strike against pit closures. In 1989, at Stockholm, the 18th Congress of the Socialist International adopted a new Declaration of Principles, saying:

Quote:Democratic socialism is an international movement for freedom, social
justice, and solidarity. Its goal is to achieve a peaceful world where
these basic values can be enhanced and where each individual can live a
meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality and
talents, and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a
democratic framework of society.[108]
In the 1990s, released from the Left's pressure, the British Labour Party, under Tony Blair,
posited policies based upon the free market economy to deliver public
services via private contractors. In 1995, the Labour Party re-defined
its stance on socialism by re-wording clause IV
of its constitution, effectively rejecting socialism by removing any
and all references to public, direct worker or municipal ownership of
the means of production. In 1995, the British Labour Party revised its
political aims: "The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It
believes that, by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more
than we achieve alone, so as to create, for each of us, the means to
realise our true potential, and, for all of us, a community in which
power, wealth, and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the
few."[109]

The objectives of the Party of European Socialists,
the European Parliament's socialist bloc, are now "to pursue
international aims in respect of the principles on which the European
Union is based, namely principles of freedom, equality, solidarity,
democracy, respect of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and respect
for the Rule of Law." As a result, today, the rallying cry of the
French Revolution – "Egalité, Liberté, Fraternité" – which overthrew
absolutism and ushered industrialisation into French society, are
promoted as essential socialist values.




I'm reading all this and don't feel like it explains it very well.

(16-04-2012 11:29 AM)nach_in Wrote:  explaining anything besides capitalism to a conservative is almost impossible Tongue
Why would anyone even entertain another system? Earth didn't move to capitalism because it sucks. Even the most socialist leaning governments still rely heavily on free market capitalism as a economic model. Perhaps, like Michael Moore, you are confusing capitalism with corporatism. Guy makes a documentary called Capitalism : A Love Story and spends the whole thing bitching about corporatism.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.”

-Mark Twain
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16-04-2012, 11:42 AM
RE: Explaining Socialism To A Republican
From the Socialist Party link you provided was this paragraph which kind of makes me uneasy:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ending competition and duplication

Private ownership of the means of production results in constant duplication. Companies fiercely compete to produce a certain product first and best. Socialism would eliminate this and thereby save a huge amount of resources.

There would also be no need for marketing, on which capitalism spends $1 trillion a year. This does not mean, as is commonly claimed, that socialism would result in a lack of choice or poor-quality goods: a society where everyone dresses in a grey uniform.

It would be possible to have far more choice of the things which people desire to have a variety of (such as clothes, music, holidays etc) than under capitalism. However, a socialist society might choose not to have 200 brands of washing powder!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It sort of sounds like this removes the spirit of innovation.
Or am I reading that wrong?

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