RES­UR­REC­TION OF MARX Democrats gain voter sup­port by em­brac­ing so­cial­ist la­bel

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

You would think any po­lit­i­cal the­ory that re­sulted in the deaths of 100 mil­lion peo­ple would have been dis­cred­ited by now, but so­cial­ism is back in style.

The bi­cen­ten­nial of Karl Marx’s birth has co­in­cided with a groundswel­l of sup­port for the com­mu­nist the­o­rist’s ideas. Dozens of Democrats run­ning for lo­cal of­fice have em­braced the so­cial­ist la­bel, and na­tional party lead­ers are ad­vo­cat­ing big­ger govern­ment as they jockey for position on the left wing of the party.

Mar­ion Smith, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the non­par­ti­san Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion, said both par­ties should be able to get be­hind op­po­si­tion to Marx­ism.

“It’s im­por­tant that nei­ther of Amer­ica’s two ma­jor par­ties em­brace the failed ide­ol­ogy of com­mu­nism,” Mr. Smith said. “We have 100 years of proof — Marx­ism doesn’t work.”

Mil­len­ni­als who pre­fer so­cial­ism to cap­i­tal­ism are help­ing shift the Demo­cratic Party to the left on the econ­omy.

In a speech recently, Hil­lary Clin­ton said be­ing a cap­i­tal­ist prob­a­bly did not help her win the 2016 Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion against Sen. Bernard San­ders, a Ver­mont in­de­pen­dent and avowed so­cial­ist.

“It’s hard to know,” Mrs. Clin­ton said at the Shared Value Lead­er­ship Sum­mit in New York City. “But I mean, if you’re in the Iowa cau­cuses and 41 per­cent of Democrats are so­cial­ists or self-de­scribed so­cial­ists, and I’m asked, ‘Are you a cap­i­tal­ist?’ and I say, ‘Yes, but with ap­pro­pri­ate reg­u­la­tion and ap­pro­pri­ate ac­count­abil­ity.’ You know, that prob­a­bly gets lost in the ‘Oh my gosh, she’s a cap­i­tal­ist!’”

Democrats who have been men­tioned as con­tenders for the 2020 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion ap­par­ently got the memo.

Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand of New York and Mr. San­ders have en­dorsed a “fed­eral jobs guar­an­tee” pro­gram in­tro­duced last month by Sen. Cory A. Booker of New Jersey.

The leg­is­la­tion would pay ev­ery Amer­i­can who wants to work $15 per hour with ben­e­fits.

“The fed­eral jobs guar­an­tee is an idea that de­mands to be taken se­ri­ously,” Mr. Booker said in a state­ment. “Cre­at­ing an em­ploy­ment guar­an­tee would give all Amer­i­cans a shot at a day’s work and, by in­tro­duc­ing com­pe­ti­tion into the la­bor mar­ket, raise wages and im­prove ben­e­fits for all work­ers.”

Mr. San­ders in­tends to roll out a plan that re­port­edly would di­vide Amer­ica into 12 dis­tricts that would give ini­tial ap­proval to re­gional jobs pro­grams and pass them along to the fed­eral La­bor Depart­ment for fi­nal ap­proval.

Although na­tional lead­ers of the Demo­cratic Party, with few ex­cep­tions, have shied away from the so­cial­ist term, can­di­dates run­ning for lo­cal of­fice have em­braced the la­bel as a badge of honor.

Fran­klin Bynum recently ran un­op­posed for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion to be­come a judge in Hous­ton.

“Yes, I’m run­ning as a so­cial­ist,” Mr. Bynum told The New York Times. “I’m a far-left can­di­date. What I’m try­ing to do is be a Democrat who ac­tu­ally stands for some­thing and tells peo­ple, ‘Here’s how we are go­ing to ma­te­ri­ally im­prove con­di­tions in your life.’”

The Demo­cratic So­cial­ists of Amer­ica re­ports that mem­ber­ship has grown from about 5,000 to 35,000 since the 2016 elec­tions. The num­ber of chap­ters has swelled from 40 to 181.

Cul­tural in­flu­ence has matched po­lit­i­cal power.

News­pa­pers and magazines pub­lished paeans to Marx lead­ing up to his 200th birth­day on May 5. A New York Times op-ed ex­claimed, “Happy birth­day, Karl Marx. You were right!” Teen Vogue in­formed its ado­les­cent readership, “The com­mu­nist scholar’s ideas are more preva­lent than you might re­al­ize.”

A re­port re­leased last year by the Vic­tims of Com­mu­nism Me­mo­rial Foun­da­tion found that the ma­jor­ity of mil­len­ni­als would pre­fer to live in a so­cial­ist or com­mu­nist coun­try. When asked for their pre­ferred so­cioe­co­nomic or­der, 44 per­cent said so­cial­ism, 42 per­cent said cap­i­tal­ism and 7 per­cent said com­mu­nism.

It should come as no sur­prise that com­mit­ted so­cial­ists see the mak­ings of a long-awaited up­ris­ing.

David North, na­tional chair­man of the So­cial­ist Equal­ity Party in the United States, said there are “grow­ing signs that a new pe­riod of mass revo­lu­tion­ary strug­gles by the work­ing class has be­gun.”

In a speech pub­lished May 6 by the World So­cial­ist Web Site, Mr. North said the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of Don­ald Trump is the “most vis­i­ble and ghoul­ish ex­pres­sion of the uni­ver­sal de­gen­er­acy of the cap­i­tal­ist class.”

“But the as­cen­dancy of Trump is of not only sym­bolic sig­nif­i­cance,” he said. “Through­out the 20th cen­tury, and es­pe­cially in the af­ter­math of World War II, the United States func­tioned as the ul­ti­mate guar­an­tor of the sta­bil­ity and sur­vival of the world cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem. It is in­ca­pable of play­ing that role any longer.”

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