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Author Topic: Socialism in Seattle.  (Read 1969 times)

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Offline Sixties ThrowbackTopic starter

Socialism in Seattle.
« on: November 16, 2012, 05:35:42 PM »
So a Comrade of mine, a member of my international socialist organisation, the Committee for a Workers International received an excellent result in the recent elections in Seattle. Kshama Sawant received 28% (Aprox.) of the popular vote against the incumbent Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House. I think this is significant in a world where the capitalist system is falling apart, and I can see the ideas of a true socialist alternative becoming more prominent (what with increased left wing party membership and the rise of the occupy movement) in the USA the bastion of capitalist ideals. What do you all think about this result, and then idea that socialism is on the rise.

An article about the result - http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article22.php?id=1976
And from the HP - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/kshama-sawant-socialist-washington_n_2102380.html

Offline Hemingway

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 06:22:43 PM »
This makes me very happy to read. I'm basically a pessimist about politics ( formal party politics, anyway ), and I have my doubts about the long-term consequences of this, but it is somewhat uplifting all the same.

Online Vekseid

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 06:31:09 PM »
People have been wondering about the effects of California's new primary system, what with the complete route of the Republican party there. I can imagine a socialist party developing a strong base there.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 06:32:55 PM »
People have been wondering about the effects of California's new primary system, what with the complete route of the Republican party there. I can imagine a socialist party developing a strong base there.

Haven't been following California.. how bad a rout was it?

Offline Sixties ThrowbackTopic starter

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 07:10:25 PM »
There is a good socialist/working class history in the states, and had it not been for the leaders at the time, at the beginning of the previous century there could have been a proper working class party representing American workers, although I feel that it may well have gone the way of the UK Labour Party if it had come into existence. I think that the conciseness of the American working class is stirring, and the fact that my comrade, received over a Quater of the vote, as an open socialist, on a revelutionary platform means to me that things can only get better. I can confirm the Socialist Alternative has been growing well in California.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 07:41:40 PM »
People have been wondering about the effects of California's new primary system, what with the complete route of the Republican party there. I can imagine a socialist party developing a strong base there.

If ever there was a time for a potent socialist party to form it would certainly be now. I think people have demonstrated that they're positively fed with the private sector.I don't think we could see a major contender for the white house any time soon, but I could see such a party gaining a noticeable amount of power.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2012, 08:12:39 PM »
If ever there was a time for a potent socialist party to form it would certainly be now. I think people have demonstrated that they're positively fed with the private sector.I don't think we could see a major contender for the white house any time soon, but I could see such a party gaining a noticeable amount of power.

I've said in other threads.. the third party groups need to focus on getting seats in the state houses, and the house of Reps first.. as time goes on..then move to the senate and THEN when you get enough votes to get taken seriously.. THEN look to the white house. Being the 'middle ground' or even a 'unattached party' would mean they could get some leverage from the powers that will be.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2012, 10:09:16 PM »
A party declaring itself a socialist party would be fighting an uphill battle in this climate though.  People are tired of the private sector true, but not sure they are ready to throw their hats into that sort of arena just yet.  Not saying such a party couldn't find purchase, just the fight would be a slow going one.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 10:43:31 PM »
A party declaring itself a socialist party would be fighting an uphill battle in this climate though.  People are tired of the private sector true, but not sure they are ready to throw their hats into that sort of arena just yet.  Not saying such a party couldn't find purchase, just the fight would be a slow going one.

If it will take root anywhere.. it will be in California. Local and State level, they could do very well IF they keep up their media foot print and presence.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 11:08:35 PM »
A party declaring itself a socialist party would be fighting an uphill battle in this climate though.  People are tired of the private sector true, but not sure they are ready to throw their hats into that sort of arena just yet.  Not saying such a party couldn't find purchase, just the fight would be a slow going one.

You'd be surprised how fast a movement can grow and rise to prominence.History has taught me that.

Offline Sixties ThrowbackTopic starter

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2012, 08:16:57 AM »
Indeed, the Bolsheviks went from a tiny party at the beginning of 1917 to the head of government, this is after Lenin said, in 1916... "I will never see the revolution, in my life time"

That's the thing though, Pumpkin... Socialist Alternative are outwardly a socialist party, and as I have said stand on a revolutionary platform, and still got 28% of the vote, that's not the result of an organisation to be ignored, or discounted. It's obvious to me, that particularly on either coast, (where we have the biggest groupings of branches) that there is a swing to the left.... the real left... not NOT QUITE AS RIGHT AS THE REPUBLICAN left...

