The New Socialists – By Corey Robin – The New York Times Opinion

CreditCreditSam’s Myth

That may be changing. Public support for socialism is growing. Self-identified socialists like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are making inroads into the Democratic Party, which the political analyst Kevin Phillips once called the “second-most enthusiastic capitalist party” in the world. Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country, is skyrocketing, especially among young people.

What explains this irruption? And what do we mean, in 2018, when we talk about “socialism”?

Some part of the story is pure accident. In 2016, Mr. Sanders made a strong bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Far from hurting his candidacy, the “socialism” label helped it. Mr. Sanders wasn’t a liberal, a progressive or even a Democrat. He was untainted by all the words and ways of politics as usual. Ironically, the fact that socialism was so long in exile now shields it from the toxic familiarities of American politics.

Another part of the story is less accidental. Since the 1970s, American liberals have taken a right turn on the economy. They used to champion workers and unions, high taxes, redistribution, regulation and public services. Now they lionize billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, deregulate wherever possible, steer clear of unions except at election time and at least until recently, fight over how much to cut most people’s taxes.

Liberals, of course, argue that they are merely using market-friendly tools like tax cuts and deregulation to achieve things like equitable growth, expanded health care and social justice — the same ends they always have pursued. For decades, left-leaning voters have gone along with that answer, even if they didn’t like the results, for lack of an alternative.

It took Mr. Sanders to convince them that if tax credits and insurance exchanges are the best liberals have to offer to men and women struggling to make stagnating wages pay for bills that skyrocket and debt that never dissipates, maybe socialism is worth a try.

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The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree.

Socialism means different things to different people. For some, it conjures the Soviet Union and the gulag; for others, Scandinavia and guaranteed income. But neither is the true vision of socialism. What the socialist seeks is freedom.

Under capitalism, we’re forced to enter the market just to live. The libertarian sees the market as synonymous with freedom. But socialists hear “the market” and think of the anxious parent, desperate not to offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy. Under capitalism, we’re forced to submit to the boss. Terrified of getting on his bad side, we bow and scrape, flatter and flirt, or worse — just to get that raise or make sure we don’t get fired.

The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree. When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in freedom but in domination. Socialists want to end that domination: to establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.

Listen to today’s socialists, and you’ll hear less the language of poverty than of power. Mr. Sanders invokes the 1 percent. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez speaks to and for the “working class” — not “working people” or “working families,” homey phrases meant to soften and soothe. The 1 percent and the working class are not economic descriptors. They’re political accusations. They split society in two, declaring one side the illegitimate ruler of the other; one side the taker of the other’s freedom, power and promise.

One of the reasons candidates like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Ms. Salazar speak the language of class so fluently is that it’s central to their identities.

Walk the streets of Bushwick with a canvasser for Julia Salazar, the socialist candidate running to represent North Brooklyn in the New York State Senate. What you’ll hear is that unlike her opponent, Ms. Salazar doesn’t take money from real estate developers. It’s not just that she wants to declare her independence from rich donors. It’s that in her district of cash-strapped renters, landlords are the enemy.

Compare that position to the pitch that Shomik Dutta, a Democratic Party fund-raiser, gave to the Obama campaign in 2008: “The Clinton network is going to take all the establishment” donors. What the campaign needed was someone who understands “the less established donors, the real-estate-developer folks.” If that was “yes, we can,” the socialist answer is “no, we won’t.”

One of the reasons candidates like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Ms. Salazar speak the language of class so fluently is that it’s central to their identities. Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton struggled to cobble together a credible self out of the many selves they’d presented over the years, trying to find a personal story to fit the political moment. Today’s young candidates of the left tell a story of personal struggle that meshes with their political vision. Mr. Obama did that — but where his story reinforced a myth of national identity and inclusion, the socialists’ story is one of capitalism and exclusion: how, as millennials struggling with low wages and high rents and looming debt, they and their generation are denied the promise of freedom.

The stories of these candidates are socialist for another reason: They break with the nation-state. The geographic references of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez — or Ms. Tlaib, who is running to represent Michigan’s 13th District in Congress — are local rather than national, invoking the memory and outposts of American and European colonialism rather than the promise of the American dream.

