Hoiberg : Sanctuary For All

Mariah Castaneda for Voice of OC

Denise Lindstrom Le Blanc, who has been homeless for two years, now calls the bed of the Santa Ana River home.

On January 17th the Santa Ana city council passed its sanctuary city ordinance. It was a watershed moment as community activists and councilmembers came together in a rare show of solidarity passing the ordinance with no votes in opposition three days before Trump’s inauguration.

Indeed, the ordinance showcased the best of what Santa Ana has to offer its residents. When it was passed, the sanctuary city ordinance wasn’t just about curtailing ICE’s ability to continue its campaign of fear aided and abetted by local police, but also about offering protection to the disenfranchised and community to those of our neighbors forced to live afraid of their own city government.

Roberta Herrera, an activist with OC resilience summed up the sentiment of sanctuary best when she said of Santa Ana’s sanctuary city ordinance, “For us, Santa Ana will stand strong and be there for us, for the most vulnerable.”

Councilman Tinajero echoed this sentiment when he said of Santa Ana children with undocumented parents, “The reason you’re seeing this push now is that us leaders … want to tell them they are going to be protected. If they are going to come for them, they have to come through us first.”

Of course, the activists and community members that spent months pushing for Santa Ana’s sanctuary city ordinance behind the scene had to develop a more comprehensive conception of what sanctuary means to make their pitch.

In doing so, activists rightly addressed the consequences of draconian immigration policy head on. They made the case that criminalization of immigrants failed to further supposed public policy goals of public safety. Instead they demonstrated that the criminalization of immigrant families is rooted in racist misconceptions resulting from a deeply engrained culture of white supremacy.

They made the case that this culture of white supremacy actively tears families apart and limits the full-range of opportunities we expect for our friends. They transformed sanctuary into a form of community self-defense about protecting the people we know and see being wronged around us on a daily basis by cruel and indifferent systems.

Immigrant rights activists reminded us we owe a debt of justice to our neighbors: that it is our responsibility as members of a community to identify the disenfranchised and downtrodden among us and that we then have a duty to elevate their plight. In this way, the call for sanctuary is a call to action for a community.

That is why it hurts to see that Santa Ana refuses to extend sanctuary to our homeless friends and neighbors.

This Tuesday, the Santa Ana city council will consider an ordinance that furthers the criminalization of the civic center homeless population. It will deprive the least among us of tents to protect from the rain. It will limit their meager means to income through the banning of stored recyclables, unused bike parts, and the handyman’s tools of trade. It will make it a misdemeanor to possess chairs to sit in, rugs to lie on, and basic sports equipment. This ordinance even criminalizes those who wish to serve the homeless with their own time and money without explicit city permission, opening the way to strangling the civic center of services and supplies.

As is the case with the unjust persecution of immigrants, this ordinance is based pretenses to public safety concerns. It asks us to sacrifice the human dignity of our neighbors wholesale for marginal or nonexistent gains in public safety.

But how does taking shelter from the homeless make us safer? How does arresting those who would feed the hungry make us more secure?

Sanctuary means safe haven for the harassed, not more forced interaction with law enforcement. Sanctuary means protection of the most vulnerable members of our community. And the spirit of sanctuary means sanctuary for all. Show up on Tuesday and tell your city councilmember to act like it.

Jordan Hoiberg is a community activist with Housing is a Human Right OC, a Santa Ana resident, and Catholic Worker who specializes in homelessness advocacy. 

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

  • verifiedsane

    Jordan Hoiberg appears to be a member and spokesperson for the Socialist Party. The fine line between the socialist party and the communist party in America are almost indistinguishable. You are not going to get much further Left than Jordan. The extreme liberal Leftist like Hoiberg types, or better described as the Saul Alinsky’s multiculturalism political philosophical Hierarchy, love to romanticize
    Marxist Communism and extreme socialism masked as community activism for political
    purposes. They use class, status, personal orientation, and race
    distinctions to exacerbate cultural differences and to create divisions
    within a society to gain/seize power and control. It’s called the quiet
    revolution, and it happens before the real shooting & carnage begins.

    Here in this article Jorden attempts to blur the lines between homelessness and illegal immigration. This is a common tactic used by the Left. They like to use these convolution tactics of lumping separate groups and issues from LBGT, Muslim extremist, Illegal immigrants, BLM activist, homeless populations, and pseudo feminist all into one confusing mosaic befuddling message/issue. This opinion piece is nothing more than disingenuous propagandizing to push a larger socialist agenda. Go away Comrade Jorden, we aren’t buying your socialist & extremist house of cards.

    • nugget1

      Actually, the Socialist Party USA, unlike the Communist Party, does not endorse Democratic Party candidates. So it’s probably safe to say that Jordan may be a bit to the left of the CP. And can Jordon stay? I am actually buying his socialist and extremist house of cards.

    • gio33

      I would like Jordan to stay, too. Or do I also have to “go away” because I believe in social equality, treating people like brothers and sisters, and other communist (really family) values? Humanity has the talent, skill, and potential to raise each other up to the highest levels of beauty and consciousness. Much better than championing the insanity of cut-throat competition, ego, and greed that capitalism fosters. Life is precious and important. Guard it, foster it, and nurture it’s best potential: our reason and kindness, for all sentient beings, to treat each other the way we would want to be treated, and not horde wealth, much more than you need, while others are starving outside. If to be against this greed and have these ethical values makes me a communist, then sign me up!

      p.s. commies “what you call the extreme left” have played an important and proud role in US history. If you like the labor laws we have, the weekend, child labor laws, 8 hour work day, overtime, sick pay, etc–thank those radicals, please. They have played a strong democratizing role in our society, not “making trouble” but exposing it and demanding that it come to an end, and recognizing that an system that places profit above people and operates on the basis of exploitation and the oppression of others is one that should not be supported–but changed. The world is radically unfair and thus requires radical changes. This is the truth, no?

      • verifiedsane

        The communist or socialist parties played no substantive role in the development of America’s “labor laws, the weekend, child labor laws, 8 hour work day, overtime, sick pay, etc”…I believe you need to educate yourself, and study the horrific history of Communism…

        Please provide everyone here with a single Communist nation state success story, or provide us with just one example that can compare to freedoms, opportunities, and successes of our Capitalist Constitutional Republic…Please tell everyone how well the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and the former communist European Eastern block countries flourished with individual freedoms and opportunities under Communist rule…is that NOTHING I hear Comrade! I thought so 🙂

        • gio33

          I have but what I also see is the horrific history of capitalism, and the concept of communism is not synonymous with the societies/nation states that may have attempted to implement some interpretation of it–but more on this later because we are not talking about other countries, we are talking about the actual history of American Communists/Socialists and the role they have played in the US. And don’t forget, as Marx envisioned it, communism is a classless society without the State, where decisions are made democratically! Communism is not an alternative to democracy, only to capitalism–it in fact expands democratic ideals to their fullest possibility, in freeing the individual. Nowhere in these principles of communism, as laid out by Marx and others, can one find the idea that someone else decides for you what you do and what you can say. Many people call themselves communists because they believe in the form of society that Marx and others proposed, not because they supported Soviet Russia, or any other repressing regime. To imply that the idea of communism is synonymous with support of the oppression found in such regimes is to be ignorant of what true proponents of the political philosophy actually stand for.

          No substantive role in the passage of labor laws? Really? Did you forget the origin of May Day calling for the 8 hour day was started here, in Chicago? How about the socialist, Albert Parsons (Chicago Eight-Hour League in 1878)? The Haymarket massacre? It’s you who need to an historical refresher.