Building for something like this, is patient and slow work, to prepare for the masses to gain the conciseness needed to change society.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2012, 04:07:30 PM »
I would welcome a strong socialist party not because I am a socialist, in fact, I am an anarchist, but rather because I would like to see more variety of thought in politics. Perhaps it would force people to make more meaningful decisions if there were more than two powerful parties. I think the libertarians would likely rise to power before a socialist party, but I would welcome that too simply because I'm sick and tired of the two big ones verbally sniping at each other in a petty fashion and playing tug o' war with the whole country. I would honestly be happier if there were no political parties at all and all politicians were forced to stand on their own merit.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2012, 09:17:07 PM »
I would welcome a strong socialist party not because I am a socialist, in fact, I am an anarchist, but rather because I would like to see more variety of thought in politics. Perhaps it would force people to make more meaningful decisions if there were more than two powerful parties. I think the libertarians would likely rise to power before a socialist party, but I would welcome that too simply because I'm sick and tired of the two big ones verbally sniping at each other in a petty fashion and playing tug o' war with the whole country. I would honestly be happier if there were no political parties at all and all politicians were forced to stand on their own merit.

Libertairians aren't organized.. and let's be honest.. a LOT of their good stands have been hijacked by the GOP.. not that the GOP is actually going to act on those points.. but they sure as the devil will act like they are.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2012, 11:08:36 PM »
nothing persional, I find the idea of a third party breaking the gridlock a good one, but I think revoloutionary socialisim is doomed to failure. Many americans won't go for it, or have done the research on it and have the history of "bad blood" and "broken ideals" in the soviet union, so they don't want to follow the model of "government owns everything, and provides for you." it's too contary to american culture.

That being said, the up and coming generations don't fear the "big red boogyman" and have had a major falling with "job creators" out due to the Top Down Economic models touted by the republican party for a long time. All of which lead us to recession, and near ruin.

My true worry is twofold.
1. "revoloutionary" parties tend to attract extremists, and I fear if they come to power this will only worsen the partisan divide, and actually make gridlock worse. Think socialist tea party...
2. china already owns part of Fox News, how much do you want to bet they will play politics by "supporting" a socialist third party that looks like it has a chance, if only to get a more "communist friendly" party with a say in american politics.

(PS: yes I know china isn't communist, not really, they are more of a plutocracy with communist proppaganda and a tightly controled captialist economy.)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2012, 11:13:31 PM »
Is this guy going for 'revolutionary' socialism, though?  We're moving out of the era where 'everyone knows' that socialism = Russian = THE ENEMY.  People are hearing some rather attractive things being decried by the right as 'socialist', and that might be what sticks in (particularly young) voters instead of the 'Soviet Socialist Republics'.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2012, 11:42:54 PM »
Is this guy going for 'revolutionary' socialism, though?  We're moving out of the era where 'everyone knows' that socialism = Russian = THE ENEMY.  People are hearing some rather attractive things being decried by the right as 'socialist', and that might be what sticks in (particularly young) voters instead of the 'Soviet Socialist Republics'.

Correct, but what I mean is they've read about the Soviet Union in history books, and dispite the corruption and mess ups, the soviets held their communisim banner damn high and blew the trumpet loud.

so it's not
socialism = Russian = THE ENEMY
it's
Communisim = government owns everything = government tells me what to do= FUCK YOU
Thus Socialisim is attractive but Communisim is not.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2012, 12:11:33 AM »
But still, Russia is no longer our biggest adversary (despite what Palin and Romney think).  As such, the connection isn't as hard-wired.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2012, 12:32:53 AM »
But still, Russia is no longer our biggest adversary (despite what Palin and Romney think).  As such, the connection isn't as hard-wired.

No it is not, it's not hardwired at all, people in the US these days tend to be more... I think the word is Cosmopolitian... towards other countries.
Communisim is a system, not a people, and certanly not "The Big Red Boogyman" anymore.

My point is people, including many from my generation and younger, judge it by it's merits and often say "eh communisim, not for me, but socialisim has some good ideas" instead of going all crazy.

I think the reason this canadate preformed so well isn't out of any special attraction of socialism, but that he was actually heard. That people listened, and judged, instead of putting their fingers in their ears and ignoring him.

Offline Sixties ThrowbackTopic starter

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2012, 07:16:14 AM »
I might be being a little controversial here... but I don't view what happened in the USSR as being "Socialism"... after the revolution, when Stalin made it to power, he effectively bastardised what had been achieved and called it socialism. Trotksy meanwhile was arguing against this, and we all know that he got an ice pick to the brain for doing so. I have spoken to a number of ordinary american young people, and they have said something similar. I don't think that "Socialism" is a dirty word any more... and that can only be a good thing. I know of several "revolutionary" COMMUNIST parties that do attract extremists... the kind of people who want to arm the masses and take power by force... that will not work, and if someone like that wanted to enact that within the CWI, it wouldn't be  accepted. I am a revolutionary, but I don't wander into the street with an AK and a big red flag and announce the emancipation of the working class, no... I work hard building a good party structure, work in my workplace, and perhaps more importantly in my union to get the ideas of socialism across.

