What Is Democratic Socialism? Essay

1731 words - 7 pages

What Is Democratic Socialism?
Democratic Socialists believe that the economy and society should be run democratically - to meet the needs of the whole community, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be trasnsformed to through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the decisions that affect our lives.
Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well- everywhere but in the United States. Because of this, many false ideas about socialism have developed in the U.S. With ...view middle of the document...

These tasks would be spread among as many people as possible- rather than distributed on the basis of class, race, ethnicity, or gender, as they are under capitalism. We believe that a combination of social, economic, and moral incentives will motivate people to work.
Hasn't socialism been discredited by the triumph of capitalism and the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe?
Socialists have been among the harshest critics of the anti-democratic, highly centralized societies and economies of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Just because the bureaucratic elites called their systems 'socialist' did not make it so; they also called their regimes 'democratic'. We applaude the authentic democratic revolutions that have transformed the former communist bloc. We also expect that the social democratic parties that are re-emerging in Eastern Europe will be essential in the struggle to protect workers rights, to ensure equality for women, and to promote social justice for all. The improvement of people's lives requires economic growth and real democracy, without ethnic rivaltries and/or new forms of authoritarianism. Democratic socialists will continue to play a key role in that struggle throughout the world.
Can half the world be turned upside down while the U.S. continues in the rut of Cold War thinking? We say no; the fall of communism should not blind us to injustices at home. Nor should we allow all reform to be dismissed as 'communistic.' That suppression of dissent and difersity undermines America's ability to prosper in a radically new world, a world in which the most successful countries promote social justice and combine market economies with a strong role for democratic government.
• Isn't socialism unpatriotic, un-American?
America has been blessed with abundant natural resources, and a skilled, innovative workforce. We recognize that we have significant political liberties and individual freedoms. Our standard of living is higher than that of many other nations.
We believe, however, that this country can do better. Over the generations, socialists have played a key role in the fights for the reforms that our nation points to with pride. It is through the struggles of working people, women, and people of color that vital democratic reforms such as the forty-hour week, increases in the minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and Social Security have been won. Much, however, remains to be done before people take control over their own destinies, and before our wealth is used to ensure that everyone has access to such basic necessities as food, housing, education, and health care.
Other countries show us that you can strive for both prosperity and social justice. We must do better.
• Why are there no models of democratic socialism?
Although no country has fully instituted democratic socialism, the democratic socialist, social democratic, and labor movements of other countries have won many victories we can...

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