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Socialists Are No Strangers to Congress

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发表于 1-5-2019 13:00:29 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
David Greenberg, Socialists Are No Strangers to Congress; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's predecessors include Soviet sympathizers and then-radical reformists who pushed for old-age pensions and a minimum wage. Wall Street Journal, Jan 5, 2019 (in "Review" section that appears every Saturday and contains viewpoints and book reviews).
https://www.wsj.com/articles/soc ... ongress-11546530927

Quote:

(a) The first five paragraphs:

" 'Why Is There No Socialism in the United States?' asked the German sociologist Werner Sombart in a famous 1906 essay. He wanted to figure out why European countries had developed influential left-wing political movements but the US hadn't. His answer: The relative affluence of American workers blunted revolutionary impulses. 'On the shoals of roast beef and apple pie,' he wrote, 'socialist utopias are sent to their doom.'

"But Werner Sombart never met Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib. These incoming Democratic members of Congress also claim membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), an organization founded in 1982 [still alive]. 'It's a part of what I am,' Ms Ocasio-Cortez said about her socialism on 'Meet the Press.' Indeed, since Senator Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential bid, many Democrats have been embracing ideas that, though not explicitly socialist, are decidedly left-wing—like free public college for all and single-payer health care.

"Because the socialist label has been fairly toxic in American politics, left-wing politicians have usually shunned it—but not always. In fact, Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Ms Tlaib aren't the first socialists to make it to Congress. A handful of predecessors got there in the last century, and their performance suggests that while socialists on Capitol Hill never proved to be the vanguard of a new politics, they did manage to serve as a prod to reform.
The first socialist elected to Congress, in 1911, was Victor L Berger of Wisconsin, a German-born Jew who had founded the Socialist Party of America along with the labor leader and perennial presidential candidate Eugene V Debs [for Socialist Party of America (founded in 1901; dissolved in 1972)]. Berger was a reformist who believed in 'step at a time' socialism, which to some radicals made him a sellout. A few measures he advocated were classically socialist, like the nationalization of the radio airwaves; other radical ideas included abolishing the presidential veto and the Senate. But none of these proposals got very far. On the other hand, he touted some causes that were eventually adopted and became popular—notably, old-age pensions, which in 1935 became law with the passage of Franklin Roosevelt’s Social Security Act.

"Often paired with Berger in the history books is Meyer London, another Socialist Party member, who represented Manhattan's Lower East Side in Congress in 1915-19 and again in 1921-23. A Jewish immigrant from Russia, London also pushed for reforms that appeared radical at the time but seem mainstream today: a minimum wage, unemployment insurance and anti-lynching laws. At the same time, London, like Berger, disavowed insurrectionary rhetoric. He decried Lenin's 'dictatorship of the proletariat' in Bolshevik Russia and insisted it wouldn't work in America.

(b) "The best-remembered far-left radical to hold a congressional seat was Vito Marcantonio, who represented East Harlem. Though originally elected as a liberal Republican, a few years later he joined the American Labor Party, a breakaway faction of the Socialist Party that supported Franklin Roosevelt in the 1936 election. But his tiny party soon came under Soviet control, and Marcantonio followed suit; he's often described, a little misleadingly, as America's only Communist congressman. * * *

(c) "Mr Greenberg is a professor of history at Rutgers University and the author, most recently, of 'Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.'

My comment
(a) The article is available to the public.
(b) Werner Sombart
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Sombart
(photo)
(c) Rashida Tlaib (1976- ; eldest of fourteen children of Palestinian immigrants; lawyer; [elected from Greater Detroit] in 2019 becomes one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, alongside Ilhan Omar (D-MN) )  en.wikipedia.org.
(d) Bernie Sanders is "a self-described democratic socialist and progressive," his party affiliation nonetheless is "independent" though caucusing with Democrats.  en.wikipedia.org.
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