What would an Electable Socialist Party 'look like' in th USA & the UK ?

Discussion in 'Socialism' started by Summerhill, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Summerhill

    Summerhill Member

    Though the UK was never a fully socialist country,elements of socialism were significant in its development until the late 70s. Since then the ideology has become disowned, even by the so-called Labour Party.

    In the US Socialism has had its moments but it is often confused with totalitarianism,or at the least,Big Government & as a threat to individuality.

    Accepting that Socialist Partys in the UK & US respectively would need to have differing strategies,to each reflect their cultures, how would each Party look ? What would be its aims (to be feasibly Electable) ? How would the Partys get around the the typical (but sometimes very reasonable) critisisms of Socialism. How far to the Left could your Party feasibly be yet remain electable,what lessons have we learned & what will be the challenges in the 21st Century for Socialism ?

    NB . This thread is intended to provoke creative thought & discussion about Democratic Socialism. Posters who adovcate violent Revolution, Hate the Left anyways,Conspiracy Theorists,Secret World Government believers & "Whats the point" Pessimists are respectfully asked to express their beliefs elsewhere.
  2. pensfan13

    pensfan13 Senior Member


    cant speak for the uk though
  3. Fairlight

    Fairlight Banned

    Obama isn't a socialist.You Americans have a very dim view of real socialism.
  4. RIPTIDE59

    RIPTIDE59 Banned

    Obama believes in guvmint control of the means of production . That my young euro is socialism ; it will rot away your continent. Possibily ours as well.
  5. Summerhill

    Summerhill Member

    In the UK 'our' (as once was) Labour Party has been moving steadily to the right since Thatcher. Seeing Miliband make false accusations against a Trade Union,refusing to publish its investigative report,reinstating the members whom were suspended while denying them an apology,is ,for me the last straw.

    I,for one, have no viable alternative party to vote for. Last few elections I havent bothered. Theres too little remaining now to separate Labour from the Tories. Our NHS is at the mercy of the Right,the agenda being ever more creeping privatisation. What remains of Welfare provision that was once the envy of the civilised world,is at very real risk.

    I was a Labour party member for many years,from a family loyal to its cause for generations. We need a truely socialist alternative to the Labour/Liberal/Conservative squabble for the centre ground, to reign in capitalism & to protect our people from its excesses.
  6. odonII

    odonII O

    I thought you didn't want conspiracy theories/pessimism...
  7. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    I think anyone that bothers to put a little thought into the future will see that either capitalism and the BIG-BIG capitalists will continue to use resources, and continue to convince people to buy products made from those diminishing resources, until there's almost none left, except for themselves. They will then retreat to their armed enclaves around the world and the rest of humanity will begin the Mad max scene. Either that or humanity will pull together for a reasonable socialistic world where equality of law, equatable and reasonable methods to balance the lives of humans with the now almost forgotten balance of nature, including how food is or is not distributed, including greater respect for the land, determining that shelter should in fact be available to all peoples, education for all who want it at no charge, purpose being to mine the uncounted lost ideas and theories that never come to fruition. It's a huge leap to even think humanity can get to such a place--conservatism trumps everything, even trying to think that something differant should happen and would be better in the long term. It's a rough way to go, trying to make people here think that any other way than how we've been conducting ourselves, is not going to work for the future. Look how unions have been treated the last 50 years here and that'll tell you how socialism would be treated , if proposed seriously on the national political stage. I don't think socialism will ever happen here. We can't even get a single pay medical system--they just had to keep the insurance companies in business.
  8. Summerhill

    Summerhill Member

    One of the most obvious lessons from all of the idealistic movements of the 20th Century,seems to me, is that purity of dogma,be it Marxism,Neo Lideralism or whatever,ignor or discount essential aspects of human nature that are ultimately their undoing. Marxism,to my mind,has always seemed an incomplete,unfinished, theory. Even the essentially simple, ancient & highly adaptable concept of Democracy alienates some. Understanding the reasons for these objections is important.

    Many of us are opposed to the inherent chaos of free market Capitalism,the endless cycle of Boom & Bust,the disruptive switching of markets,the cruelty of exploitation of human beings & the environment for the benefit of the few. 20th Century Socialist purists response was to reverse that polarisation,to outlaw individuality,criminalise free enterprise,adopt uniformity & Monolithic burocracies that smothered inituative & freedom of thought.
    The bits of human nature that did not fit in with either theory became "subversive".

    I believe that the social,economic & evironmental challenges before us demand a careful,considered & compassionate approach to finding solutions. The political method best suited to the task is,I believe,the Socialist model. Thats not to say that socialists have any inherent claim to the moral high ground but with its emphasis on planning & unity,considering the needs of all ,rather than the few,socialism has the more pragmatic claim to be in the interests of the many.

    The challenge for a New Socailism in the 21st Century is to see the importance of Individuality,inventiveness & human natures necessity for self expression and creativity,to not be threatend by it but to value these attributes as essential to the common good. Socialisms inability to do this has & will always be its downfall untill the circle is squared. Its making room for human nature within the ideology that,I believe, would return Socialisms validity as a contender to what we have today!

    Given the above,and alongside it, I would see all the essential services,the National Health Service,Public Transport, Water & Energy provisions in the UK,fully nationalised into Public Ownership (as once was) & administered for the needs of the people & the Planet as the guilding principle. The issues of responsible,sustainable, consumerism would be given greater importance than we see today.