Ms. Tlaib speaks of her Palestinian heritage and the cause of Palestine by way of the African-American struggle for civil rights in Detroit, while Ms. Ocasio-Cortez draws circuits of debt linking Puerto Rico, where her mother was born, and the Bronx, where she lives. Mr. Obama’s story also had its Hawaiian (as well as Indonesian and Kenyan) chapters. But where his ended on a note of incorporation, the cosmopolitan wanderer coming home to America, Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez aren’t interested in that resolution. That refusal is also part of the socialist heritage.

Arguably the biggest boundary today’s socialists are willing to cross is the two-party system. In their campaigns, the message is clear: It’s not enough to criticize Donald Trump or the Republicans; the Democrats are also complicit in the rot of American life. And here the socialism of our moment meets up with the deepest currents of the American past.

Like the great transformative presidents, today’s socialist candidates reach beyond the parties to target a malignant social form: for Abraham Lincoln, it was the slavocracy; for Franklin Roosevelt, it was the economic royalists. The great realigners understood that any transformation of society requires a confrontation not just with the opposition but also with the political economy that underpins both parties. That’s why realigners so often opt for a language that neither party speaks. For Lincoln in the 1850s, confronting the Whigs and the Democrats, that language was free labor. For leftists in the 2010s, confronting the Republicans and the Democrats, it’s socialism.

To critics in the mainstream and further to the left, that language can seem slippery. With their talk of Medicare for All or increasing the minimum wage, these socialist candidates sound like New Deal or Great Society liberals. There’s not much discussion, yet, of classic socialist tenets like worker control or collective ownership of the means of production.

And of course, there’s overlap between what liberals and socialists call for. But even if liberals come to support single-payer health care, free college, more unions and higher wages, the divide between the two will remain. For liberals, these are policies to alleviate economic misery. For socialists, these are measures of emancipation, liberating men and women from the tyranny of the market and autocracy at work. Back in the 1930s, it was said that liberalism was freedom plus groceries. The socialist, by contrast, believes that making things free makes people free.

More on Socialism in America
Opinion | Michelle Goldberg
The Millennial Socialists Are Coming

Opinion | Bret Stephens
Democratic Socialism Is Dem Doom

It’s also important to remember that the traffic between socialism and liberalism has always been wide. The 10-point program of Marx and Engels’s “Communist Manifesto” included demands that are now boilerplate: universal public education, abolition of child labor and a progressive income tax. It can take a lot of socialists to get a little liberalism: It was socialists in Europe, after all, who won the right to vote, freedom of speech and parliamentary democracy. Given how timid and tepid American liberalism has become — when was the last time a Democratic president even called himself a liberal — it’s not surprising that a more arresting term helps get the conversation going. Sometimes nudges need a nudge.

Still, today’s socialism is just getting started. It took Lincoln a decade — plus a civil war, and the decision of black slaves to defy their masters, rushing to join advancing Union troops — to come to the position that free labor meant immediate abolition.

In magazines and on websites, in reading groups and party chapters, socialists are debating the next steps: state ownership of certain industries, worker councils and economic cooperatives, sovereign wealth funds. Once upon a time, such conversations were the subject of academic satire and science fiction. Now they’re getting out the vote and driving campaigns. It’s too soon to tell whether they’ll spill over into Congress, but events have a way of converting barroom chatter into legislative debate.

What ultimately gives shape to socialist desire is less the specific policies in a politician’s head than the men and women marching with their feet. That’s why the two most important utterances of today’s socialists are Ms. Salazar’s demand that New York abolish the law prohibiting strikes of government workers and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s call “to occupy all of it.” Both statements reveal what socialists have always understood: Mass action — sometimes illegal, always confrontational — will determine socialism’s final form.

Socialism is not journalists, intellectuals or politicians armed with a policy agenda. As Marx and Engels understood — this was one of their core insights, what distinguished them from other socialist thinkers, ever ready with their blueprints — it is workers who get us there, who decide what and where “there” is.

That, too, is a kind of freedom. Socialist freedom.

Corey Robin is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author of “The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Donald Trump.”

