November 24, 2015

Going beyond Bernie Sanders: Defending corporate socialism

Bernie Sanders' speech last Thursday about democratic socialism was very good in many ways. (Here's my take.)

However, part of it was, well, sad.

And, that is that even Bernie Sanders feels the need to run away from the issue of corporate socialism. And why?

Arguably, before 1971 and its partial privatization into the U.S. Postal Service, the old U.S. Post Office was corporate socialism. I've argued, not on this blog but in actual newspaper columns for my paid day job that we ought to go back to that, in fact. I say that in part because the old Post Office worked better than today's Postal Service.

I have also argued that, for cost control if nothing else, we need to go beyond single-payer national health care, whether Sanders' "Medicare for All" or whatever, to a British National Health System. That is, we need to start nationalizing portions of the actual health care services, i.e., doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics, etc.

Certainly, to this day, reddish-state North Dakota's Bank of North Dakota is corporate socialism at its finest. Seven American Indian tribes, considered "nations" for some legal purposes by the government of these United States, also own or control banks. And, Bernie supports postal banks today, and they're kind of like the Bank of North Dakota, which offers limited services as compared to a commercial bank.

Bernie himself has railed against Great Recession bailouts of "too big to fail" banks. Don't know about him, but at the start of the Great Recession, I favored Dear Leader following Sweden's 1990s model and nationalizing some of them. That's corporate socialism. (As with Sweden, I was OK with eventually selling them again.)

And, a younger, 30something Sanders ran for senator and governor on the platform of the Liberty Union Party, with its platform — and his own personal one — favoring nationalizing banks and more. (Click that link; it's a good piece by John Judis.)

So, per the LUP's snarking on Bernie, which hasn't been updated in years, it's kind of sad. It's also kind of sad that he's considered as "radical" by a fair chunk of Democrats as well as about all Republicans, at least elected ones.

Because he's not. Would that he were.

Per my stance on wanting a National Health Service, I don't call myself a corporate socialist, actually. Corporate socialism is not something I generally desire, or actively push. It's more that at times it may be a "necessary evil." But, when it is, I'm ready to see it used, and I'm not afraid of talking about using it.

Or, Sanders, beyond welfare-state socialism, could promote more worker ownership of industries, which does have bits of traction here in the U.S., per Vox. Consumer-owned or controlled co-ops are yet another way to skin this issue. Outdoors equipment company REI is the largest in the US.

1 comment:

paintedjaguar said...

REI isn't what it used to be. Back in the early 90's there was some sort of internal corporate takeover and they went from being a real consumer oriented co-op to being just like every other upscale, marketing based, profit driven corp. Their one text-heavy comprehensive catalog became multiple glossy advertising brochures, their prices jumped and their old main store in a Seattle warehouse district was replaced by a brand new multi-million glass and wood yuppie palace.

Some big HMO's and mutual insurance companies went through the same sort of transformation back then, riding the Clintonism wave, which itself was just Reaganism settling in for the long haul. I don't know if this was aided by some change in laws and regulation or if it was just the end result of a couple of decades of successful propaganda.