Socialism is the Best Medicine

Socialism is the Best Medicine

America in Crisis: The Liberal Challenge and the Prospects for Socialism

October 5, 2008


America is deeply divided. Most Americans want an end to the war against Iraq and some form of universal medicare, while the ruling class is committed to the war and is cutting social services to pay for it. The spectacle of both political parties rushing to bail out Wall Street at the expense of Main Street has deepened this class divide.

In The Trillion-Dollar Income Shift Jack Rasmus documents how,

"From the early 1980s on, income inequality widened, deepened, and accelerated until today well over $1 trillion in income is being transferred every year from the roughly 90 million working class families in the U.S. to corporations and the wealthiest non-working class households."

Thirty-five years of pro-business social policies have hurtled class inequality back to the level of the 1920s. One percent of Americans now own half the nation's wealth. In 2005, the total wealth of U.S. millionaires was $30 trillion, more than the annual wealth produced in China, Japan, Brazil, Russia, and the European Union combined!

Gross inequality has enraged the working class and alarmed the liberal establishment. Inequality in "the land of opportunity" is usually blamed on individuals lacking the skills and determination to succeed. Now that the majority have been left behind, this excuse has worn thin. Consider this editorial comment from the New York Times (August 29, 2007),

"The median household income last year was still about $1,000 less than in 2000, before the onset of the last recession. When household incomes rose, it was because more members of the household went to work, not because anybody got a bigger paycheck. The earnings of men and women working full time actually fell more than 1 percent last year. The spoils of the nation's economic growth have flowed almost exclusively to the wealthy and the extremely wealthy, leaving little for everybody else."

Squeezed between falling incomes and a rising cost of living, many Americans borrowed against their home equity to make ends meet. With debt rising faster than incomes, it didn't take long before many people could no longer pay. Many Americans were sold mortgages with hidden and excessively high rate increases.

The current mortgage 'meltdown' was not caused by irresponsible Americans, but by decades of pro-business policies that impoverished the working class.

Adding insult to injury, the federal government is spending billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out the same crooks who created the mess, instead of using that money to raise the minimum wage and to help people keep their homes.

The mortgage crisis is the latest in a series of outrages, which include the misery of the war against Iraq, a rise in anti-immigrant racism, and the abysmal state of the US medical system.

In the spring of 2006, mass anger exploded in the largest demonstrations in the nation's history. Protesting anti-immigrant policies and chanting "We are America," the working class rose up and punched the capitalist class in the face. That fall, the Republican majority was swept from office by voters sick of government lies, incompetence, and corruption.

Reform or revolution

As the economic crisis deepens, widespread resentment could coalesce into a generalized rebellion against the system. This happened after World War I, during the 1930s, and again in the 1960s.

There are only two solutions to avert deepening instability of the system: reform from above to restore confidence in the system or revolution from below to replace it. Let's examine the first option.

The emergency bailout of a corrupt and greedy financial sector has undermined confidence in the capitalist system. To turn this around, the New York Times advises,

"What are needed are policies to help spread benefits broadly - be it more progressive taxation, or policies to strengthen public education and increase access to affordable health care."

The elite cry "socialism!" at the suggestion that any portion of the social pie should be returned to the working class in the form of social support. Capitalists want a state that serves and rescues only them. And that is what they get - socialism for the rich.

The largest corporations are shielded from paying any tax whatsoever. Federal judges have allowed ailing industries to abandon billions of dollars in "burdensome" pension obligations. The federal bailout of mortgage lenders has not been matched by funds for working-class families facing foreclosure. And while the Bush administration has allowed Medicare-funded insurance companies to keep millions of dollars that should have been returned to beneficiaries, it vigorously pursues beneficiaries to recover money that it says is owed to insurance companies.

Most Americans want more investment in the nation's infrastructure. They want universal health care and more funding for schools. They want job and pension security. Liberals understand that, unless the system can deliver on some level, the majority will eventually reject that system.

