Two words and their current-historical importance need to be examined in light of two recent events.

Those words are: "crisis" and "socialism."

The first word must be examined in light of the recent announcement by the Federal Reserve that they are going to be gradually selling off the bonds they bought during the quantitative easing phase. Quantitative easing followed the bailouts and stimulus but received less attention as it is more arcane. I would have liked to see more follow up to Sanders' audit of the Fed if that was possible in relation to quantitative easing. That would have allowed us to know which assets were being acquired by the taxpayers. At any rate, I have maintained that the quantitative easing program acheived its goals and I continue to maintain that the decisions of the Fed are well calculated to keep the economy chuggin along. Its just that there were better alternatives.

You see, the word "crisis" was deployed by the media to create the misimpression that the extortion which occured in 2008 was the result of unpredictable processes. In fact, it was a phase of transition where powerful interests were securing their grasp of the financial, economic, and political sectors of the country. Though we are witnessing the slow reconciliation of the public to the fact of the Trump presidency we also see that political crisis remains a tactic of the radical right which now seeks to further their agenda by dismantling Medicare. Fortunately, Trump has at least a minimum of inclination and ability to stave off actual crisis by forging an understanding across the aisle. Something Obama was unable to achieve, and therefore just as much a credit to the participating Democratic leadership.

So, the word "cirisis" is properly understood as "extortion". Which brings us to our next point.

Admiral Stavridis recently wrote a piece for Time magazine about Venezuela, pinning its current woes to the socialist program initiated by Hugo Chavez. This and Trump's speech about Venezuela demonstrate a key point to those able to see a little bit into the situation by examining the facts. When a right-wing politician talks about socialism bringing destruction, they want you to believe that socialism is the cause of all the trouble their reactionary agenda brings as punishment to those who seek greater democracy and economic justice.

Technically, we in the U.S. live in a sort of socialist system. Historically, the definition or parameters of the word are actually any sort of secular government. The agenda of the right is not fascist; fascism is the merger of state and corporations. The anti-socialist stance of the right is consistent in being defined as such in that it seeks to replace the secular state with the private state. Corporations no longer have need of secular government, they can govern themselves and us as well.

The truth of my proposition here is found in the very topic I introduced this discussion with. For the maintenance of the relationship between prices and wages through artificial means is precisely the hallmark of a socialist political economy, speaking in economic terms.

Would that the people ruled. But it never has been the case. We have achieved political concessions, but these are now at risk of being lost. Trojan horses tempt. Shall we do away with the Electoral College? And who will control the process once we subject the Constitution to revision? No, the instruments of the state are not giving way to some greater ideal of freedom for the masses but to an unknown future in which the weapons of mass destruction remain in the hands of those few who jealously gaurd their power. What future could come of this situation? To speculate is to be aware of that dire consequences may arise not out of crisis but out of eventualities of gradual provenance. A bright future for some, who undersstand their happiness from within their bubble of protection. For others, disaster.

The work of peace and justice is not easier in the absence of crisis. The agenda of community organization, issues advocacy, constituent democracy, and anarchy are still nascent in the minds of the public. Only diligent struggle will forward the true Revolution!

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gumball's picture
gumball 12 weeks 8 hours ago
#1

Historically, the definition or parameters of the word are actually any sort of secular government.

Not sure where you got this idea from. Socialism is defined as government owning the means of production and distribution.

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet 12 weeks 1 hour ago
#2
Quote gumball:

Socialism is defined as government owning the means of production and distribution.

That's the definition that the radical left prefers, adopting the confusion of the term with communism which Marxists are responsible for. And it is true that is the original defintion given that Saint Simon is credited with coining the term. But Marx lived at a time when socialism was opposed to monarchy, and also when socialism was sometimes defined in the way we use it today to mean any governmental activity which at least loosely fits the definition of "redistribution of wealth". Marx wrote about Napoleon III for example, who is sometimes referred to as the "socialist emperor". Its where the expression "History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce comes from.

Emperor Napoleon III is often referred to as the socialist emperor because he gave many socialized programs to the citizens. He gave hospitals, socialized medicine, the right to unionize and strike, shorter hours, injured worker homes, a revamped prison system, and more.

https://www.coursehero.com/file/10903883/European-History-101/

On December 2 1851, followers of President Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon's nephew) broke up the Legislative Assembly and established a dictatorship. A year later, Louis Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III.

