The Socialist Party Platform Is Pathetic and Ignorant
The socialists in the U.S. have been attempting to reject capitalism and our constitutional system for over 100 years. They have never controlled the House or the Senate and never won the presidency. The most votes a Socialist Party candidate ever received was 6% of the popular vote in 1912, when Eugene V. Debs was the candidate. Nevertheless, the striking reality is that a large percentage of the Socialist Party platform of 1912 has been implemented, including the graduated income tax. Most of the implementation came during the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Only in their program of "Collective Ownership" were the goals of the Socialist Party not met over time. The people of the U.S. decided on regulation instead of ownership. The socialists wanted ownership of all banks, all transportation, all mines, all means of communication, and all land.
Now, the Socialist Party has updated its platform of 106 years ago. A century of monumental historical events has transpired since 1912, and we can see that while the rhetoric has changed, the contempt for and vilification of the USA are the fundamental premises of the socialists' 2018-2019 document.
No matter what an uninformed, inconsequential figurehead like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or her mentor, the ever bloviating Bernie Sanders, may say, on one tiresome Marxist point, there is continuity from 100 years ago. Although they are running as democratic socialists within the Democratic Party, their emphasis on "socialism" warrants our looking at the platform of the Socialist Party 2018-2019. This latest platform states, "[W]e call for social ownership and democratic control of productive resources, for a guarantee to all of the right to participate in societal production, and to a fair share of society's product, in accordance with individual needs." That point expresses the desire for governmental ownership of the means of production, an axiom of Marxist theory.
Further, the socialists designate who will have control over the wealth and means of production. It won't be the multinational corporations or the millions of smaller corporations and mom-and-pop businesses that still exist. No. They state, "Socialism will establish a new social and economic order in which workers and community members will take responsibility for and control of their interpersonal relationships, their neighborhoods, their local government, and the production and distribution of all goods and services." This is nothing less than a restatement of the Leninist-Stalinist idea of workers' councils ("soviets"), but it throws in the words "community" or "neighborhoods" to make the socialists' vision seem more America-friendly. They want their vision to sound less centralized than it really is. They want it to sound more "Christian," (sic) as though it somehow is consonant with "love your neighbor as yourself."
All power to the people, folks! The idea of economic values that reward aptitude, talent, individual initiative, creativity, motivation, commitment, desire to meet unmet needs via productive enterprises, competition among parties to deliver the best goods and services at the most accessible prices, the search for technological breakthroughs, designing strategies for integrating quality and quantity, hard work, taking responsibility for one's actions, and looking to Almighty God for hope in our brief mortal walk on this Earth holds no sway with these communistic ideologues.
In the 1912 document, many angry, negative words were used to describe capitalism in America. Phrases and terms included were "incompetent and corrupt," "exacts an annual tribute," "greedy," "plundered," "extortionate," "crushing the class of small business," "yoke of bondage," "poisonous conditions," "perils of life," "children of the working class are doomed," and "oppression." It vilifies the "capitalist class" (today, that would be the top 1%) and, using a classical Marxist frame of reference, declares that while there are many warring classes, the two main warring classes are the capitalist class and the working class.
In the present policy document, there is instead a lengthy ultra-negative critique of sector after sector of American life. There is less name-calling (they leave that to the useful idiots of Antifa) than in the 1912 document, but a torrent of hate is expressed toward the supposed "villains" and inequities of modern life. This flood of dissatisfaction is expressed by the extent of their criticism. The present Socialist Party platform has 246 bullet points. They want to see this vast number of changes take place under governmental authority in the USA. Yet there is not one word about the Bill of Rights or the freedoms established by the Constitution, no mention of the foundational freedoms and legal rights of our society.
Every single one of the 246 bullet points is for the dismantling of existing laws or institutions (for example, they call for an end to the War on Terrorism and the abolition of the Department of Homeland Security), but there is not one positive point made, such as saying "We want to keep and continue to build on the pillars of the rule of law and the freedoms that we enjoy as a republic." Their entire program is one of tearing down and radically altering the way of life we enjoy now.
The document has no sense of proportion between more significant and less significant issues. On the one hand, it demands cancelation of all third-world debt. The same platform calls for spaying and neutering of pets. It calls for the disbanding of NATO and all overseas bases and in the next breath for the abolition of all unpaid student internships. The platform calls for lowering the voting age to 15, reparations for the slave trade, and opposition to merit pay for teachers. Every single gripe and grievance of the left can be found. There is no prioritization of concerns, no thoughtful presentation. Clearly, it is a scattershot approach intending to put something under each category that will resonate with some people somewhere who have a grievance against our society.
The socialists' strategy, then, is to play on longstanding dissatisfactions of multiple constituencies in order to find a grievance-based program of support. The ability to do this is reinforced by the fact that some items on this list are openly supported by most Democrats and even some Republicans. Gripes and grievances, however, are not the basis for founding a better society. The list of oppressions in the Declaration of Independence that were deemed sufficient to warrant a break with Great Britain was not a random list compiled to appeal to some cranky citizens. Rather, it represented a deep-seated alienation from the Crown and Parliament that was not applying the rights to the colonists that they believed that they as Englishmen deserved. Additionally, the rights being affirmed were rights accorded by the Creator, who is the source of all our freedoms, rights, and responsibilities. In other words, existing rights in the home country were being denied those living in the colonies. They were complaining not because they were not accorded some hypothetical rights constructed by a dismal, antisocial individual writing in the British Museum.
The Socialist Party platform is ill conceived philosophically, economically, and legally. This writer thinks perhaps three to five items might even be worth discussing. Overwhelmingly, the items are formulated by negative, lazy, and ignorant minds and should be dismissed out of hand.