Is being a Democratic Socialist becoming a thing?

The S-word is supposed to be something respectable people don't say in civilized company.
But the fact that Bernie Sanders used that word - and almost no one cared - it broke the taboo.

Since 2015, DSA membership has increased by more than 200 percent and now stands at more than 20,000. The number of chapters has increased from 43 to more than 120 in 42 states. In the remaining eight states, local DSA groups are working toward chapter status. The biggest change, however, has been demographic. In 2015, only a third of DSA’s members were in their twenties or thirties. Today, thanks to the influx of young Bernie supporters, people under 40 are the vast majority.

Still, 20,000 is nothing. It's a drop in the bucket.
Even if the DSA continues to grow like this for another two years, it will still only be a tiny minority party.
OTOH, if this keeps happening then the DSA could rapidly shake up the political establishment.

More than a dozen DSA members now serve in local posts across the country, and their numbers are growing.

Early this month, Quad Cities Democratic Socialists of America member Dylan Parker was elected to the city council in Rock Island, Illinois. A 28-year-old diesel mechanic who was a Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Parker came home and mounted a city council campaign in the city of 39,000. He focused on open government, citizen engagement and economic justice issues and he got specific. Steering attention to the role that an equitable approach to economic development could play in strengthening the whole community, he talked about providing universal high speed broadband internet access for residences and businesses and about expanding Rock Island’s publicly-owned hydroelectric power plant. The campaign resonated with voters. Parker won 68 percent of the vote on April 4.

Two weeks later, in South Fulton, Georgia, another DSA member, khalid kamau, won an equally striking victory. A #BlackLivesMatter and #FightFor15 organizer who was also one of the many young Sanders delegates to last year’s Democratic National Convention, kamau (who lower cases his name in the Yoruba African tradition that emphasizes the community over the individual), outlined an economic and social justice vision that proposed to make the newly incorporated community of South Fulton “the largest Progressive city in the South.” On April 18, we won 67 percent on the vote.

I have family in Rock Island. This is the land of the right-wing Megachurch.
If a socialist can win there of all places, and win BIG, then a socialist can win anywhere.
Same goes for suburban Atlanta.

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Comments

Pluto's Republic's picture

…but being "communal" and "socializing" is the key human behavior that anthropologists study. When we study the apes, those behaviors are what we are looking for. All mankind, and all pockets of evolution, begin their journey on earth practicing communism. It is the key to human survival. Socialism describes the behaviors and natural doctrines that emerge and surround communal groups or tribes. It's instinctive and natural and necessary for success. Losing members of the tribe due to neglect signifies a failure of the system.

Up until quite recently, this is how homo sapiens who walked out of Africa managed to survive for the past 100,000 years. Not until commerce began did the gestalt begin to change. And, only in the past 500 years, after the gun was invented, did the change become steep. However, never were they in conflict or posed a danger to one another. Commerce and communes co-existed just fine. Conflicts between tribes were generally over use of lands and the scarcity of resources.

The vilifications of these most natural states, communism and socialism, is an alien mind virus that harms the world. Westerners are programmed to panic over these words, which is a strange and artificial state of affairs. Nonetheless, all "big things" always end up in the realm of socialism. Climate change, for example, will be socialized. And catastrophic economic failure, as well. Which means, only "communists" can survive. Just sayin'

ymmv

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Raggedy Ann's picture

Moving in new directions is essential for survival.

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If you acknowledge it, you can change it.
AMERICAN PRIVILEDGE: When INTERVENTIONISM is just a word to you because it's not your front door those drone strikes come knocking on. ~Caitlin Johnstone's friend

Raggedy Ann's picture

results in double entries.

Enjoy your evening!

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3 users have voted.

If you acknowledge it, you can change it.
AMERICAN PRIVILEDGE: When INTERVENTIONISM is just a word to you because it's not your front door those drone strikes come knocking on. ~Caitlin Johnstone's friend

Pricknick's picture

With lots of connotations.
I've been called a lot of words in my life. I'm still doing fine.
Dare I say, in religion I only follow Pastafarianism.
In politics, you're damn right I'm socialistic.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

2 write-in candidates for the "town of middleton" (not to be confused with the city of middleton) in wisconsin defeated a couple incumbents who were insufficiently critical of yet another walker administration assault on democracy.

http://www.wkow.com/story/35072198/2017/04/Wednesday/two-town-of-middlet...

