Now that Bernie Sanders has shown that he has wide support, the corporate media is in full panic mode and they are getting a bit hysterical about his self-imposed label “democratic socialist.” If you listen carefully, you will hear a litany of predictable slogans and scarewords like “socialist,” “far left,” “radical left” and more. Unfortunately for them, sloganeering is not a replacement for thoughtful, factually supported argument. These words are used because they work – they successfully cloud the minds and the judgement of those who come under their spell. They also frighten people into voting against their own self-interest.
The good news is that many young people are more immune to the scarewords and therefore not as terrified of socialism as their elders. It may be that they have a more informed and sophisticated understanding of what socialism is and how if functions. Older generations and the less informed largely base their “arguments” on a few failed examples, some of which aren’t even socialist: Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea. The sloganeering used is predictable because anti-socialist propaganda is repeated everywhere, not just on Fox. Most demonstrate their misunderstanding by using “socialist,” “communist,” and “fascist” interchangeably. More importantly, anti-socialist scaredy cats usually overlook the many “socialist” aspects of America that they appreciate: the military, public roads, public schools, public libraries, public hospitals, bridges, and much more.
Perhaps the biggest blindspot for the anti-socialist scaredy cat is the fact that America already is socialist. Corporate socialism is so much a part of our environment it has become nearly invisible to us. We don’t balk over the subsidies that are given to corporations every year. We try to ignore the fact that many hugely profitable corporations do not pay any taxes. We attempt to convince ourselves that we should subsidize corporations because they are “job creators” even though we know that these jobs offer minimal wages, decreasing benefits and no security.
What the scaredy cats really need to fear is plutocracy – rule by a wealthy few. The 1% are the folks most terrified of socialism because they don’t want to give up any of their own subsidies. They smugly lecture us about work and responsibility while constantly lobbying for more public funding and shirking all accountability for cleaning up their own messes. They dodge their taxes and park their money overseas to avoid paying their fair share. To put it simply: GREED is the reason they don’t want “we the people” to receive what most other developed countries offer: healthcare, education, childcare and other social programs. Such socially positive public spending is not “radical” nor is it “extreme,” it’s just good common sense. What is radical however is the growing wealth gap in America – a natural result of corporate socialism, the mechanism of plutocracy.
Perhaps it is time we reverse this mechanism and re-direct our tax dollars to programs that benefit ordinary working folks rather than filling the pockets of the already immensely wealthy. This is not radical, this is neither Democratic nor Republican, neither liberal nor conservative, it’s simply something to think about next time you vote.