Progressive Social Democracy's Pros and Cons
September 27, 2018 6:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm 20 minutes into this video and enjoying it a lot. I think that Meagan Day is doing a great job of laying out what the various factions in the DSA believe, and making a great case for socialist ideology in general.

I found it very telling when Noah Smith said that he feels very comfortable within the status quo and wouldn't want it to change.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:44 AM on September 27, 2018

I'm at work, so I'm unable to watch the video at the moment, but I read the "Hayekian communism" piece and find it incredibly odd that someone who grew up in a socialist state would view China as communist in anything other than name. He seems to suggest that, because they have a one-party system and that one party is called the Communist Party of China, that they're definitely still communists and not authoritarian capitalists (I mean, they're persecuting Marxists, for god's sake).

It's one thing to accept the notion of "socialism with Chinese characteristics." It's quite another to suggest that China is Ayn Rand's fantasy but also, somehow, communist.

I'll concede his point about celebrating economic success coming naturally to Marxists. The USSR was rightfully proud of the rapid transition from feudalism to industrial superpower. Obviously, there was a massive human cost that shouldn't be overlooked, but it is understandable why so many Soviet citizens were proud of what their country had achieved in so short a time.
posted by asnider at 8:00 AM on September 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I thought that piece was pretty bizarre, myself. It read to me like a disingenuous attempt to reconcile the right and the left behind a vision of a successful society that still allows capitalists to hoard untold quantities of wealth.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:25 AM on September 27, 2018

Yeah if I had to define what the general big tent, multi-tendency, multi-tactic nature of the DSA boils down to is “the status quo is bad and needs to be changed to something more democratic and egalitarian than ...this.”
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on September 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

Am I the only one nonplussed by this?

I love kliuless posts and looking at the resumes of these two people (never seen them before), it could be an interesting discussion, but it seems like they're not really prepared (especially Day) and it comes off as sophomoric to me.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 11:09 AM on September 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, Day put in a pretty embarrassing showing. You would think that someone who works at a "socialist" magazine would have some basics of political economy (or history, or...) under their belt. Furthermore, if you're asked, as Smith did ask, what kind of society you're fighting for and your answer is something like "I'm excited to consider that question!" then don't be surprised when nobody jumps on that bandwagon.

(I think the study she gestured towards -- but couldn't cite or explain, so I'm guessing here -- was the Gilens/Page one?)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:20 PM on September 27, 2018

So I listened to twenty five minutes or so on my commute and thought it was good, then skimmed the comments at lunch and didn't get the criticism of Day. She seemed fine, not a revolutionary theorist, but not all revolutionaries need to be theorists.

Then turning it on for my commute home is exactly where she went off the rails. I found almost every bit after that painful.

The exchange where she didn't know and didn't care what a study on oligarchy vs democracy was actually saying, when she was the one who brought it up, was jaw dropping. I think Noah Smith was really generous to not only let it drop but move the discussion into "well, if people like you don't feel you have a voice, and that goes for other people too, that's a sign of a big problem" and guide her get back to political economy. He wanted a discussion, not a point scoring debate. (I'm not a socialist and am curious if people who are think that characterization is wrong.)

To be fair this was a tough pairing. For one thing Smith is a "neoliberal" who is pro nationalized health care and believes in subsidies and regulations clearly thinks capitalist incentives can be skewed and need government correction. So when she pushed on what would have been her strongest points he just walked over to her side a pushed with her.
posted by mark k at 8:10 PM on September 27, 2018

That "Hayekian Communism" article makes me a little bit furious the same way I clench my teeth when yet another MAG-oid edgelord posts the tired old "NAZIS WERE SOCIALIST IT STOOD FOR NATIONAL SOCIALIST THE CLUE IS IN THE NAME U CUCK" idiocy. Judge them by their actions, not their marketing.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 10:14 AM on September 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

i thought it was fun :P seize amazon for FAGSC!

having anacyclosis in mind, what can break the cycle?

that is between 'Hayekian communism' (biometric IDs?) seeming fusion with big tech oligopoly (amid demagarchy or ochlocracy), what is the alternative -- besides TINA?

i guess for me -- one thing maybe -- rather than have the government go around nationalizing everything, with the base layer 'money stack' already run by (pseudo-)public institutions, why not expand on that -- instead of corporations?

also btw, fwiw...
-some other ideas (MMT)
-Anti-capitalist magazine accused of screwing workers over in corporate buyout
posted by kliuless at 5:32 AM on September 29, 2018

Those who promise heaven on earth have historically made a hell of it. Considering the amount of time and effort and historical error-proofing Monroe put into the Constitution, which has produced what is arguably the longest continuous government system in history, I have little patience for last-minute, poorly thought redesigns of a centuries-old concept that was designed for stability. That would be like hacking apart a beautiful clock that belonged to your great great grandfather and reassembling the pieces crudely with duct tape so it barely runs because a hairy orange bug was gumming up the works.
posted by metasunday at 8:09 PM on September 29, 2018

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another..."
posted by kliuless at 7:56 AM on September 30, 2018

One observation that kept coming to mind listening to this is that it's true to say "it's easier to criticize something than suggest something constructive" but the corollary is that when people criticize they are probably correct and when they try to be construction they are very likely to be wrong. I was with Day 100% on everything wrong with the current system and disappointed every time she talked about the new system.

Family leave, free college, universal health care, I strongly support all those. But they both framed this as not-socialism.

So what I got out of this is Day wants to do that and then smash capitalism then she's not sure. But we just have a few details to work out to to reorganize society for the better. I think "engineers' disease" is way overused here on MeFibut it's clearly not just for engineers.
posted by mark k at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2018

The rub is that general social democracy/progressivism and democratic socialism have a lot of goals in common in the medium term , Family leave, free college, universal health care, yes of course we all want that and more. The goal of democratic socialism is to make sure those reforms aren’t taken away from us in the future by putting the workers in control of decision making and the means of production . Once you have universal systems, it’s very hard to get rid of them, and from that, we can build democratic systems that put power in the hands of the many, thus fundamentally changing labor’s relationship to power and capital.
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 PM on October 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

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