          On 1 May 1886, Albert Parsons with his wife Lucy Parsons and two children, led 80,000 people down Michigan Avenue, Chicago, in what is regarded as the first modern May Day Parade, with the cry, “Eight-hour day with no cut in pay.” In the next few days they were joined nationwide by 350,000 workers who went on strike at 1,200 factories, including 70,000 in Chicago, 45,000 in New York, 32,000 in Cincinnati, and additional thousands in other cities. This movement directly won workers shorter hours (eight or nine) with no reduction in pay. No historian disputes that, but it was at a cost of many martyrs . August Spies, editor of the Workers Newspaper, along with Albert Parsons and others were part of those who gave their lives in this struggle. Hundreds of labour activists were rounded up and the prominent the prominent socialist leaders were arrested and executed….
          The American Federation of Labor, meeting in St Louis in December 1888, set 1 May 1890 as the day that American workers should work no more than eight hours. The International Workingmen’s Association (Second International), meeting in Paris in 1889, endorsed the date for international demonstrations, thus starting the international tradition of May Day. But no significant communist influence, eh?

          There is a recent book by Professor ROBIN KELLEY (professor of American studies and history at the University of Southern California, and the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford) that makes my point well, too: “Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.” It documents how the Communist Party worked to secure racial, economic and political justice, who says, “the infrastructure that was laid forward becomes the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, was laid in many ways, not entirely, by the Communist Party.” You can hear an interview at NPR radio here: “How ‘Communism’ Brought Racial Equality To The South I recommend listening to the professor being interviewed about this history before you try to deny it happened. I stand behind my claim that American Communists have a lot to be proud of in expanding freedom in this country: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123771194

          “The free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” – Karl Marx

        • gio33

          And lets not forget about Eugene Debs who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Finnish Socialist Karl H. Wiik on the grounds that “Debs started to work actively for peace during World War I, mainly because he considered the war to be in the interest of capitalism.” Despite being jailed (wonderful freedom, eh?) he still received over 50,000 votes for President (running from jail).

          And I suppose wish to ignore the Pure Food, and the Meat Inspection Act, that came about as a result the public uproar from the socialist muckraking work, The Jungle, having exposed conditions that the “free market’ produced in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar that forced the passage a few months later of these regulations? Of course, the conditions of the workers was one of his main focuses, and that was left ignored. I suppose the capitalists do like to eat healthy foods, capitalism notwithstanding.

          Upton Sinclair was also involved in electoral politics and interestingly remarked in 1951: “The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie.”

          • verifiedsane

            Nice job attempting to ignore the question comrade….still waiting… 🙂

          • gio33

            Sorry, I had posted two earlier messages that did address the questions, but seem to be lacking here. Answering, though, I said:

            I have– but what I also see is the horrific history of capitalism, don’t you? Plus, the concept of communism is not synonymous with the societies/nation states that may have attempted to implement some interpretation of it–but more on this later because we are not talking about other countries, we are talking about the actual history of American Communists/Socialists and the role they have played in the US. And don’t forget, as Marx envisioned it, communism is a classless society without the State, where decisions are made democratically! Communism is not an alternative to democracy, only to capitalism–it in fact expands democratic ideals to their fullest possibility, in freeing the individual. Nowhere in these principles of communism, as laid out by Marx and others, can one find the idea that someone else decides for you what you do and what you can say. Many people call themselves communists because they believe in the form of society that Marx and others proposed, not because they supported Soviet Russia, or any other repressing regime. To imply that the idea of communism is synonymous with support of the oppression found in such regimes is to be ignorant of what true proponents of the political philosophy actually stand for.
            No substantive role in the passage of labor laws? Really? Did you forget the origin of May Day calling for the 8 hour day was started here, in Chicago? How about the socialist, Albert Parsons (Chicago Eight-Hour League in 1878)? The Haymarket massacre? It’s you who need to an historical refresher.

            On 1 May 1886, Albert Parsons with his wife Lucy Parsons and two children, led 80,000 people down Michigan Avenue, Chicago, in what is regarded as the first modern May Day Parade, with the cry, “Eight-hour day with no cut in pay.” In the next few days they were joined nationwide by 350,000 workers who went on strike at 1,200 factories, including 70,000 in Chicago, 45,000 in New York, 32,000 in Cincinnati, and additional thousands in other cities. This movement directly won workers shorter hours (eight or nine) with no reduction in pay. No historian disputes that, but it was at a cost of many martyrs . August Spies, editor of the Workers Newspaper, along with Albert Parsons and others were part of those who gave their lives in this struggle. Hundreds of labor activists were rounded up and the prominent the prominent socialist leaders were arrested and executed….
            The American Federation of Labor, meeting in St Louis in December 1888, set 1 May 1890 as the day that American workers should work no more than eight hours. The International Workingmen’s Association (Second International), meeting in Paris in 1889, endorsed the date for international demonstrations, thus starting the international tradition of May Day. But no significant communist influence, eh?

            There is a recent book by Professor ROBIN KELLEY (professor of American studies and history at the University of Southern California, and the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford) that makes my point well, too: “Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.” It documents how the Communist Party worked to secure racial, economic and political justice, who says, “the infrastructure that was laid forward becomes the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, was laid in many ways, not entirely, by the Communist Party.” You can hear an interview at NPR radio here: “How ‘Communism’ Brought Racial Equality To The South I recommend listening to the professor being interviewed about this history before you try to deny it happened. I stand behind my claim that American Communists have a lot to be proud of in expanding freedom in this country: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123771194

          • gio33

            And, addressing your broader question of States proclaiming to be Socialist (but we can also debate the “body counts” between the two “systems” but you will find that does not support your point, either, at least in any objective evaluation that uses the same methodology (see Chomsky on the “black book of Communism for discussion), I had posted the following:

            Lastly, I’ll comment more broadly on “Socialism” and “communism” which have no substantial differences as the use of one or the other term is a matter of preference and history. Neither refer to merely expanded welfare states. Neither is synonymous with one party rule, nor authoritarian rule. But both are defined by their hyper democratic nature. Neither can be dismissed because of the tragedies of 20th century attempts to achieve them (and neither should those attempts be disparaged). For most of their existence, they were practicing State Capitalism that was undemocratic, and whose legitimacy was based on providing the bread and butter basics (goulash communism), but the State ran and controlled enterprises for profit, and political and economic control, among an elite for a system that was in competition with their rival empire and power center in the West. Even folks like Friedman readily admitted that the USSR was just a different mode of capitalism but delivered through different channels. Yes, we don’t want anything to do with that, again. I agree. But if you think that was real “communism” or “socialism” then you drank the cool aid they were selling–not me. I have studied the subject on my own (not just brainwashed by professors). The media does most of the brainwashing, btw. The reality is that fake communism has nothing to do with real socialism, just as our fake democracy has nothing to do with real democracy. In fact, as Marx wrote, winning the battle for socialism is winning the battle for democracy (right in the communist manifesto). Better to read Marx himself, not just his opponents.

            True, the US doesn’t have a history of socialism the way Europe does (though there are a lot of socialists in the US that have played a very important role for labor rights, and the environment, food safety, etc). Socialism would have been a bigger movement in the US except if it were not for the power of red baiting, the particular racism of the US, the Cold War, the coercive role of the Democrats in the CIO, red scares, etc. The movement has been subjected to extreme repression and its constituencies have been captured by the hegemony of the Democratic Party–and the brainwashing that has been going on is all the anti-communist lies that distort what it means.

