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Chicago Tribune: Socialists: Obama no socialist

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Maikeru-sama, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    Socialists: Obama no socialist
    By Rex W. Huppke | Tribune staff reporter

    October 20, 2008

    These are hard times to be a socialist in America. And not just because there's a bourgeois-bloated Starbucks on every other corner, thumbing its capitalist nose at the proletariat.

    No, it's tough these days because you've got politicians on the right, the same guys who just helped nationalize the banking system, derisively and inaccurately calling the presidential candidate on the left a socialist. That's enough to make Karl Marx harumph in his grave.

    Local communists, rarely tapped as campaign pundits, say Sen. Barack Obama and his policies stand far afield from any form of socialism they know.

    John Bachtell, the Illinois organizer for Communist Party USA, sees attempts by Sen. John McCain's campaign to label Obama a socialist as both offensive to socialists and a desperate ploy to tap into fears of voters who haven't forgotten their Cold War rhetoric.

    "Red baiting is really the last refuge of scoundrels," Bachtell said. "It has nothing to do with the issues that are confronting the American people right now. It's just a big diversion."

    Of course that's just one man's opinion. (And everyone knows you can't trust a communist.)

    The "s-word" bubbled up from the McCain campaign after Obama said, in his chat with Joe the Plumber, that he thinks "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

    Well, that certainly sounds like the words of a Red Menace. But is it socialist?

    There are about as many definitions for socialism as comedian Jeff Foxworthy has for the term "redneck."

    So, how do you know if you're a socailist?

    Generally, it involves espousing government control over a country's basic industries, like transportation, communication and energy, while also allowing some government regulation of private industries.

    "Obama is about as far from being a socialist as Joe The Plumber is from being a rocket scientist," said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. "I think it's hard for McCain to call Obama a socialist when George Bush is nationalizing banks."

    And this from Bruce Carruthers, a sociology professor at Northwestern University: "Obama is like a center-liberal Democrat, and he is certainly not looking to overthrow capitalism. My goodness, he wouldn't have the support of someone like The Wizard of Omaha, Warren Buffet, if he truly was going to overthrow capitalism."

    Bottom line: pure capitalism and socialism can be a difficult mix.

    Which hits at the heart of the problem. Right now, with the economy in the tank, the idea of a little wealth sharing doesn't sound so bad to people whose 401k plans are worth less than the contents of their coin jars.

    "The idea of closing that wealth gap, I think, is a concern for many, many Americans," said Teresa Albano, editor of the Chicago-based People's Weekly World, a communist newspaper. "I don't think people are going to respond negatively to the idea of spreading around the wealth."

    Which is not to say that, by electing Obama, the country will gamely head down the path of socialism.

    "The whole point of his policies don't really represent the political economy of the working class," said Robert Roman, who edits the newsletter of the roughly 250-member Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. "Obama's going to be a person who represents all of us, he's going to be representing the interest of the capitalists as well as the working people. He's not really talking about transforming society beyond capitalism."

    But don't worry, Sen. Obama. You're still likely to win the vote of avowed socialists.

    "Having Obama as president would be greatly superior, from our point of view, than having McCain as president," Roman said.

    And you can expect to see that quote in a McCain ad in 5, 4, 3, 2....

    rhuppke@tribune.com

    link
  2. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    "The idea of closing that wealth gap, I think, is a concern for many, many Americans," said Teresa Albano, editor of the Chicago-based People's Weekly World, a communist newspaper. "I don't think people are going to respond negatively to the idea of spreading around the wealth."
    ------

    bull-shyte-to-the-max.

    i've lost around $50-$60k so far. now my father wants to buy a house in florida since my mom passed away and he's finally ready to move on. so who does the family come to for help?

    of course i will. gladly. i'm always here to help my family and friends and i resent the holy hell out of people saying because i make more i should give more.

    if you've seen your 401k go down, i promise you "the rich" has seen it go down a hell of a lot more. segmenting pain to be greater than the other is crap on a wicker stick.

    in a time like this i need to help my family, friends and myself. taking more from me isn't going to allow me to do that as easily.