Marx wrote The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon between December 1851 and March 1852. The "Eighteenth Brumaire" refers to November 9, 1799 in the French Revolutionary Calendar — the day the first Napoleon Bonaparte had made himself dictator by a coup d'etat.

In this work Marx traces how the conflict of different social interests manifest themselves in the complex web of political struggles, and in particular the contradictory relationships between the outer form of a struggle and its real social content. The proletariat of Paris was at this time too inexperienced to win power, but the experiences of 1848-51 would prove invaluable for the successful workers' revolution of 1871.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/

"...all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.​"

gumball's picture
gumball 11 weeks 6 days ago
#3
Quote nimblecivet:

and also when socialism was sometimes defined in the way we use it today to mean any governmental activity which at least loosely fits the definition of "redistribution of wealth".

How is this definition of the word "socialism" different than the definition of "Liberalism"?

If "Socialism" is not used to define government ownership of production and distribution, what "ism" would you say best describes it?

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet 11 weeks 5 days ago
#4

just my opinion: liberalism = supremacy of the individual over all institutions. social equality is not the objective of government action or progressive social movements. Inequality is accepted as natural while benevolent government is the product of wise rule by the elite. Democracy is understood in the sense of law being crafted through a process of communication between people of different social rank, needs, etc.

government ownership of production and distribution = communism (government is controlled by the party of the proletariat)

worker ownership of production = anarchism

worker ownership of production and distribution = socialism (in its original sense, that is "utopian socialism"):

Quote Marx and Engels:

The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, causes Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to improve the condition of every member of society, even that of the most favoured. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at large, without the distinction of class; nay, by preference, to the ruling class. For how can people, when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the best possible plan of the best possible state of society? Hence, they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary action; they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave the way for the new social Gospel.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 11 weeks 5 days ago
#5

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/socialism

socialism

NOUN

mass noun

  • 1 A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
  • 1.1 Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.
  • 1.2 (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.

http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/05/changing-meaning-of-socialist/

(quote) So if you want to use socialist in a technical sense you would do well to rely on the definition that is provided in a dictionary. If you want to apply this label to an individual as a general pejorative meaning ‘someone who is to the left of me politically’ or ‘someone with whom I disagree’ then you may tell yourself that you are either incorrect or you are working to continue the semantic broadening of this word. (unquote)

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/crisis

crisis

NOUN

  • 1A time of intense difficulty or danger.

‘the current economic crisis’

mass noun ‘the monarchy was in crisis’

  1. 1.1 A time when a difficult or important decision must be made.

as modifier ‘the situation has reached crisis point’

  1. 1.2 The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet 10 weeks 5 days ago
#6

Monbiot discusses Sanders a bit toward the end of this relatively short vid which is great recap of some of the important overarching themes. I'd like to look into what Our Revolution has been up to lately as I have seen their people involved in both campaigns to fight for immigrant rights and fair trade.

As for reorienting politics at the local level, my own personal spin on that concept has been more one of balance between individuals with private property and government (p...ersonal sphere and public sphere in conjunction and agreement). That is, rather than communal relation to the ecosystem. This is a complicated topic, the relationship of economy to ecology, and one that is just getting under way.

At the same time, we need to recognize that what happens locally can only be progressive if it is tied to a larger movement within the context of an industrialized economy. How small-scale agriculture fits in with the green revolution (agribusiness) in a comprehensive framework where the environment and public health is protected means recognizing both the larger scale and the smaller scale as being integrated with each other functionally. I will provide a link to some of this kind of thinking in the comments section.

So, the political revolution that Sanders represents, insofar as it is an avenue for exploring some of these ideas, is one where the democratic revolution is indeed one where the older left ideas are being left behind (no pun intended) but by those who consciously evolve to a higher level of understanding which expresses the same values of liberty, fraternity and egalitarianism. It is then, still democratic socialist but in a new sense. Overthrowing the power of corporations as instruments of privilege and the entrenched power within captive institutions requires a very well thought out set of goals and strategies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2SxP4PANr4&feature=youtu.be

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