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Ralph Nader: ‘Democratic Socialism’ – Bring It On Corporate Socialists – OpEd


Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism.

Others are joining the socialist labeling bandwagon, including corporatist right wing radio talk show blowhards, themselves freeloaders, profitably using the public airwaves. This pack includes Lloyd Blankfein, former lawbreaking chairman of Goldman Sachs.

Bernie knows, of course, how to rebut this distorted interpretation of “democratic socialism.” But will his rebuttals be enough given that the Biden-Bloomberg-Klobuchar wing of the Democratic Party is determined to label Bernie “unelectable” against the boastful Don the Con?

Some suggestions for Bernie and others to use in this upcoming back and forth on “democratic socialism” vs. “corporate socialism” of the super-rich corporations:

  1. Go after the corporate socialists who have invited Wall Street and Big Business to socialize the means of government against the peoples’ necessities and freedoms. It is a government of, by, and for the dominant corporations. Such private power dominating our government in so many reported ways was called “fascism” in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a formal message to Congress. This is a fertile field for taking the offensive.
  2. “Democratic socialism is a political force in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, sometimes Canada, and others. In these places, it means all the people in those countries get their taxes returned in the form of improved livelihoods, economic security, and peace of mind. Democratic socialism means better pay, universal healthcare, pensions, day care, family sick leave, vacations, tuition-free higher education, robust public transit and parks, and many other amenities backed by stronger unions, denied the American people in the “land of the free and home of the brave.” Since World War II, the European political movements were led by “social democratic” parties.
  3. Back to our country. Corporatists and right-wing Wall Street Democrats are inferring that “democratic socialism” is un-American, ruinous for our economy. These demonizers argue that a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” is a sure loser in the election against Donald Trump – a self-enriching crook, outlaw, boastful, savage sexual predator, bigot/racist in his policies, inciter of violence, and a serial, delusionary liar. Trump, the Electoral College-selected tool of the super-rich and corporate powers should be easy to defeat given his disgraceful presidency.

The American people of all backgrounds like their public libraries, public local control water works, municipal fire departments, police precincts, and public schools. They seem okay with government highways, bridges, public transit, and want their taxes spent to repair and upgrade these vital pieces of our infrastructure. Taxpayer’s don’t want our commonwealth being owned by tax-escaping, gouging corporations.

There are over 1,000 municipal public utilities providing electricity. The “Red” states of Tennessee and Alabama would fight any corporatization of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which 87 years ago, brought electricity to a large poor region that the private electric companies didn’t think was profitable enough.

The unfairly maligned Veterans Administration brought free hospitals and health care to millions of veterans. Millions of Americans are favorably disposed to life-saving Medicare and Medicaid and are economically saved by Social Security and unemployment compensation. Hey! There must be a lot of “democratic socialists” out there in “blue” and “red” states. New Hampshirites are mostly okay with state-owned, revenue-producing, hard-liquor retail stores.

At a meeting long ago with top medical officials at the Walter Reed Army hospital, I was told that after learning the second leading cause of hospitalization for U.S. soldiers in Vietnam was malaria, the U.S. Army asked the drug companies to develop remedies. The negative response was that developing medicines to deal with malaria wasn’t profitable enough. In response, the Pentagon brought together skilled doctors and scientists and started its own “drug company” inside Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals. For less than 10 percent of what the big drug companies say it costs, our government developed three out of four of the leading anti-malarial drugs in the world and made them available everywhere without any patents producing big pharma-like profits.

If the political and corporate Trumpsters and the Clintonite Democrats snort at all this, tell them that they do agree on one thing. Those in both these camps have been eager to have collapsing capitalism, as during the 2008 Wall Street dive, always saved by reliable socialism – aka – trillions of taxpayer dollars via Washington, D.C. funding the bailout of the reckless bankers and speculators.

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Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a politician, activist and the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel. In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a monthly magazine).

2 thoughts on “Ralph Nader: ‘Democratic Socialism’ – Bring It On Corporate Socialists – OpEd

  • February 17, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Thanks for the interesting the read Mr. Nader. I’m honestly conflicted over the rise of Bernie Sanders as the likely Democratic nominee and probably president. On the one hand he is clearly extremely ideological and having an ideologue as a president has its problems. Having that kind of rigorous belief system will make it near impossible to achieve anything in congress and there is always the risk of radicalizing some portion of the public. I do share some concerns with the older generation about him. The emphasis on wealth inequality can easily be turned on its head as class based guilt where the worst cases of that were in the 20th century.

    On the other hand as a Canadian, Bernie Sanders’ politics is nothing that special. The Federal New Democratic Party is a mainstream left leaning party that splits with the more center Liberal Party. Rhetoric on racial and economic injustices are common, however I will say that those figures would never be considered to be Prime Minister.

    The most positive attribute of the Sanders movement is the bringing of important and as a Canadian obvious issues to the American mainstream; universal healthcare, minimum wage, campaign finance reform, etc.

    A setback is that it may cause a reactionary movement in the American Right and slide into extremism or positively it may change the overton window and actually make the right closer to the center. At this stage it is hard to tell.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the political conditions that have set figures like Trump and Sanders into prominence though they differ greatly. A democracy cannot remain stable with extreme wealth inequality because poverty doesn’t cause instability, envy does. Where’s my job? Those immigrants, bad trade deals, the billionaires, etc. There has to be a belief in some form of meritocracy where working hard achieves some form of status.

    Hopefully a lesson is learned this year in Washington as two political parties watch as their highjacked by populist uprisings in what is now two election cycles. Maybe someone will listen now.

  • February 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    This is excellent view on Trump’s socialism. Trump’s socialism also provides huge bailouts and wasteful funds for militarism, with extra wasteful fonds to enrich corporations. Occupations of countries to loot their resources by oil and drug corporations is a predatory process to create immoral wealth for the few wealthy by using public funds.
    Trump’s socialism has been cutting many social programs in order to transfer the allocated funds to corporate America. This Trump’s transfers of funds have weakened all the infrastructure in America that Trump promised to rebuild.
    Under Trump’s influence the Federal Reserve Bank has become dependent institution to the Trump administration. The Fed has been reducing the interest rate and trying to make it negative for Trump. This means looting of depositors’ funds for the wealthy Ponzi few. This direction has also weakened pension funds in an effort to loot these funds by financial corporations.
    In short, Trump’s socialism is directed toward the few but Senator Sanders’ program is directed the whole.


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