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9 users have voted.

Sigh

that what we're deriding as "right wing knuckle draggers" are really people that we could find common ground with if we tried? In my experience they have frustrating mental blocks, but those are caused in no small part by our own mental rigidity. Look in a mirror - who has spent the last 40 years defending a dotting infrastructure because we were afraid to admit that it was rotting?

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

Mark from Queens's picture

political discourse, is right fucking now.

Thanks almost entirely to Bernie Sanders (who rides on the shoulders of the great Socialist/Anarchist movements of the past two centuries who gave tons of sweat, blood and tears).

And it's waaaay past time.

Socialist to the core, here. Nationalize all resources everyone depends on, including energy grids, banks, free internet service, healthcare, higher education options, etc.

I agree, if explained to RW folks, without the propaganda baggage, there's a ton of common ground to be had. But first all propaganda memes have to be put to rest, and that's the real hurdle. Generations of red scare propaganda filling the heads of malleable people who don't even know why they oppose socialism, just that they do.

I always take it from the perspective of everyone's got to pay taxes, right? Well, would you rather have your taxes go to more bombs, tanks and wars overseas (that cause blowback) for an already bloated military budget (and give them figures), or go toward free healthcare for all?
Would you rather have your tax money go toward giving major corporations like Exxon Mobil "subsidies", or would you rather it pay for you electrical and water bills?
Would you rather your tax money be spent on bailing out predatory Wall St Economic Terrorist/Too Big Too Fail banks, or to give your children a free college education?

There's a lot of common ground. It's just that the potential coalescing never gets off the ground, because no one in the media dares to talk about it. The MSM keeps up the charade to keep us divided and conquered, which is the point of a duopoly government. But when folks in their town halls begin talking to one another, such as Bernie Sanders has been instrumental in doing, fires start to get stoked. There's definitely a coalition to be started, under the auspices of good, sound, fundamental Socialism. It's the only humane, dignified and compassionate response to a world gone mad from unbridled, violently destructive capitalism.

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15 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

If we survive as a species we will have adopted a system of government much closer to Socialism than Capitalism. If you accept the premise that societies should be organized to maximize the outcome of all of its citizens then Capitalism will never be the answer. The concept that giving the precious resource of financial capital into the hands of a few elites and corporations to do as they will with it runs contrary to any reasonable organization of an economy. The idea of trickle down economics is both an absurdity and a proven falsity. The underlying concept of capitalism is that a society is not intelligent enough to allocate capital or income for the best outcome of an economy. This might have been true in the past but certainly not true today or in the future. You have to suspend belief in economic justice to buy into Capitalism. Capitalism requires a fundamental denial of science and technology -- a belief that we cannot design and run an efficient economy. The future depends on our evolution out of Capitalism. The evidence that earlier attempts at non-capitalistic states had flaws is no proof that the concept cannot be made to work. After all, attempts at flight for heavier-than-air craft failed before the first one succeeded.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

Well, it might have been, briefly, due to Bernie's popularity normalizing the term to a certain degree, but with the nightmare we are seeing unfold in Venezuela, the world is getting a graphic reminder of the inherent evil of Socialism which always evolves into brutal dictatorship, because Socialism can only thrive by denying personal freedom and imposing state mandate through autocratic totalitarian military regime.

Someone posted this on FB: In Venezuela it was all fun and games when the poor were given other people’s money. They voted time and again to give dictator power to the President. But when other people’s money run out. Those in power no longer care for the votes. They have the guns the power and in this case the food.

A lesson this country should be mindful to watch.

And with Bernie's hypocrisies, like selling out to Hillary and the DNC / Democratic Party, any positive traction for "Socialism" as a political movement that he generated in the USA has been lost.

