Socialism as defined by Rep. Virginia Foxx

"To me the bigger question is not about liberalism or conservatism; it's about doing the right thing for the people..." Roy J. Carter, Challenger NC-05

The above quote is in direct response to Virginia Foxx's question:

"I guess that means that he's supporting them, (Sens. Clinton and Obama), Does it mean that's he's supporting the most liberal person in the Senate and the sixteenth most liberal person in the Senate? Is he throwing his hat in the ring with them?"

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Building A New Paradigm: A Podcast Interview With Riane Eisler

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The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal and crossposted at the Independent Bloggers Alliance.


Adam Smith published the Inquiry Into the Nature and Cases of the Wealth of Nations in 1776 and Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels released The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Both publications advocated for economic models, capitalism and socialism respectively, that promised to advance the human condition. Although both paradigms made important contributions during the industrialization era, neither capitalism nor socialism appears equipped to guide humanity in a post-industrial information age economy.

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Answer to Dems' Message Woes: More Socialism

Excellent article in a mainstream Democratic rag, one which broaches the rarely discussed topic of the relevance of Socialism in America today by Ron Aronson in last week's Nation.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060417/ar onson

Aronson opines:

"The reigning economic system will continue to generate opposition as long as it speaks of equality (which it must) yet continues to be unequal and undemocratic (which it must); as long as it incites dreams of a better life (which it must) but deforms social, cultural and political life according to its bottom line (which it must); as long as its rampant abuse of the environment and pillage of natural resources continue (also inevitable)."

I would argue this is the fundamental disagreement on social and economic policy between lefties and the Democratic party, whose Clintonesque motto "a rising tide lifts all boats" simply does not square with economic and social history. The party establishment continue to parrot self-congratulatory neo-liberal platitudes along the lines of a Thomas Friedman, giving short shrift to cornerstone values of social equality, human progress and economic and environmental justice lefties hold dear. This is why many of us are suspicious of Democrats - same economic prescriptions as the GOP, like the GOP, rendering whole classes of society terminally ill, just offering slightly better palliative care than the more regressive GOP.

The party will never win hearts and minds without making these ideals the centerpiece of its agenda once more.

Aronson wraps things up:

"There can be no future social movements without key socialist themes: the importance of economic class, the centrality of labor and workers in shaping the world, the idea that people must act to create their own destiny. Not to mention themes already suggested: the decisive role of the economy in determining the rest of our life, the fact that today it is above all driven by the pursuit of profit, the insistence on freeing people from its domination and the need to think and act politically in terms of the socioeconomic system rather than in terms of individual policies. Whatever language people use, socialist ideas, experience, models, aspirations and analyses will help form the heart and soul of the alternative-in-the-making, or there will be no alternative."

This is indeed the political paradigm whereby virtually all of the West extended civil rights, political equality, economic equity and mutualisation. Progessive movements are essentially socialist movements, have been from the start. To claim you are a progressive but at the same time claim allergies to the word socialism is to exhibit bad faith or cravenness at a fundamental level. For you may not be electorally astute at the present time (though apparently someone forgot to tell Bernie Sanders this). But you will never win the strategic war of ideas with the forces of regression running the nation today without going back to the roots, restating them anew for our times, and making them the core of the message.

Why not? Because socialism is the heart and soul of the left, and the left is the heart and soul of the Democratic party. Without 'em, the Dems are rudderless and value-less. Today's party may be able to generate K-street cash, but they can't generate new constituencies without strong values.

I note also Perry Anderson is also getting print in the Nation. It is heartening to see this. Perhaps there is some glimmer of hope out there after all.

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Judson Phillips: This Means War!

After calls to unseat MN Dem Keith Ellison at least partly for being Muslim and advancing the swell idea the Constitution be amended to restrict the vote  only to property owners, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips has declared war on the Methodist Church.

He claims the Methodist Church is Marxist and “little more than the ‘religious’ arm of socialism” for preaching its support of the DREAM act, health care, joining “the Socialists, Communists and Marxists for the ‘One Nation’ March”, and a host of other unpatriotic sins. Because of these radical ideas he says he, “left the Methodist church over 35 years ago [and has] never looked back.”