Wiser capitalists remember the lessons of the French Revolution. When the elite take too much, they risk losing their heads. Billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett would rather return a small piece of the pie than forfeit the entire bakery.

Gates criticizes the "inequality gap" and devotes a tiny portion of his fortune to charity. Buffett says it's unfair that he pays less than 18 percent of his income in taxes, when his secretary pays 30 percent of hers. Gates and Buffett are not socialists. Like the robber-baron philanthropists of the previous century, they understand that their class must appear generous in order to preserve their system of organized thievery. The massive theft of public money to bailout the banking system has exposed this charade.

Some say that a Roosevelt-type rescue is needed. During the 1930s, President Roosevelt fought for the New Deal over the objections of the business class. However, he did so in response to mass social rebellions that threatened to topple the system itself. As Howard Zinn explains in A People's History of the United States,

"The Roosevelt reforms had to meet two pressing needs: to reorganize capitalism in such a way as to overcome the crisis and stabilize the system; also to head off the alarming growth of spontaneous rebellion...- organization of tenants and the unemployed, movements of self-help and general strikes in several cities."

We are nowhere near this situation today. There are no mass social movements and no pressure from below that is strong enough to win significant reforms. Until there is, the system will continue to solve its problems by making the working class pay.

As long as the working class organize no real alternative, the capitalist system will endure. The benefits of economic growth will go primarily to the upper class, and the hardships of recession will fall primarily on the working class. No matter how dysfunctional, corrupt, or barbaric it is, capitalism will continue as long as the working class believes 'there is no alternative' (TINA).

Containing discontent

The 'war on terror,' with its attack on civil liberties, is the capitalist response to inequality and injustice. They seize the wealth; they do not share it. They crush their victims; they do not rescue them. And they are not threatened by a labor movement that is dominated by bureaucrats. At the same time, the capitalist class is facing an economic crisis and an unwinnable war.

Repression is not the best way to counter discontent. The capitalist class are a tiny minority that require majority consent to rule. That consent could be lost if social problems are allowed to deepen. Arguing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, liberals align with social discontent in order to contain it.

When the President defended insurance industry profits over the needs of sick children, the liberal New York Times shared the nation's outrage. In "An Immoral Philosophy" (August 1, 2007), Paul Krugman writes,

"What kind of philosophy says that it's O.K. to subsidize insurance companies, but not to provide health care to children?...9 in 10 Americans - including 83 percent of self-identified Republicans - support an expansion of the children's health insurance program. There is, it seems, more basic decency in the hearts of Americans than is dreamt of in Mr. Bush's philosophy."

Naomi Klein's best-selling book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, has joined Michael Moore's documentary film, SiCKO, to punch holes in the lies that prop up the system. When Oprah and Moore agree on national television that America needs some form of socialized medicine, the wind is definitely shifting.

Suddenly, 'socialism' is not a dirty word. In "A Socialist Plot" (August 27, 2007), Krugman writes,

"The truth is that there's no difference in principle between saying that every American child is entitled to an education and saying that every American child is entitled to adequate health care."

In traditional liberal fashion, the New York Times condemns the worst aspects of capitalism in order to preserve the system as a whole. Liberals don't really want socialism. They want a lesser-evil capitalism directed by the Democratic Party, and they are banking on Obama to provide it. They will be disappointed. Obama only talks change. His actions preserve the status quo.

Conservatives oppose reforms as the start of a slippery slope. They remember the 1960s, when Americans organized and fought for racial equality, women's liberation, aboriginal rights, gay liberation, more social support, higher wages, safer working conditions, more affordable housing, better schools and more access to medical care. There was mass opposition to the arms race, nuclear power, the death penalty, American foreign policy and the Vietnam War. It took a concerted effort and many years to beat back that rebellion.

Is America ready for socialism?

The current crisis is opening a space to discuss genuine socialism, a worker-run democracy where ordinary people take collective control of the economy and direct it to meet human needs. The material conditions already exist for such a society.