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@The Liberal Badger

because Socialism can only thrive by denying personal freedom and imposing state mandate through autocratic totalitarian military regime.

There is a whole rainbow of types of socialism out there. You sound like you've been completely indoctrinated.

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@The Liberal Badger

that adheres strictly to any sort of "ism". Doctrinaire leadership often sacrifices flexibility and tolerance to a rigid belief system. Whatever an abstract system or philosophy may be, whether economic or religious or something else, it is usually not applicable to all situations and circumstances.

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native

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Glad to hear there are people in WI fighting against the Walker Agenda. (responding to untimelyripped)

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Indoctrinated? You’ve got it backward. It is Socialism that requires the indoctrination of its people to relinquish their personal freedom to accept the State’s totalitarian regime. You know, I wrote a paper on this in school, so I admit that I have some very strong views. but my teacher being a socialist, only gave me a B, so if anything, my own personal history disproves your theory, because he tried to indoctrinate me with his views, but he failed.

“There is a whole rainbow of types of socialism out there”

No, actually, in the end, there is only one type of socialism, I would assert. Every time the evils of Socialism rears its ugly head revealing its true militant totalitarian colors, which it always must do in order to thrive, people claim that there are “many types of socialism” but the problem with that claim is that history proves otherwise. At first, people sell Socialism by only applying half measures, but in the end, Socialism requires ending capitalism, free enterprise, property rights, which requires the suppression of personal freedom, most especially, freedom of speech, because anyone who challenges the State’s Rules, must be censored, lest their opinions lead to a revolution challenging the State’s totalitarian regime.

For the record, as far as I am concerned (and this is what I wrote in my paper), Socialism, Communism, and Fascism are synonymous, they all result in the same totalitarian military dictatorship, sold under the banner of the “will of the people.” Case in point, people like to conveniently forget that Hitler’s NAZI Party was the “National Socialist German Workers' Party.”

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@The Liberal Badger @The Liberal Badger

No, actually, in the end, there is only one type of socialism, I would assert.

Yes, I'm sure you do. History and facts say otherwise.

Socialism, Communism, and Fascism are synonymous, they all result in the same totalitarian military dictatorship, sold under the banner of the “will of the people.” Case in point, people like to conveniently forget that Hitler’s NAZI Party was the “National Socialist German Workers' Party.”

Ah yes. And since you believe what self-imposed labels mean, then you must believe that East Germany was a "Democratic Republic", right?
As for Socialism, Communism, and Fascism all being the same, it must puzzle you how certain classes support one but not the other. Or have you bothered to ponder that?

I've been down this road with libertarians before. Their knowledge of dogma is great. Their knowledge of actual history is very thin.

On the off chance that you are interested in broadening you mind and knowledge, consider reading
this, this, this, or just read ALL of the Wealth of Nations (not just the first chapter...I have).

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@gjohnsit Is there a difference between "Socialism" and Democratic Socialism? I am under, perhaps incorrectly, that Socialism is that the State owns everything and distribites wealth as it ees fit. Whereas Democratic Socialism is that entities pertaining to the common good, water utility, power Company, infrastructure, etc. are owned by the people, but the widget maker Companies operate under Capitalism. I am genuinEly asking--no snark here! Just looking for some free education!

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@WIProgressive
So it's impossible to say exactly when one means when they use the term.
Some socialism in totally democratic (see anarchism). Other socialists lean toward communism.
There are many forms in between.

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@The Liberal Badger

In the real world, power moves around somewhat independently of whatever doctrines are used to sustain it. There are more gray areas than there are black and white ones.

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native

@native
Maybe I was and wasn't aware of it.

When someone tells me that Socialism, Communism and Fascism are all the same, it reminds me of someone telling me that I must chose between the Democrats and Republicans.
All other ideas are beyond The Pale.

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Strife Delivery's picture

@gjohnsit I think Native was perhaps referencing Liberal Badger instead of yourself gjohnsit.

The message says @Liberal Badger so idk?

