Tue. May 18th, 2021

What is Democratic Socialism?

6 min read

Sunlight shines on the historic buildings of the financial district in lower Manhattan, New York City near Wall Street

The United States currently faces an economic recession that is worse than the Great Depression in the 1930s. Millions of Americans who lost their jobs because of the pandemic worry about not having health insurance. Families who depended on weekly paychecks to feed themselves are traveling to their nearest food banks to have enough to eat. Yet, in America, the CEOs of big companies are gaining more profits. The wealthy are getting wealthier, while millions of working-class Americans are left struggling to survive.

As the number of Democratic Socialists increase, more Americans realize that in this capitalist country, socialism exists for the wealthy. Corporations and monopolies in the United States have seen an increase in profits of millions of dollars. This is occurring while thousands of businesses are shutting down, leading to millions of losing their jobs.

Businesses like Amazon have seen an increase in profits as people decide not to leave their homes for purchasing items.  Jeff Bezos, the CEO of the company Amazon has seen an increase in his net worth by billions of dollars. Amazon has doubled its net profit to $5.2 billion, compared to a $2.6 net profit back in 2019. Bezos and his company Amazon is one of the many examples that demonstrate socialism does exist for the rich.

Why are the wealthy getting wealthier as working-class Americans are left waiting for stimulus or unemployment checks from the government to survive?

Understanding Democratic Socialism

The term “socialism” can throw people off and make others believe it should not exist in the United States. But, democratic socialists firmly believe in equality for all. Democratic socialists stand with democracy but want to end the unfair distribution of wealth to the one percent should end.

Although the United States is considered the wealthiest country in the world, only a small percentage of people live off that wealth. The rich are getting richer while everyone else- the working class- ends with unlivable wages and are overworked to survive in society.

When capitalists feel threatened by progressive legislation, they use their power and wealth to get rid of any threats that will damage their profits. This is known as the “golden rule” according to Thomas Ferguson, a political scientist.

Capitalists exploit their workers and are so powerful that they can determine whether people can have a job or not. If they control whether or not everyone has a job, they can also control whether you can provide for yourself.

Democratic Socialists want to empower the working class and expand democracy, not eliminate it. Democratic socialists believe everyone has a right to be economically secured by making sure there is healthcare, a union job that does not pay an unlivable wage, and proper education. They also want to end all forms of oppression that exist in the United States, such as Mass incarcerations and police brutality. 

Democratic Socialists of America

The DSA was founded in 1982 by the activist Michael Harrington. They believe both socialism and democracy can work together to meet the needs of all its citizens without focusing on the top one percent. Once Bernie Sanders ran for president in 2016, the number of DSA members increased. So far this year, the Democratic Socialists of America have over seventy thousand members in their organization.

They support politicians who are Democratic Socialists. Currently, more than ninety democratic socialists hold office in the United States. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is a well known democratic socialist who supported Bernie Sanders when he ran for president. After she was sworn into Congress, the number of DSA members also increased.

As the pandemic struck the United States, 10,000 new members joined the organization. It became the second time they saw an increase in new members since AOC won her seat in 2018. The economic conditions during the pandemic have sparked anger amongst Americans. Workers are risking their health in a pandemic while earning minimum wage at their jobs. People are realizing that capitalism may not be working for the American people.

Democratic Socialists support:

  • Tuition-free colleges
  • Universal healthcare
  • Higher taxation on the wealthy
  • Labor Reform
  • Green New Deal

Bernie Sanders and his beliefs of Democratic Socialism

Bernie Sanders considers himself a Democratic Socialist. He believed in a political revolution that would transform the United States to work for all of its citizens, not just the wealthy who make up one percent of the population. He believes the rich are getting richer while everyone else gets poorer in American society.

Bernie was supported by millions of working-class people across the nation. Sanders gave the working-class a voice and a new political movement began emerging. Millennials and Gen Zs showed immense support for Sander’s presidential campaign.

While campaigning and giving speeches to crowds of thousands of people, Sanders never failed to mention the greed of Wall Street or the drug companies that make billions of dollars in profit as Americans struggled to pay for medications.

Bernie Sanders supported a Green New Deal that will lower emission rates throughout the country. It would also provide 20 million Americans with jobs that would help combat climate change. Most importantly, Sanders wants to put a stop to the fossil fuel industries who he believes are damaging the planet with their greediness. He wants to protect future generations from suffering the consequences of politicians who care more about gaining money than taking care of its people.

Sanders is also known as a politician who wants to provide free college and eliminate student tuition debt. Around forty-five Americans owe student loans from their time at college. Currently, there is a $1.6 trillion debt that continues growing. While this idea seems impossible to get done, Sanders laid out a plan explaining how he can accomplish this goal.

Wall Street can get bailed out for trillions of dollars during the 2008 recession, yet millions of Americans cannot be bailed out by the trillion-dollar student debt. In Bernie’s plans, he wants to impose a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades, that will fund the trillions of dollars needed to eliminate student debt.

Bernie Sander’s campaigns sparked a political revolution that he hopes will inspire Americans to continue fighting for a better world that works for everyone no matter their race, gender, or beliefs.

Medicare for All.

Many Americans face health conditions that require them to take medications. These conditions can range from diabetes, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  According to a Harvard Medical School article, eight percent of Americans do not take their necessary medications because they cannot afford them.

Around thirty million Americans do not have medical insurance. In Bernie’s democratic socialist society, he believes health care is a human right. A single-payer Medicare for all will guarantee no American is left behind when it comes to their health care. Investing in research and new technologies that can cure diseases will put Americans first before pharmaceutical lobbyists who profit from billions of dollars.

Medicare for all is not socialism, as politicians tend to believe. Democratic socialists want everyone to pay taxes that will fund the insurance, doctors, and medicine. The creation of a medical system that benefits everyone is crucial to end the greediness of pharmaceutical companies

A Change for a Better Future.

The goal of Democratic Socialists is to change the way society works by providing the needs of citizens instead of allowing the one percent to hoard all the wealth to themselves. They recognize that elite capitalists make the decisions when it comes to elections or the economy. In this capitalistic society, they will always win and be on top.

Americans are realizing that capitalism is failing the people and the earth. Greed by the one percent is causing the increased use of fossil fuels, resulting in global warming. People are oppressed based on their skin color or race. Capitalism may be working for the elite and rich, but it is not in favor of the working class.

The term socialism can be defined in different ways and can result in divided opinions. Citizens in South America will view socialism as the government taking control of productions. In America, socialism means fighting for equality and reconstructing a system that benefits not just the top one percent. Socialism means creating a fairer economic and social system for everyone.

In Bernie Sander’s speech at Georgetown University in 2015, he spoke about Democratic Socialism and provided a vivid image of what that world can look like for the United States. In the words of Bernie Sander’s, “Our government belongs to all of us, and not just the one percent.”  

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