All posts tagged: socialism

We can haz society? Taxes, democracy & the Panama Papers

What do you need to know about the Panama Papers? Let’s see, people who are richer than most of us can even imagine have an elaborate system to hide the trillions of dollars that we would need to tax if we wanted to, say, maintain our basic infrastructure (e.g., bridges, schools) and, you know, hopefully keep the whole society thing going for a little while longer. That’s on the macro level. On the micro level, we need to know exactly who each of these selfish hoarders is so that we can shame them and demand their resignation from public office. (Iceland’s Prime Minister has already stepped down… let’s see who’s next.) But the Panama Papers are the tip of the iceberg. What you need to know is that rich people tend to want to pay less taxes. Who can blame them? Well, most of us can blame them, actually. And some wealthy people are perfectly happy to pay their fair share in taxes, as they should. In today’s economy, wealth aggregates in the most arbitrary …

Young Bernie Supporters: We’re Not “Liberal”

When will pollsters stop asking people — especially young people — how “liberal” they are? The Washington Post ran a story yesterday about how the younger voters in Iowa who went overwhelmingly for Sanders were surprisingly less liberal than one might have expected. Indeed, those who went hardest for Sanders weren’t those who considered themselves to be liberal, but “those calling themselves moderates or conservatives.” Among those aged 40 and older, Clinton’s margin against Sanders was largest with moderate and “somewhat liberal” Democrats, while Sanders performed best among the very liberal contingent. But that pattern is erased — or even reversed — among younger Democrats. Clinton lost younger voters by at least 40 percentage points, regardless of their ideological leaning, and the margin was actually largest (58 points) among those calling themselves moderates or conservatives. What’s wrong with this story and also the entrance poll (conducted by Edison Media Research) is that it fails to question the term liberal and what it conjures for young people. I’ll give you a hint: it means something very different …

‘Awkward’ socialists tarnishing the Democratic Party’s big business-loving brand

Today in a Politico article titled “The Socialist Surge” Ben Schreckinger and Jonathan Topaz discuss how uncomfortable it is for the Democratic Party to have a self-identified socialist Presidential candidate—Bernie Sanders—picking up so much steam among the Democratic Party base. The sub-header reads: “The rise of Bernie Sanders is proving awkward for the Democratic Party.” You know what might be even more ‘awkward’ for the Democratic Party than the idea that many of their base voters would vote for an open socialist? How about the reality that most Democratic Party politicians holding national office owe their political careers to their cowering before Wall Street and big business—as the latter wrecked the economy and consolidated their stranglehold over the American political system—all while claiming to represent and fight for the ‘middle class’? Yeah. That’s some serious awkward there. Go, Bernie, go. #Bernie2016

Thank you, Ernesto Laclau

I was sad to learn of Ernesto Laclau’s passing this morning. Laclau’s intellectual contributions to Left social movements were profound and bountiful. He is the author of many books, including Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (co-authored with Chantal Mouffe). He has a new book due out in May: The Rhetorical Foundations of Society. Laclau deeply influenced my own thinking about how subjective political actors (e.g., social movements) frame their political projects in relation to broader political alignments and society; and about the political uses of symbols and ambiguity. We corresponded during the first few months of Occupy Wall Street and then attempted to meet up while he was lecturing in the United States, but it didn’t work out. A few weeks ago, to my delight, he agreed to offer comments on the draft of my book. I was quite eager to read his feedback. In Verso’s write-up today, Robin Blackburn offers an account of Laclau, just last month, “in excellent form leading the company in the singing of revolutionary songs, with special emphasis on those associated …