April 2, 2006

CARACAS ON THE POTOMAC?:

The Left Needs More Socialism (RONALD ARONSON, April 17, 2006, The Nation)

It's time to break a taboo and place the word "socialism" across the top of the page in a major American progressive magazine. Time for the left to stop repressing the side of ourselves that the right finds most objectionable. Until we thumb our noses at the Democratic pols who have been calling the shots and reassert the very ideas they say are unthinkable, we will keep stumbling around in the dark corners of American politics, wondering how we lost our souls--and how to find them again.

I can hear tongues clucking the conventional wisdom that the "S" word is the kiss of death for any American political initiative. Since the collapse of Communism, hasn't "socialism"--even the democratic kind--reeked of everything obsolete and discredited? Isn't it sheer absurdity to ask today's mainstream to pay attention to this nineteenth-century idea? Didn't Tony Blair reshape "New Labour" into a force capable of winning an unprecedented string of victories in Britain only by first defeating socialism and socialists in his party? And for a generation haven't we on the American left declared socialist ideology irrelevant time and again in the process of shaping our feminist, antiwar, progay, antiracist, multicultural, ecological and community-oriented identities?

People who espouse these and a dozen other arguments against the relevance of socialism today may regard it as quaint that Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales, leads the Movement Toward Socialism Party, or that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez intends to create a "new socialism of the twenty-first century."


There's your big idea for the Fall elections: vote for the Democrats and we'll make America like Venezuela!

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 2, 2006 12:06 AM
Comments

It should go over well with the thousands of che wearin protester from last week. there numbers are very large and getting larger.

Posted by: tony martin fan at April 2, 2006 12:47 AM

It should go over well with the thousands of che wearin idoits from last week. There numbers are very larger than previusley thought of .

Posted by: tony martin fan at April 2, 2006 12:49 AM

Their numbers are trivial.

Posted by: oj at April 2, 2006 12:51 AM

People who [argue] against the relevance of socialism today may regard it as quaint that Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales, leads the Movement Toward Socialism Party, or that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez intends to create a "new socialism of the twenty-first century."

Quaint, no.

Pitiful, pathetic, misguided, doomed - yes.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at April 2, 2006 1:09 AM

People who [argue] against the relevance of socialism today may regard it as quaint that Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales, leads the Movement Toward Socialism Party, or that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez intends to create a "new socialism of the twenty-first century."

Quaint, no.

Pitiful, pathetic, misguided, doomed - yes.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at April 2, 2006 1:12 AM

It hasn't worked for 100 years and killed over 100 million people.

Why does he think the Americas version will work?

What's so special about Hugo and Evo?

Posted by: Sandy P at April 2, 2006 3:57 AM

Was the date on the article a typo? Shouldn't it say April 1st.

Posted by: erp at April 2, 2006 9:28 AM

Katrina vanden Heuvel: the gift that keeps on giving

Posted by: Palmcroft at April 2, 2006 10:03 AM

Imagine a team with Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson all on the same team a few years before their prime. You would then have the Detroit Tigers of '06, World Champs in '08 and repeating throughout the Teens. Bonderman, Verlander and Zumaya will usher in the best staff the AL has seen since the Catfish A's. The rest of your teams are but hapless Christians backing around the Forum as the Tigers are let loose...

Posted by: Palmcroft at April 2, 2006 10:17 AM

Wow! my baseball post ended up here? apologies to all; my racist right-wing wahoo ignorance has again sabotaged my singularly correct worldview

Posted by: Palmcroft at April 2, 2006 10:22 AM

Palm:

A lot riding on Fernando Rodney too.

Posted by: oj at April 2, 2006 10:26 AM

Sandy, Re: Hugo ... oil.

Posted by: Genecis at April 2, 2006 11:13 AM

"vote for the Democrats and we'll make America like Venezuela!" or France.

"People who [argue] against the relevance of socialism today may regard it as quaint that" we still have socialist dinosaurs to remind us how lucky we have been. Thank God for Reagan.

Posted by: ic at April 2, 2006 3:03 PM

"new socialism of the twenty-first century."

Like the attempts to call trolleys "light-rail", no matter what you call it, it's still a 19th Century idea that was thoroughly discredited by what happened in the 20th.

What's their big selling point for this "new socialism", anyhow? "This century we'll keep the killing to a minimum" doesn't seem to be that appealling especially if you are one of the "class enemies" deemed expendible.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 2, 2006 3:22 PM

I thought we Republicans were the new socialists since we're all supposedly nazis!?!

Posted by: Dave W at April 2, 2006 3:56 PM

Dave W, even with a score card, I can't keep track of all the neos and isms either.

Posted by: erp at April 2, 2006 4:12 PM

katrina lives quite the socialist lifestyle.

Posted by: toe at April 2, 2006 4:19 PM

Genecis:

If Chavez is hoping to use oil wealth to build a lasting socialist legacy, then he'll have to pay a LOT more attention to Venezuela's industrial infrastructure.

At the rate that he's letting things crumble, in a decade Venezuela won't be exporting any oil.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at April 2, 2006 10:03 PM

Shame on you, Raoul! Drawing an analogy between socialists and streetcars. That's a vile insult to the noble streetcar.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 2, 2006 10:05 PM

Anyone who is dumb enough to put the words 'new' and 'socialism' in the same sentence must work for The Nation. Oh....

I doubt if even he really believes it, but it's like endorsing Cynthia McKinney to be the next President, isn't it? Politics as street theater, paid for by the blood of the people (except for those on the official payroll).

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 2, 2006 11:08 PM

Socialism worked well for the animals on the farm, though it worked more well for some than for others.

Posted by: Jayson at April 3, 2006 2:20 PM
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