Socialism In Our Lifetime
September 6, 2018 8:22 AM   Subscribe

What Would a Socialist America Look Like? Politico asked leftist figures such as David Duhalde, Maria Svart, Ryan Cooper, and Sean McElwee what a vision of a democratic socialist America would be. - “Late capitalism addressed the “profit squeeze” by transferring wealth and power from the people to private individuals, especially large firms, which, again, are best adapted to ensure large profits. The process of “wealth transfer” isn’t just transactional—it’s violent. ” What Is ‘Late Capitalism’?” From Primer Red (Previously) - These are the core principles and objectives of Black Socialists of America; this is what we stand on. - One panel for every 250 years since 30,000 B.C (Cat and Girl)
posted by The Whelk (19 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have so many questions about the shirt in the first link.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:08 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think the idea of "late capitalism" might be an illusion. At least according to Piketty, the golden age of low inequality and the rise of the middle class coincided with post-WW2 policies that taxed the wealthy, supported the poor and working class, doing its best to prevent an American Communist revolution. So "late capitalism" is just regular capitalism with no brakes.
posted by Foosnark at 9:10 AM on September 6, 2018 [10 favorites]


That's what bugs me about "late stage capitalism." The implication is that it's in its death throes, that it is starting to collapse from its own inherent core shittiness. I can't see how anyone can argue that it's on the way out just because it's now so obviously shitty to more people. Capitalism is greater than the people, it has a life of it's own that is more important than any of us or all of us together. We took human sin, turned it into a dogma, and having been wringing civilization through it ever since. Every human could die right now and capitalism would keep chugging on until the lights go out. Just machines and programs auto trading bullshit back and forth over the piles of human bodies.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:16 AM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


I have so many questions about the shirt in the first link.

"The way life should be" is Maine's state slogan, so between that and the lobster claw I'm guessing the t-shirt wearer is from the Maine chapter of DSA.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:21 AM on September 6, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm also not sure late capitalism is an actual thing, but it sure is a useful phrase to describe capitalism's most ridiculous and/or horrific moments.
posted by maxsparber at 9:25 AM on September 6, 2018 [7 favorites]


(Some Google-reverse-image-search digging confirms my guess.)
posted by tobascodagama at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2018


That's what bugs me about "late stage capitalism." The implication is that it's in its death throes, that it is starting to collapse from its own inherent core shittiness. I can't see how anyone can argue that it's on the way out just because it's now so obviously shitty to more people.

No, the underlying idea is that it is evolving beyond anything recognizable as capitalism into something worse, a neo-feudalism. Or total anarchy, I guess.
posted by praemunire at 9:33 AM on September 6, 2018 [9 favorites]


Thank you tobascodagama. Searching "socialist crawfish," "socialist lobster," and "socialist crab" got me nothing but an excellent drawing of Bernie Sanders as a crab.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:41 AM on September 6, 2018 [7 favorites]


Every human could die right now and capitalism would keep chugging on until the lights go out. Just machines and programs auto trading bullshit back and forth over the piles of human bodies.

LOL... what? This is utter nonsense. How will those machines keep trading without electricity that is supplied through human endeavor? Capitalism is a system designed by humans, for humans. If it fails to serve the needs of humans, humans can and should change that system. We as humans absolutely control capitalism and anyone who suggests otherwise is being dishonest by acting as if improving capitalism is beyond our control.
posted by scantee at 11:26 AM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


Agree with praemunire that "late-stage capitalism" is leading to Modern Day Feudalism, because CEO is the new Duke, Senator is the new Baron and Trump's rise to President IS the 21st version of MadKing.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:14 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


How will those machines keep trading without electricity that is supplied through human endeavor?

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o 'clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
posted by maxsparber at 12:44 PM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think the idea of "late capitalism" might be an illusion.

That's what bugs me about "late stage capitalism." The implication is that it's in its death throes, that it is starting to collapse from its own inherent core shittiness. I can't see how anyone can argue that it's on the way out just because it's now so obviously shitty to more people.

I think it's reasonable. The two possible futures facing humanity appear to be A) the collapse of civilization (due to environmental degradation and/or climate change) or B) the collapse of capitalism. And one or the other is coming exceedingly quickly.
posted by ragtag at 1:31 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


Democratic Socialism existed in Milwaukee for nearly half a century. It worked well and didn't kill off capitalism although a lot of big companies left. Plenty stayed and thrived but they still poured tons of money into BS anti-socialist propaganda. The city also tried its hand at some public ownership of utilities to operate its functions. The far leftists didn't care for the socialists and the right didn't care for them but Milwaukee was a worker's town with strong support from the labor class.

Capitalist destruction of the labor class and unions would make it hard to bring back unless it rebuilds a strong, united structure.
posted by JJ86 at 3:31 PM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


"Late stage" isn't to say that capitalism is ending. It's to say that it's the inevitability of society under capitalism.

The "early stage" looks good. Productivity rises, goods become cheaper, society captures economies of scale, people can do what they like or what they're good at, rather than everyone having to do everything.

The "late stage" is the inevitable (without intervention) structural inequality.
posted by explosion at 3:32 PM on September 6, 2018


I like McElwee's point that
socialists recognize that a welfare state built on imperialism is not a progressive goal. ... It is the wages of empire. A socialist politics strives for a radical flattening of the global income distribution.

When they said a few outsiders, I still didn't expect the Carrie Lukas argument. Which is just the same talking points capitalist apologists have been using for centuries, taxes and welfare creating laziness and dependency and the need for military intervention globally to maintain political power.

I certainly don't think Europe is perfect by any means, but
Europeans can hardly bother to reproduce, are less charitable, have less civic engagement and are less entrepreneurial than Americans.
This perspective is worse than useless.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 7:30 PM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also, as far as the term late-stage or late capitalism, in general use, I'm fine with it.
Saying, very loosely, 500 years of capitalism so far, the first couple of hundred as early, a good chunk of middle, I'd really hope we're not in for another 250 years because, as others here have said, environmentally and for reasons of continuing accumulation and inequality, I don't think that's really possible. So that places us roughly in the last third of capitalism as an economic system.

In certain analytical situations, sure, people should pick their terms more carefully, and have clear definitions available. In most discussions though, I think it's apparent what is meant by late capitalism.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 9:00 PM on September 6, 2018


I still didn't expect the Carrie Lukas argument. Which is just the same talking points capitalist apologists have been using for centuries

That's because she literally is one! IMO the way Politico framed and constructed this piece is unnecessarily sketchy in that regard.

The lack of ideological and demographic diversity among the selected commentators here is...bad. Ideologically, it's almost entirely people from the left end of the Democratic Party and the right end of DSA (oh right, and, per above, libertarians [?!?]). Demographically, 2 out of 12 of them are people of color...that might be considered "representation" for, like, a panel at a tech industry event, but it's really not acceptable for a broad conversation about socialism in the United States.
posted by dusty potato at 6:57 AM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


Link to the aforementioned shirt for purchase.
posted by enfa at 3:54 PM on September 8, 2018


happy 1000th FPP, The Whelk!
posted by contraption at 2:30 PM on September 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


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