His screed is nothing new. He goes off on such things regularly. However, buried deep in his blog post (which, in a display of  his commitment to his own brave words, is open to the public only via subscription) he throws out a challenge that I’m more than happy to accept – “Say, where are the liberal complaints on the separation of church and state? I guess their outrage is selective.”

For the record, I’m an atheist, which in Phillips’ eyes probably makes me Joseph Stalin incarnate. More than 35 years ago I not only left the Methodists, but all religion, and have never looked back. So here’s my ‘selective outrage’ about the separation of church and state:

I agree with Phillips that religion and politics in America would be vastly better off without churches taking sides in secular political matters. I believe their preaching secular issues more often muddies the water than clarifies it and it sometimes dampens criticism of church hierarchy.  However, I don’t see how that is any different from Phillips’ support of churches that espouse his opinions about matters of state.

There’s a vast difference between churches – including those Phillips agrees with – preaching political values that align with their religion and trying to co-opt official non-religious matters of state. One is the freedom to practice religion as one likes. The other moves the positions out of the pulpit and into the secular public square. This is where the tipping point where separating church and state lies.

Churches violate that separation when, for example, religious members of school boards rewrite secular history books to conform to their religious vision. The same is true of many churches’ insistence the 10 Commandments be posted on every flat surface in America. Ditto for repealing health care, preventing gay marriage, and a host of other church-promoted secular issues.

As long as churches preach and don’t co-opt secular responsibilities there is separation.  To me this isn’t a separation issue, it’s the difference between a theocracy and a democracy.

Judson, I both support your freedom to belong to a religion or not belong to a religion or to agree or disagree with a church’s position. All I expect are the same liberties for those who disagree with you. All I expect from churches is to refrain from officially forcing their beliefs onto others.

My outrage isn’t selective, it’s quite consistent.

Which is more than I can say for yours.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Judson Phillips: This Means War!

After calls to unseat MN Dem Keith Ellison at least partly for being Muslim and advancing the swell idea the Constitution be amended to restrict the vote  only to property owners, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips has declared war on the Methodist Church.

He claims the Methodist Church is Marxist and “little more than the ‘religious’ arm of socialism” for preaching its support of the DREAM act, health care, joining “the Socialists, Communists and Marxists for the ‘One Nation’ March”, and a host of other unpatriotic sins. Because of these radical ideas he says he, “left the Methodist church over 35 years ago [and has] never looked back.”

His screed is nothing new. He goes off on such things regularly. However, buried deep in his blog post (which, in a display of  his commitment to his own brave words, is open to the public only via subscription) he throws out a challenge that I’m more than happy to accept – “Say, where are the liberal complaints on the separation of church and state? I guess their outrage is selective.”

For the record, I’m an atheist, which in Phillips’ eyes probably makes me Joseph Stalin incarnate. More than 35 years ago I not only left the Methodists, but all religion, and have never looked back. So here’s my ‘selective outrage’ about the separation of church and state:

I agree with Phillips that religion and politics in America would be vastly better off without churches taking sides in secular political matters. I believe their preaching secular issues more often muddies the water than clarifies it and it sometimes dampens criticism of church hierarchy.  However, I don’t see how that is any different from Phillips’ support of churches that espouse his opinions about matters of state.

There’s a vast difference between churches – including those Phillips agrees with – preaching political values that align with their religion and trying to co-opt official non-religious matters of state. One is the freedom to practice religion as one likes. The other moves the positions out of the pulpit and into the secular public square. This is where the tipping point where separating church and state lies.

Churches violate that separation when, for example, religious members of school boards rewrite secular history books to conform to their religious vision. The same is true of many churches’ insistence the 10 Commandments be posted on every flat surface in America. Ditto for repealing health care, preventing gay marriage, and a host of other church-promoted secular issues.

As long as churches preach and don’t co-opt secular responsibilities there is separation.  To me this isn’t a separation issue, it’s the difference between a theocracy and a democracy.

Judson, I both support your freedom to belong to a religion or not belong to a religion or to agree or disagree with a church’s position. All I expect are the same liberties for those who disagree with you. All I expect from churches is to refrain from officially forcing their beliefs onto others.

My outrage isn’t selective, it’s quite consistent.

Which is more than I can say for yours.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

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