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Your example of East Germany and their "Democratic Republic" label is a red herring. The important distinction is not the "self-imposed labels," it's the "nationalizing of production," which is the defining characteristic of Socialism, Communism and Fascism. In the end, all three must eventually resort to autocratic military regime in order to achieve its ultimate goal of imposing the so called "people's will" upon the individual, denying their personal freedom.

And all the while, you ignore the evidence of yet another totalitarian Socialist nightmare unfolding in Venezuela, but the world is bearing witness. Socialism can only exist under a totalitarian military regime that denies personal freedom.

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@The Liberal Badger

Your example of East Germany and their "Democratic Republic" label is a red herring. The important distinction is not the "self-imposed labels," it's the "nationalizing of production,"

So now the name doesn't matter after you said it did. Fine, let's play it your way.

which is the defining characteristic of Socialism, Communism and Fascism.

And yet a lot of big industrialists made immense PRIVATE PROFITS under Nazi rule. The Krupp family, for instance.
(not to mention big private profits in Socialist Sweden)

Which once again, proves your dogma wrong. Time to move those goal posts again.

Let me give you a hint, I've been debating libertarians longer than you've been alive.

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PriceRip's picture

          I use them (of course) but I find that for the most part there is way too much historical exegesis interfering with the discussion. For example:

          I am convinced that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. Wherein "community" would be at the national level for the most general goods and services. Wherein "services" refer to transportation, power distribution, and water supplies. I do not care what term may be attached to my "philosophy" as long as you don't assume to know me better than you actually do, et cetera, as we spiral into the abyss.

          I have no real problem with private ownership to the degree that it doesn't result in empire building and cater to the myth of the "self-made-man" along with the equally false "I earned it so I should be able to spend it" diatribe spewed by the petulant robber barons.

          None of what I think is grounded in some moldy theoretical tract hidden away in someone's dusty safe room. Everything we do is in the context of community. We are all players on the same stage, and not one of us can survive alone. Any "theory" must reflect that reality. Any "theory" that includes:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL

BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

will in the end include only that and nothing more. And, we will always come full circle to this very end. The rich will get richer as the poor are expected to self-immolate while striving to be like their betters.
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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

@PriceRip
Your description above is socialism.
It's about putting people above capital.

You don't have to define yourself further if you don't want to.

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PriceRip's picture

@gjohnsit

Freeloading Socialist
          Average person advocating for affordable housing, affordable health care, affordable education, and decent compensation for labor.
Heroic Capitalist
          Very wealthy person advocating for tax free returns on investments and no inheritance taxes. Oh!, and drunk driving laws shouldn't apply to them.

          Obviously, the only fair and rational system is one that supports the rich at the expense of the great unwashed.

          End of rant : thanks.

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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

I never said the "name" mattered, you are putting words in my mouth in order to avoid facing the horror of Venezuela because you cannot face the truth. Sad that you must resort to such weak transparent tactics. And for the record, I said the exact OPPOSITE. I said the name in all three instances is irrelevant, because it was the NATIONALIZING (ie: the centralized power) of the industry which is the defining characteristic of the problem, which ALWAYS results in a select few benefiting, call them "big industrialists" or call them the "friends of the dictatorship" .... doesn't matter. Any time you centralize industry, you foster abuse of power by denying individual rights and freedoms.

By the way, I have had this identical debate with my teacher, and fatefully, he even mentioned the Krupp family too, lol ... and he lost the debate and everyone in the class saw the truth, just like everyone reading this thread will see the truth. Socialism is, by definition, centralized industry, which is centralized power, which requires denying individual personal freedom. The two are mutually exclusive and there is no way around it. It's sad that Socialists cannot admit the glaring flaw in their ideology, probably because they've been indoctrinated.

