By Ron Ridenour
Entering into the debate on the pages of TCHB, namely pieces by Laurie Dobson (April 9) and Dave Lindorff (April 11), let me start by defining what social democracy is and is not.
Social democracy is not socialism. It is various reforms for improving workers lives so that they will not overthrow capitalism. The Nordic Model grew out of this Great Compromise between social democratic-led trade unions and wealthy property owners a century ago. In exchange for staving off socialist revolutions capitalists granted improvements in working and living conditions for most workers in Scandinavia, eventually in Germany, England, Netherlands, and elsewhere. President FD Roosevelt followed suit during the depression by using the English economist Keynes’ version of social democracy.
Dave consistently calls Bernie Sanders a democratic socialist. He is not. He is actually a Keynsian or social democrat. Sanders always speaks of his “socialism” in terms of what Denmark has. I have lived in Denmark for 30 years, and I can assure readers this is a very capitalist, and an effective capitalist, system. (See my series of seven Scandinavian pieces starting with Denmark, “Denmark SOS/Save our Sovereignty” http://ronridenour.com/articles/2016/0720–rr.htm)
“The term socialism took hold as a political ideal first in France, in the 1820s, when Henri de Saint-Simon envisioned the ideal society as one large factory. His followers chose the word socialism to represent a centrally planned society run like a cooperative business by worker-owners, and/or in conjunction with the state. The term communism also comes from France, probably back to medieval monks who shared property, living in common and feeling a sense of togetherness. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ theory of communism entailed social organization based on sharing property, the highest state of socialism in which all lived well socially in a stateless society.
“Variations of Saint-Simon’s socialism have been formulated by many political theorists and writers: Thomas More, Louis Blanc, Eduard Bernstein, Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Ferdinand Lassalle, Marx and Engels, Sydney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, V.I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Emma Goldman…
“Socialists disagree on how to develop socialism and even how to define it exactly. They all agree, however, that socialism’s economy is not dominated by private ownership of the means of production. Public ownership—either by the state or by worker cooperatives, or a combination—is central to its philosophy. It is also generally agreed that it is just and necessary to create a permanent state of social welfare with greater say in political-economic matters by the producers and folk at large.” (“Roots to social democracy/capitalism, socialism,” http://ronridenour.com/articles/2016/0722–rr.htm)
Sanders is also a war maker, voting for all the wars except Iraq, but then he supported financing the war. He backed one of the most vicious of warmongers, Hillary Clinton, and will do the same with a less effective one, Joe Biden…
For the rest of this article by RON RIDENOUR in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/sanders-is-no-socialist-and-not-even-a-democratic-socialist/