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“Carlos A. Colón De Armas”

Es un error confundir el capitalismo con el mercantilismo (véase El otro sendero de Hernando de Soto). Por otro lado, si el asunto es cuál sistema infringe la libertad, ése es el socialismo, pues el mismo depende de que el gobierno controle las acciones de las personas (véase The road to serfdom de Friedrich Hayek).


Carlos A. Colón De Armas
Graduate School of Business
University of Puerto Rico
15 Ave Universidad Ste 1501
San Juan, Puerto Rico   00925-2535
Tel.  (787) 764-0000, ext. 87107, 87126
Cel. (787) 398-2913
Skype:  cacolondearmas

Socialismo Mata al Incentivo!

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Dennis Freytes

2:04 PM (18 minutes ago)
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Bien dicho! Ademas, yo escribo que el Socialismo mata los incentivos a invertir trabajar, y suppervisar; la productividad! Mi ultimo escrito:

** Incentivize Free Economic System (IFES)-TEAM Roadmap**

There is a movement of some wanting Socialism for our USA. But, we don’t live in a Utopian, perfect World where Socialism could work! YES, we must have Social Justice-Programs; but, we must sustain what we have; keep incentives; individual initiative-innovation; Team work; decentralize planning; small Government; balanced Budgets… etc.; not increase our National Debt or Deficits; consumer prices; high Taxes… that can destroy our Economy-Jobs! But, all People should have: Security; Health Care; Food; Housing, Education, and a Job– as we work hard; minimize “Income Inequality”; protect the vulnerable, through Social Programs that we have in place, costing us about 75% of the US Budget. (See below).


We must keep a FAIR balanced growing private Incentivized Economic System (the Individual or Group who does the work gets the fruits of the work); as we compete on the World Stage!


Some traditional Economic System definitions are:

**Capitalism is an economic system where the means of production are owned by private individual or Group; decentralized planning; fosters individual initiative-work; he/she who does the work, keeps more of the fruit of their work…

**Socialism is an economic system where the means of production, such as money and other forms of capital, are owned by the state or public under a strong Party and President-Dictator; has centralized un-responsive big Government, planning; undermines incentives to work… The Party Oligarchy tends to suppress the People; use “class war” to stay in power; is corruptive… The Individual or Group must share the fruit of the work with others that didn’t do the work…

**Democratic Socialism has all the attributes of Socialism, except, the Government is supposed to be elected in a Representative Democracy System. But, this doesn’t always work out, because the tendency is for the Elected President or Government/Party to grow; centralize planning; …; remain in Power. The Individual or Group must share the fruit of his work with others that didn’t do the work…

**Communism: is a political theory from Karl Marx, advocating a ruling Party-Oligarchy; class war (violence)… leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned; each person works, and is paid according to their abilities, and needs; has very centralized planning; little incentives to work…; power in the hands of corruptive few…  The Individual or Group must share the fruit of his work with others that didn’t do the work…

**Monarchy; President-Dictator: One ruling Individual or Oligarchy (small group): can use a mix of the above, but, keep the People oppressed; power in the hands of a few…


“The centralized nature of the socialist/communist state results in the Party being the virtual state. Once in power elections become farcical, a fraudulent exercise which makes people cynical and disenchanted with the system because of lack of products; long lines…. But they no longer can protest, let alone change the system.”( K Gopinath)


Absolute Power corrupts! Plus, there is little incentive to innovate; for those that invest-risk capital; do the work; produce more; manage the Enterprise.


We need to better our Economy-Jobs; have a FAIR System… under our US Republic’s Constitution with Equal Rights in a Representative Democracy System…; not become a failed Socialist State!


Incentivized Free Market Economic System”–Today, we don’t have pure Capitalist or pure Socialism, but, what I call—a hybrid “Incentivized Free Market Economic System” where, generally the means of Production-profits are private (individual or Group) in a tempered and competitive “World Free Market”; decentralized planning with incentives that stimulate risk of individual Capital; work productivity…  This system must be kept with checks and balances in all facets of economic-job growth…; fairness for all. So far, based on results that bring wealth-progress, this is the best Economic system in World History!