            That is part of the reason it as become a problematized term, loaded as it is with different conceptions, and lots of distortions (as well as fake versions—where there is demand for the real thing, there will always be fakes). But there are many varieties and forms that people can legitimately argue, is socialism. Bernie Sanders is a social democrat, more so than a democratic socialist, and he espouses type of socialism is indeed subordinate to capitalism, and actually saves the latter from self implosion, much like FDR did with his “socialist” programs, injections into the capitalist system to make it last. Its this flexibility to survive that Marx did not anticipate. It’s not socialism in the sense that the working class are in control, but how do we really know?

            That is why I think this is the best way to consider whether a society can be largely described as socialist or not–despite what it calls itself or what it purports to be–is this:
            Is the inequality gap between the rich and the poor getting less or worse? How about the divisions among different communities, in particular nationalities? And the gap between men and women? And the division between mental and manual labor? Are we expanding equal educational opportunities with expected pro-social results among the larger society, in particular among sectors who have been previously marginalized? Are the powerless being empowered? And these advances should not be made on backs of poor in other countries, so we check to make sure that global inequality is not getting worse, but better. If any of these are violated, then I would not call the society socialist. But if they are all moving in an equalitarian direction and there is genuine power/democracy exercised by the people, I’d call that socialism irrespective of the particular political or economic forms it takes.

            These are larger questions of demographics which paint an overall picture. A socialist society should answer all these questions in the same way, with the result being increased egalitarian, and democratic peoples participation into the culture and control of the economy (benefits the 99%, not just the 1%). Any society moving in that progressive direction due to policies, can be broadly described and labeled as socialist. Communism is an idea that may or may not be possible, but if is the goal of socialism, and a noble, and lofty goal.

            Of the three, the first one (how social production is owned) is overall the principal one — but here we have learned to differentiate between juridical ownership (i.e. what exists on paper) and actual ownership (i.e. what class forces lead in the decision making process, on what basis, by what means).

            It is quite possible to have juridical “ownership by the whole people” (i.e. nationalized state ownership), and yet have exchange between factories and industries be governed by the law of value (and have the society operate as a capitalist market). It is possible (and even common!) for there to be “state ownership” — but in fact have the “indices” of decision making be profit at the factory or corporate level. This is not socialism.

            And so the juridical form of ownership is not a real determinant of whether ownership is socialist or not — what is determinant is what is guiding. The law of value? Commodity exchange? Profit? Or a political transition process representing (on various levels of mediation) a transition to classless society? (I.e. are the operations of law of value being restricted as much as possible? are wage differences being narrowed? Is planning based on creating a new kind of society, one that is not based on a world dominated by imperialism, requiring an empire? And any highly regimented, militarized, hierarchical society with rigid control over political expression would negate socialism, which requires that people be free to unleash their creativity and have increasingly free time.

            So I’ve come to reject what I call the Platonist approach, whatever check list you want to use. Instead, to use a limited metaphor, I look at it like the early inventions of cars and aircraft. In the beginning, there were dozens, even hundreds of different contraptions, with varying strengths and weakness. Some aircraft had flapping arms like birds; some cars ran on steam and five wheels, and so on. But even in the early days, I don’t think it helpful to say ‘this is a SHAM’ car and this is a REAL car.’ As time with on, experience and struggle revealed evolutionary cul-de-sacs and dead ends, new components and materials were invented, and we’re still trying to work on better vehicles.
            I think socialism is a lot like that, realizing that there’s a gap between mechanical devices and social systems. I still think this metaphor is a better one.

            I think it’s worth noting that embryonic forms of communist production are already in existence. I’m referring to things like the Free/Open software movement (how many people know that key pieces of software — operating systems, web servers, database servers, dev tools, etc. — that make the internet what it is today are largely produced by a “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” ethic?), filesharing, new art forms like fanfic and machinima, Wikipedia, etc., are all examples of actually existing communism. Granted, they are not consciously such, they are often cogs in a capitalist machine (e.g. IBM’s support for Linux), but I would make an analogy with the development of modern bookkeeping and banking methods in Renaissance Italy — who would have imagined modern capitalist markets coming out of that? It’s interesting to me that many people who advocate for the free/open software and hardware take great pains to deny they are Communists. I bet the early bankers were big fans of feudalism, too.

            Want an idea of what a communist distribution system of goods might look like? Take a look at Walmart’s inventory system, an enormous real-time database that can tell what people want and need from a local to a national scale (and not a bad place to start nationalizing distribution, btw).

            In any event, I think it’s way too soon to figure out what the future society is going to look like when we have a great deal of work to do to show why the current society is not merely unjust but increasingly obsolete, out of control and heading towards large-scale social, economic and environmental disequilibrium. And every new revolution breaks the mold, in any case.

          • gio33

            Actually you shifted the question by making it about foreign “Communist States” from the Cold War (which you seem to adopt, which is kind of interesting as an 80’s relic), but the issue was about the proud role that American Communists have played in expanding the freedom and equality of those on the bottom, the exploited and oppressed. I too stand with them, the majority of humans who don’t live on the backs of others.

            But addressing your broader question of States proclaiming to be Socialist (we can also debate the “body counts” between the two “systems” but you will find that does not support your point, either, at least in any objective evaluation that uses the same methodology–see Chomsky on the “black book of Communism for discussion), I had posted the following:

            Lastly, I’ll comment more broadly on “Socialism” and “communism” which have no substantial differences as the use of one or the other term is a matter of preference and history. Neither refer to merely expanded welfare states. Neither is synonymous with one party rule, nor authoritarian rule. But both are defined by their hyper democratic nature. Neither can be dismissed because of the tragedies of 20th century attempts to achieve them (and neither should those attempts be disparaged). For most of their existence, they were practicing State Capitalism that was undemocratic, and whose legitimacy was based on providing the bread and butter basics (goulash communism), but the State ran and controlled enterprises for profit, and political and economic control, among an elite for a system that was in competition with their rival empire and power center in the West. Even folks like Friedman readily admitted that the USSR was just a different mode of capitalism but delivered through different channels. Yes, we don’t want anything to do with that, again. I agree. But if you think that was real “communism” or “socialism” then you drank the cool aid they were selling–not me. I have studied the subject on my own (not just brainwashed by professors). The media does most of the brainwashing, btw. The reality is that fake communism has nothing to do with real socialism, just as our fake democracy has nothing to do with real democracy. In fact, as Marx wrote, winning the battle for socialism is winning the battle for democracy (right in the communist manifesto). Better to read Marx himself, not just his opponents.

            True, the US doesn’t have a history of socialism the way Europe does (though there are a lot of socialists in the US that have played a very important role for labor rights, and the environment, food safety, etc). Socialism would have been a bigger movement in the US except if it were not for the power of red baiting, the particular racism of the US, the Cold War, the coercive role of the Democrats in the CIO, red scares, etc. The movement has been subjected to extreme repression and its constituencies have been captured by the hegemony of the Democratic Party–and the brainwashing that has been going on is all the anti-communist lies that distort what it means.

            That is part of the reason it as become a problematized term, loaded as it is with different conceptions, and lots of distortions (as well as fake versions—where there is demand for the real thing, there will always be fakes). But there are many varieties and forms that people can legitimately argue, is socialism. Bernie Sanders is a social democrat, more so than a democratic socialist, and he espouses type of socialism is indeed subordinate to capitalism, and actually saves the latter from self implosion, much like FDR did with his “socialist” programs, injections into the capitalist system to make it last. Its this flexibility to survive that Marx did not anticipate. It’s not socialism in the sense that the working class are in control, but how do we really know?

