Category Archives: social democracy

Laissez-Faire Capitalism Should Be as Dead as Soviet Communism

The Huffington Post | Arianna Huffington | December 22, 2008

The collapse of Communism as a political system sounded the death knell for Marxism as an ideology. But while laissez-faire capitalism has been a monumental failure in practice, and soundly defeated at the polls, the ideology is still alive and kicking.

The only place you can find an American Marxist these days is teaching a college linguistic theory class. But you can find all manner of free market fundamentalists still on the Senate floor or in Governor’s mansions or showing up on TV trying to peddle the deregulation snake oil.

Take Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who went on Face the Nation and, with a straight face, said of the economic meltdown: “Unfortunately, it was allowed to be portrayed that this was a result of deregulation, when in fact it was a result of overregulation.”

Or Gov. Mark Sanford, who told Joe Scarborough he was against bailing out the auto industry because it would “threaten the very market-based system that has created the wealth that this country has enjoyed.”

If a politician announced he was running on a platform of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” he would be laughed off the stage. That is also the correct response to anyone who continues to make the case that markets do best when left alone.

It’s time to drive the final nail into the coffin of laissez-faire capitalism (Continue Reading at The Huffington Post)

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Does European Social Democracy have a Future?

Dissent Online | by Robert Taylor

(excerpted) A  luxurious hotel in rural Hertfordshire on the outskirts of London might seem a surprising venue for a conference of the world’s self-declared progressives. But members of the democratic center-left power elites, mainly from Europe, but with a sprinkling from Latin America and elsewhere, were in residence this spring to discuss the theme of “An Inclusive Globalisation; Promoting Prosperity for All.”

The mood of the well-heeled participants was surprisingly upbeat and complacent. The social democrats of the world seem still to believe they remain a political force to be reckoned with.

It is true that participants like Kevin Rudd, the recently elected Australian Labour prime minister, joined by his counterparts Helen Clark from New Zealand and the Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, could point to the recent electoral success of their respective parties. But many of the policy professionals and functionaries from the ranks of European social democracy were deceiving themselves if they really believed the once confident, optimistic political ideology that did so much to bring about a prolonged period of unparalleled prosperity and peace in the western part of the continent after the end of the Second World War is still triumphant.

The demise of European social democracy has come suddenly and perhaps unexpectedly. As Roger Liddle from Policy Network, the New Labour think tank that organized the Hertfordshire conference, has pointed out, as recently as 2000 no fewer than eleven out of the then fifteen European Union member states had social democratic or center-left prime ministers. Today there are only four.

Electoral setbacks for social democrats in Europe cannot be dismissed as the temporary result of fickle and volatile voters who will return to the fold in due course. The truth is that social democrats are now very much on the ideological defensive. This does not mean, however, that the axis of political advantage has tilted inexorably rightward in any dramatic way. On the contrary, what should concern social democrats is the unexpected emergence of what looks like a serious threat from new forces to their left.   Read Entire Article

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A Bizarre Form of American Socialism

NDP Left blog | October 30, 2008

Obama, the Daily Show & American Socialism

Last night came the much anticipated appearance of Democratic presidential front runner Barack Obama on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Amidst all of the usual banter arose an interesting exchange in which Stewart and Obama made light of the attempts by the Republicans, who are now truly grasping at straws, to paint him as a Socialist. Obama quipped that maybe they were thinking of the time in kindergarten that he shared toys with the other kids.

Obama, of course, is correct. His agenda and his Obamanomics (as the New York Times Magazine termed it in a cover piece a couple of months back) bear no resemblance to a remotely Socialist platform. Far from feeling that a restructuring of the basic underpinnings of the nature of ownership and income distribution in the US economy is required, Obama is an avowed free marketeer who would use the powers of government in a, at best, modest way to ensure members of the poor, the working class and the lower middle class (although in the US of course these are all described as the Middle Class!) do not face total destitution if they become ill or fall behind on mortgage payments.

While, in the face of a real crisis of capitalism, which may or may not be at hand, he would surely, like FDR, be far more likely to plot an interventionist path on behalf of these groups than the Republicans, he is not in the least interested in following an even Social Democratic course.

Oddly, though, the Republicans and Democrats may have helped to open a door towards greater interventionism and the emergence of a more truly left wing both inside and outside the Democratic Party through their unabashed and flagrant use of the powers of government to combat the crisis facing many of the capitalist institutions and businesses whose interests they represent.  Read the Full Article!

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American Socialism is pro-Democratic; anti-Communist.

At present the American Union of Orthodox Christian Citizens is just an informational digest blog. It is the creator/editor’s hope that other like minded Orthodox Christians who are neither encrusted on the Right or embolden on the Left of the political spectrum will choose to unite in fellowship & action as a real grass-roots AUOCC organization in order to influence legislation and social change on the one hand and on the other, to support a viable unity amongst all of us; what might be known in the future as the “Orthodox Church of The Americas”.

