Warm Southern Breeze

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Bernie Sanders Addressed Georgetown University On Democratic Socialism

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 29, 2020

Try as they might, pundit and naysayers of most all stripe continue to castigate, demonize, and mischaracterize Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as a “socialist” in the “classical” sense.

The “classical” sense, or definition of “socialism” is when a government controls the means -and- the method of production. Period. End of conversation.

In the United States, there has NEVER been, nor will there ever be, any “government factory.”

So, there’s that to consider.

But, think about the coins and currency (money) in your pocket.

You might have an argument for calling it “socialist,” because it’s
• made by the government,
• on government-owned machines,
• using government-owned paper, ink, and metals,
• by government employees, and is effectively
• owned by the government (on temporary “loan” to you, though it is in actuality, a promissory note, itself – but monetary theory is a topic for discussion another day).

BUT… the reason it’s NOT socialist is that EVERYTHING – the inks, the metals, the papers, the stamping and printing machines… EVERYTHING – was obtained by Publicly Bid Open Contracts FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR.

Yeah.

So, there’s also that to consider.

And then, there’s our military… which issues official government-owned uniforms to government employees, who work using government-owned equipment, and their healthcare – which is given at NO COST TO THEM -and- TO THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS – using government-owned equipment, in government-owned healthcare facilities and hospitals, with government-owned-and-provided medicines.

And, in that scenario, the government employees control the means –and– the method of production, per se. It’s a “socialist” system if ever there was one!

But,, once again, ALL of those materials, and all the manpower to perform ALL those functions COMES FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR via Publicly Bid Open Contracts.

Yeah.

So, there’s that to consider, as well.

Guess it must not be “socialism,” eh?

At least since 1931 (and likely at least 20 years or so earlier), the great “demon” of socialism has been a source of name-calling and fear-baiting in government.

The word “socialism” has been tossed around more than a Caesar’s Salad with oil and vinegar dressing. And, it’s only done for political hay-making purposes. In other words, it’s much like “The Boy Who Cried ‘WOLF!'”

Here are two examples from the Congressional Record of 1931:

Congressional Record–Senate, 28Feb1931, p6448

You see, in October 1917, something happened in Russia, and that country changed its name, which included the word “socialist” in it. Thereafter, it was easy to demonize the word, simply because of association with what happened in Russia.

The “something” that happened in Russia was the “October Revolution,” (i.e., the Russian Revolution) in which Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) and his merry band of men (mostly) known as the Bolsheviks, overthrew the Russian government, which at the time had been long ruled by Czars from the Romanov family, the royal family of Russia – which was a 300-year long imperial dynasty (the 2nd in Russian history), and one of ineptitude, nepotism, incompetence, excess, corruption, and hubris – which in all fairness, also included a few successes, but exceedingly few.

Congressional Record – House 2March31 p6850

It was actually the 2nd (or 3rd, depending upon what source you read) that year, with the first being in March (or February, again, depending upon what source you read). An earlier revolution in 1905 had also happened, and the situation and circumstances of the that revolution was culminated in the 1917 revolutions. Riots, work stoppages, strikes, food shortages, economic upheaval, lack of industrialization, were almost commonplace, and social upheaval was in the air, and in the hearts and minds of Russian civilians.

In the early 1900’s, Russia was one of the most impoverished nations in the world, and most European countries, and did much of the world, viewed Russia as being a backwards, and undeveloped nation, which was also plagued with high poverty, among other social ills. It was only a relatively few years earlier, in 1861, that serfdom had been made illegal in Russia, though it had been illegal in Europe for much longer.

“Serfdom” is a practice of the landed gentry (wealthy real estate/properly owners) in which indentured servitude of the lowest social class members, called “serfs,” occurred, though which the impoverished serfs were in some way indebted to the land owner, typically in exchange for the privilege of working a plot of land for their own purposes, which in more modern times in America is called share-cropping. After serfdom was outlawed, the former serfs had freedom to organize, and they did.

Industrialization, which occurred much later in Russia than in other nations, was the harbinger of significant social change. Between 1890 and 1910, the populations of the well-known cities St. Petersburg, and Moscow, doubled in size. Such overcrowding brought along other social ills such as destitute living conditions for industrial workers, and with it, disease.

Decisions to grow agricultural products in the harsh northern Russian climes were similarly fraught with difficulty, and production was stymied, which in turn brought about food shortages, and their accompanying ills. In conjunction with the Crimean War (1854-56) arising from Russian pressure on Turkey which directly threatened British commercial and strategic interests in the Middle East and India, combined with Russian involvement in other armed conflicts (notably with Japan), their economy was brought to a practical stand-still.

The “Bloody Sunday Massacre” of unarmed peaceful protestors by government troops in St. Petersburg on January 22, 1905, set the stage for even greater civil unrest shortly thereafter.

THE POINT BEING…

History is full of events of people revolting when food and housing – 2 of the 3 most fundamental human needs of food, clothing, and shelter – cannot be obtained.

The same thing happened in the United States, albeit with less violence, during the Great Depression.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, aka “FDR”, and his administration, sought to do everything humanly possible to PREVENT another occurrence of a “Great Depression” by correcting laws that led to the problem.

In the years since, Republicans (mostly), have done their damndest to tear down, and destroy everything FDR accomplished – including their wet-dream of privatizing Social Security – in order to hand it over to Wall Street speculators, who are salivating like hungry dogs to get their greedy hands on The People’s money.

As evidence of mostly Republican effort (though in all fairness, some Democrats have been involved, as well – aka “establishment Democrats,” or Wall Street Democrats In Name Only, or DINOs) to tear down the laws and rules protecting the people, look at the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (repeal and replaced by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – 145 pages, and signed into law by President CLINTON in 1999, the Glass-Steagall Act passed in 1933, signed by FDR, was 37 pages in length, and forbade the commingling of money from Insurance companies, Stock Brokerage houses, and Banks, i.e., each industry could not perform the roles which the others did), which led DIRECTLY to the “Great Recession” during the George W. Bush administration, in which numerous “too-big-to-fail” banks collapsed, insurance companies went under, people lost jobs, and automobile manufacturers requested a bail-out… while the people got no bail-out.

Following, are the transcribed remarks made by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at Georgetown University November 19, 2015 about what he means when he mentions “democratic socialism.”

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In his inaugural remarks in January 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked out at the nation and this is what he saw.

He saw tens of millions of its citizens denied the basic necessities of life.

He saw millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hung over them day by day.

He saw millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

He saw millions lacking the means to buy the products they needed and by their poverty and lack of disposable income denying employment to many other millions.

He saw one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

And he acted. Against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic royalists, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty and restored their faith in government. He redefined the relationship of the federal government to the people of our country. He combatted cynicism, fear and despair. He reinvigorated democracy. He transformed the country.

Bernie Sanders delivers his long-awaited speech on Democratic Socialism at Georgetown University. He also speaks about his vision for bringing American foreign policy into the 21st century.

And that is what we have to do today.

And, by the way, almost everything he proposed was called “socialist.” Social Security, which transformed life for the elderly in this country was “socialist.” The concept of the “minimum wage” was seen as a radical intrusion into the marketplace and was described as “socialist.” Unemployment insurance, abolishing child labor, the 40-hour work week, collective bargaining, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, and job programs that put millions of people to work were all described, in one way or another, as “socialist.” Yet, these programs have become the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class.

Thirty years later, in Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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