            That is why I think this is the best way to consider whether a society can be largely described as socialist or not–despite what it calls itself or what it purports to be–is this:
            Is the inequality gap between the rich and the poor getting less or worse? How about the divisions among different communities, in particular nationalities? And the gap between men and women? And the division between mental and manual labor? Are we expanding equal educational opportunities with expected pro-social results among the larger society, in particular among sectors who have been previously marginalized? Are the powerless being empowered? And these advances should not be made on backs of poor in other countries, so we check to make sure that global inequality is not getting worse, but better. If any of these are violated, then I would not call the society socialist. But if they are all moving in an equalitarian direction and there is genuine power/democracy exercised by the people, I’d call that socialism irrespective of the particular political or economic forms it takes.

            These are larger questions of demographics which paint an overall picture. A socialist society should answer all these questions in the same way, with the result being increased egalitarian, and democratic peoples participation into the culture and control of the economy (benefits the 99%, not just the 1%). Any society moving in that progressive direction due to policies, can be broadly described and labeled as socialist. Communism is an idea that may or may not be possible, but if is the goal of socialism, and a noble, and lofty goal.

            Of the three, the first one (how social production is owned) is overall the principal one — but here we have learned to differentiate between juridical ownership (i.e. what exists on paper) and actual ownership (i.e. what class forces lead in the decision making process, on what basis, by what means).
            It is quite possible to have juridical “ownership by the whole people” (i.e. nationalized state ownership), and yet have exchange between factories and industries be governed by the law of value (and have the society operate as a capitalist market). It is possible (and even common!) for there to be “state ownership” — but in fact have the “indices” of decision making be profit at the factory or corporate level. This is not socialism.

            And so the juridical form of ownership is not a real determinant of whether ownership is socialist or not — what is determinant is what is guiding. The law of value? Commodity exchange? Profit? Or a political transition process representing (on various levels of mediation) a transition to classless society? (I.e. are the operations of law of value being restricted as much as possible? are wage differences being narrowed? Is planning based on creating a new kind of society, one that is not based on a world dominated by imperialism, requiring an empire? And any highly regimented, militarized, hierarchical society with rigid control over political expression would negate socialism, which requires that people be free to unleash their creativity and have increasingly free time.

            So I’ve come to reject what I call the Platonist approach, whatever check list you want to use. Instead, to use a limited metaphor, I look at it like the early inventions of cars and aircraft. In the beginning, there were dozens, even hundreds of different contraptions, with varying strengths and weakness. Some aircraft had flapping arms like birds; some cars ran on steam and five wheels, and so on. But even in the early days, I don’t think it helpful to say ‘this is a SHAM’ car and this is a REAL car.’ As time with on, experience and struggle revealed evolutionary cul-de-sacs and dead ends, new components and materials were invented, and we’re still trying to work on better vehicles.

            I think socialism is a lot like that, realizing that there’s a gap between mechanical devices and social systems. I still think this metaphor is a better one.
            I think it’s worth noting that embryonic forms of communist production are already in existence. I’m referring to things like the Free/Open software movement (how many people know that key pieces of software — operating systems, web servers, database servers, dev tools, etc. — that make the internet what it is today are largely produced by a “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” ethic?), filesharing, new art forms like fanfic and machinima, Wikipedia, etc., are all examples of actually existing communism. Granted, they are not consciously such, they are often cogs in a capitalist machine (e.g. IBM’s support for Linux), but I would make an analogy with the development of modern bookkeeping and banking methods in Renaissance Italy — who would have imagined modern capitalist markets coming out of that? It’s interesting to me that many people who advocate for the free/open software and hardware take great pains to deny they are Communists. I bet the early bankers were big fans of feudalism, too.

            Want an idea of what a communist distribution system of goods might look like? Take a look at Walmart’s inventory system, an enormous real-time database that can tell what people want and need from a local to a national scale (and not a bad place to start nationalizing distribution, btw).

            In any event, I think it’s way too soon to figure out what the future society is going to look like when we have a great deal of work to do to show why the current society is not merely unjust but increasingly obsolete, out of control and heading towards large-scale social, economic and environmental disequilibrium. And every new revolution breaks the mold, in any case.

          • gio33

            Apparently my replies are too long as they are not posted. This is a test. May have to condense the comments.

          • gio33

            Here is the link to the interview I mentioned below:
            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123771194

          • gio33

            You are still arguing against a straw-man, not my conception of socialism, nor against Marxism, per se. You seem to buy into the cold war era propaganda. You say humans can’t live in communal form, but for most of humanities existence we did exactly that in what is called primitive communism. Its not against human nature to be nice, empathetic, caring, social, altruistic, giving, etc–these aspects of our nature are either nurtured or other qualities are inculcated through culture and social relations. Think about the values/culture and practices of yourself in the context of your family. They are communistic, following Marx’s famous: From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs. That is the pro-social relations we all show towards our fellow family members, no? Oh but its against your nature!

            No, human nature is largely created in social relations, in the kind of economic system and the culture that it creates to reinforce the system: dog eat dog, selfishness, and concentration of private power in the small hands of unaccountable elites who make important decisions behind closed door on the basis of maximizing profit somehow will also be good for the public good? Ha! There are too many examples to show this is not true. Owners of capitalist corporations constitute a small percentage of the population but unilaterally determine economic policy, making all there decisions with a calculating eye fixated on “the bottom line.” All other concerns are subordinated to the one supreme concern: the maximization of profits. But under socialism, the picture is inverted because these private concentrations can be democratized and placed into the hands of regular people who will make decisions very differently, for different class interests. Also, they can run the business themselves without bosses. This has already happened many times. See the movement in Argentina and the book, “Sin Patrons” (without bosses).

            Your referencing of the past, how things have gone historically about an alleged human nature to gain power, etc. is cherry picking but also confusing cause and effect (people adapt to the social conditions). But it’s also a logical fallacy, Argumentum ad antiquitatem: a thesis is deemed correct on the basis that it is correlated with some past or present tradition. The future is not doomed to repeat the past, if we learn from it.

            I am for a Democratic Constitutional Republic, but that does not mean it has to be a capitalist economy and system, which undermines its character as a democratic republic, as concentrated money into the hands of the few has always done so. The checks and balances provided mechanisms to prevent the wealthy from having undue control. But that system is not working well now. The majority of the population are wage earners. And wealth has been concentrated in an ever smaller number of hands. You may prefer the status quo or maybe some earlier version when you think America was greater, but the reality is the whole thing is slipping away. You’re going to find that the big corporations in the country have become international and that a lot of their policies will be inimical to the interests of the vast majority of citizens.

            The Marxist idea of distribution of wealth us based on the reality of how wealth is created. Wealth currently goes to the individual who control the means for collecting it, or in some cases, stealing it. Many economists believe now that allowing the rich to get richer by extracting wealth out the economy actually makes an economy weaker. The flow of money is like blood in an organism. If you reduce the wages a worker receives, you reduce his/her ability to buy products. And if you starve the education, health system or other parts of modern infrastructure, you affect worker productivity. We have a form of wealth redistribution now which is seriously flawed.