Because socialism is based on sharing, there must be more than enough to go around. That is not a problem.

If the annual production of American workers were transformed into dollars and equally shared among the population, every man, woman and child in the nation would receive $45,000 a year or $180,000 for every family of four. This sum would be many times larger if everyone who wanted to work were employed and if the wealth produced in previous years was included.

The same is true on a world scale. Between 1800 and 2000, the amount of wealth produced grew eight times faster than the global population. Only a few have benefited. By 2001, 497 billionaires enjoyed assets of $1.54 trillion, more than the combined incomes of half of humanity.

The second requirement for socialism is that the working-class majority break with the capitalist class and choose to run society themselves, directly and democratically.

Most Americans do not view socialism as a viable alternative, because they have been bamboozled into thinking that there is no alternative. This is mistaken.

In fact, most people would be much better off in a cooperative society. If the majority believed that they could solve their problems and meet their needs without rulers, bosses, and bureaucrats, they would abandon capitalism in a heartbeat. To prevent this, the capitalist class make 'socialism' a dirty word.

To make socialism a viable alternative, we need socialist organizations that can support workers to break free of the lies that bind them to capitalism, including the lie that they are too stupid, too lazy, or too divided to run the world for themselves.

Where the capitalists divide in order to rule, socialists connect individuals, causes, past events, and future dreams into a unified struggle for majority rule.

Where the capitalists infect workers with fear, pessimism, and a sense of powerlessness, socialists link workers' experience of individual suffering with their collective power to eliminate that suffering.

Socialists believe in the working class, even when they do not believe in themselves.

The anti-globalization movement of the late 1990s raised the hope of change. So did the mass anti-war demonstrations that preceded America's current wars in the Middle East. When the U.S. began bombing Baghdad, many became discouraged and retreated from organized activity. However, the barbarism of capitalism generates increasing dissent.

After years of being lectured about 'personal responsibility,' most Americans are enraged that the same crooks who created this financial mess are being rewarded with billions of dollars.

Only socialists can organize this anger into a force for social change. The Democratic Party is aligned with the Republican Party on all major issues. The most important difference is that the Democratic Party is better at using popular discontent to get itself elected.

The working class is obedient, not stupid. It has rejected the war despite a steady stream of pro-war propaganda. It sees through the sham of 'throwing money' at the rich. Workers are patient, but there is a limit to how much they will tolerate.

With the economy sliding into recession, the New York Times warns,

"It seems that ordinary working families are going to have to wait - at the very minimum - until the next cycle to make up the losses they suffered in this one. There's no guarantee they will."

No one can know when the next struggles will erupt, or what their outcome will be. One thing is certain. The needs of the capitalist class will continue to clash with the needs of human beings.

We have a choice. We can continue to accept the insanity of capitalism, or we can organize a socialist alternative. The time is now.

(This article was originally published on Dissident Voice, September 22, 2007)

Por Susan Rosenthal

Traducción para Daniel Escribano

América se encuentra profundamente dividida. La mayoría de americanos quiere un final para la guerra contra Irak y alguna forma de seguro sanitario universal, mientras que la clase dirigente está comprometida con la guerra y con el sacrificio de los servicios sociales para financiarla.

Este conflicto entre gobernantes y gobernados refleja una escisión más profunda y estructural. En una serie de tres artículos (Z-Magazine, febrero, abril y mayo de 2007), Jack Rasmus revela cómo

"desde principios de los 80 la desigualdad de renta se ha ensanchado, profundizado y acelerado hasta el punto de que hoy se transfiere diariamente más de un billón de dólares de las aproximadamente 90 millones de familias americanas de clase trabajadora a las corporaciones y hogares más ricos de clase no trabajadora".

35 años de políticas proempresariales han retrotraído las desigualdades de clase al nivel de los años 20. El 1% de los americanos posee actualmente la mitad de la riqueza nacional. En 2005, los millonarios estadounidenses poseían 30 billones en activos, ¡más que toda la riqueza producida anualmente en China, Japón, Brasil, Rusia y la Unión Europea juntas!

