Alternative Insight

Democratic Socialism or National Socialism?



By running Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders as its presidential candidate, the Democratic Party not only advanced Donald Trump's electoral chances and eventual win, it prevented a ideological challenge; did the American public favor Democratic Socialism or National Socialism?

Although weaned on capitalism and fed democracy, the 2016 presidential election revealed that a major percentage of the public rejects capitalism and harbors sentiment toward socialism, while another major percentage do not covet pure democracy and prefer a more nationalist society. Living and livelihood gained precedence over hypocritical postures of liberty and blessedness. Having candidates that represented their preferences and witnessing them gain a foothold in the political scene brought people out of their restrained stupor. Noticing other citizens expressing their previously concealed views stirred voters to come forward and finally express their honest opinions. From the primary voting, it seems that at least 1/3 of the American public leans toward Democratic Socialism and another 1/3 leans toward a form of National Socialism. The American nation has become populist and polarized.

How are these socialists defined?
An accepted definition of Democratic Socialism is as "a political ideology that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production, often with an emphasis on democratic management of enterprises within a socialist economic system." Bernie Sanders revealed himself by words, deeds, and commitment that he is a Democratic Socialist and his stance proved acceptable to a large portion of the electorate. They sided with him.

National Socialism is not well defined. In its most extreme definition, National socialism is associated with the Nazi Party, but it is more properly defined as a combination of a government led by an authoritarian and demagogue leader, adherence to a severe nationalism that shows racist attitudes, militarism, and most importantly, where the ruling party acts as a mediator between workers and corporate managers and installs many of the latter into government rule. National Socialism, Fascism and the corporate state are intimately related. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump's rhetoric and tactics showed tendencies toward favoring elements of National Socialism (not the extreme brand), and his first weeks as U.S. president have certified the tendencies. Here are the reasons:

An America First policy that is reminiscent of the preaching of the pre-World War II isolationists, whose most ardent representatives - William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Kennedy, Charles Lindbergh - mainly for business reasons and as a counter force to communism- favored the fascist nations.
A principal thrust that coordinates government action with those of business. Infrastructure development and renovation have been managed by state and national governments, but President Trump has proposed a government and business initiative, where private industry leads the charge with tax breaks for their efforts and tolls to support their management profits. His economic plans mainly appeal to U.S, industry - you help us and we will help you.
Nationalist rhetoric that goes beyond standard patriotism.
An "if you are not for us, then you are against us" attitude of the Trump administration compartmentalizes all Americans into one framework., which is certified by the president's words, "We will follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American." Refugees from certain areas are portrayed as not just security risks, but cultural threats. The rhetoric of "America above all" is a familiar phrase from ultra-nationalist rhetoric.
Make America great again protectionist policies
President Trump proposes a new world order that operates independently from a global order and essentially demands obedience from other nations, which his nation intends to control, either militarily or economically.
Authoritarian and Demagogue
Appealing to the people with slogans, simplified expressions and prejudices, rather than rational argument, defines the demagogue. From charges of election fraud to falsification of inaugural day photos, Trump characterizes himself as defender of the faith, protector of innocents, and victim of nefarious practices. Those who contradict him, especially the media, are attacked as liars, cheats and unprincipled. His speeches and dialogue focus on himself in a distracting, ranting, and rambling, manner, and fail to focus on the specific issue.
Racist policies
President Trump may honestly feel he is not racist, but racism has guided his remarks, immigration policies, and security directives. Examples of President Trump's racism:

Militarism
Although he has contradicted himself on use of military action, President Trump has directly and indirectly indicated a militaristic posture. Directly favoring military expansion is apparent by his January 27, executive order ("Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces"), which plans a tremendous expansion of all U.S. conventional, nuclear and cyber warfare capabilities. In President Trump's words, "Our military strength will be questioned by no one." He also has said he would prioritize military spending over a balanced budget.
Indirectly favoring a militarist position occurs by default, from his lack of diplomatic initiative, and from failure to understand the meaning and ways of diplomacy and effective compromise.

How did the voters become a populist electorate?
The political polarization of the American republic resulted from the Democratic Party's liberal establishment neglect of its pact
with the U.S. working class, which proved hypocritical, and from the Republican Party's inability to define itself and reach out to mainstream America.

