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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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News + PoliticsHouse Democrats, including Pelosi, vote for far-right, 1950s-style red-baiting resolution

House Democrats, including Pelosi, vote for far-right, 1950s-style red-baiting resolution

Why is SF's rep viciously attacking 'socialism?' And what about the horrors of capitalism?

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I should never be astonished at what the Democrats in Congress are capable of, but I must admit: seeing 109 Democrats, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Ro Khanna, voting for a resolution denouncing “the horrors of socialism” is pretty amazing.

Nancy Pelosi photo by Gage Skidmore

Introduced by a right-wing anti-Communist representative from Florida, the measure is historically inaccurate, fundamentally foolish, and I suspect exists only as a way to embarrass progressive Democrats.

Check it out:

Whereas socialist ideology necessitates a concentration of power that has time and time again collapsed into Communist regimes, totalitarian rule, and brutal dictatorships … Whereas tens of millions died in the Bolshevik Revolution, at least 10,000,000 people were sent to the gulags in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and millions more starved in the Terror-Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine …

You get the point.

There is so much wrong here, starting with the idea that democratic socialism is equivalent to totalitarianism, which is factually, historically wrong.

Modern democratic socialism is a fairly large political tent, but leaders like Bernie Sanders have never called for the expropriation of all private property and government ownership of all business. They certainly don’t support a one-party state that lacks free elections.

Democratic socialists have called for a government-run public health system and for more non-market housing—and, equally important, for higher taxes on the rich to reduce economic inequality.

Socialist ideology has played a huge role in fighting for better working conditions, more fair tax laws, and the creation of everything from the Post Office to public schools.

Socialist-leaning governments in numerous European countries have built healthy economies with levels of social contentment that put the United States to shame.

Thomas Piketty, who is quite possible the most highly acclaimed economist of our time, has a book out called “Time for Socialism.”

I don’t know why Pelosi, who is almost certainly in her final term, and Khanna, who has always portrayed himself as a progressive, would vote for this red-baiting nonsense. Pelosi has, in effect, sided with the GOP and denounced members of her own caucus who identify as democratic socialists.I have contacted both of their offices; I will let you know.

Sup. Dean Preston, a democratic socialist, has introduced a resolution that would put the Board of Supes on the record opposing HCR 9. He notes:

Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis, Bayard Rustin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Mother Jones, Dorothy Day, Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Cesar Chavez, and countless other celebrated leaders were unapologetic about their socialist ideals.

It is often stated that San Francisco is a union town, with a rich tradition of socialist organizing that lives on to the present in the struggle for workers’ rights.

The United States has implemented various essential programs and changes to its laws based on socialist ideals, including public housing, public education, public libraries, the United States Postal Service, Medicare, and other similar programs.

So now this will come before our local reps, who perhaps will be less afraid of Republicans and red-baiting attacks than our national reps. I’ll be interested to see if anyone votes against it.

Meanwhile, don’t get me started on the horrors of Capitalism.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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