La extensión de la desigualdad está cabreando a la clase obrera y empezando a alarmar a sectores del establishment. En "el país de las oportunidades" la desigualdad suele ser atribuida a falta de calificación y de determinación para triunfar. Ahora, cuando la mayoría ha quedado atrás, esta excusa ha perdido crédito. Considérese el siguiente editorial de The New York Times (29 de agosto de 2007):

"El ingreso medio por hogar del año pasado estaba en torno a 1.000 dólares menos que en 2000, antes del comienzo de la última recesión. [...] Cuando el ingreso aumentó fue porque más miembros del hogar empezaron a trabajar, no porque alguno de ellos obtuviera un sueldo mayor. [...] Los ingresos de los hombres y mujeres que trabajaban a tiempo completo cayeron realmente más de un 1% el pasado año [...]. Los frutos del crecimiento económico nacional han ido a parar casi exclusivamente a los ricos y los extremadamente ricos, dejando poco para todos los demás".

Los americanos rebosan descontento por la caída del nivel vida, la crisis ecológica, la guerra y la pésima situación del sistema sanitario. En la primavera de 2006, el enojo explotó en las mayores manifestaciones en la historia de la nación con protestas contra las políticas antiinmigratorias, en las que se cantó "nosotros somos América". La clase obrera se sublevó y pegó un puñetazo en el rostro de la clase capitalista. La mayoría republicana fue barrida del poder por votantes hartos de mentiras, de incompetencia y de la corrupción del gobierno.

Reforma o revolución

A un sector de la clase dirigente le preocupa que el descontento popular pueda unirse a una rebelión generalizada contra el sistema. Esto es lo que ocurrió después de la Primera Guerra Mundial, y luego, en los años 30 y en los 60.

Hay sólo dos soluciones para tales crisis: reforma desde arriba para restaurar la confianza en el sistema, o revolución desde abajo para reemplazarlo. Examinemos la primera opción.

Tanto el Partido Demócrata como el Republicano están comprometidos con el imperio americano y la conquista de Irak. Para contrarrestar el sentimiento antiguerra, Washington ha reetiquetado la guerra como apoyo militar al gobierno iraquí y ha culpado a la incompetencia iraquí del "retraso" en la retirada de las tropas. Anuncios periódicos de "signos de progreso" dan a entender que la guerra se está acabando, cuando en realidad lo que hay es una escalada de la misma. Esta táctica dilatoria parece funcionar, por ahora.

Reducir la desigualdad de clase plantea un desafío mayor. Concluye The New York Times:

"lo que hace falta son políticas para ayudar a repartir ampliamente los beneficios: impuestos más progresivos o políticas para fortalecer la educación pública e incrementar el acceso a una atención sanitaria asequible".

La elite chilla inmediatamente: ¡socialismo!, a la menor sugerencia de que se devuelva a la clase trabajadora alguna porción del producto social. Los capitalistas quieren un estado que aplique políticas y ayudas sólo para sí mismos. Y eso es lo que consiguen. De múltiples maneras, el capitalismo funciona como un tipo de socialismo para ricos.

Las leyes fiscales americanas eximen a las mayores corporaciones de pagar impuesto alguno. Los jueces federales han permitido a industrias debilitadas no pagar miles de millones en "gravosas" obligaciones de jubilación. Las ayudas federales multimilmillonarias a prestamistas hipotecarios no se han combinado con dinero destinado a los propietarios de clase trabajadora para afrontar la ejecución hipotecaria. Y mientras que la administración Bush permite a las compañías aseguradoras financiadas por Medicare conservar millones de dólares que deberían haber devuelto a sus beneficiarios, persigue rigurosamente a los beneficiarios para cobrar el dinero que dice que deben a las compañías de seguros.

