Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Call Me A Socialist. Please!

According to davidswanson at Corrente, a Republican member of Congress did exactly that, on the floor of the House, to one or more Democratic members, referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus's defense of its "People's Budget." Everything ground to a halt while that caucus's co-chairs, Reps. Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, demanded the accusation be transcribed for the record, and the Republican (who? davidswanson declines to say) retracted the "slander."

What folly. What a waste of time. Our country has a deep and vibrant tradition of socialism, and even of Socialism, complete with social programs that are undeniably socialist... Social Security, Medicare (notwithstanding Tea Partiers' "hands off" cry), Medicaid, WIC, unemployment compensation, food stamps, etc. etc. Small-s socialism is one of the tools in the American toolkit. If Tea Partiers go into fits when they realize the program they're defending is socialist in its very nature, well, that's nobody's fault but their own... as some conservatives used to shout "get a job" at hippies, I'll cheerfully fling "get an education" at the TP folks.

So yes, by all means, call me a socialist... that's partially accurate. Or a capitalist... that's partially accurate, too. You may choose to omit communist from your list of epithets, but I won't insist you take even that one back if you fling it at me, because if you do that, it can only mean you haven't a clue what the word means (as indeed I do not, at least in any detail), and are only grasping for a pejorative to spit at me. But I have no aversion to the label "socialist"; it places me squarely in one of the great American traditions, no matter who has vilified the term in the past few decades. Say it, to my face, if it makes you feel better... unlike Reps. Grijalva and Ellison, I'll just smile in response.

(H/T Avedon for the Corrente link.)


  1. I would gladly pay you the highest of complements by calling you a socialist. As for communist collectives in America, I think the best example is Christian----the Mennonites.

  2. Thank you, mandt. And yes, I, too, have great admiration for the Mennonites and the Amish.

  3. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Socialist [as in a card carrying member of a Christian Socialist party], Francis Bellamy, who was also a Baptist preacher from Rome, NY. Even though he was a minister, he didn't think G*d needed to get involved. [The "Thou shalt not" bits about graven images, and taking Names in vain sort of precluded that.]

    It's understandable that sociopaths think socialism is bad.



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