Richardt Stormsgaard: Sanders is no social democrat
I have always enjoyed Bill Larsen’s columns in The Union for years, and believe we have very similar political belief systems.
His last one titled, “Consider the gamble with Sanders,” published on Feb. 29 in The Union, ruminates about support for Bernie Sanders, and is based on the very mistaken belief that Sanders is a some kind of progressive American liberal or Nordic social democrat.
Wikipedia defines the universally accepted difference between social democrats and democratic socialists this way: “In contrast to modern social democrats, democratic socialists believe that policy reforms and state interventions aimed at addressing social inequities and suppressing the economic contradictions of capitalism will ultimately exacerbate the contradictions, seeing them emerge elsewhere in the economy under a different guise. Democratic socialists believe the fundamental issues with capitalism are systemic in nature and can only be fixed by replacing the capitalist economic system with socialism, i.e. by replacing private ownership with collective ownership of the means of production and extending democracy to the economic sphere.”
Very much unlike Bernie Sanders, Scandinavian social democrats appreciate their billionaires who provide the basis for wealth and social support systems. They will never declare that billionaires should not exist, write books about the revolution, or vilify their financial sectors in general. Nordic social democrats in concert with liberal parties have established thriving free enterprise societies that rank at the top on many global comparison charts including happiness and social mobility. Denmark is rated a better country to conduct business in than the U.S. by both Forbes and Business Insider. Norway and Sweden both have a higher ratio of billionaires than the U.S. Sweden, Finland, and Denmark all rank higher than the U.S. on the Global Innovation Index.
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Scandinavian far left socialists routinely accuse prominent social democrats of being corporatists much like Bernie Sanders called Hillary Clinton unfit to be president. Mr. Chakrabarti, the right-hand man of Sanders during the 2016 campaign, and the mastermind behind the AOC win in 2018, has labeled Obama a corporatist and Sharice Adams a racist collaborator. To socialists liberals and social democrats are stooges of the ruling class and impediments to the ultimate goal of “replacing private ownership with collective ownership of the means of production and extending democracy to the economic sphere.”
Liberals and social democrats have established well-functioning neo-liberal societies from New Zealand to Canada to Finland to France where lower incomes have increased three to four times since 1980, according to the 2018 World Income Inequality Report. The U.S. did not join the rest of our traditional allies around the world in this historically unheard of increase in living standards and opportunities for lower income people.
Contrary to the claims from our left this was not caused by the evil rich but rather tens of millions of blue collar white working class Americans voting against their own interests decade after decade. They wanted trickle-down-economics, lower taxes, and less regulations. They are responsible for the deep poverty of the American poor, our hopelessly inadequate social safety net, the lack of universal health care and today are the core supporters of the American right-wing.
There is a reason that beginning in 2015 Russia and the American right-wing began to work on behalf of socialist Bernie Sanders, the weakest imaginable opponent in a national election. Multiple times a day Sanders declares that billionaires should not exist, definitively proving he is no Northern European type social democrat but rather a far left ideologue much like fellow Venezuelan socialist Hugo Chavez. Chavez won a democratic election in Venezuela in 1998, and proceeded to nationalize major industries. Sanders’ New Green Deal and Medicare-for-All are in part based on earlier Venezuelan versions.
Today half the Venezuelan doctors have left the country and every third patient admitted to a hospital dies. After two decades of socialism oil-rich Venezuela with vastly more varied natural resources than thriving Norway or the wealthy Gulf states is number one on the Global Misery Index, rated a worse place to live in than Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
A Bernie Sanders nomination is a dream for the right-wing, and we can expect an endless stream of daily reports and tearful testimonies about the human miseries from socialist Venezuela, largely substantiated when fact-checked by mainstream media and doubling the damage to Sanders, to completely dominate the political debate.
By election day in early November most moderates and independents will consider a Hugo Chavez type Democrat a worse choice than Donald Trump.
Richardt Stormsgaard lives in Nevada City
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