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@The Liberal Badger
Since you've defined Socialism and have no intention of considering anything else, allow me to introduce you to your word:
Libertarian

The use of the word libertarian to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate, libertaire, coined in a letter French libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857.[20][21] Déjacque also used the term for his anarchist publication Le Libertaire: Journal du Mouvement Social, which was printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 in New York City.[22][23] In the mid-1890s, Sébastien Faure began publishing a new Le Libertaire while France's Third Republic enacted the lois scélérates ("villainous laws"), which banned anarchist publications in France. Libertarianism has frequently been used as a synonym for anarchism since this time.[24][25][26]

Although the word libertarian continues to be widely used to refer to socialists internationally, its meaning in the United States has deviated from its political origins.[27][28] Libertarianism in the United States has been described as conservative on economic issues and liberal on personal freedom[29] (for common meanings of conservative and liberal in the United States); it is also often associated with a foreign policy of non-interventionism.

Your word was stolen from socialists.
Specifically socialists that opposed powerful government.
In other words, you stole a concept from socialists that you believe cannot exist.

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What the hell are you talking about? Dude, no offense, but either you are delusional, or at the very least, you have confused me with someone else. In point of fact, I have never in my life identified myself as being a Libertarian, in fact, I don't recall ever even using the word "Libertarian" on this blog ... again, I think you have confused me with someone else, either that, or you are simply desperately reaching for straws. YOU are the one who is obsessed with labels.

Let's respectfully start over. Call it whatever name you wish, Socialism OR Communism OR Fascism, the name is irrelevant, what IS relevant, is the SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, and as long as the system of government is a CENTRALIZED INDUSTRY, then it must resort to a TOTALITARIAN MILITARY REGIME in order to impose that CENTRALIZED INDUSTRY, by denying PERSONAL INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, which is the horror we are seeing in Venezuela. Clearly it is YOU who must be schooled by ME, but I did the exact same thing with my teacher. I think it is because of my mathematics/scientific background that I can see this so clearly, but you ideologues are too caught up in names. As I said, it is the socialists who have been indoctrinated which prevents them from seeing any facts that expose the flaws and injustices of their ideology.

"

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@The Liberal Badger

Let's respectfully start over. Call it whatever name you wish, Socialism OR Communism OR Fascism, the name is irrelevant, what IS relevant, is the SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, and as long as the system of government is a CENTRALIZED INDUSTRY, then it must resort to a TOTALITARIAN MILITARY REGIME in order to impose that CENTRALIZED INDUSTRY, by denying PERSONAL INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, which is the horror we are seeing in Venezuela.

And then I point out examples of socialist governments that pointedly DON'T do that.
Socialist governments that AREN'T totalitarian.
In fact, there are whole branches of socialism that oppose centralized government altogether.

These are what is known as facts and recognized history.
Yet you keep saying, very clearly, that this is impossible. That these historic examples and well-developed political philosophies never happened, because REASONS.

Do you know what it's called when someone is unable to see facts presented to them? Indoctrination.

I'm done here. You can now declare victory and do your end-zone dance.
That's what libertarians online do best.

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Mark from Queens's picture

I recall your previous convoluted, groping exchange in which you clumsily and mendaciously attempted to disparage Chris Hedges as a big scary communist. In the next breath you then were hailing Trump as some honorable defender of truth, justice and the American Way (and Tillerson too, as having "extensive diplomatic experience." If equating the career experience of a crony capitalist CEO of one of the worst environmental offenders, not to mention massive grifters, to that of a diplomat, isn't the height of irony, I don't know what is).

https://caucus99percent.com/comment/250638#comment-250638

And now once again you've inserted your paranoid fears here. You've made it quite clear, by repeating yourself over and over about the same thing, that you are obviously vewy, vewy afraid of socialism, which in your distorted world equals fascism. You can't get more bizarre or misled than that, unless most of your views are shaped by such people as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, et al.

So tell us more about your name, will you? You don't even have a dozen comments here, but 5 of them are trolling this essay about socialism. Dragging out the old favorite McCarthyite red scare propaganda meme that Hitler’s NAZI Party was the “National Socialist German Workers' Party is a dead giveaway, that under your friendly-sounding moniker perhaps lurks a RW troll.

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3 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Strife Delivery's picture

@Mark from Queens

Dragging out the old favorite McCarthyite red scare propaganda meme that Hitler’s NAZI Party was the “National Socialist German Workers' Party is a dead giveaway, that under your friendly-sounding moniker perhaps lurks a RW troll.
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I mean really, this one is horrendously pathetic.