Aunque The New York Times se queje de tales injusticias, no quiere el socialismo. Quiere un capitalismo algo menos salvaje dirigido por el Partido Demócrata. Los liberales y las instituciones liberales condenan los peores aspectos del capitalismo, a fin de preservar globalmente el sistema. La mayoría de americanos quiere más inversiones en infraestructuras. Quiere asistencia sanitaria universal y más fondos para escuelas. Quiere que se reconstruya Nueva Orleáns, y puentes seguros. Los liberales temen que si el sistema reparte mal, la mayoría lo rechace.

Los capitalistas sabios recuerdan la Revolución francesa. Aquellos que tomen demasiado pueden perder sus cabezas. Milmillonarios como Bill Gates y Warren Buffett prefieren devolver un pequeño trozo de la tarta que perder el derecho a la pastelería entera.

Gates critica la "brecha desigual" y dedica una diminuta porción de su fortuna a caridad. Buffett dice que es injusto que él mismo pague menos del 18% de sus ingresos en impuestos cuando su secretaria paga un 30% por los suyos. Gates y Buffett no son socialistas. Como los filantrópicos "barones ladrones" del siglo pasado, entienden que su clase debe parecer generosa para preservar su sistema de robo organizado.

El presidente Roosevelt se enfrentó a una coyuntura similar cuando luchó por el New Deal a pesar de la oposición de los intereses empresariales. En La otra historia de los Estados Unidos (Fuenterrabía: Hiru, 1997, trad. Toni Strubell, p. 344. NdT), Howard Zinn explica:

"[Las reformas de Roosevelt] hacían frente a dos necesidades acuciantes: reorganizar el capitalismo de tal modo que superara la crisis y estabilizara el sistema; y atajar el alarmante crecimiento de rebeliones espontáneas y huelgas generales llevadas a cabo en distintas ciudades durante los primeros años de la administración Roosevelt por organizaciones de arrendatarios, parados y movimientos de autoayuda".

Detener una orgía de acumulación de riquezas que ha durado 35 años no será fácil. A pesar de las peticiones liberales de que los demócratas se armen de valor en el Congreso, el Partido Demócrata sirve a la clase empresarial. Devolver algo de riqueza a la clase obrera socavaría la capacidad de las corporaciones americanas de dominar la economía mundial.

A pesar de estar obligada a utilizar la zanahoria para sofocar el descontento, la clase dirigente prefiere utilizar el palo. La guerra contra el terror, con sus ataques a las libertades públicas, es la respuesta de los capitalistas a la desigualdad y la injusticia. Se incautan de la riqueza; no lo comparten. Machacan a sus víctimas; no las rescatan. Y no se sienten amenazados por el movimiento obrero, que actualmente es demasiado débil como para organizar una rebelión sostenida. Al tiempo, su confianza se ha debilitado por su incapacidad de ganar la guerra, crear una política de inmigración factible y resolver la crisis de la asistencia sanitaria.

Encauzar el descontento

Los liberales arguyen que es preferible un gramo de prevención a un kilo de cura. La clase capitalista es una exigua minoría que necesita el consentimiento de la mayoría para gobernar. Ese consentimiento puede perderse si se permite que los problemas sociales se agraven. Los liberales prefieren alinearse con el descontento social, a fin de contenerlo dentro de los cauces establecidos.

Cuando el presidente ha defendido los beneficios de las industrias aseguradoras por encima de la salud de los niños enfermos, The New York Times ha compartido la rabia de la nación. Escribe Paul Krugman:

"¿Qué tipo de filosofía sostiene que está bien subvencionar a las compañías aseguradoras, pero no proporcionar atención sanitaria a los niños? [...] 9 de cada 10 americanos ?incluido el 83% de los que se definen como republicanos?apoyan la expansión del programa de seguro de enfermedad para niños [...]. Parece haber más decencia elemental en los corazones de los americanos que la que pueda soñarse en la filosofía del Sr. Bush" ("An Immoral Philosophy", 1 de agosto de 2007).

