Democracy or Oligarchy?

DWPetros

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Another way to look at the divide in our country - Robert Reich has a good take on this.

"So why do we continue to hear and use the same old “right” and “left” labels? I suspect it’s because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won’t notice they’re being shafted. In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy."


In other words - money in politics is killing democracy, the oligarchs are winning, and people need to wake up or completely lose any kind of democracy we think we still have and better yet to regain that control. Those who're screaming about this issue (ie. Warren, Sanders) are branded 'socialists' by the media. We might want to ask - why is that?

What say you?
 

TopT

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Another way to look at the divide in our country - Robert Reich has a good take on this.

"So why do we continue to hear and use the same old “right” and “left” labels? I suspect it’s because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won’t notice they’re being shafted. In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy."


In other words - money in politics is killing democracy, the oligarchs are winning, and people need to wake up or completely lose any kind of democracy we think we still have and better yet to regain that control. Those who're screaming about this issue (ie. Warren, Sanders) are branded 'socialists' by the media. We might want to ask - why is that?

What say you?
Again, you blur the lines. They are not being labelled 'socialists' because they are trying to remove money from politics. That is an issue that goes deep across party lines (outside of congress). They are labelled socialists because of the policies they espouse... IE: Medicare for all, free college, a living wage, wipe away college debt, ect., ect.

All of those issues will need huge layouts of taxpayer money continuously. Germany, Norway, Denmark have these policies in place and guess what?.. They are socialist governments! Hmmm, I wonder how someone took that leap to label Warren & Sanders as socialists?!? Maybe because Bernie gladly labels himself as a Socialist?!? I don't know what say you?

I am not saying there is anything wrong with this if that is what the people want. We (USA) do not have anywhere near that type of support here.
 

Brian W

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We (USA) do not have anywhere near that type of support here.
I would not call all European governments socialist just because they have universal health care. Almost the entire industrialized world has some kind of universal health care; most have something like free college; and most (including us) have a minimum wage. The issue isn't how to label democrats or any of the left leaning parties. The issue is that labeling them is what republicans are doing in order to win elections. They made up a bogyman ("socialism") and are using it to change how people think about non-conservative parties.

Unfortunately, people like Bernie Sanders and others have played into the game. Instead of focusing on goals and means, they defend the word. People are against "socialism", but they are for affordable universal health care. Republicans don't want to talk about goals and means because they have none. They have no policies of note. None. It's really amazing. Their entire party is built on repealing the ACA and not replacing it. That's all they've talked about for eight years now, and they still have no replacement plan.

It's really insane that anyone supports them, yet here we are.
 

Paul M. Weir

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I'm sure Otto von Bismark, the originator of the world's first form of social welfare would be best pleased to be called a Socialist. In the unlikely event that there is an afterlife, I suppose he could have bragging rights over Karl Marx.
 

Sand Bar Bill

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I would not call all European governments socialist just because they have universal health care. Almost the entire industrialized world has some kind of universal health care; most have something like free college; and most (including us) have a minimum wage. The issue isn't how to label democrats or any of the left leaning parties. The issue is that labeling them is what republicans are doing in order to win elections. They made up a bogyman ("socialism") and are using it to change how people think about non-conservative parties.

Unfortunately, people like Bernie Sanders and others have played into the game. Instead of focusing on goals and means, they defend the word. People are against "socialism", but they are for affordable universal health care. Republicans don't want to talk about goals and means because they have none. They have no policies of note. None. It's really amazing. Their entire party is built on repealing the ACA and not replacing it. That's all they've talked about for eight years now, and they still have no replacement plan.

It's really insane that anyone supports them, yet here we are.
I run into them person to person in real life. They are so wrapped up in, what I call, soap opera issues... the corruption of the Clintons or how sex scandals can be linked to Democrats.

Not discussed in their media I suspect:

  • The massive explosion of the deficit under the Republicans (and necessitating a crisis of revenue requiring the debt ceiling to be bumped up earlier than expected.
  • Health care issues like pre-existing coverage, drug pricing, medicare
  • Environmental issues
In short Republicans don't talk about governing, they talk soap opera because that is what they got. Otherwise, they would have to say "wow, the Republican party is really shitty in so many ways", but they don't want to say that.
 

DWPetros

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People get hung up on words or terms like 'socialist' instead of understanding what those terms actually mean (which differs from time and place). Socialism is a muddy term; misunderstood and misused in the US for political purposes. Until understood, maybe best avoided. The guy who seems to understand the term very well is Richard Wolff.

He's an articulate and knowledgeable scholar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_D._Wolff

What Reich is saying wasn't to argue over confused terminology. It was to point out that we live in a society which is losing its grip on whatever kind of democracy we think we have and the ever increasing power and control of an 'oligarchic class' over the People. This shift from democratic rule to the rule of the few & wealthy is happening throughout the developed world; slowly, surely, and almost without notice. America was supposed to be a beacon of democracy. It isn't anymore. We've become a bad example of what happens when people forget their democratic heritage and responsibilities. We fell asleep.
 