            Marx was an economist and his major contribution was his analysis of capitalism and its contradictions, the ones that lead to increased exploitation of workers and the general degrading of individuals and society. A truly Marxist economy would be one in which every one has a representative voice in how the economy is run. And the economy operates in a manner that provides for human needs rather than profits. None of the so-called communist countries were Marxist in that workers did not really have a voice or representative role. Decisions were made by and for an elite class which is not much different from the way things are moving in this country. As wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands democracy fade. The country was founded and the Constitution written for a country with a large proportion of small property owners, farmers, shopkeepers, merchants and craftsman. In an age in which international corporations are growing and expanding in power, the representative democracy is becoming an ineffectual shadow.

          • gio33

            You are still arguing against a straw-man, not my conception of socialism, nor against Marxism, per se. You seem to buy into the cold war era propaganda. You say humans can’t live in communal form, but for most of humanities existence we did exactly that in what is called primitive communism. Its not against human nature to be nice, empathetic, caring, social, altruistic, giving, etc–these aspects of our nature are either nurtured or other qualities are inculcated through culture and social relations. Think about the values/culture and practices of yourself in the context of your family. They are communistic: From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs. That is the pro-social relations we all show towards our fellow family members, no? Oh but its against your nature!

            No, human nature is largely created in social relations, in the kind of economic system and the culture that it creates to reinforce the system: dog eat dog, selfishness, and concentration of private power in the small hands of unaccountable elites who make important decisions behind closed door on the basis of maximizing profit somehow will also be good for the public good? Ha! There are too many examples to show this is not true. Owners of capitalist corporations constitute a small percentage of the population but unilaterally determine economic policy, making all there decisions with a calculating eye fixated on “the bottom line.” All other concerns are subordinated to the one supreme concern: the maximization of profits. But under socialism, the picture is inverted because these private concentrations can be democratized and placed into the hands of regular people who will make decisions very differently, for different class interests. Also, they can run the business themselves without bosses. This has already happened many times. See the movement in Argentina and the book, “Sin Patrons” (without bosses).

            Your referencing of the past, how things have gone historically about an alleged human nature to gain power, etc. is cherry picking but also confusing cause and effect (people adapt to the social conditions). But it’s also a logical fallacy, Argumentum ad antiquitatem: a thesis is deemed correct on the basis that it is correlated with some past or present tradition. The future is not doomed to repeat the past, if we learn from it.

            I am for a Democratic Constitutional Republic, but that does not mean it has to be a capitalist economy and system, which undermines its character as a democratic republic, as concentrated money into the hands of the few has always done so. The checks and balances provided mechanisms to prevent the wealthy from having undue control. But that system is not working well now. The majority of the population are wage earners. And wealth has been concentrated in an ever smaller number of hands. You may prefer the status quo or maybe some earlier version when you think America was greater, but the reality is the whole thing is slipping away. You’re going to find that the big corporations in the country have become international and that a lot of their policies will be inimical to the interests of the vast majority of citizens.

            The Marxist idea of distribution of wealth us based on the reality of how wealth is created. Wealth currently goes to the individual who control the means for collecting it, or in some cases, stealing it. Many economists believe now that allowing the rich to get richer by extracting wealth out the economy actually makes an economy weaker. The flow of money is like blood in an organism. If you reduce the wages a worker receives, you reduce his/her ability to buy products. And if you starve the education, health system or other parts of modern infrastructure, you affect worker productivity. We have a form of wealth redistribution now which is seriously flawed.

            Marx was an economist and his major contribution was his analysis of capitalism and its contradictions, the ones that lead to increased exploitation of workers and the general degrading of individuals and society. A truly Marxist economy would be one in which every one has a representative voice in how the economy is run. And the economy operates in a manner that provides for human needs rather than profits. None of the so-called communist countries were Marxist in that workers did not really have a voice or representative role. Decisions were made by and for an elite class which is not much different from the way things are moving in this country. As wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands democracy fade. The country was founded and the Constitution written for a country with a large proportion of small property owners, farmers, shopkeepers, merchants and craftsman. In an age in which international corporations are growing and expanding in power, the representative democracy is becoming an ineffectual shadow.

          • gio33

            You are still arguing against a straw-man, not real socialism, nor against Marxism, per se. Cold war era propaganda is simplistic and one-sided. You say humans can’t live in communal form, but for most of humanities existence we did exactly that in what is called primitive communism. It’s not against our nature to be nice, empathetic, caring, social, altruistic, giving, etc–these are aspects of our nature and are either nurtured–or other qualities are–through a process of inculcation through culture and social relations. Think about the values/culture and practices of yourself in the context of your family. They are communistic: From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs. That is the pro-social relations we all show towards our fellow family members, no? Oh but its against your nature! lol

            No, human nature is largely a result of the social relations, from the economic system and the culture that it creates to reinforce that system, along the values it tickles down to shape out behaviors and thinking. Capitalism creates anti-social behavior by pitting us against each other in a dog eat dog, selfishness, against the backdrop of a concentration of private power in the small hands of unaccountable elites who make important decisions behind closed door on the basis of maximizing profit–and this is somehow will also be good for the public good? Ha!

            There are too many examples to show this is not true. Owners of capitalist corporations constitute a small percentage of the population but unilaterally determine economic policy, making all there decisions fixated on “the bottom line”–other concerns get subordinated. But under socialism, the picture is inverted and capital (dead labor) is subordinated to living labor–people’s needs first. And in this way these private concentrations can be democratized and placed into the hands of regular people who will make decisions very differently, for different class interests. Also, they can run the business themselves without bosses. This has already happened many times. See the movement in Argentina and the book, “Sin Patrons” (without bosses).

            Your referencing of the past, how things have gone historically about an alleged human nature to gain power, etc. is cherry picking but also confusing cause and effect (people adapt to the social conditions). But it’s also a logical fallacy, Argumentum ad antiquitatem: a thesis is deemed correct on the basis that it is correlated with some past or present tradition. The future is not doomed to repeat the past, if we learn from it.

            I am for a Democratic Constitutional Republic, but that does not mean it has to be a capitalist economy and system, which undermines its character as a democratic republic, as concentrated money into the hands of the few has always done so. The checks and balances provided mechanisms to prevent the wealthy from having undue control. But that system is not working well now. The majority of the population are wage earners. And wealth has been concentrated in an ever smaller number of hands. You may prefer the status quo or maybe some earlier version when you think America was greater, but the reality is the whole thing is slipping away. You’re going to find that the big corporations in the country have become international and that a lot of their policies will be inimical to the interests of the vast majority of citizens.

            The Marxist idea of distribution of wealth us based on the reality of how wealth is created. Wealth currently goes to the individual who control the means for collecting it, or in some cases, stealing it. Allowing the rich to get richer by extracting wealth out the economy serves them at the expense everyone else and the system becomes increasingly unstable. Marx was an economist and his major contribution was his analysis of capitalism and its contradictions, the ones that lead to increased exploitation of workers and the general degrading of individuals and society. A truly Marxist economy would be one in which every one has a representative voice in how the economy is run. And the economy operates in a manner that provides for human needs rather than profits. None of the so-called communist countries were Marxist in that workers did not really have a voice or representative role. Decisions were made by and for an elite class which is not much different from the way things are moving in this country. As wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands democracy fade. The country was founded and the Constitution written for a country with a large proportion of small property owners, farmers, shopkeepers, merchants and craftsman. In an age in which international corporations are growing and expanding in power, the capitalist based representative democracy is becoming an ineffectual shadow, because they end up representing money more so than your interests. A recent Princeton study concluded as much, as capitalism undermines democracy and turns it into a plutocracy run by oligarchs serving big corporations with the State serving their interests (Military Industrial Complex, anyone?)