This Hybrid System is facilitated by a Government, elected by the People– with reasonable regulations (must strive for Fairness-balanced Laws) that will grow the Economy; create private jobs,  as we keep Taxes, Debt, Deficits, and consumer prices down; do other things to spur demand…; grow the Economy-Jobs.


Today, in this Incentivized System, the Worker-Team can be provided a Pay-Bonus for work rendered; other benefits (based on productivity-performance). But, the elected Government must listen to the People; create a FAIR-level Playing Field; provide. protection of Workers against Corporate, Group or Individual excessive greed; ensure Social Justice (Work Fare) for the disadvantaged–Security, Food; Healthcare; Housing; Education; have a find a job (employment) system…–within our US Republic with US  Constitution and Representative Democracy System…


The Socialists and Others claymore for Social Justice! But, it is a FACT that our US “Social Justice” system amounts to about 75% of the US Federal Budget alone; has many good policies and programs. Add that to the many Social programs each State, Territory, and Local Governments has.


The FACTS are Taxes are high already! There are Federal Taxes (Income-Others), plus, State, Territory, and Local Taxes (Sales; Property; School…etc.)


The Poor pay NO Federal Income TAXES; receive Income Tax Credits; other benefits (like Health Care-MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AHC…, Social Security, Housing Aid, Food Stamps, Education, unemployment, child care, sick leave, vacations, etc.). The Federal Budget Breakdown (2016) shows most goes to “Social Justice” Programs…


The Middle Class pay fewer Taxes than the Rich, but, as a Group contribute more to the Federal, State, and Local Tax revenue, winds-up carrying the heftier Tax Burden… Thus, if you raise Taxes, the Middle Class will get the shaft…!


The Rich are in higher Tax Brackets; proportionally, pay the highest Taxes. Based on the latest federal income tax data reported by the IRS, shows that the top 1 percent of income earners pay 39.5 percent of all federal income taxes, nearly twice the 20.6 percent share of national income they earn. The entire bottom 50 percent of all taxpayers pay 2.7 percent of federal income taxes, which is only a small fraction (about one fourth) of their share of national income.”


Meanwhile, 45 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax at all. However, there are some loop holes that must be closed for all.


Besides, those individuals (includes small investors) that Risk their Capital in Mutual Funds, Bonds, Pension Funds…– must be reasonably compensated for their RISK—that provides Capital to grow Enterprises-Jobs; Big and Small Business… that improve our Economy; make the way to progress!


Socialists want to tax the Rich for Social Programs, but, the Rich cannot pay it all by themselves! You would have to hit the Middle Class with higher Taxes too! Entrepreneurs and business owners should not be penalized for their success that keeps our Economy-job Creation humming…


We don’t need Politicians fanning a” Class War” (for their power gain)– that can grow Government; Central planning..; bring on a higher National Debt (which today stands at 20+ TRILLION DOLLARS). This can bankrupt our USA; stagnate the Economy; cause a depression; loss of Jobs, etc.


Plus, there must be incentives/bonuses for the Workers-Managers-TEAM  that do good work as they get payed commensurate to contributions; keep the fruit of their work…, as there are incentives to keep the Economy growing to create good jobs…


YES, we have to minimize Income inequality; motivate Workers-TEAM;  address better pay (living wage); yearly bonuses for good performance; other fair benefits…; sustain the incentives for all (Investors/Stock Holders; Management; Workers).  But, higher Taxes can destroy incentives to invest; are detrimental to a good Economy-creation of jobs. On the other hand, the Worker can be treated better…


Plus, our seniors (65-70+years) have worked, contributed, and payed enough Taxes, should be exempted from personal income taxation; property taxes…


We must strike a BALANCE on regulations and policies to ensure they don’t hinder growth; keep Taxes and Consumer prices low…; incentivize capital and other investments…; the Economy… as we take care of the most vulnerable; have a “Work-Fare System” that find jobs for those that can work;  family safeguards); protected-clean environment… But, let’s not destroy-eat the Hen that lays the golden eggs!