    now, if obama isn't socialistic, why are socialists backing his spread the wealth policy with such a statement?
  3. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    These two snippets caught my eye when I read through the article. The first part made me laugh because Joe the Plumber just can't catch a break from anyone, lol. The second part made me scratch my head because this is an article about socialism, a political ideology, and they quote a sociologist, someone who studies human behavior as it relates to social groups. I think they just quoted him because socialist and sociologist sound so similar. It would be like doing an article on communism and quoting a communications professor. Bizarre.
  4. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    Yeah, I caught that quote by the professor as well. I think they could've found more credible experts to push the point of this article.
  5. NinePointOh

    NinePointOh Well-Known Member

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    Actually, it appears he's an expert in economic sociology and has written multiple books and scholarly articles about markets, capital, macroeconomics, economic history, bankruptcy law, and credit.

    http://www.sociology.northwestern.edu/faculty/carruthers/home.html
    http://www.sociology.northwestern.edu/faculty/carruthers/cvcarruth_11.06.pdf
  6. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    It doesn't come across well by any means...

    If I need to be talked down to, I'll PM WoodysGirl... :D
  7. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    i hope so as well. but the continued "share/spread the wealth" seems to be an ok thing to far too many. i can only think it's because they feel they'll be the beneficiary of that so it's all good.

    free dinner, so to speak. i do resent that notion quite a bit. why should i work harder if its' just taken and given to those who can't or won't?
  8. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Dewy wins!

    Isn't that the same paper?
  9. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    [IMG]
  10. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl Shut up and play! Staff Member

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    That 'splains things.

    Watch out or I'll call you a hypocrite.
  11. Phrozen Phil

    Phrozen Phil Active Member

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    :hammer: Equating Socialism with Communism is also a favourite of some media outlets. Let's be accurate, folks. The article does point out that Bush has just committed large amounts of taxpayer's money to the banking system. Is this the ultimate in corporaate welfare? I suspect that whoever wins the election will be looking for active ways to change this, but the days of unfettered, unregulated trading may be gone. Is that Socialism? not really.
  12. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    so far i've not seen anyone say socialism *IS* communism, only that it's a step in that direction.

    saying "we're not what we seem" also seems to be a good reply when you think what you could be may cause fear in others.
  13. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I don't know about the "Obama is going to be the person who represents all of us" quote, but I don't think the man is a socialist.
  14. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    Oh, I think the idea of closing the wealth gap is important for a lot of Americans, as it should be. Over the past decade or so we've had the largest increase in economic inequality in the nations history, putting us around the same levels that we were at in the 1920's. A country's economic equality/inequality typically has a pretty close correlation with it's standard of living. During this period of increasing inequality America has seen it's standard of living decrease. In 2003 we were ranked 6th in terms of SoL. In 2005 we were ranked 10th and in in 2007 we were ranked 12th.

    Shrinking the income gap is important, right now we have one of the highest Gini coefficients, measuring income disparity, of any major developed country. If that continues to increase then standard of living will continue to decrease. Now, is the answer to tax the snot out of rich people and give there money to others? No, that's not fair. Should the wealthy have a higher tax rate then a low income family? Yes, I think they should, but it shouldn't be so high that they feel penalized for their success or like they are having to pay welfare for others. What's the solution then? I don't know, but large gaps in income distribution are bad for a country, as a whole, both in terms of economic growth and in terms of quality of life.
  15. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    While wearing six inch heels I hope... :)
  16. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    Wow, good research, I would have never thought to look up the professors bio on the school website. That does shed some light on things.
  17. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Phil, I am sorry to correct you but it must be done. After years of sheltering the fanies and freddies of the world the Democratic congress passed the ultimate welfare package for big business.
  18. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    Along with several Republicans, including the Republican Nominee for POTUS.

    There is certainly alot of blame to go around on that one.
  19. Bach

    Bach Benched

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    :laugh2:
  20. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Both my Senators voted against. Thank God there are a few who get it.

    I have to admit it was pretty stupid of McCain and the Rinos in congress to back this socialization of our banking and mortgage industries.

    The liberals had enough votes on their own to get it done. They control both houses. The libs were scared and used the Rinos for political cover. This election may have been very different if McCain had come back to DC and led the revolt against socializing major portions of our financial system.

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