When Bernie Sanders starts a sentence by saying “The truth on this matter is,” it’s time to reach for your wallet to see if it’s still there. He’s not alone in that regard, as there are lots of candidates trying to sell us on the virtues of socialism. To learn how socialism has affected you, read the last three paragraphs.
The major differences between socialism and capitalism can be defined by the role of the government. In general, capitalism affords economic freedom, consumer choice and economic growth. On the other hand, socialism, which is an economy controlled by the state and planned by a central planning authority, provides for a greater social welfare and is expected to decrease the business fluctuations likely to occur in a free market.
Capitalism is a market-based economy made up of buyers (people) and sellers (private or corporate-owned companies). The goods and services that are produced are intended to make a profit, and this profit is reinvested back into the economy.
The U.S. is considered to be a capitalist economy, along with most of the modern world. Economists, however, are quick to point out that almost every society has a socialist aspect or program within it, i.e. Social Security.
Democrats Can Rebuild Around Climate Change, Economic Justice
Now that the Democrats have made a comeback by capturing the House of Representatives, they are faced with how to use their new power. Up to now, they have been obsessed with Trump, and split on how to address the problems of the day.
We’ll get to Trump in a moment. But first, let’s look at what the Democrats have to say about the big issues of the day.
These boil down to two super-problems: runaway climate change for all and increasing economic insecurity for many. It’s hard to think of any major issue which isn’t entangled in one or both of these, or that wouldn’t be greatly alleviated by progress on either of them.
Status quo Democrats (the Clinton-Obama tradition) have become the party’s conservatives. They’ve been running the show for a generation, and have failed to rein in either climate change or economic insecurity. There’s less and less reason to think they can deal with these mounting problems.
Progressive Democrats, by contrast, are largely defined by the Bernie Sanders movement, which, revealingly, calls itself “Our Revolution.” They are also influenced by the Green party, particularly by its call for a Green New Deal, recently endorsed by Bill McKibben.
The Green New Deal is remarkable in its focus on the twin problems of climate change and economic justice. So far, it’s the only alternative this writer has seen to business as usual (just Google “Green New Deal”).
The Green New Deal calls for closing overseas military bases and using the savings to help finance domestic renewal. It demands an end to subsidies and tax breaks for fossil-fuel related industries. It insists on an immediate transition to 100 percent renewables.
It identifies the financial system, led by too-big-to-fail private banks, as the main obstacle to economic restructuring. It proposes an alternative public banking system to fund infrastructure, guarantee employment, transition to renewables, offer free education through college, and provide single-payer, comprehensive Medicare for all.
Revolutions are risky business.
Can revolutionary excesses be avoided? Climate change and economic insecurity are increasingly catastrophic. Is a Green New Deal what we need to cope? Is it practical? Can it gain broad support? Can it hope to overcome its formidable opponents? Can its goals be achieved without chaos and abuse of power?
A lot will depend on the answers to these questions.
But, like it or not, the Green New Deal takes seriously our most intractable problems, and gives us a sense of what it will take to deal with them. If we’re going to have a revolution, this is the one the
Progress on big issues is unlikely, however, unless Democrats (and Republicans) learn to deal with Trump. We all know his faults. He has also become the voice of social grievances his critics have mostly, to their peril, ignored. Perhaps most important, he denies climate change and takes extremes of wealth for granted.
Whatever collusions and financial ripoffs might be pinned on Trump, even if illegal, blend all too easily with what many corporations and governments do routinely these days. In these ways, he’s as American as apple pie.
He should be impeached if impeachable offenses can be established. But for impeachment to stick, to avoid the appearance of political vengeance, it has to be part of a larger sense of renewed justice that speaks to the revolutionary changes which seem to be increasingly in the air.
That means getting serious about climate change and economic insecurity – two items not on Trump’s agenda.
Adrian Kuzminski, a retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, lives in Fly Creek.
ONEONTA – The night “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opened at the Southside Mall, Karen Anderson and Wendy Carrington were set up outside the theater, petitioning for their own hero – no, not Luke Skywalker.
“There was a long line at the movie theater, and we set all of our materials out so people waiting could look at everything,” said Harrington.
Part of Oneonta for Bernie, Anderson and Harrington have been collecting signatures and registering voters since June, when they set up a table at the Oneonta Farmer’s Market. “We were out there every Saturday, trying to get people registered to vote in the primary”…
FULL STORY IN HOMETOWN ONEONTA, ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal
COOPERSTOWN – Growing up in a socialist household, Hilda Wilcox was no stranger to going door-to-door for her beliefs.
“When I was seven, I distributed leaflets to the neighbors supporting the loyalists in Spain,” she said. “Afterwards, I asked my mother, ‘Who are the loyalists?’ and she explained that we were fighting for democracy in Spain.”
And though the cold weather kept her for ringing doorbells, she still actively campaigned for Bernie Sanders, sending out postcards asking people to call or come by so she could collect signatures to get him on the ballot as the democratic candidate.
“It’s not a question of politics,” she said. “It’s a question of ideals. I believe democracy is the only system that guarantees opportunity. If the system stands in the way, we must change the system.”
FULL STORY IN FREEMAN’S JOURNAL, ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
ONEONTA – Local Bernie Sanders’ supporters will have petitions available 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Southside Mall, looking for signatures to get the Vermont U.S. senator on New York State primary ballot in April. Wendy Harrington is organizing the day’s events.
ONEONTA – A citizens group, Oneonta For Bernie Sanders, has formed in support of the U.S. Senator from Vermont who is running for the Democratic nomination for President.
Last Wednesday at Elks Club, 25 residents of Otsego, Delaware, and Chenango counties met to watch to a livestream of a Sanders rally in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The group, ranging in age from 4 to 82, shared personal reasons for supporting Sanders, including a concern about increasing economic inequality, a desire to help students with college debt, and a general belief that Sanders is an honest candidate who will work to increase opportunities for ordinary people.
In the livestr4eam, Sanders declared “enough is enough” to economic inequality, the role of big money in financing politics, and providing a path to citizenship for immigrants.
The group has set up a Facebook page, Oneonta for Bernie Sanders, to keep people apprised of local events in support of the candidate.