There are a lot of misconceptions and hangovers about what socialism "is".... many of them are simply untrue.
 

Offline vtboy

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2012, 09:53:23 AM »
I think it is a bit disingenuous for communism's apologists to dismiss the tragic Soviet experience as not being "true" socialism or communism. State terror, trampling of individual liberties, suppression of political opposition, and emergence of a privileged class of apparatchiks, while not monopolies of communist governments, have been their nearly ubiquitous concomitants. Leaving aside intentional inflictions of human suffering, the backasswards agricultural "reforms" imposed by communist governments produced some of the worst famines in history (e.g., Soviet famine of 1932-33; Chinese "Great Leap Forward" famine of 1958-1961 [est. deaths between 20 and 45 millions]) Even today, famine places in clear relief the differences between the quality of life enjoyed by the people of North Korea and that of their capitalist brothers and sisters to the south. The replacement of command economies with market based ones in so many countries over the last thirty years can only be understood as the product of experience, rather than of ideology.

I am not a small government or laissez-faire ideologue by any means, and do not oppose government intervention in the economy where necessary to avoid widespread privation. However, on the record, I think the rebuttable presumption must be that nationalization of economic resources is, at best, less conducive to human happiness than private ownership and operation.

Offline Sixties ThrowbackTopic starter

Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2012, 11:10:21 AM »
I am not a communism apologists, I am a socialist, a Trotskyist Marxist, who can see that the methods used in the USSR, and by extension all other Stalinist or "communist" that came afterwards. True socialism/communism has NOT been achieved anywhere on the earth, and it is because of the failure of Stalinist that a lot of people are wary of it, yet still people are drawn towards Marxist/socialist ideas, as they can see that they are true... Capitalism is falling apart, but as Marx said, it will find away to survive, at the cost of the working class. More and more people are being drawn to the idea that socialism is the way to go for the future and betterment of humanity.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2012, 11:42:56 AM »
No it is not, it's not hardwired at all, people in the US these days tend to be more... I think the word is Cosmopolitian... towards other countries.
Communisim is a system, not a people, and certanly not "The Big Red Boogyman" anymore.

My point is people, including many from my generation and younger, judge it by it's merits and often say "eh communisim, not for me, but socialisim has some good ideas" instead of going all crazy.

I might be being a little controversial here... but I don't view what happened in the USSR as being "Socialism"... after the revolution, when Stalin made it to power, he effectively bastardised what had been achieved and called it socialism.
 

That's actually my point as well.  Let's put it this way - I have actual memories of there being two Berlins, but people who can say that - especially those people who can say that they remember when the Iron Curtain came down (not me) - are becoming a smaller and smaller part of the population.  Those are the people who have a distorted view of what socialism is, and might 'knee-jerk' away from a candidate based purely on the word 'socialism'. 

Yes, the GOP is still trying to use the word in the demonizing sense, but I think that tactic is losing effectiveness, almost to the point of backfiring.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2012, 01:07:47 PM »
Indeed.The socialism people often point to is not really socialism nor is the communism pointed to by others truly communism.These things have been bastardized by military juntas and mad dictators to their own ends.

I also have been rather confused by how the GOP seems to assume that Russia is still a great enemy of ours when they have not been expansionistic or particularly aggressive toward us in a economic, cultural, or political sense these days. Their minds are stuck back in the Cold War which has long since ended.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2012, 01:50:35 PM »
I think this is the first time VT and I have been in aligned positions on this forum then again the others are about religion.

I think the big problem with Communisim and Marxisim (I'm fine with some socialisim though) is that it's goal is a classless socity, and the big problem it has it Marx sort of assumed after the Robber Baron Captialists were overthrown and property made communal, it would happen naturally.

Instead military authotities often have filled the gap, and seized power in the vacume that remains after a communist revoloution.

This is the reason that Soviet Russia was a Nationalist Buracratic state with all property owned by the state.

Assuming things happen "Automagicly" in the political world is a sure path to ruin. doesn't matter weather it's the GOP and their beloved "trickle down theory" or Marx's ideals that came from the slums of industruial europe.

Offline Lux12

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Re: Socialism in Seattle.
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2012, 03:29:41 PM »
I think if we are to aim for a classless society, it would need to be a very slow transition taking place over centuries, or even several millenniums. A change of that magnitude cannot and perhaps should not take place over night. Economics and politics are not things one plays with at their whim or treats lightly.