Los medios de comunicación liberales están intentando que tenga éxito un número creciente de disidentes que, como Naomi Klein y Michael Moore, impulsan el descontento. Al éxito editorial de Klein The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism se le ha unido el documental de Moore Sicko para hurgar en las mentiras que apoyan al sistema. Cuando Oprah y Moore convienen en la televisión pública en que América necesita algunas formas de medicina socializada, sin duda el viento está cambiando.

De repente, resulta que socialismo no es una palabra tan fea. Escribe Krugman:

"La verdad es que no hay diferencia entre decir que cada niño americano tiene derecho a la educación y decir que cada niño americano tiene derecho a una atención sanitaria adecuada" ("A Socialist Plot", 27 de agosto de 2007).

Los liberales deben convencer a la clase capitalista de que un capitalismo algo menos salvaje, incluso si lo denominan socialismo, es preferible a la amenaza del socialismo real. Sin embargo, los conservadores arguyen que conceder reformas implicaría una pendiente resbaladiza. Si los americanos piensan que tienen derecho a atención sanitaria, ¿qué más pensarán que merecen?

Los conservadores recuerdan los años 60, cuando los americanos adquirieron la confianza para reivindicar la igualdad racial, la liberación de las mujeres, los derechos de los indígenas, la liberación gay, mayor protección social, sueldos más altos, condiciones de trabajo más seguras, viviendas más confortables, mejores escuelas y mayor acceso a la atención médica. Había oposición organizada a la carrera armamentística, al poder nuclear, a la pena de muerte, a la política exterior americana y a la guerra en Vietnam. Fue necesario un esfuerzo coordinado y muchos años para repeler esa rebelión.

¿Está preparada América para el socialismo?

La crisis social y el conflicto en la elite han abierto un espacio para discutir sobre el verdadero socialismo, una democracia obrera en que el común de la gente tome el control colectivo de la economía y la dirija con arreglo a las necesidades humanas. Las condiciones materiales para tal sociedad ya existen.

En la medida en que el socialismo se basa en el reparto, debe haber más que suficiente para que funcione. Eso ya no es problema. Si la producción anual de los trabajadores americanos se transformara en dólares y se distribuyera igualitariamente entre la población, se proporcionaría 45.000 dólares a cada hombre, mujer y niño de la nación o 180.000 a cada familia de cuatro miembros. Esta suma sería varias veces mayor que si cada persona que quisiera trabajar obtuviera empleo y se incluyera la riqueza producida durante los años anteriores.

Esto también es cierto a escala mundial. Entre 1800 y 2000 la suma de la riqueza producida creció ocho veces más rápidamente que la población mundial. Sólo unos pocos se han beneficiado. En 2001, 497 multimillonarios disfrutaban de activos por valor de 1,54 billones de dólares, más del ingreso total de la mitad de la humanidad.

La segunda condición para el socialismo es cuestión de elección. Los seres humanos crean las sociedades en que viven y pueden elegir cambiarlas.

La mayoría de americanos no ha elegido el socialismo porque ha sido embaucada en el pensamiento, según el cual éste no corresponde a sus intereses. Nuestros gobernantes insisten en que no hay alternativa al capitalismo, así como intensifican su brutal táctica de culpar a la víctima y dividir y vencer. Deslumbrándonos con su poder, esperan que no descubramos nuestro propio poder, mucho mayor.

El capitalismo no peligra porque se hable de cooperación y reparto. Sin embargo, no puede tolerar reivindicaciones de una sociedad basada en esos principios. Por eso la elite ha convertido el socialismo en palabra fea. Si la gente supiera que puede satisfacer sus necesidades y resolver sus problemas sin una clase dirigente, no tendrían necesidad de capitalismo.

Las organizaciones socialistas persuaden a la gente corriente de que descubran y utilicen su poder colectivo. Donde el capitalismo divide y fragmenta, los socialistas vinculan individuos, luchas, acontecimientos pretéritos y sueños futuros en una lucha unificada por la supervivencia humana.

