Saturday, June 30, 2018

Briahna Gray — There’s an Easy Answer to Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won: Socialism


Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist message is not an incidental part of a larger demographic story. And her socialism shouldn’t be treated as a virus opportunistically riding the vector of her Latina form. Socialism is inextricable from Ocasio-Cortez’s success because it’s the secret behind her ability to do what the Democratic party has long failed to do — articulate a holistic progressive vision for America.
Socialism is a framework that supports a belief that a country in which everyone can live with dignity is not the stuff of fantasies, of “ponies” — nor is it the selfish dream of a “privileged” populous who want something for nothing. It’s a socialist conception of the world which emboldens Ocasio-Cortez to aver, on a popular late night show, that “in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live.”
Socialism reveals that capitalism — a system which privileges markets over community — is not a natural truth, but a political choice to which there are alternatives. It shows that Jeff Bezos’s wealth cannot be understood as unrelated to the plight of Amazon’s workers, but is a consequence of their hardships. It reveals one man’s merit to be another woman’s wage theft, and challenges society to value humans outside of our ability to toil. It’s what sets up Ocasio-Cortez to talk about human dignity as non-negotiable. Where Nancy Pelosi quips, “we’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is,” socialism says that’s not good enough....
Ocasio-Cortez put it best: “At the end of the day, I’m a candidate that doesn’t take corporate money, that champions Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee, the abolishment of ICE, and a green New Deal. But I approach those issues with the lenses of the community that I live in. And that is not as easy to say as ‘identity politics.'”
The Intercept
There’s an Easy Answer to Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won: Socialism
Briahna Gray

42 comments:

Andrew Anderson said...

a federal jobs guarantee

Wage-slavery to cure wage-slavery?

And from the same people who defend government privileges for private credit creation? Including the government insurance of privately created liabilities?

And if socialism is a just solution to injustice then why isn't it more stable once it comes to power? Because it ISN'T a just solution?

Ed Zimmer said...

Andrew Anderson: Here's a job guarantee proposal you apparently haven't seen - TENonline.org/jg.html. Tell me how that results in "wage slavery".

Andrew Anderson said...

It's wage-slavery since the population should not have to work for what has been, in essence, the legalized theft of the public's credit but for private gain.

And it's short-sighted since how ridiculous shall a JG compare to genuine leisure when automation has eliminated almost all needed labor? The proponents shall then be lucky to escape the public's wrath for implicitly blaming the victims of systematic theft.

Let's have a Citizen's Dividend and if people want to volunteer their labor then that's the ideal anyway, isn't it, volunteer labor?

Tom Hickey said...

@Ed Zimmer

Thanks for letting us know about TEN.

I am promoting it to a post.

Andrew Anderson said...

The National website is integrated with the existing consumer banking system so that payments are automatically credited to workers' JG debit cards for spending as soon as the day following the work. from http://tenonline.org/jg.html

Why not to inherently risk-free individual debit/checking accounts at the Central Bank itself? Why not at least START to eliminate government privileges for the banks instead of further legitimizing them?

Ed Zimmer said...

@Andrew Anderson
You didn't follow the FedAccounts link (5 lines up from page bottom). Currently only banks can bank with the Central Bank. GDI is proposing (as are you) to open that up to everyone (which I obviously favor).

Tom Hickey said...

Central banks are not set up to handle retail customers. Banks are now their agents at the retail level. For example, as the government's fiscal agent, the Fed credits commercial banks' accounts in the settlement system and directs the banks to credit the respective customer accounts, e.g., with transfer payments like SS.

The post office could be used as the retail agency instead of the commercial banks. Another way would be state banks through state banks, but that too would involve setting up a retail system.

The simplest way is to go entirely digital with all dealing directly with the cb.

However, not all are digitally equipped and some don't want to use digital for their own reasons.

China might be a model, since their retail banking is largely digital, since they never built out a retail system. The large state banks are the major players in China, so the system is already operated using a cb (PBOC) and public banks.

This would reduce a lot of the transaction costs, many of which feed the commercial banks unnecessarilyat a cost to efficiency.

Andrew Anderson said...

to open that up to everyone (which I obviously favor). Ed Zimmer

Well, that's good news but what about other privileges for the banks such as deposit insurance? Why should anyone, for example, use their CB account if they can have an insured account at a commercial bank, credit union, etc?

Tom Hickey said...

I generally favor a dual public-private system where feasible, so that the two sectors keep each other in line, which prevents control from falling into a single hand. Efficiency needs to be balanced with redundancy for safety.