          • gio33

            You are still arguing against a straw-man, not real socialism, nor against Marxism, per se. Cold war era propaganda is simplistic and one-sided.

            You say humans can’t live in communal form, but for most of humanities existence we did exactly that in what is called “primitive communism.” This was when we lacked a social surplus. Now we live in a world of common abundance, but its not being shared or distributed and as a result we have those who horde wealth and make others into slaves for them. Time to change that.

            And, not it’s not against our nature to be nice, empathetic, caring, social, altruistic, giving, etc–these are aspects of our nature and these can be either nurtured–or not–through a process of inculcation through culture and social relations. Think about the values/culture and practices of yourself in the context of your family. They are communistic, no? You operate, hopefully from the communist maxim: From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs.

            Human nature is largely a result of the social relations, from the economic system and the culture that it creates to reinforce that system, along the values it tickles down to shape out behaviors and thinking. Capitalism creates anti-social behavior by pitting us against each other in a dog eat dog, selfishness, against the backdrop of a concentration of private power in the small hands of unaccountable elites who make important decisions behind closed door on the basis of maximizing profit–and this is somehow will also be good for the public good? Ha!

            Why would we give the owners of capitalist corporations, which constitute a small percentage of the population, the power to unilaterally determine economic policy–making all there decisions fixated on “the bottom line”–with other concerns subordinated? Thats capitalism.

            But under socialism, the picture is inverted and capital (dead labor) is subordinated to living labor–people’s needs first. And in this way these private concentrations can be democratized and placed into the hands of regular people who will make decisions very differently, for different class interests. Also, they can run the business themselves without bosses. This has already happened many times. See the movement in Argentina and the book, “Sin Patrons” (without bosses).
            Your referencing of the past, how things have gone historically about an alleged human nature to gain power, etc. is cherry picking but also confusing cause and effect (people adapt to the social conditions). But it’s also a logical fallacy, Argumentum ad antiquitatem: a thesis is deemed correct on the basis that it is correlated with some past or present tradition. The future is not doomed to repeat the past, if we learn from it.

            I am for a Democratic Constitutional Republic, but that does not mean it has to be a capitalist economy and system, which undermines its character as a democratic republic, as concentrated money into the hands of the few has always done so. The checks and balances provided mechanisms to prevent the wealthy from having undue control. But that system is not working well now. The majority of the population are wage earners. And wealth has been concentrated in an ever smaller number of hands. You may prefer the status quo or maybe some earlier version when you think America was greater, but the reality is the whole thing is slipping away. You’re going to find that the big corporations in the country have become international and that a lot of their policies will be inimical to the interests of the vast majority of citizens.

            The Marxist idea of distribution of wealth is based on the reality of how wealth is created. Wealth currently goes to the individual who control the means for collecting it, or in some cases, stealing it. Allowing the rich to get richer by extracting wealth out the economy serves them at the expense everyone else and the system becomes increasingly unstable. Marx was an economist and his major contribution was his analysis of capitalism and its contradictions, the ones that lead to increased exploitation of workers and the general degrading of individuals and society. A truly Marxist economy would be one in which every one has a representative voice in how the economy is run. And the economy operates in a manner that provides for human needs rather than profits. None of the so-called communist countries were Marxist in that workers did not really have a voice or representative role. Decisions were made by and for an elite class which is not much different from the way things are moving in this country. As wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands democracy fade. The country was founded and the Constitution written for a country with a large proportion of small property owners, farmers, shopkeepers, merchants and craftsman. In an age in which international corporations are growing and expanding in power, the capitalist based representative democracy is becoming an ineffectual shadow, because they end up representing money more so than your interests. A recent Princeton study concluded as much, as capitalism undermines democracy and turns it into a plutocracy run by oligarchs serving big corporations with the State serving their interests (Military Industrial Complex, anyone?), the interests of the 99% get pushed aside.

        • gio33

          Lastly, I’ll comment more broadly on “Socialism” and “communism” which have no substantial differences as the use of one or the other term is a matter of preference and history. Neither refer to merely expanded welfare states. Neither is synonymous with one party rule, nor authoritarian rule. But both are defined by their hyper democratic nature. Neither can be dismissed because of the tragedies of 20th century attempts to achieve them (and neither should those attempts be disparaged). For most of their existence, they were practicing State Capitalism that was undemocratic, and whose legitimacy was based on providing the bread and butter basics (goulash communism), but the State ran and controlled enterprises for profit, and political and economic control, among an elite for a system that was in competition with their rival empire and power center in the West. Even folks like Friedman readily admitted that the USSR was just a different mode of capitalism but delivered through different channels. Yes, we don’t want anything to do with that, again. I agree. But if you think that was real “communism” or “socialism” then you drank the cool aid they were selling–not me. I have studied the subject on my own (not just brainwashed by professors). The media does most of the brainwashing, btw. The reality is that fake communism has nothing to do with real socialism, just as our fake democracy has nothing to do with real democracy. In fact, as Marx wrote, winning the battle for socialism is winning the battle for democracy (right in the communist manifesto). Better to read Marx himself, not just his opponents.

          True, the US doesn’t have a history of socialism the way Europe does (though there are a lot of socialists in the US that have played a very important role for labor rights, and the environment, food safety, etc). Socialism would have been a bigger movement in the US except if it were not for the power of red baiting, the particular racism of the US, the Cold War, the coercive role of the Democrats in the CIO, red scares, etc. The movement has been subjected to extreme repression and its constituencies have been captured by the hegemony of the Democratic Party–and the brainwashing that has been going on is all the anti-communist lies that distort what it means.

          That is part of the reason it as become a problematized term, loaded as it is with different conceptions, and lots of distortions (as well as fake versions—where there is demand for the real thing, there will always be fakes). But there are many varieties and forms that people can legitimately argue, is socialism. Bernie Sanders is a social democrat, more so than a democratic socialist, and he espouses type of socialism is indeed subordinate to capitalism, and actually saves the latter from self implosion, much like FDR did with his “socialist” programs, injections into the capitalist system to make it last. Its this flexibility to survive that Marx did not anticipate. It’s not socialism in the sense that the working class are in control, but how do we really know?

          That is why I think this is the best way to consider whether a society can be largely described as socialist or not–despite what it calls itself or what it purports to be–is this:
          Is the inequality gap between the rich and the poor getting less or worse? How about the divisions among different communities, in particular nationalities? And the gap between men and women? And the division between mental and manual labor? Are we expanding equal educational opportunities with expected pro-social results among the larger society, in particular among sectors who have been previously marginalized? Are the powerless being empowered? And these advances should not be made on backs of poor in other countries, so we check to make sure that global inequality is not getting worse, but better. If any of these are violated, then I would not call the society socialist. But if they are all moving in an equalitarian direction and there is genuine power/democracy exercised by the people, I’d call that socialism irrespective of the particular political or economic forms it takes.

          These are larger questions of demographics which paint an overall picture. A socialist society should answer all these questions in the same way, with the result being increased egalitarian, and democratic peoples participation into the culture and control of the economy (benefits the 99%, not just the 1%). Any society moving in that progressive direction due to policies, can be broadly described and labeled as socialist. Communism is an idea that may or may not be possible, but if is the goal of socialism, and a noble, and lofty goal.

          Of the three, the first one (how social production is owned) is overall the principal one — but here we have learned to differentiate between juridical ownership (i.e. what exists on paper) and actual ownership (i.e. what class forces lead in the decision making process, on what basis, by what means).