La batalla por las ideas es decisiva. Al aislar a los trabajadores y reforzar sus sentimientos de impotencia, la clase capitalista les inocula miedo y pesimismo. En cambio, los socialistas conectan la experiencia de sufrimiento individual de los trabajadores con su poder colectivo para eliminarlo. Es fácil creer en aquellos que creen en sí mismos. Los socialistas creen en la clase obrera, aun cuando ésta no crea en sí misma.

El movimiento antiglobalización de finales de los 90 levantó la esperanza de cambio. También las masivas manifestaciones antiguerra que precedieron a la invasión de Oriente Medio por América. Cuando los Estados Unidos empezaron a bombardear Bagdad, muchos se desanimaron y se retrajeron del activismo.

Actualmente, el creciente descontento no va de la mano de un aumento correspondiente en la lucha. Mientras tanto, millones de americanos están enfurecidos por el deterioro de sus vidas y décadas de derrotas han hecho calar en la sociedad la creencia de que el cambio real no es posible. Pero las creencias cambian.

La clase trabajadora es obediente, no estúpida. Ha rechazado la guerra a pesar del constante flujo de propaganda proguerra. Los trabajadores son también extremadamente pacientes, pero hay un límite en la injusticia que están dispuestos a tolerar.

Con la economía deslizándose hacia la recesión, The New York Times advierte de que

"parece que el común de las familias trabajadoras va a tener que esperar ?en un mínimo muy mínimo?hasta que el próximo ciclo maquille las pérdidas que han sufrido en éste. No hay garantías de que lo vayan a hacer".

Nadie sabe cuándo estallará la próxima lucha o cuáles serán sus consecuencias. Sólo una cosa es cierta. Las necesidades de la clase capitalista seguirán colisionando con las necesidades de la humanidad. Si podemos organizarnos en número suficiente para parar la guerra y obtener la atención sanitaria universal, no tenemos por qué detenernos ahí. Podemos también construir un mundo muy diferente basado en la paz y en la seguridad para todos.



  1. September 30/07

    An absolutely excellent article! Really got my brain cells going! So rare that I read something by a real socialist.

    Most people I encounter in “left” circles are what I would call political liberals, that is, a subset of economic liberals. It seems to me that intellectual understanding of socialism stopped in the U.S. in 1910 and in Europe after they attained social democracy. Of course socialism is not social democracy, which is only capitalism with a welfare state added to maintain the system.

    I think that it is extremely important that a revolutionary movement develops here, along with other places in the world, because the U.S. with its military power serves as the linchpin of capitalism. The media and the educational system in the U.S. have been extremely successful in retarding the development of socialist thought as well as critical thinking in general. There is so much unlearning and relearning to be done and Rosenthal’s writing is advancing this project.

    Thank you so much!

  2. April 26/08

    I agree with your whole enticement of socialism and capitalism in a basis of terms.

    I didn’t have a full understanding of socialism until I encouraged myself to read this article, I now get the entire socialist ideology.

    Again I thank you, for your contribution to understanding a capitalism-ruled society.

  3. September 22/07

    Dear Susan,

    What a wonderful article. I’m sixty-five and have been a communist most of my life, but I only joined Gus Hall’s outfit in….1989!

    What has been dawning on me over the last several years – as I’ve been personally experiencing the sicknesses and deaths of myself and loved ones – is what a cutting-edge issue health care truly is. “Of course!” I’ve always known there’s a reserve of radicalism among seniors, but I’d always known it intellectually, not viscerally.

    Howsoever, it’s been better than fresh air to read America in Crisis. I’ve long admired physicians for their courage and commitment to life even more than for their intelligence and compassion. In fact, my greatest heroes are Ali, Fidel, and Dr. Kervorkian. In no particular order.

    Keep up the very, very excellent work, Susan. We need you.