Nazis were not socialist.
China is known as the People's Republic of China, not certain how much of a republic they are.
North Korea is also the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Just because something has a name in it doesn't automatically make it that.

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Mark from Queens's picture

@Strife Delivery

Socialism with Nazism, simply by virtue of the name being used for their party. Whatever socialism existed under Hitler quickly gave way to full-throated intolerant fascism, a diametric difference.

RW propagandists frequently use this canard to further scare people about socialism. To the extent that it preys on the subconscious of the malleable, "wasn't socialism what the Nazis had?" Oh my god, never that evil socialism. It doesn't help that the American education system lays the groundwork for the propaganda to settle in, by touting our Exceptionalism and the American Dream, as part and parcel of capitalism's wonderful "free market" gifts.

Most of the world, including almost all Western nations and even Third World, are primarily, fundamentally socialist economies, meaning some of the basics in living costs are taken care of through the taxes you pay. For instance, almost every country in the world pays for its citizens healthcare, including unexpected places like Barbados and Mexico. We're the only ones still holding out, a sheer horrifying embarrassment, along with higher education. The cunning part is that now, a good many have been preyed upon by global financial elite venture capitalists, who have cleaved chunks out their economies, resulting in austerity and the dismantling of the socialist state, in order to pay back the Economic Terrorists of Wall St, who made them mafia-like offers they couldn't refuse. These "free market" bastards have all but destroyed places like Greece, Ireland and Spain, and have diminished Scandinavia, a haven for socialism. Global financial capitalism is the bane of the human race and the earth's existence and future.

Bottom line is, as great investigative journalist/muckraker I.F. Stone reminds, "all governments lie," with the corollary being they're all corrupt. Socialist economies, like capitalist ones, fail. But the basic principles are night and day. In a general sense, Socialism is humane, compassionate and empathetic. Capitalism is ruthless, alienating and abusive.

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(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Gjohnsit & Mark from Queens really knocked this one out of the park! Thanks so much!

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I saw a video of a badger 6 or 8 months ago that I found funny.... I liked how he was fearless and relentless, which I identified with, and so when I joined DailyKos I figured I would use Badger, and many of the people I work with are conservatives, and they call me "the liberal" ..... so, I figured "Liberal Badger" was fitting. And when I joined c99, I figured I would use the same name. My comments on DailyKos have never been about socialism, but yes, it does seem that my limited posts here have been focused on this, (but that was not the case with my comments on Dailykos), but it was not planned, and I haven't really had the time to post much about other topics either here or on DailyKos because I have been too busy with school and work.

I've never listened to those people you've listed, except for maybe Hannity, but I've only watched short viddeos of him several times over the past 4 or 5 months.

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I'm done here. You can now declare victory and do your end-zone dance.
That's what libertarians online do best.

You really have a serious comprehension problem. Please read this sentence, all five times please:

I AM NOT A LIBERTARIAN.
I AM NOT A LIBERTARIAN.
I AM NOT A LIBERTARIAN.
I AM NOT A LIBERTARIAN.
I AM NOT A LIBERTARIAN.

Look, I get that you have a ton of practice debating Libertarians, and I get that you wish that I were a Libertarian, because you probably do win those debates you’ve had with Libertarians, because I, like you, find their intellect wanting, especially their understanding of systemic processes and infrastructure dependencies, which is rather limited and flawed, but... I. AM. NOT. A. LIBERTARIAN. Got it?

And yet again, it is you who have it backward. Socialists are the ones who keep moving the goal posts, overly focus on names, put words in people's mouths, and then declare victory and move on. Anyone who reviews your comments will see that this is exactly what you have done.

You wrote:

Socialist governments that AREN'T totalitarian.
In fact, there are whole branches of socialism that oppose centralized government altogether.