          It is quite possible to have juridical “ownership by the whole people” (i.e. nationalized state ownership), and yet have exchange between factories and industries be governed by the law of value (and have the society operate as a capitalist market). It is possible (and even common!) for there to be “state ownership” — but in fact have the “indices” of decision making be profit at the factory or corporate level. This is not socialism.

          And so the juridical form of ownership is not a real determinant of whether ownership is socialist or not — what is determinant is what is guiding. The law of value? Commodity exchange? Profit? Or a political transition process representing (on various levels of mediation) a transition to classless society? (I.e. are the operations of law of value being restricted as much as possible? are wage differences being narrowed? Is planning based on creating a new kind of society, one that is not based on a world dominated by imperialism, requiring an empire? And any highly regimented, militarized, hierarchical society with rigid control over political expression would negate socialism, which requires that people be free to unleash their creativity and have increasingly free time.

          So I’ve come to reject what I call the Platonist approach, whatever check list you want to use. Instead, to use a limited metaphor, I look at it like the early inventions of cars and aircraft. In the beginning, there were dozens, even hundreds of different contraptions, with varying strengths and weakness. Some aircraft had flapping arms like birds; some cars ran on steam and five wheels, and so on. But even in the early days, I don’t think it helpful to say ‘this is a SHAM’ car and this is a REAL car.’ As time with on, experience and struggle revealed evolutionary cul-de-sacs and dead ends, new components and materials were invented, and we’re still trying to work on better vehicles.
          I think socialism is a lot like that, realizing that there’s a gap between mechanical devices and social systems. I still think this metaphor is a better one.

          I think it’s worth noting that embryonic forms of communist production are already in existence. I’m referring to things like the Free/Open software movement (how many people know that key pieces of software — operating systems, web servers, database servers, dev tools, etc. — that make the internet what it is today are largely produced by a “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” ethic?), filesharing, new art forms like fanfic and machinima, Wikipedia, etc., are all examples of actually existing communism. Granted, they are not consciously such, they are often cogs in a capitalist machine (e.g. IBM’s support for Linux), but I would make an analogy with the development of modern bookkeeping and banking methods in Renaissance Italy — who would have imagined modern capitalist markets coming out of that? It’s interesting to me that many people who advocate for the free/open software and hardware take great pains to deny they are Communists. I bet the early bankers were big fans of feudalism, too.

          Want an idea of what a communist distribution system of goods might look like? Take a look at Walmart’s inventory system, an enormous real-time database that can tell what people want and need from a local to a national scale (and not a bad place to start nationalizing distribution, btw).

          In any event, I think it’s way too soon to figure out what the future society is going to look like when we have a great deal of work to do to show why the current society is not merely unjust but increasingly obsolete, out of control and heading towards large-scale social, economic and environmental disequilibrium. And every new revolution breaks the mold, in any case.

        • gio33

          Sorry, I had posted two earlier messages that did address the questions, but seem to be lacking here. Answering, though, I said:

          I have– but what I also see is the horrific history of capitalism, don’t you? Plus, the concept of communism is not synonymous with the societies/nation states that may have attempted to implement some interpretation of it–but more on this later because we are not talking about other countries, we are talking about the actual history of American Communists/Socialists and the role they have played in the US. And don’t forget, as Marx envisioned it, communism is a classless society without the State, where decisions are made democratically! Communism is not an alternative to democracy, only to capitalism–it in fact expands democratic ideals to their fullest possibility, in freeing the individual. Nowhere in these principles of communism, as laid out by Marx and others, can one find the idea that someone else decides for you what you do and what you can say. Many people call themselves communists because they believe in the form of society that Marx and others proposed, not because they supported Soviet Russia, or any other repressing regime. To imply that the idea of communism is synonymous with support of the oppression found in such regimes is to be ignorant of what true proponents of the political philosophy actually stand for.
          No substantive role in the passage of labor laws? Really? Did you forget the origin of May Day calling for the 8 hour day was started here, in Chicago? How about the socialist, Albert Parsons (Chicago Eight-Hour League in 1878)? The Haymarket massacre? It’s you who need to an historical refresher.
          On 1 May 1886, Albert Parsons with his wife Lucy Parsons and two children, led 80,000 people down Michigan Avenue, Chicago, in what is regarded as the first modern May Day Parade, with the cry, “Eight-hour day with no cut in pay.” In the next few days they were joined nationwide by 350,000 workers who went on strike at 1,200 factories, including 70,000 in Chicago, 45,000 in New York, 32,000 in Cincinnati, and additional thousands in other cities. This movement directly won workers shorter hours (eight or nine) with no reduction in pay. No historian disputes that, but it was at a cost of many martyrs . August Spies, editor of the Workers Newspaper, along with Albert Parsons and others were part of those who gave their lives in this struggle. Hundreds of labor activists were rounded up and the prominent the prominent socialist leaders were arrested and executed….
          The American Federation of Labor, meeting in St Louis in December 1888, set 1 May 1890 as the day that American workers should work no more than eight hours. The International Workingmen’s Association (Second International), meeting in Paris in 1889, endorsed the date for international demonstrations, thus starting the international tradition of May Day. But no significant communist influence, eh?

          There is a recent book by Professor Robin Kelley, Ph.D (professor of American studies and history at the University of Southern California, and the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford) that proves my point as well: “Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.” It documents how the Communist Party worked to secure racial, economic and political justice, who says, “the infrastructure that was laid forward becomes the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, was laid in many ways, not entirely, by the Communist Party.” You can hear an interview at NPR radio here: “How ‘Communism’ Brought Racial Equality To The South I recommend listening to the professor being interviewed about this history before you try to deny it happened. I stand behind my claim that American Communists have a lot to be proud of in expanding freedom in this country: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123771194

    • gio33

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2017/oct/05/the-truth-about-capitalism-is-out-as-marxs-magic-cap-starts-to-slip

      According to polls more than half of the next generation on the ride, the Millennials, view Socialism favorably. People are buying it, and returning capitalism as too defective and dangerous to our health (ecocide anyone?)

      • verifiedsane

        A Liberal British Newspaper poll…***please hold on for a minute, I need to stop laughing before commenting further**. Now shall we take a poll of these same millennial’s once they grow up, start careers/working, begin raising families, and maturate into society. As people mature, we know that the vast majority of them will naturally gravitate toward and become far more conservative in their views politically and socially. This poll only supports the position of youthful dum-ocide…please try again Comrade 🙂

        • gio33

          If your theory were true then this should be consistent with previous generations. Socialism isn’t so much a dirty word anymore, and that is the recent change; the last 5-6 years have seen it go from utterly despised to supported by a near majority of 18-29 year olds. Take a look at the new members of the DSA, some 30,000. Contrary to your speculation, this has to do with increased access to information–they are the most well informed generation in a long time thanks to Wikileaks, and the realities of how unfair capitalism has been, as they also have become victims of the system with such high school loans when higher education should be free.

          • verifiedsane

            Communist have always relied on propaganda, deceit, and the use of misdirection/alternative labeling tactics to hide what they are really selling.

            Yet, these Antichrist & extremist can never hide the fact that Communism fails horribly each and every time when it comes to actual rule & function.

            History shows us the harsh reality, startling truth, and horrendous outcome over and over again..The socialist/communist are chasing and promoting a false fantasy Sangri la that always results in mass suffering, failure, and stifling tyranny.

            Attempting to depict “American Communism” as being some how different or a better version of Communism is clearly naive and disingenuous at best.

