Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders: "The Return of the Son of Comrade Sonia", or, "Socialism: The Unknown Ideal"

I think I see a theme, here:

-World Socialist Web Site: "Is Bernie Sanders a Socialist?"

-The New Republic: "Stop Calling Bernie Sanders a Socialist"..."The Vermont senator is a 'democratic socialist'-and yes, there's a difference..."

Somehow, this all sounds too familiar...

That evening, Comrade Sonia moved into Syerov’s room, which was larger than her own. “Oh, darling,” she said, “we must think of a good revolutionary name for our child.”*
At dinner—which had been sent from a communal kitchen two blocks away, and was cold, with grease floating over the cabbage soup—Comrade Sonia said: “Really, Pavel, I’ve got to have a fur coat. I can’t allow myself to catch a cold—you know—for the child’s sake. And no rabbit fur, either. I know you can afford it. Oh, I’m not saying anything about anyone’s little activities, but I’m just keeping my eyes open.”
“Our child,” said Comrade Sonia, “will be a new citizen of a new state. It will be brought up in the free, healthy ideology of the proletariat, without any bourgeois prejudices to hamper its natural development.”
“Oh, hell!” said Comrade Sonia. “Those damn slippers of mine!” She wriggled uncomfortably on her chair, stretching out one leg, her foot groping under the table. She found the slipper and bent painfully over her abdomen, pulling the slipper on by a flat, wornout heel. “Look at the old junk I have to wear! And I need so many things, and with the child coming . . . You would choose a good time to write certain literary compositions and ruin everything, you drunken fool!”

(Excerpts from Ayn Rand's We the Living)

1 comment:

  1. * “'Give me chastity and continence, but not yet,' said Augustine..."

    The NEW REPUBLIC article points out the difference between socialists and Democratic Socialists...methinks there's an "ominous parallel", here: From Leonard Peikoff's book on that topic:

    "The single most eloquent presentation of the Social Democrats’ view of life is The Weavers. The Weavers conveys perfectly the basic emotion, and emotionalism, which animated Germany’s Marxists of both kinds, Social Democrat and Communist. In their bitter, sweeping denunciations of the “class enemy” and in their fiery predictions of its 'revolutionary' overthrow, the two groups, whatever their differences in regard to tactics, were at one.

    "In practice, however, the Social Democrats did not approve of sacking homes or smashing up power-looms—and their struggle was not so much against class enemies as against Communist guns. The Social Democrats opposed violence, a proletarian putsch, and Bolshevist Russia—not its ends, which they regarded as noble, but its methods, which they regarded as uncivilized and brutal. Socialism, they said, must come to Germany lawfully, by parliamentary decision; which, they said, meant a slow, evolutionary process, inasmuch as a majority of the German people was anti-Marxist and would have to be reeducated."


    "In the interim, party leaders decided, they would continue to preach Marxist ideas with all the party’s traditional zeal, but would confine themselves in practice to pursuing a limited, “Reformist” program in the Reichstag. 'Reformism' in this context means a form of welfare statism. It means the policy of working within the framework of a semisocialist, semicapitalist 'mixed' system…"

    "We stand solidly, said the Democratic face of Social Democracy, with the moderate bourgeois parties in defense of the republican system, which protects the civil rights and liberties of all men. This “capitalistic” republic, said the Social face of Social Democracy, is merely a transitional stage, a necessary evil, on the road to a truly moral society, in which men will enjoy something greater than liberty: economic equality."


    “'Give me chastity and continence, but not yet,' said Augustine in a famous prayer, expressing the torture of a profound inner conflict. Transposed to the political arena, this in essence was the conflict and the torture of postwar Germany’s leading party. The Social Democrats have been condemned as ineffectual by virtually all commentators on the Weimar Republic…"

    "It did not take long for the political jokes to begin. Their butt was revolutionists who wanted peace and quiet; proletarian militants who made collaboration with the bourgeoisie an essential policy; socialists who refused to socialize."


    "Unlike their former colleagues among the Social Democrats, the Communists were not willing to postpone the socialist revolution; they were impatient to have their ideal now. It is pointless, said party leaders, to spend time trying to persuade or educate the 'class enemy'; since men’s thought is a mere by-product of economic factors, they claimed, and since proletarian logic is beyond the grasp of the bourgeoisie, enemy ideas cannot be dealt with by argument or discussion; they can be answered effectively only by the forcible overthrow of the existing social system. For the same reason, the leaders said, the party refuses, even as a transition measure, to participate in any parliamentary form of government. The alleged political equality of men under such a government, declared Rosa Luxemburg, the top Spartacist theoretician, 'is nothing but lies and falsehoods so long as the economic power of capital still exists.' '[T]he idea that you can introduce socialism without class struggle and by parliamentary majority decisions is a ludicrous petty-bourgeois illusion.'"