By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Well dearest motherfuckers, socialism is back and it only took about a century, or at least so it appears. Nearly half the country has polled as being down with Debs. In spite of the worst efforts of his party’s trenchant neoliberal leadership, Bernie Sanders, who splays his socialist ID loud and proud, is now the undeniable frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic Primaries and even his moderate competition are aping his modus operandi. For the first time in ever, formerly far left positions like single-payer and free tuition have become so mainstream that they’re downright boring. Even beyond America’s official “left-wing” party, the socialist renaissance is in full bloom. At over 50,000 members, the once flimsy Democratic Socialists of America is now the largest American socialist organization since the height of the Labor Movement. More young people self-identify as proud socialists than ever before. So why the fuck am I so bummed?
Like America, my own relationship with socialism is a long and complicated one. A big part of the reason for our country’s conflicted relationship with the S word has to do with the fact that it’s loaded like a shotgun. This is why, while some 40 something percent of Americans are horny for socialism, another 50 something still find the word itself to be utterly terrifying. The reality is, if you really break it down, socialism is just some system of governance which affords some form of social ownership over the means of production. Democrats and Republicans alike have almost always supported some variant of socialist policy when it suits them. I myself follow a decidedly purist strain of this philosophy often referred to as libertarian socialism.
While in the past I’ve danced with the devil of full-tilt Bolshevism and I continue to stubbornly defend the legacy of Third World state socialists like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, I’ve come to the hard fought conclusion that the only way for truly empowered social ownership of basic human rights like healthcare and education to exist is for it to be wholly decentralized, voluntary and operated from the bottom up. The idea of Bernie’s Medicare for All just sounds like swapping masters to me, from corporate bag munchers to federal bag munchers. I’m already experiencing Medicare for Some as a legally disabled agoraphobic and let me tell you, there is exactly nothing empowering about it. I feel like shit being barely strung along by the very same folks who brought us Waco, Ludlow and My Lai, and that brings me to the biggest bug I have up my ass about millennial socialism.