    But the key to any credable,viable, truely people centred socialism,is popular participation,Democracy. Not another clique 'intelligencia' of purists.
  9. Duck

    Duck quack. Lifetime Supporter

    It wouldn't be able to call itself Socialism - and it would have to have direct opposition to the opposing party(ies)/current sociopolitical infrastructure.
    It would only be possible under the right social conditions.

    Unless the right celebrities were endorsing it...
  10. Summerhill

    Summerhill Member

    I would see it as very much opposed. It is not an attempt to compromise with the 'old' parties or its system. It is an attempt at genuine leftist socialism that is not limited by dogma. Socialism is largely a theory based in economics,redistributing wealth via popular control of the means of production,which is fine as far as it goes.

    Human behavior & potential is much broader than that,you may agree? I'm not claiming to have the answers,the thread is as much about asking the question ,how can Socialism be viable in the 21st Century?
  11. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake resigned HipForums Supporter

    Trouble is they, I mean the capitalists, own the media.

    Back in the day I too was a Labour supporter and a TGWU member.
    These days I have no trust at all in Lab. They have gone too far from any left leaning policies. But I think they had no choice as they would not have been elected on a socialist ticket back in the nineties.
    Even less likely they would now. You can imagine the Daily Mail if ever socialist policies were on the table again.

    Going back to the seventies, I think what happened was that the unions were infiltrated by extremeists, whose goal was to bring down the capitalist system. They didnt really co operate with labour when they were in power but just kept pushing.
    Thatchers sale of council houses was abig bribe to the old working class, which she and her govt. were soon to destroy.

    Marxism, despite limitations, is good as a critical theory. The trouble is, that is where it ends. Marx says very little about what a socialist system would be like.
    The whole soviet thing with the spectre of totalitarianism can now be used by the right to scare people away from any kind of socialism.

    Id like a moderate form of socialism, where you could still have small businesses, but take control of the big corporations.
    In the UK we should get rid of private education once and for all, and ditto the royals.
    One of the troubles with labour under Wilson was that they left the old right wing establishment alone, in tact, and ready to re emerge under Mrs.T.

    In America, the closest they ever got to socialism was under Rossevelts New Deal I think.
  12. pensfan13

    pensfan13 Senior Member

    what is the incentive of inventing things under socialism?
  13. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    For the good of humankind. Oh--sorry. Fuck that. What was I thinking.
  14. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake resigned HipForums Supporter

    Depends on the kind of socialism you mean. During the UKs socialist years, inventors could make money from their work. Many did.
    Also there is prestige in inventing something useful.
  15. pensfan13

    pensfan13 Senior Member

    Im sure there are people out there that would be happy with the prestige...maybe even one who would take it over money.
  16. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake resigned HipForums Supporter

    Its only fair that someone who invents something which benefits many others should get some recognition.
    Theres something behind such fame, unlike too many of the phoney celebrities we are bombarded with these days.
  17. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Register-Guard, Eugene Oregon. Sept.11th,2013.


    The gulf between the richest 1% and the rest of america is the widest its been since the roaring 20s.

    The very wealthiest americans earned more than 19%of the country's household income last year--their biggest share since 1928, the year before the stock market crash. And the top 10 % of earners captured a record 48.2 % of total earnings last year.

    US income inequality has been growing for almost three decades. And it grew again last year, according to an analysis of internal revenue figures dating back to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.

    In 2012, the incomes of the top 1% rose nearly 20% compared with a 1% increase for the remaining 99%.

    (By me)= it goes in in the same vein and is this not a perfect example of why this system is not working and is becoming more and more inequitable by the day??
  18. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter


    Economists point to several reasons for widening income equality. In some industries, US workers now compete with low wage labor in China and other developing countries(me=hello ,new world order) Clerical and call-center jobs have been outsourced to countries like the Philippines and India. (Me=those are certainly not the only jobs outsourced).

    Increasingly, technology is replacing workers in performing routine tasks.

    AND UNION POWER HAS DIMINISHED. (me=the last is the most important I believe. There has been a concerted effort by the right in this country to rid themselves of pesky workers trying to gain or at least maintain some kind of a wage that enables them to survive. It continues.)
  19. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake resigned HipForums Supporter

    Very much the same in the UK.
  20. Summerhill

    Summerhill Member

    I doubt if we'd ever have the media on our side & for the reasons you give there'd be a great deal of flak from the other Parties. In the face of massive capitalist opporsition the Labour movement has lost its nerve before & my guess is that in todays consumer society challenging the status quo would be tougher than ever. Thatchers real achievement was in succesfully tempting the working class (as was) to become house owners. Working people switched from being chalengers of the system to become investors in it !

    So much of what was the British Socialist tradition has been eroded but thats not ,necessarily ,entirely all bad. I was one of those extremists you refer to in the 70s & I think that we got it completely wrong. Its essential to understand our mistakes,accept the realities & adapt. Capitalism & individualism are not ,in themselves,the enemy. The challenges that face us now are not limited to class war,haves vs have nots, dwindling resources & Environmental threat have moved the need to control but also to harness enterprise, to a whole new level.

    What Ive suggested in previous posts is that a new socialism,for the 21st century,is not anti-capitalist as such but accepts that individualism & enterprise is an undeniable,desirable,part of human nature-a resource we are going to need. That Capitalism,like socialism ,has its advantages & that the two can coexist. I'm as in favour of the public ownership of essential services as ever I was,in the socialist tradition.

    Both Capitalism & Socialism are equally vunerable to corruption. Neither is inherently 'better' than the other. Between the the polarities of competition & cooperation lies the span of human nature. To survive the future,I speculate, we need a system ,not biased in simplistic Dogma, but able to manage our progress in everyones interests insofar as the limitations of the planet allow.

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