By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann. for CubaNews.
The emergence of more leftist agendas among some Democratic Party politicians and a certain radicalization of awareness in the “ordinary” U.S. citizenry about social and economic equality in the United States led to an interesting interview with Colin S. Cavell, professor of political science at the helm of Finian Cunningham, conducted and disseminated by the Strategic Culture Foundation.
President Trump has frequently condemned “evil socialism” in his speeches, reflecting the U.S. ruling class’s fear of a shift to socialism in the country. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard are calling for increased taxes on wealthy Americans and powerful corporations, reversing decades of neoliberal tax policies.
Voters join in calls for more radical redistribution of wealth and support policies against growing inequality in the United States, where a handful of billionaires now own more wealth than half the total population.
Professor Cavell views the current evolution of U.S. politics from a historical perspective of socialist movements in U.S. society, although he warns that the pro-capitalist political class and media work assiduously to thwart any movement toward a more just and democratic society.
Asked if Bernie Sanders, who seems to receive much support from the working class for his policies of Medicare for All and the progressive taxes on the rich if this augurs an American awakening to a socialist government, Cavell responds that most Americans have little understanding of the perspective they delineate since the media only talks about fear of socialism.
“After a century of anti-communist and anti-socialist propaganda by the capitalist state and its supporters, socialism, in the minds of most U.S. citizens, is a totalitarian hell with fire and brimstone in which an evil satanic dictator orders everyone to enslave themselves to the detriment of the body politic, coupled with the erosion of individual liberties and personal happiness,” denotes Cavell.
“After the unceasing repetition of such concepts for ten decades, people have begun to glimpse, since the 1970s, and given the stagnation of their wages and living standards (in most cases and setbacks in others) have come to the conclusion that the benefits of capitalism only reach a small part of that class and not the great majorities.
Therefore, they are open to hear the voices of those who, like Sanders and other more leftist Democrats, are calling for the implementation of universal health care for all. It’s an idea that has been so belittled by former U.S. presidents and politicians as “socialized medicine”, a term that most citizens conceive of as the reduction or elimination of health care costs.
As for other aspects of the socialization of the economy, most are not clear about this, although there is strong support for extending access to free education in higher education institutions, called “colleges” and universities. Student loan arrears in that sector currently exceed $1.5 billion and affect at least one-sixth of the U.S. population, about 43 million adults. And, given that the “best job” is the one that pays the most and has the most benefits, there is a tendency to advance through the acquisition of an education with a formalized degree.
Cavell believes that class consciousness is present in most citizens, but rarely articulated. Instead, the notion remains that the United States is a class-free nation in which merit guarantees the best retribution to those who are able to “get up by their own means. Most citizens believe they are members of the middle class even though the vast majority live “from paycheck to paycheck” and have little or no savings for emergencies.
So, what is present there is a working class conscious of its existence, functionality, strength and power, but which does not recognize its historical role called to overthrow capitalism by force if it wants to enjoy a true sense of freedom.
Cavell believes that if presidential elections were held today in the United States, without interference or obstruction from the Democratic and Republican parties, Bernie Sanders would easily be the winner.
This, however, will never happen, as the capitalist class through all its mechanisms will ensure that Bernie will never make it to the Democratic Party nomination and therefore will not be a candidate in the 2020 Elections.
October 19, 2019
(*) This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO! as the source.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Trump and Bolton’s regime has added a new front of war to its theater of operations against the Third World. They’ve targeted the “troika” of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, charging them with nothing less than the crime of being “socialist,”. The White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) has released a study titled The Opportunity Costs of Socialism that warns of the “return” of socialism to U.S. political discourse.
The U.S. government feels threatened by a new rise in socialist ideas in the United States on the eve of the November 6 legislative elections, the report notes.
“Coinciding with the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth, socialism is experiencing a return to the country’s political discourse. Self-styled socialist political proposals are gaining support in Congress and a good part of the electorate,” says the White House in the report.
Some think the CEA has reacted like this after recent polls showed Republicans overwhelmingly support the Medicare for All program that the White House has worked so hard to discredit.
The 72-page report used texts from “white papers” by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
The authors of the report argue that socialism is reappearing in American political discourse. And that seriously concerns at least a subset of the Executive Branch, to the point of devoting entire pages to such “pressing” issues as the socialist debates of a century ago and such significant quotations as “to each according to their ability.
The Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) also compares vaguely social democratic policies -such as the exclusion of private interests from health care- with Mao Tse Tung’s Great Leap Forward. “There are journalists and analysts who openly assert that single-payer programs are more efficient and their objectives are similar in spirit to those of Lenin and Mao,” according to the CEA.
Among the proposals analyzed is universal public health care. Although it’s far from being part of the public opinion debate has begun to gain followers after the momentum given to this by progressive Democrats such as Senator Bernie Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.
“Initiatives such as universal public healthcare are very much in line with socialist approaches,” CEA Director Kevin Hassett said at a news conference.
If public health were to be funded by higher taxes, Hassett said, it would lead to “a 9% drop in GDP.”
The document is unusual because the CEA’s job is to offer opinions from an academic and non-partisan point of view.
Hasset links politicians from the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party, such as Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who defend a social-democratic model within a market economy, with icons of socialist historical thought such as Karl Marx and Vladimir I. Lenin.
In several campaign events prior to the mid-term elections of November 6, U.S. President Donald Trump has rampaged against Venezuela and its Bolivarian revolution, warning that “if Democratic candidates like Florida’s gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum and Texas Senator Beto O’Rourke were elected, the United States would run the risk of becoming another Venezuela.”
“Democrats want to raise taxes massively and impose socialism in our country. We will be another Venezuela,” Trump said recently at a rally in Nevada.
The conclusions reached by the CEA report are what one would expect: Venezuela is doing badly and free markets are doing well.
But what the report really shows is that the White House feels threatened by a rise in socialist ideas when its witch-hunt is most intense.
The CEA’s attitude toward Medicare for All shows that what worries them is the idea of a specifically American democratic socialism emerging.
“Coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx, socialism is reborn in political discourse. The political proposals of socialists gain support in Congress and in a good part of the electorate,” the White House laments in its report.
November 5, 2018.
This article may be reproduced by citing the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.