Ed Zimmer said...

@Tom Hickey
Do read that FedAccounts link - I believe their proposal addresses your concerns. GDI is a program of the Roosevelt Institute.

Andrew Anderson said...

FedAccounts is doomed since it is an unprincipled approach; e.g. paying interest on inherently risk-free accounts at the CB is welfare and the worse kind, welfare proportional to account balance, i.e. for the rich.

You won't beat the banks with an unprincipled approach and why should you try anyway since government privileges for the banks are such an easy target?

Andrew Anderson said...

I generally favor a dual public-private system where feasible, Tom Hickey

There's nothing necessarily wrong with 100% private banks with 100% voluntary depositors. And if they can exist that way then fine but if not why should they exist anyway? To continue their looting?

Andrew Anderson said...

Central banks are not set up to handle retail customers. Tom Hickey

The services a central bank may properly offer are easily automated, e.g. simple debit/checking accounts for the general population.

Otoh, lending, a human intensive service, should be left entirely to the private sector to avoid violating equal protection under the law.

Tom Hickey said...

Well, that's good news but what about other privileges for the banks such as deposit insurance? Why should anyone, for example, use their CB account if they can have an insured account at a commercial bank, credit union, etc?

Why would anyone that banks at the central bank need deposit insurance when there is zero risk that the cb cannot meet its obligations as the issuer of the currency? Commercial banks have no such guarantee at the cb because it is unnecessary.

Andrew Anderson said...

Why would anyone that banks at the central bank need deposit insurance when there is zero risk that the cb cannot meet its obligations as the issuer of the currency? Tom Hickey

Deposits at the CB, being risk-free, should pay 0% AT MOST. Thus if deposits at a commercial bank pay positive interest AND are insured by government then why should anyone use their CB account and receive AT MOST, 0%?

Andrew Anderson said...

Thus inherently risk-free accounts at the CB AND the removal of all privileges for the banks, including deposit insurance, MUST go hand in hand if we are to have an additional but risk-free, 100% liquid at all times payment system that completely bypasses the one that must work through the usury cartel (banks, credit unions,etc.)

Thus if the banks are no longer to hold the economy hostage via a single payment system that must work through them then they must be completely de-privileged.

Tom Hickey said...

Do read that FedAccounts link - I believe their proposal addresses your concerns. GDI is a program of the Roosevelt Institute.

I am aware of that and generally in agreement other than keeping a dual public-private system. The article addressed most of the issues that I did and with similar proposals.

On the other hand, I am a left libertarian and don't trust any more power in the government than is necessary to limit concentration of power in the private sector by a ruling elite, in addition to providing security and maintaining good order, of course. While everyone need not be a libertarian of either left or right, everyone that subscribes to liberalism in one of its many forms must face these issues that lead to paradoxes of liberalism if not addressed adequately.

I would prefer to have direct (participatory) democracy as government of, by, and for the people, and that is now becoming possible through digital technology. This would require an informed citizenry and that would in turn necessitate good education, widespread and easy communication of ideas and views, and increased leisure for self-education about relevant issues and attendant conditions for decision making.

The obvious problem is that the objective of the ruling elite is to capture the state and turn it toward their interests, which is largely the case now in the US, UK, etc. This is the program of neoliberalism as a political theory.

That problem needs to be addressed.

A further issue is that accounts at the cb won't eradicate the financial system and private sector finance will continue, for good and for bad.

For good, because it would balance the power of bureaucrats to control the money system and the financial system, as well. The banks perform a useful service in credit assessment in loan extension, for example. Community credit unions now balance this function with large banks. Of course, the cb could also delegate credit assessment to the institutions now performing this function, and pay them a fee as agents. But the key issue is not having all decision making power, or even most, in a single hand or few hands.

For bad, because there is just as much incentive to cheat in the private sector as their is an incentive for corruption in the public sector. There needs to be not only oversight but also competition to reduce rents.

In the final analysis, the objective economically is to reduce economic rent, which is not only inefficient economically but also unfair socially.

Tom Hickey said...

FedAccounts is doomed since it is an unprincipled approach; e.g. paying interest on inherently risk-free accounts at the CB is welfare and the worse kind, welfare proportional to account balance, i.e. for the rich.

As sovereign currency issuer by delegation, a cb has no need of income and it doesn't need to charge interest to obtain funding since it is self-funding on its own balance sheet.