Despite fanciful and attractive rhetoric to the economically and socially deprived, Democratic administrations have not halted the continuous wars and violence, have increased the inequality in distribution of wealth, outsourced jobs and capital, not reduced excessive poverty and under employment, not reduced the spread of drugs, including those that have caused an opiate epidemic,
and not provided relief for a large part of the African community from ghetto life. By drifting into close connection with Wall Street
and Hollywood moguls, the Democratic Party identified with elitism, and drifted away from labor, its most significant support base.
In the nomination of a rejected insider, Hillary Clinton, the electorate perceived the Democrats as a moribund political Party that
failed to reconstitute itself for the present generation, which sealed its losing fate.

The George W. Bush administration featured the 9/11 attacks, a never ending war in Afghanistan, a counterproductive war in Iraq
and the worst economic collapse since the Great depression, which pushed its awkwardly represented constituency to seek new approaches and a new personality to satisfy their wants. Donald trump won the presidency as a Republican but the Republicans
have not secured Donald Trump. They control the legislative branch, but an independent controls the executive branch of the U.S. government.

Who is more favored?
Both Democratic Socialists (DS) and National Socialists (NS) want to maintain private initiatives. The thrust of the former is to have government partner with labor to advance the nation's progress. The NS wants government to partner with capital and
mutually advance the interests of labor and capital. NS built-in failure is not realizing that capitalism has a life cycle of a few years,
that its continuous financial and economic catastrophes have generated a multitude of foreign wars to capture markets and resources, and provoked the government to issue a patchwork of regulations to constantly stitch together its broken and contradictory features, which have resulted in periodic economic recessions. DS is more understanding of the forces that shape an economy and its policies intend to expand government and cooperative ownership of industry and improve distribution of wealth. Both systems
want to avoid military conflict, but NS policies on trade, immigration, and militarism are more likely to lead the nation into war. Insufficient data and experience exist to adequately compare the merits of DS and NS, but past history shows that NS has failed
and DS has had approval and successes.. Recent history indicates that less democratic statism, which has elements of National Socialism, has slowly advanced throughout the globe, while a more democratic statism (welfare state), which is a modified form of Democratic Socialism, has steadily lost adherents from its previously wide following.

Less democratic statism is represented in the social and political framework of growing and prosperous nations, including China, Vietnam, Lao and Singapore and serves as the functioning apparatus in Russia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Emirates and many other nations. A more democratic statism is identified with the Scandinavian nations, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and other nations. One plus for the more democratic statist nations in Europe, Canada and New Zealand is their achievements in providing improved social services,
welfare, security and measured happiness to their citizens.

A strengthening trend in political Parties labeled as Nationalist Socialist has occurred in Europe, and with strong appeal to the younger generation. Except for Netherlands' Party of Freedom, the most significant of these political Parties, which are France's National Front, Britain's UK Independence Party, and Austria's Freedom Party, do not fit the label; these political Parties are
populist and nationalist, having strong stances against immigration and the European Union, anti-establishment rhetoric and
favoring protectionism. Their social and economic policies have evolved during decades of makeovers to waver between neo-liberalism, welfare state and free market concepts.

The future
Donald Trump's successful run to the U.S. presidency invigorated the European nationalist and protectionist political Parties
and stirred sentiment for the political Parties in Sweden (Sweden Democrat), Netherlands (Party of Freedom), and Germany (Alternative for Deutschland), which are more closely identified with National Socialism. As the NS political parties gain acceptance
in European nations, the Democratic Socialist Parties are losing acceptance, especially in France, where the Socialist Party is running fourth in the polls and is not expected to pass the first round in the April vote for president, and in the United Kingdom,
where the Labor party, under leadership, after 2015, of Jeremy Corbyn, who is associated with the democratic socialist wing of
the Labor Party, has consistently lost parliament seats since 2001. After controlling government for more than a decade, the Labor party became the minority political Party in 2010.

The National Socialists have a fellow traveler in the executive branch of the U.S. government. For this reason, President Trump's successes and failures will be closely followed and will steer European attitudes toward extremist political Parties.
The Democratic Socialists lost their chance in having a political base in the United States. If the U.S. were a parliamentary system and not a pluralistic Republic, the DS may have had an opportunity to be constituted.
That leaves the Democratic Party as the international challenger to the trend toward National Socialism. As of February 2017, the Dems have failed to meet or even show awareness of that challenge. They remain the same political party that lost the election to Donald Trump, and apparently will remain the same political Party that alienates the electorate and serves to generate enthusiasm
for the National Socialists.

“When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism'” – Professor Halford E. Luccock, Divinity School of Yale University at Riverside Church in New York, reported by an uncredited New York Times reporter, September 12, 1938.

alternative insight
february 13, 2017

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