When the AUOCC is populated and organized the members will decide on the appropriate policies, strategies and alliances based upon its founding purpose. In the meantime, this blog does not alley itself nor endorse any particular organization, political party or campaign. Neither do we support any one local expression or representation of the (Eastern) Orthodox Church rather we look to the catholicity and apostolic reality of the Mystical Body of Christ that is the Orthodox Church. –Praxis editor.

With that said, we would like to point out that the American conscious seems to have forgotten the reality and existence in this nation of the pro-democracy movement in the late 19th & early 20th century known as the Social Democrats aka Democratic Socialists or Socialists/USA. This movement was very pro-labor union, supporting the working class and strongly against Communism, Marxism and Leninism and all types of fascist and anarchists thinking. So it was a misnomer for Sara Palin to denounce Sen. Obama as a Socialist. In the American context of this term it was more of a compliment to the Senator. If however she meant that Obama would “spread the wealth” (we don’t believe him to be “Socialist” enough to do so) in the face of what the Republicans stand for then we can understand her use of the label.

Please note that Capitalism is not inherently democratic as an economic philosophy.

Here, in the right hand column, there are several Social Democratic links you may wish to visit. Below is an excerpt from the blog, ‘Democratic Socialists for Obama‘ that speaks a bit about what they stand for:

“The Social Democrats, USA–Socialist Party of America is what remains of the legacy of the socialist party of Debs, Thomas, Randolph, Zeidler, Harrington, and Rustin. Anyone can claim this heritage, or some part of it, but the SDUSA–SPA is the only group actually running candidates as socialists / social democrats who intend to win and hence to govern as socialists. For too long socialist political activity consisted of running candidates for positions they had no hope of winning, just to raise the “red flag”. This is not our socialist tradition. The Socialist Party of America of the early part of the twentieth century included twelve thousand office holders. In 1916, when Debs’ health prevented him from running for president he made a serious bid to be elected to the US Congress. it should be remembered that Norman Thomas relieved nearly a million votes in 1932. This had a major influence on New Deal legislation as the Socialists continued to pose a serious challenge to the capitalist parties.

Even after the Party began to work within the Democratic Party in did not abandon independent political activity. Witness the candidacy of Richard Parrish for Manhattan Council. Parrish was a black trade-unionist. His nominating petitions were hand-carried to city hall by Norman Thomas and Bayard Rustin. This was in 1964. The year before, Bayard Rustin had been the lead organizer for the March for Jobs and Justice. The March is best remembered for Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech. It was the Socialist Party in the form of A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Tom Kahn, and Rochelle Horowitz who made the March happen.

The March for Jobs and Justice lead to the 1964 Voting Rights Act and the 1965 Civil Rights Act. These were the first steps in eliminating discrimination in the United States. We now are engaged in another step. Barack Obama’s candidacy will test how far we as a nation have come as regards private racism and discrimination. I believe Obama made a terrible error in not choosing Hilary Clinton as his vice-presidential partner. This error may well cost him the election. It reminds me a great deal of Fredrick Douglas’ refusal to demand that the fourteenth amendment enfranchise women as well as black men. Women, of course, did receive the national franchise, fifty-five years later! Many women are justifiably upset that they worked so hard to nominate a women who may have a real shot at becoming president. Senator Clinton, for reasons I don’t understand, also became the candidate of many working-class whites. I am not sure that Joe Bidden can capture that same vote for the Democrats.” Read the Full Article.

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Filed under About Us, Barak Obama, NEWS - USA, social democracy, Socialism, Union of Orthodox Christian Citizens

American Socialist Movement: A Book Review

Socialism and Christianity in Early 20th Century America
by Jacob H. Dorn

Greenwood Press

Publication: 8/30/1998
List Price: $131.95 
Media Type: Hardcover
Trim Size: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4