I think you are deluding yourself with this comment. Ask yourself, in a Socialist government, "Who makes the decision about what to produce, and how to produce, and when to produce, how much to produce?" Whatever answer you give, no matter how varied or nuanced, the answer that you will NEVER give, is the individual, which means that you are denying the individual the right of free enterprise, free choice. Socialism requires each and every individual to a relinquish their freedom to the community. Even if it is not a "national" government, and only a "regional" government, it is still the "governing body" that is making the decisions based upon a consensus, which will require all members of that community to submit to the will of the consensus. Another word for this is "mob rule". And, while this government in the early stages may appear humane and it may be portrayed as "democratic" but in the end, eventually, once the resources become scarce, the governing body will be forced to resort to military totalitarian rule in order to impose the community's rules upon any and all individuals who challenge those rules, which is exactly the sort of horrors we are seeing in Venezuela.

And no, this is not any sort of "dogma" I am speaking, this is merely the logical progression of what a "socialized" governing body will eventually be forced to resort to once resources become scarce and basic necessities became limited. Socialism is good at providing services and goods in the early stages, but any system that represses free enterprise, also suppresses innovation in the same breath, and this is why socialism will never solve the world's problems. This is why the USSR failed. This is why Venezuela is failing. This is why Communist China has so many massive internal problems which they are forced to hide and lie about. Socialism just doesn't work.

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@The Liberal Badger

Prior to NAFTA, Canada was doing well, with government often making a good appearance of working for the public interest and the various provinces publicly owning their own essential services, which were tasked with providing the best possible public services at the best possible price and did a pretty darned good job, overall, at least where I and various relatives were.

So, yeah, a degree of Democratic Socialism (we could have used more) worked very well in that rarely mentioned country next door to America - until, as stated, NAFTA and 'harmonization' and the starvation of programs toward 'privatization' of what we paid for, own, and are still paying for in tax collected, began.

Now Canadian government is essentially being micro-managed by the same sort of Koch, et al, Psychopaths That Be as have long been controlling/buying up American government, and has been deteriorating rapidly as a result.

Democratic government, of, by and for the people, working for the public interest, is the best and most sustainable all-round route I can personally imagine, even in the flawed state we previously had here, in an overall decent, free and caring society, where public concern over anyone 'falling through' the safety net was an issue of concern in local newspapers and among citizens.

The corporations and billionaires - the destructive self-interests interfering in/buying up public policy to act against the public interest, (which includes the protection of other planetary life forming our interdependent and irreplaceable self-sustaining life-support system) - are the problem, not the solution.

And I've lived in varieties of both to watch the horrendous damages done so far. Sickening, in all senses of the term.

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Thank you for articulating succinctly your argument, rather than focusing on the often misleading semantics of names:

I am convinced that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. Wherein "community" would be at the national level for the most general goods and services. Wherein "services" refer to transportation, power distribution, and water supplies. I do not care what term may be attached to my "philosophy" as long as you don't assume to know me better than you actually do, et cetera, as we spiral into the abyss.

I respectfully disagree, rather emphatically. Here's the inherent flaw I find in that approach:

Who decides within the community, (1) what to produce? (2) when to produce? (3) how to produce? (4) how much to produce? (5) who should be doing the producing of what? And just because a group of people decide that XYZ goods and services should be produced and that it should cost XYZ amount, what does not magically make it possible.

This is the nightmare we are seeing Venezuela.

In your fantasy, the consensus will magically be able to legislate solutions to all problems, but unfortunately, that's not how the real world works. When you deny the individual their right to free enterprise, you also in the same breath, provide them with no incentive to innovate, in fact, you often actually provide them with an incentive to simply conform to the status quo, which is what bureaucracies do, because why should a person take a chance and put their reputation behind an innovation when their reputation will be hurt if the innovation fails, so they have nothing to gain by innovating and their reputation to loose if they fail.

I posed these identical questions to my teacher and he could not respond. I have posed these identical questions to half a dozen socialists over the past 2 years and not one has been able to respond with anything of substance.

Socialism only works in people's fantasy world, and it is sold as "humane" by people who claim that capitalism is "inhumane" or harsh, but the world is harsh. Nature is harsh. Life is harsh. Even animals in the wild will defend their territory, and socialism wants to deny personal property, but that's just not how the world works.

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