Sanders: “A socialist in name only?”

“Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the 2016 presidential race is that Bernie Sanders, somehow, has made ‘socialism’ a safe word in American politics,” according to Politico. “Nearly 100 years ago Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs had to campaign from prison; today, Sanders campaigns on socialism in broad daylight. For eight years, Democrats winced when Republicans hurled the “socialist” slur at President Barack Obama; now, 43 percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants, many inspired by Sanders, embrace the label.

“If you think Sanders’s candidacy has divided the Democratic party, that’s nothing compared to what he’s done to American socialists, a complex network of rival fringe parties united by a belief in overturning the economic order, but divided by almost everything else: strategy, personality, and what they think of their suddenly famous associate.”

“The rise of Sanders has triggered an ideological argument – is Sanders promoting bona fide socialism or, as Fredrik deBoer suggested in POLITICO Magazine last year, is he nothing but a “Socialist In Name Only?” — but the real divisions are tactical. In a presidential election year, even socialists have to think about electoral strategy. And Bernie’s rapid ascent means that the political decisions of the far-far left have been complicated by an unfamiliar surge of attention.”

The rest of the article is here.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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5 Responses to Sanders: “A socialist in name only?”

  1. David White says:

    Please people. Learn the difference between Democratic Socialism and Socialism. They are two different things.

    • Annie Fox says:

      Very true. I tend to think of Franklin D Roosevelt when discussing Bernie Sanders.

      • Don Pelton says:

        Yes, Sanders is a socialist in the same sense that FDR was a socialist. At least that’s the label that the reactionary right-wing has delighted in “tarring” FDR with for the last three quarters of a century while laboring to roll back his achievements. Now Sanders may be opening the Overton Window wider, so that the socialist label may be less like tar and more like pixie dust.

        “But as Occupy and the election of Obama showed, the Overton Window is ready to swing leftward again. Bernie Sanders will do that even if he loses. He will do something that hasn’t been done since the 1920s: He will make socialism mainstream.”

        I’m changing my stance on Bernie Sanders

    • Joe Koyote says:

      Yes, a very important distinction the right wing doesn’t want people to understand. They would prefer it if people associated the word with the old USSR style of socialism so that their outdated and stale cold war anti-commie/socialist rhetoric still gets some traction.

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