Even so, there might be a political requirement imposed for enough revenue to cover operational expenses, so that the cb doesn't need to run negative equity — not that negative equity is an actual issue for a currency sovereign.

Andrew Anderson said...

Even so, there might be a political requirement imposed for enough revenue to cover operational expenses, Tom Hickey

Individual citizen accounts at the CB should be negative-interest-free up to say, $250,000, based on the principle that citizens should be able to use their Nation's fiat in risk-free, convenient form within reasonable limits on account balance and number of transactions per month.

But there's no reasons why non-individual citizen accounts and individual citizen accounts that go beyond those reasonable limits should not be charged negative interest and the proceeds used to fund a Citizen's Dividend to all citizens equally.

Noah Way said...

Banking aside, here's how totally fucked we are when it comes to voting. If NY state residents want to change party affiliation to vote in a primary, they must do it 13 months in advance. So I can't vote for Cynthia Nixon this fall, who has only come on the scene in the last few months.

Democracy my ass.

Matt Franko said...

Oh I see it’s all an “oligarchy!” because the CANDIDATE CHOSE to run in the Democrat primary...

If you’re not a registered Democrat that is your f-ing fault... she’s made the decision to run as a Democrat...

Matt Franko said...

“Financial stability would be dramatically enhanced: we expect that FedAccounts would crowd out unstable, privately issued deposit substitutes, which are one of the driving forces behind financial instability. ”

They say this because they think depositors balances are unstable... ie “banks lend out the deposits”...

Noah Way said...

FRANKO is too stupid to understand a simple demonstration of anti-democratic processes such as exclusionary registration rules. Or that "independent" is not a political party even though you can register as one.

Matt Franko said...

You’re a lefty, just change your registration to Democrat already like normal people and knock it off with the conspiracy theories...

Matt Franko said...

“GDI is a program of the Roosevelt Institute.”

Roosevelt has been technically discredited years ago....

Tom Hickey said...

The Democratic Part is Left. Ha ha. What are you smoking, Matt?

Even the most radical Dems now, like Ocasio, aren't even Left for the US historically. The US did have a Left at one time, but no more.

There is no actual Left in the US, not even a soft left. Real Left is facto taboo, and if there are any actual Leftists in the US left, they are to be found either in the grave or jail.

The Democratic Party is center right. The GOP is hard right. The reactionary wing of the GOP is far right, and the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic Party is center left, except in foreign policy, where they are hard right.

There is no actual Left in the US now.

Tom Hickey said...

You want some real left?

Try Act 2:44-47 (NRSV):

"All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[j] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved."

Tom Hickey said...

The message in those verses is about individual and collective consciousness. That is what it takes to be real Left.

Andrew Anderson said...

And yet Paul was often begging on behalf of the (poor) saints in Jerusalem.

The Old Testament has a much better model of a just society (as opposed to a small group of dedicated, Spirit filled believers) where:
1) Assets were roughly equally owned by all Hebrews, not collectively but as individual families.
2) Therefor immigrants were welcomed as a source of wage labor.
3) Usury was forbidden between Hebrews, not privileged by government as it is now.
4) Family farms, orchards, vineyards, etc. could not be lost for more than 50 years (cf Leviticus 25)
5) The poor had rights such as the right to glean from farms, orchards, vineyards, etc.
6) And additional tithe every 3 years was collected for the poor.
7) There was debt forgiveness every 7 years between Hebrews.

Andrew Anderson said...

The message in those verses is about individual and collective consciousness. Tom Hickey

No, it's about the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives but not all believe thus your example has limited application.

Matt Franko said...

But then you have the corruption to deal with Tom...

Iow you have corrupt/right and then corrupt/left... I think corrupt/right can deliver better material systems results on whole than the corrupt/left... so for now it may have to be the lesser of the two evils...

Corrupt/right at least gets food in the stores, etc...

Matt Franko said...

“And yet Paul was often begging on behalf of the (poor) saints in Jerusalem.”

Yeah the key phrase is “in Jerusalem” as there wasn’t any poor in the nations as the nations had socio-economic guarantees...

Matt Franko said...

Israel was corrupt not the nations they had their own laws they enforced ...

Tom Hickey said...

The Old Testament has a much better model of a just society (as opposed to a small group of dedicated, Spirit filled believers)

That just means that collective consciousness has been difficult to scale and maintain historically.

Even so-called just societies are difficult to scale and maintain.

Humans are trapped by evolutionary biology and evolution works slowly at scale. There are outliers, but lack of scale.

Tom Hickey said...

