Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Socialist Conflation Syndrome: Going National?

Below: Iowa Tea Party Billboard mixing up two forms of actual socialism with one pseudo-form (name only), and exhibiting monumental ignorance in the process.

In a previous blog I skewered the notion, propagated by certain tea partyers, that Elena Kagan is a “National Socialist” based on a college paper she wrote:

I also noted in that piece, that Ms. Kagan is no more a “National Socialist” than Frank Zeidler, Milwaukee’s last socialist Mayor (1948-1960). Further, the REAL Socialists like Ms. Kagan and Mr. Zeidler were actually hunted down and either killed in Hitler’s Nazi Germany or dispatched to concentration camps. As I quoted Historian Ian Kershaw (‘Hitler Nemesis’, 2000, W.W. Norton & Co., p. xxxvi):“The oppositional forces on the Left, such as the Communists and Socialists were crushed, cowed and powerless”

Kershaw later noted (ibid.) how the German industrialists cheered as Hitler demolished all the trade unions, and locked many of their members up or dispatched them to concentration camps with socialists. Now, what the indiscriminate Socialist= National Socialist conflaters need to answer is: if Hitler was a TRUE Socialist why did he send 94% of all the Socialists in Germany to concentration camps? (The others were killed, of course!)

Despite the 180 degree difference we still behold members of the tea party battalion (especially) conflating socialisms to promote their hatred of Obama. A case in point is the recent North Iowa Tea Party -sponsored billboard uncovered near Mason, Iowa and shown in the image.

They paste up their three images of Socialism, none of which have a scintilla to do with the others. Their clear racial hatred for Obama (which they know they can’t manifest in more prosaic ways) is dwarfed only by their enormous ignorance of economic-social systems through history.

For example, democratic socialism applies to limited control of the means of production, and services and is specific to democratic states. By contrast, neither Marxist Socialism or National Socialism were peculiar to democratic states. Indeed, in the latter, Reich Laws replaced the democracy and democratic legal infrastructure of the Weimar Republic. In Reich laws, a person could be seized and shot merely for insulting Hitler in any way, for example depicting him without his mustache or as a Jew.

Now, I want all the tea party brigades to consider IF Obama were a REAL National Socialist, and not an imaginary projection of such in their minds. If he was, he’d have used the anti-terror laws already in place (including the abolition of habeas corpus via the Military Commissions Act of 2006) to round up all the imbeciles who portrayed him in any Hitler likeness and imprisoned them or renditioned them as enemies of the state (and as we know under the National Socialist Reich laws, Hitler and the state were taken as one).

As for Marxist Socialism, this was manifested In the USSR and Cambodia and represented total state control of ALL goods and services. This was to the extent nearly all jobs were created by the state, wages set by the state and pseudo-markets created where there were no genuine needs to fulfill and others (especially for growing food) left under-developed. In addition, no such entities as stock markets or commodities exchanges existed. The fact that they do shows clearly we have no Marxist Socialism in this country and Obama is no Marxist Socialist!

What about Obama as a democratic socialist? Again, hardly! Merely calling him the S-word doesn’t make it so. As Wall Street Journal columnist Thomas Frank has noted (‘Obama and the Pink Scare’, July 14, p. A7):

If the president were actually a socialist in the Western European sense he’d have pushed for single payer health care, he would surely have gotten tough with the banks during the financial crisis, and he would have undoubtedly launched a massive program of public works instead of last year’”

Frank goes on to write:

Instead he consistently chooses solutions that in a more innocent age would be called ‘market oriented’- always seeking to placate this industry or that.”

Indeed, a real socialist would not just have bailed out the auto industry but replaced all their CEOs with government bureaucrats. Did Obama do that? Nope.

Frank’s column actually spotlighted a confounding element in a recent ABC News-WaPo poll that 55% of those surveyed considered Obama a “socialist”. This is horrendous and doesn’t portend well for this country, because it shows the tea party socialist conflation syndrome and infection is spreading far beyond them into the general populace.

As Frank observes:

“The news must please the Right. For almost two years now their favorite entertainers and wise men have been trying to make “socialism” the political curse word of the day and the mark of the ideological alien”

Frank also notes the survey didn’t help matters since it never a priori defined the term “socialist” first, or the context used, and it was obvious most Americans don’t know what the hell it means (welfare state, Frank presumes) since they’ve never lived in a socialist state or under a socialist government, as I have.

Of course all this huff, puff and distraction is useful to the party of the corporate kingpins (the GOP) because it keeps most of the populace’s eyes off the REAL pernicious version of socialism – corporate socialism. Which now sees the average American subsidizing corporations (with their taxes) to the tune of nearly $2, 300 each per year.

So, instead of disclosing the basis for that socialism (and the monumental corporate welfare that underwrites it), bought and paid for shills and pundits endlessly expound long meditation on the horrors of an abstract, ambiguous and often conflated socialism that serves the interests of the corporate overclass.

It keeps us fighting among ourselves while the hotshots raid our pockets and increase the level of basic economic inequality.

Will Americans wake up from their socialist conflation slumber anytime soon? Maybe, but I’m not placing any bets in Vegas!

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