I’m preparing a longer essay in light of my exploration of the far left, in which I seek to summarize and unravel democratic socialism as a trend movement. Should be this week. In any case, my preparation brought me to the essay at Jacobin called “What is Democratic Socialism?” It’s a horrifically embarrassing piece, and I’m surprised Jacobin put it out.
I won’t go through the Jacobin piece in total right now, leaving my more substantial and systematic critiques to the aforementioned essay I am preparing.
But I couldn’t help but share my laughs at this Jacobin piece. He writes:
A tiny number of rich and powerful families lives off of the profits they make from trashing the environment and underpaying, overworking, and cheating the vast majority of society — the working class. They get richer precisely because the poor and working class get poorer.
This capitalist class turns workplaces into mini-authoritarian regimes, where bosses have the power to harass and abuse workers. And they protect their power in all corners of society by fanning the flames of racial, national, and gender conflict and prejudice in order to divide working people and stop us from organizing.
Democratic socialists want to end all of that.
Blah blah, typical stuff right? The funny thing is that many populist conservatives could basically say the same things. I would love to see the look on the author’s face if I responded with, “so like Tucker Carlson?” Obviously, Tucker hasn’t been at his best on specific economic issues, but it’s delightful to think about the meaninglessness of the above description as it allegedly attempts to summarize a far left impulse.
But it gets better. Because think about it. There’s apparently a “tiny” number of rich and powerful families right? And they underpay, overwork, and cheat the vast majority of society, right? Wrong. The author is trying to appeal to the near bifurcated class system of the 19th century in which Marx wrote. Thing is, after not even 200 years of capitalism, because we have better capital tools and more powerful means of production, MOST people are not among the “tiny number,” the 1% (by definition), but neither are they in this impoverished state of destitution. We have something called, hear me out, a middle class that completely renders the author’s antiquated interpretation of class struggle worthless.
But it. gets. better.
Like many progressives, we want to build a world where everyone has a right to food, healthcare, a good home, an enriching education, and a union job that pays well. We think this kind of economic security is necessary for people to live rich and creative lives — and to be truly free.
Except, you know, if we don’t actually currently have the “right” to food, healthcare, a good home, an enriching education, and yet hundreds of millions of people have these things in the west (those who don’t notwithstanding, of course) then obviously this “economic security” is not a necessity to live well and be free. What a doltish statement.
I could go on. But a full analysis of all this, with better sources, is in the works.