272 pages

Description: Despite an anti-religious reputation and the anti-religious worldview of many members, the American Socialist movement held a primarily religious and moral attraction for a small but highly articulate group of American Christians of diverse religious tradition. This study explores the dramatic and at times dangerous lives of individuals who found in the vibrant, growing socialist movement before World War I the grounds for hope that the biblical ideals of human worth and economic justice would at last be fulfilled. Its subjects are male and female, black and white, native- and foreign-born, clergy and lay people, and products of Christian traditions ranging from African-American Baptist to Episcopalian. Readers will find not Milquetoasts standing hesitantly on the sidelines, but Christians with an unequivocal commitment to the complete socialist program who made major contributions to socialist work as authors, political candidates, and party leaders. Biographical chapters examine the interaction between their subjects’ experiences amidst the suffering of an urban-industrial society and their religious commitments, the perspectives on the meaning of socialism they brought to their work for the Socialist Party of America, and their careers after war and the rise of communism shattered the socialist movement. These biographies and an introductory chapter on the wider relationships between religion and socialism in Progressive-era America demonstrate that Christians made quite substantial contributions to the party, and that, far from being a monolithic group, they spread out across the spectrum of socialist ideology and tactics. Other issues include attempts to spread socialism within the churches, the Socialist Party’s debates over religion, Roman Catholic efforts to prevent Catholic workers’ acceptance of socialism, and the ethical qualities that made socialism appealing to Christians.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • “The Oldest and Youngest of the Idealistic Forces at Work in Our Civilization”: Encounters Between Christianity and Socialism by Jacob H. Dorn
  • “An Active and Unceasing Campaign of Social Education”: J. Stitt Wilson and Herronite Socialist Christianity by Douglas Firth Anderson
  • From Slavery to Socialism: George Washington Woodbey, Black Socialist Preacher by Philip S. Foner
  • A Path Approaching Full Circle: Kate Richards O’Hare by Sally M. Miller
  • “A Spiritual and Moral Socialism”: Franklin Spencer Spalding and Christian Socialism, 1901-1914 by John R. Sillito
  • “Not a Substitute for Religion, but a Means of Fulfilling It”: The Sacramental Socialism of Irwin St. John Tucker by Jacob H. Dorn
  • Christianity, Democracy, and Socialism: Bouck White’s Kingdom of Self-Respect by Mary E. Kenton
  • Millionaire Socialist and Omnist Episcopalian: J. G. Phelps Stokes’s Political and Spiritual Search for the “All” by Robert D. Reynolds, Jr.
  • Essay on Sources by Jacob H. Dorn
  • Index
LC Card Number: 98-11104
LCC Class: HX83
Dewey Class: 320

Source:  Greenwood Publishing Group

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Who says the Left is not Pro-Life?

The Left does not care for the rights of the unborn? Obama is a raging abortionist? Such are the rants from the militant Right in our nation. They scare me! Fact is Sen. Obama has a plan to reduce unwanted pregnancies in this country. This is a far more progressive step towards eliminating abortion than the Republicans and the right-wing Pro-Life Movement have. With the advocacy of the Democrats for Life and with Barak Obama as president America will finally be far closer to reducing abortions which is a step…no! it will be a leap towards eliminating abortion as we know it.

Here is the proposal of The Democrats For Life:

The 95-10 Initiative

A comprehensive plan that will reduce the number of abortions by 95% in the next 10 years by promoting abstinence, personal responsibility, adoptions and support for women and families who are facing unplanned pregnancy. The 95-10 Initiative seeks to reduce the number of abortions in America through Federal, state and local efforts as well as support and encouragement to volunteers and dedicated people on the front lines helping pregnant women. Much attention has been given to ending abortion or keeping it legal. We believe that we must do more to reduce the abortion rate by helping and supporting pregnant women.

Preventing pregnancy is an important part of reducing the abortion rate in America. There are several ways to address prevention, but there is no clear consensus because of ethical, religious or personal reasons. There are several bills before Congress that address pregnancy prevention. While we have not endorsed a particular bill, we support finding the most effective way to reduce unplanned pregnancies. We cannot deny that abstinence is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy, but we also cannot turn our heads and pretend that our children are not engaging in risky behavior or the fact that contraception is not 100 percent effective. The Federal government has made a commitment to support prevention efforts and allocated a record $288.3 million in FY 2005 for family planning under title X. The program provides access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them. A priority is given to low-income persons.

Pregnant women who wish to carry their children to term have not received that same commitment from the Federal government. We support helping pregnant women who wish to carry their children to term but because of lack of resources believe abortion is their only option. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Congressman Lincoln Davis (D-TN) and Pro-life Democrats in Congress who share this same commitment have introduced the Pregnant Women Support Act (S. 2407 and H.R. 3192) in the U.S Senate and U.S House. The legislation is a comprehensive approach to provide support for pregnant women who want to carry their child to term.

Some of the programs included are:

· establish a toll-free number to direct women to places that will provide support;

· collect accurate data on why women choose abortion;

· provide Pregnancy Counseling and Childcare on University Campuses;

· provide accurate information to patients receiving a positive result from prenatal testing;

· provide counseling in maternity group homes;

· increase the adoption tax credit and it permanent

· eliminate pregnancy as a pre-existing condition with respect to health care;

· provide grants for ultrasound equipment;

· support informed consent for Abortion Services;

· increase awareness about violence against pregnant women;

· require the SCHIP to cover pregnant women and unborn children;

· provide free home visits by registered nurses for new mothers.

Finally, we must protect our children by passing the Child Custody Protection Act, continue to promote Safe Haven laws and support funding programs as the Abandoned Infants Assistance. Democrats For Life of America, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, South Building, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20004 202.220.3066

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