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TopT

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I would not call all European governments socialist just because they have universal health care. Almost the entire industrialized world has some kind of universal health care; most have something like free college; and most (including us) have a minimum wage. The issue isn't how to label democrats or any of the left leaning parties. The issue is that labeling them is what republicans are doing in order to win elections. They made up a bogyman ("socialism") and are using it to change how people think about non-conservative parties.

Unfortunately, people like Bernie Sanders and others have played into the game. Instead of focusing on goals and means, they defend the word. People are against "socialism", but they are for affordable universal health care. Republicans don't want to talk about goals and means because they have none. They have no policies of note. None. It's really amazing. Their entire party is built on repealing the ACA and not replacing it. That's all they've talked about for eight years now, and they still have no replacement plan.

It's really insane that anyone supports them, yet here we are.
Yes it is insane.

I did not label all European countries as socialists, just the ones that I knew were socialist governments. I am not saying there is anything wrong with their governments either. That is what the people voted for.

In the USA, we have about lost the ability to vote for a majority of anything due to extreme gerrymandering/ voter suppression.
 

Martin Mayers

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Yes it is insane.

I did not label all European countries as socialists, just the ones that I knew were socialist governments. I am not saying there is anything wrong with their governments either. That is what the people voted for.

In the USA, we have about lost the ability to vote for a majority of anything due to extreme gerrymandering/ voter suppression.
What countries in Europe would you say are ran by Socialist Governments? I don't think there are as many as you think (though many have 'Social' policies).
 

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From an American perspective, it would make sense to call all European gouvernements 'socialist', as the public sector's spending structure differs vastly from the US one, irrespective of whether the left or the right governs here (of course it doesn't mean they conduct the same policies).
 

TopT

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From an American perspective, it would make sense to call all European gouvernements 'socialist', as the public sector's spending structure differs vastly from the US one, irrespective of whether the left or the right governs here (of course it doesn't mean they conduct the same policies).
For the record, my comment was not meant as an insult.

There are things that our government could adopt to help more of the population. It just comes down to how to pay & how much will it cost.
 

Sparafucil3

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From an American perspective, it would make sense to call all European gouvernements 'socialist', as the public sector's spending structure differs vastly from the US one, irrespective of whether the left or the right governs here (of course it doesn't mean they conduct the same policies).
I wonder how your spending would differ if the US stepped away from being the world's policeman. I am sure we would have a lot more money to spend on people if we stopped buying tanks. I for one, would relish the opportunity to step away from that role. -- jim
 

Martin Mayers

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I wonder how your spending would differ if the US stepped away from being the world's policeman. I am sure we would have a lot more money to spend on people if we stopped buying tanks. I for one, would relish the opportunity to step away from that role. -- jim
I think you've always had a valid point on this. However, I'd also say that American (and British) corporate militarism is of far greater motivation to spending on arms than us (both of us) being the "world's policeman".

We've all seen Twater on here swinging his dick about how his salary has increased as a result of his munitions company doing well.

Genie's out of the bottle I'm afraid - IMHO
 

Sparafucil3

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However, I'd also say that American (and British) corporate militarism is of far greater motivation to spending on arms than us (both of us) being the "world's policeman".
I don't doubt that plays a part. And truthfully, military spending leads to jobs which lead to taxes on that income, sales tax, international arms sales, etc. I would give all that up if I knew I had a place to put all those people besides the dole. I would love to have a couple of decades to focus on renewable energy, infrastructure, retraining our people to do new jobs, and generally look after our own house for a bit.

Doesn't change my point though. Where would spending be in other places be if this were the case. -- jim
 

Mister T

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For the record, my comment was not meant as an insult.
I did not take it as an insult. No harm done. Simply the ratio of public spending to GDP is significantly higher in Europe compared to the US so a quick typology can be made, opposing the 'capitalist USA' to the 'socialist'/'social-democrat'/'social market economy' Europe (several terms at one's disposal).
 

Mister T

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I don't doubt that plays a part. And truthfully, military spending leads to jobs which lead to taxes on that income, sales tax, international arms sales, etc. I would give all that up if I knew I had a place to put all those people besides the dole. I would love to have a couple of decades to focus on renewable energy, infrastructure, retraining our people to do new jobs, and generally look after our own house for a bit.

Doesn't change my point though. Where would spending be in other places be if this were the case. -- jim
Obviously your POV is influenced by the fact that Virginia is the US state which receives the highest level of military expenditure relative to its size (close to 10% of its GSP). I'm sure there are US states which are doing well economically with much lower infusion of DoD and alii monies.
 

Sparafucil3

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Obviously your POV is influenced by the fact that Virginia is the US state which receives the highest level of military expenditure relative to its size (close to 10% of its GSP). I'm sure there are US states which are doing well economically with much lower infusion of DoD and alii monies.
Because the East Coast Navy is based in Germany. As I said though, I am more than happy to stop patrolling the seas too. -- jim
 
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