  4. September 24/07

    “Most Americans do not choose socialism because they are bamboozled into thinking that it would not be in their interest.”–

    Not true; it is because they are bamboozled into believing it is the same as communism. Regardless of who’s interest is served, anti-socialism is as deeply ingrained in US propaganda as believing the US is the wealthiest, smartest, most honorable nation on Earth. It is part of America-as-a-religion doctrine, or America’s religion, if you will. That is what makes socialism an extremely difficult concept to promote.

    Even though socialism is a more accurate way of describing what American economic society actually is, with its many layers of corporate welfare, altruistic beliefs about charity, and so forth (democracy is actually the belief in the greatest good for the most people achievable) the word ‘socialism’ has been thoroughly stained with the smell of shit by propagandists. Nor can we or should we overlook that capitalism and the ‘free market’ is as much a government-regulated economy game as any in history. Capitalism simply could not function if it weren’t for the government, no matter how loosely defined or organized, intervening in keeping it stable. Raw market forces are as devastating as flash flooding or storms at sea.

    Socialism is exactly like the insurance paradigm: pooling the risk among many to reduce the devastating impact upon the few.

    One other problem with promoting socialism is that the American mindset cannot look its own selfishness in the face. American selfishness is tweaked and fed by the propaganda that socialism is the same thing as communism. They are, of course, very very different. But good luck getting the majority of Americans–who tend to think in terms their grandparents did–understanding this. Tradition is tradition.

  5. This is a really good blog. I was referred to it by “Rustbelt Radical.”

    Really good post.

    I’ve been using the term state capitalist, to describe the bailout. It isn’t a 100% accurate term, but it beats it being called socialism, as by liberals and conservatives. Mischaracterizing socialism has a long history, as done by capitalists and Stalinists.

    Obama is hostile to the universal healthcare, despite his rhetoric. His economic advisors are from the University of Chicago (Friedman).

    With Dems coming to power, it’s time to escalate the fight for a labor party.


  6. Susan,

    Extending health care will just feed more people into a corrupt medical system. We need a new paradigm.

    As presently setup the medical system is at best a disease maintenance system; I argue that in reality it is a disease promotion system.

    Many chronic diseases result from tha SAD (Standard American Diet) and poor life style choices — lack of exercise, lack of relaxation.

    Currently, a drug is prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Over the long term the drug leads to additional problems, for which another drug is given. Thus big pharma is assured increasing profits by a system that ensures increasing debilities

    MD’s see these chronic diseases as a single condition which can be treated by drugs of choice. Their med training and HMO’s reinforce this paradigm. The MD is not rewarded by finding what the causes of the problem are; they are trained to only recognoze a disease state — not to prevent disease. If tests show absence of disease, the patient is presumed healthy.

    HMO’s stint MD’s to the point that they spend only about 5 minutes with a patient. On one visit I asked my primary why my finger nails looked so bad. Without even looking, he left the room, remarking that lots of patients ask him that. I saw a naturapathic doc who told me I wasn’t digesting protein properly; a protein supplemnent fixed the problem without side effects.

    The food inustry under the capitalistic imperative to increase profits has depleted processed foods of nutrients and added colorings, flavorings, preservatives which go a long way to promoting cancer, diabetes, heart disease — the list goes on.

    WBAI in New York runs a diabetes/blood pressure workshop to educate people to improve their health status. People meet in groups throughout the New York tri-state area. There’s a group leader who is not a physician, but who has been counciled by physicians in proper food choices, stress reduction, and monitoring blood sugar and blood pressure. People in the program lose weight, feel better and can lower medications. I believe this is true people power.

    In my opinion these wars on various diseases just reinforce the existing paradigm. These warriors never talk about these diseases caused by food, toxins and stress. By looking for a “cure” they delude us into thinking that food, toxins, stress don’t contribute to these diseases — so we’re free to browse the supermarket shelves, filling-up on lifeless, toxic foods, assured that a “cure” for cancer is imminent.

    I’ve heard it said that the best indicator of a nation’s health is the width of the income gap — the smaller the gap the healthier the people; the wider the gap, the more the illness.



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