The Socialist Menace in 2012?
Memo to the GOP: We Should Be So Lucky
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
Do you ever wonder if Republicans are living on another planet, one of those ‘alternate history’ sci-fi worlds?
I do, especially when they get shrill about the new socialist order that a menacing Barack Obama is supposedly dragging us into.
If only! Imagine, if you will, that our President, during his first months in office, had done the following:
1. Got EFCA, the Employee Free Choice act, passed through Congress, so we could double or triple the number of union members in the country fairly quickly.
2. Instead of nationalizing RomneyCare, took a strong stand for ‘Medicare for All’ as the standard for health care, even as a ‘public option.
3. Let the stocks of the biggest ‘too big to fail’ banks fall down to penny status, then bought them all up, and sub-divided them into state-owned banks like the Bank on North Dakota-and nationalized the Federal Reserve to boot.
4. After picking up a majority share in failing auto firms, fired the old management and leased them to the UAW, where the workers in each plant would elect their own managers.
5. Devoted the entirety of his stimulus package to a green manufacturing industrial policy, rather than giving half of it away as tax cuts for the rich, and kept on Van Jones to implement a Green Jobs programs hiring those who needed work the most, first.
6. Brought all the troops home from the wars, repealed the ‘Patriot Act’ and pushed through a new GI Bill for schooling, healthcare and jobs.
Now if even half of these things had taken place, we might stretch a bit and say the weird claims of Republicans had a small point. Unfortunately, we’re not even close. Moreover, even if we were, these are still simply deep structural reforms. They alter relations of power, to some degree, between the working class and finance capital, in the favor of workers. In that sense, they represent economic democracy, which can serve as a bridge to socialism-but again they also may not. In any case, the real thing, where the working class and its allies held the preponderance of political power, would still be a ways down the pike.
But none of these reform items have come into being in any complete or substantive way. However beneficial they might be, they’ve all been declared ‘off the table’ inside a Beltway under the thumb of Wall Street’s neoliberal hegemony. So what are all the GOP 2012 presidential contenders carrying on about with their dire warnings of ‘socialism?’
It’s all a smokescreen to hide two things. First, they want to take the country back to 1900, where the working class has zero power-but Wisconsin and Ohio have taught them they can’t say that out loud. Two, a good-sized portion of their base can’t stand an African American in the Oval Office-the main reason ‘birtherism’ won’t die, and why they keep giving it a wink and a nod.
Now I’d like a President who really would fight for the six points listed above. But it’s not likely this round. In any case, I’m crystal clear on one point: we need to defeat any and all Republicans this round, from top to bottom, whose victories would strip us of any power whatsoever.