            Have a nice day Comrade 🙂

    • gio33

      “A common tactic on the left is to take separate group issues and combine them into one” Yes. I think you just described intersectionality ! 🙂 There are various intersections of social inequality that form a matrix of domination, also known as “vectors of oppression and privilege”. These are important developments of modern socialist theory. Remember Capitalism as a social system replacing Feudalism took some 500 years before it was able to establish itself, as it was a progressive change, but also failed many times. As did the struggle against other modes of production, ie. Slavery. Defeat is not the same as failure, and failure is only a stepping stone to learning. Socialism is still on it’s baby feet, learning to walk. But we are born, as capitalism gives birth to it’s own replacement.

      • verifiedsane

        That was just laughably entertaining…is this story book time, or just your fantasy journey into an alternative universe…good luck finding your Shangri-La world…most of us here living in America like to deal in today’s actual reality. Have a nice day Comrade 🙂

        • gio33

          I do admit that I am very amused by your comments as well, so the laughing is mutual, I assure you. Since laughing is healthy, I’ll attempt to continue.

          Commenting more broadly on “Socialism” and “communism” which have no substantial differences as the use of one or the other term is a matter of preference and history. Neither refer to merely expanded welfare states. Neither is synonymous with one party rule, nor authoritarian rule. But both are defined by their hyper democratic nature. Neither can be dismissed because of the tragedies of 20th century attempts to achieve them (and neither should those attempts be disparaged). For most of their existence, they were practicing State Capitalism that was undemocratic, and whose legitimacy was based on providing the bread and butter basics (goulash communism), but the State ran and controlled enterprises for profit, and political and economic control, among an elite for a system that was in competition with their rival empire and power center in the West. Even folks like Friedman readily admitted that the USSR was just a different mode of capitalism but delivered through different channels. Yes, we don’t want anything to do with that, again. I agree. But if you think that was real “communism” or “socialism” then you drank the cool aid they were selling–not me. The reality is that fake communism has nothing to do with real socialism, just as our fake democracy has nothing to do with real democracy. As Marx wrote, winning the battle for socialism is winning the battle for democracy (right in the communist manifesto).

          True, the US doesn’t have a history of socialism the way Europe does (though there are a lot of socialists in the US that have played a very important role for labor rights, and the environment, food safety, etc). Socialism would have been a bigger movement in the US except if it were not for the power of red baiting, the particular racism of the US, the Cold War, the coercive role of the Democrats in the CIO, red scares, etc. The movement has been subjected to extreme repression and its constituencies have been captured by the hegemony of the Democratic Party–and the brainwashing that has been going on is all the anti-communist lies that distort what it means.

          That is part of the reason it as become a problematized term, loaded as it is with different conceptions, and lots of distortions (as well as fake versions—where there is demand for the real thing, there will always be fakes). But there are many varieties and forms that people can legitimately argue, is socialism. Bernie Sanders is a social democrat, more so than a democratic socialist, and he espouses type of socialism is indeed subordinate to capitalism, and actually saves the latter from self implosion, much like FDR did with his “socialist” programs, injections into the capitalist system to make it last. It’s this flexibility to survive that Marx did not anticipate. It’s not socialism in the sense that the working class are in control, but how do we really know?
          That is why I think this is the best way to consider whether a society can be largely described as socialist or not–despite what it calls itself or what it purports to be–is this:
          Is the inequality gap between the rich and the poor getting less or worse? How about the divisions among different communities, in particular nationalities? And the gap between men and women? And the division between mental and manual labor? Are we expanding equal educational opportunities with expected pro-social results among the larger society, in particular among sectors who have been previously marginalized? Are the powerless being empowered? And these advances should not be made on backs of poor in other countries, so we check to make sure that global inequality is not getting worse, but better. If any of these are violated, then I would not call the society socialist. But if they are all moving in an equalitarian direction and there is genuine power/democracy exercised by the people, I’d call that socialism irrespective of the particular political or economic forms it takes.
          These are larger questions of demographics which paint an overall picture. A socialist society should answer all these questions in the same way, with the result being increased egalitarian, and democratic peoples participation into the culture and control of the economy (benefits the 99%, not just the 1%). Any society moving in that progressive direction due to policies, can be broadly described and labeled as socialist. Communism is an idea that may or may not be possible, but if is the goal of socialism, and a noble, and lofty goal.

          Of the three, the first one (how social production is owned) is overall the principal one — but here we have learned to differentiate between juridical ownership (i.e. what exists on paper) and actual ownership (i.e. what class forces lead in the decision making process, on what basis, by what means).

          It is quite possible to have juridical “ownership by the whole people” (i.e. nationalized state ownership), and yet have exchange between factories and industries be governed by the law of value (and have the society operate as a capitalist market). It is possible (and even common!) for there to be “state ownership” — but in fact have the “indices” of decision making be profit at the factory or corporate level. This is not socialism.

          And so the juridical form of ownership is not a real determinant of whether ownership is socialist or not — what is determinant is what is guiding. The law of value? Commodity exchange? Profit? Or a political transition process representing (on various levels of mediation) a transition to classless society? (I.e. are the operations of law of value being restricted as much as possible? are wage differences being narrowed? Is planning based on creating a new kind of society, one that is not based on a world dominated by imperialism, requiring an empire? And any highly regimented, militarized, hierarchical society with rigid control over political expression would negate socialism, which requires that people be free to unleash their creativity and have increasingly free time.

          So I’ve come to reject what I call the Platonist approach, whatever check list you want to use. Instead, to use a limited metaphor, I look at it like the early inventions of cars and aircraft. In the beginning, there were dozens, even hundreds of different contraptions, with varying strengths and weakness. Some aircraft had flapping arms like birds; some cars ran on steam and five wheels, and so on. But even in the early days, I don’t think it helpful to say ‘this is a SHAM’ car and this is a REAL car.’ As time with on, experience and struggle revealed evolutionary cul-de-sacs and dead ends, new components and materials were invented, and we’re still trying to work on better vehicles.

          I think socialism is a lot like that, realizing that there’s a gap between mechanical devices and social systems. I still think this metaphor is a better one.
          I think it’s worth noting that embryonic forms of communist production are already in existence. I’m referring to things like the Free/Open software movement (how many people know that key pieces of software — operating systems, web servers, database servers, dev tools, etc. — that make the internet what it is today are largely produced by a “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” ethic?), filesharing, new art forms like fanfic and machinima, Wikipedia, etc., are all examples of actually existing communism. Granted, they are not consciously such, they are often cogs in a capitalist machine (e.g. IBM’s support for Linux), but I would make an analogy with the development of modern bookkeeping and banking methods in Renaissance Italy — who would have imagined modern capitalist markets coming out of that? It’s interesting to me that many people who advocate for the free/open software and hardware take great pains to deny they are Communists. I bet the early bankers were big fans of feudalism, too.
          Want an idea of what a communist distribution system of goods might look like? Take a look at Walmart’s inventory system, an enormous real-time database that can tell what people want and need from a local to a national scale (and not a bad place to start nationalizing distribution, btw).

          In any event, I think it’s way too soon to figure out what the future society is going to look like when we have a great deal of work to do to show why the current society is not merely unjust but increasingly obsolete, out of control and heading towards large-scale social, economic and environmental disequilibrium. And every new revolution breaks the mold, in any case.

  • verifiedsane

    When exactly did Santa Ana become a sovereign nation state, and stated enacting their own immigration enforcement policies..Any and all Federal funding & grants for SA (and any other sanctuary entity) should be ended immediately…if they don’t like America’s immigration laws…then begin by winning elections and changing them by legislative means. We don’t just get to break laws because we don’t like or agree with them..