Or, why is there still socialism in the United States?
Why, then, would we look for evidence of socialism only where a state seized by radicals of the Left inaugurates a dictatorship of the proletariat? Or, to lower the rhetorical volume and evidentiary stakes, why would we expect to find socialism only where avowed socialists or labor parties contend for state power? We should instead assume that socialism, like capitalism, is a cross-class cultural construction, to which even the bourgeoisie has already made significant contributions – just as the proletariat has long made significant contributions to the cross-class construction we know as capitalism. What follows?
The US does not have a spending problem, we have a distribution problem "Forty years from now, America will be twice as rich on average as we are today. But most of that wealth will go to the very richest households. We only have a budget crisis if they refuse to pay higher taxes... So the real point isn't that we can't afford Social Security and Medicare. It's that some people don't want to pay the higher taxes necessary to maintain Social Security and Medicare. This is a question of distribution, pure and simple."
Who, exactly, represents the left extreme in the establishment blogosphere? You'd likely hear names like Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald. But these examples are instructive. Is Hamsher a socialist? A revolutionary anti-capitalist? In any historical or international context-- in the context of a country that once had a robust socialist left, and in a world where there are straightforwardly socialist parties in almost every other democracy-- is Hamsher particularly left-wing? Not at all. It's only because her rhetoric is rather inflamed that she is seen as particularly far to the left.Freddie De Boer on the lack of left wing discourse in the blogosphere. [more inside]
Emerging from a debate on "epistemic closure" (of the conservative mind) John Quiggin looked beyond the dead horses and gazed upon the need "to offer hope, in the form of goals that can excite enthusiastic commitment to a progressive alternative." Matthew Yglesias pondered and penned a response providing a glimpse of the very big picture... [more inside]
Despite The Republican Talking Points, There's A Difference Between Obama And Marx: One Of Them's Not A Socialist. [Via]
Open Democracy: Anticapitalists Of The World, Left And Right, Unite? Open Democracy is a very interesting project which proposes to discuss - and open to discussion - the great issues of our day. While mostly socialist and liberal - with some new anarchism intelligently thrown in - it refreshingly makes space for conservative philosopher and polemicist Roger Scruton's reflections on the political and social consequences of how we eat. Despite a vaguely anticapitalist bias, so far as I can see, Open Democracy seems to be intellectually wide open. I've been a subscriber for a while now (it's free, btw) and it's that old-fashioned thing: it makes you think. Do consider adding it to your usual peregrinations. [I'll resist the temptation of pointing to favourite essays and debates - it really is worth exploring one one's own. Jacknose was the first to refer to Open Democracy on MeFi, back in December 2001.]