This is an important article. Given the growing popularity of “democratic socialism,” it’s important to point out what social democrats actually are, i.e. state-centric reactionaries. An authentic anarchist approach to political economy involves critiquing and opposing the ways in which the state has the effect of centralizing control over wealth, property, and resources, and developing alternatives that are independent of the state.
By Thomas L. Knapp
A February Harris poll finds that 49.6% of Millennial and Generation Z Americans would “prefer living in a socialist country.”
US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), among other politicians, proclaim a message of “democratic socialism,” evoking an ideology last ascendant in the early 1900s when Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas moved the needle in US elections.
But the devil is, as always, in the details. The goals of today’s American “democratic socialism,” as laid out in Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution, in Sanders’s “Stop BEZOS Act,” etc. look a lot more like Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s effort to “save capitalism” through welfare statism than like the proposals of socialism’s last rise to prominence.
The essence of socialism as laid out by Proudhon and Marx and promoted by the International Workers of the World, et al., came down to destroying the wage system and building a classless society based on worker ownership of the means of production.
Those earlier socialists would almost certainly have lauded gig economy workers as examples of what socialism sought. Today’s socialists disdain them.