One major way to minimize “income inequality” is for the Federal Government to device or better calibrate a reasonable Profit/Bonus-Performance Sharing System for all (to include: Investors/Stock Holders-fair return on capital risk; Management, and Workers). When there is a substantial profit that is not reinvested to grow the Company, the profit should be divided amongst all. *Example Fair Profit Sharing Plan: Investors: get 70% of Profits (not reinvested); Management: 15%; Workers: 15% + pay+ bonuses based on performance.


REMEMBER, we don’t live in a perfect Utopian World; there is no pure Capitalist System…. Pure Socialism or Communism—all proven to be wrong (like in China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua… that are poor; with President-Dictators that run a Police State without full  Individual Freedom).


Big Government corrupts! Our Federal Government must listen to the People in a Representative Democracy with EQUAL INDIVIDUAL responsible Freedoms…;  must keep in check Corporate and Individual excessive Greed…; not destroy the incentives, innovation  or motivation that make us great!


Thus, in SUM, we have a complex hybrid Incentivized Free Economic System (IFES)” that provides proper incentives (based on results) to Investors, Workers, and Management TEAM that we can make better; as we all contribute to Society…PROGRESS; UNITE for the good of all-Family, Community, US, and Humanity!


Socialism is not the proven answer! But, there must be Social Justice as we maintain a balanced Budget; don’t add to our National Debt that is detrimental to our progress. History has shown that big Government-centralized planning doesn’t work! Let’s keep our Incentivized Free Economic System (IFES)with a  Government that is responsive, effective, efficient, and accountable; that must serve the People; protect Individual Civil Rights; ensure Social Justice; liberate the free Entrepreneurial Spirit!


Also, the Election System needs to be re-visited; should be based  on providing Candidates an equal footing to Campaign; comparing Candidates’ Education, Experience, Record-Results, and Campaign Platform– based on issues-policy solutions, not political distortion, generalizations, speculations,  nor Party ignorant fanaticism! Candidates should have the same amount of funds; Media Time… to promote their vision-ideas-solutions to issues; unite not divide efforts…  After Elections, Candidates need to take an educational overview Briefing or Training on Administration of the Government System… Elections should not be unduly influenced or bought by the Rich, Party, Candidate or anyone!


Besides, Fairness means that the People; individual Constituents come first over Corporations, Organizations,  and Lobbyists which should not have a collective  undue influence on Government (National, State or Local) or have more access than individual Constituents…  There is one Race—the Human Race- with a cast of light or darker beautiful Skin Pigments (not colors), as we strive to judge on merit, based on fair opportunity, a level positive playing field… (No Task too difficult; no Mission Impossible—Will do!)


The fact is our imperfect, but, noble USA, with strong faith; under the grace of our God, is the best in the annuals of Human History. We have to positively sustain what we have; ensure Fair Taxation and Incentives; as we UNITE-do better for the Good of ALL: Family, Community, State, USA, and Humanity!


(Dennis Freytes: Master Public Administration; Master Human Resources; Bachelor Business Administration; former Executive-Manager-Supervisor; University Professor; US Army Retired; Community Servant Leader– Florida Veterans Hall of Fame…)

“No Task too difficult; no Mission impossible—WILL DO!”

“Judge on Merit based on FAIR opportunity; a LEVEL playing field!”

Best Wishes; for the Good of ALL! V/R,

DENNIS   (DENNY) (PH: P: 407-298-1151//M: 321-276-1309//PR: 787-946-5859)
DENNIS O. FREYTES (MPA, MHR, BBA); American Veteran; Community Servant Leader

FLORIDA VETERANS’ HALL OF FAME (by FL Governor, House; Senate)

*Chair Florida Vets4Energy (Independence)–

*American Veterans’ Advocate; Congressional Advisory Boards–West Point Academy

*Equal Rights USA-Boriken Council (Round Table)-Civil Rights

*Ambassador National AIPEH: Hispanic-PR Heritage, Arts, Poets & Writers

**Son of Borinqueneer Celio Freytes-Menendez (WW-II & Korea)–US 65th INF-

Winners Congressional Gold Medal


“No Task too Difficult; no Mission Impossible–WILL DO!”

Lo ultimo en política de Puerto Rico/USA

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