I think corrupt/right can deliver better material systems results on whole than the corrupt/left

Yes, but for whom (distributional effects).

All of us here are privileged by global standards, and even domestic conditions in the US are the most unequal in the developed world according to a recent UN report.

Tom Hickey said...

Yeah the key phrase is “in Jerusalem” as there wasn’t any poor in the nations as the nations had socio-economic guarantees...

Huh?

Matt Franko said...

Outside of Israel they could always go to the temple sacrifices to eat and drink... water was free ... everyone got a daily dole of bread.... everyone had jobs (some were bond servants), etc... they could not become poor meaning ‘lacking means of subsistence’...

At least the Greek scriptures have no reference to anybody being “poor” outside of how AA refers to it here “in Jerusalem” or “in Israel”....

Matt Franko said...

“"All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[j] to all, as any had need. ”

Tom that is from Acts it’s referring to the Israelite disciples of Jesus post His crucifixion... not Paul or any of the non-Israelites he was teaching in Greece and Rome....with what the disciples (‘kinesthetic learners’) were doing they probably got cut off from the Israelite system and had to sell possessions and get Paul to send money back he collected in his travels thru Greece and Rome to survive...

Matt Franko said...

Same thing still goes in today we send Israel $billions per year...

Matt Franko said...

“Yes, but for whom (distributional effects).”

Tom, Yes but that is a product of the corruption: the Lord, to ISRAEL: “the poor you will always be having”... Paul never told anybody in Greece or Rome that... Paul never went all around opening up soup kitchens all over the place ....

Much of Israel were corrupt.... hence the terminal existence of “poor” among them..

Tom Hickey said...

1. Outside of Israel they could always go to the temple sacrifices to eat and drink... water was free ... everyone got a daily dole of bread.... everyone had jobs (some were bond servants), etc... they could not become poor meaning ‘lacking means of subsistence’...

I think you are romanticizing this. Most people lived at the subsistence level, which we today would consider being destitute. If one slipped below the subsistence level, they faced either death or slavery.

2. The Greek term that Jesus used in the well-known verse is ptochous. It means "destitute" rather than poor in the sense of being at the subsistence level (penes), where most people at the time were stationed, including most of the people around Jesus. Today, the penes would be the propertyless, while the ptochous would be the beggars and homeless.

πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ ἑαυτῶν - "For you have always the poor (ptochous) with you."
Mt 26:11

The Greek language has two terms for “poor”: penes and ptochos. Penes refers to a person who does manual labor, and so is contrasted with plousios, a member of the landed class who does not work. At stake is the social status or honor rating of a “worker.”

The penetes were all those people who needed to work in shops or in the fields and consequently without the leisure characteristic of the rich gentry, who were free to give their time to politics, education and war. This too represents an elite perspective which implies that the “leisured” class were of another species than the masses of “working” people.

A ptochos, however, refers to a person reduced to begging, that is, someone who is destitute of all resources, especially farm and family. One gives alms to a ptochos. A penes, who has little wealth yet has “sufficiency,” is not called “poor” in the same sense of the term.…

At the tope of the social stratification of ancient society were monarch and/or aristocratic families (1-2%). Moving down the ladder, we find a retainer class: tax gatherers, police, scribes, priests, etc. (5-7%). The bulk of the population (i.e., 75%) consists of merchants, very few of whom were well off; artisans, almost all of whom lacked worldly goods; and farmers and fishermen, some of whom owned more and some less land. Finally below these are the untouchablers (i.e., 15%) who are beggars, cripples, prostitutes, criminals, who lived in the hedges outside the cities....

When taxes were so high, life for peasants was at best “subsistence,” that is, they had only several months of food stored. The wolf was always at the door. And there was no unemployment insurance, no social security, no disability and no medicare. The state took the surplus from the peasants and gave them nothing in return.

Roman taxation of Palestine became so oppressive that it created a flood of debtors who finally lost their lands because they could not pay their taxes; here we find a major source of those who becoming “begging poor.”


"WHO IS POOR IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?", JEROME H. NEYREY - UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME (INDIANA)

See also

Victoria Ryan, Poverty Transcending Time-A Case Study of Four Ancient Greek and Latin Texts Discussing Poverty, - UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME (INDIANA

Tom Hickey said...

om that is from Acts it’s referring to the Israelite disciples of Jesus post His crucifixion... not Paul or any of the non-Israelites he was teaching in Greece and Rome.

Do Gentile Christians Jesus follow Jesus or Paul?