The resurgence of Socialism: Valuable or Vile?

A recent poll has highlighted how the youth and young adults are significantly more supportive of socialism than their older counterparts. This feeling, compounded by the rise of two pro-socialist candidates in the UK and US leads me to believe socialism is making a comeback of sorts. How long this trend will last is another question, but whether the current situation is a good one is up for discussion. I’ll be talking about Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, who are running for the Democratic and Labour Party nominations respectively.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders, a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist, is the longest serving independent member of Congress ever. He has campaigned for over 40 years against American foreign intervention and income inequality. Polls have Sanders gaining on Clinton, and while many still view him as an underdog, he is making his presence known. He supports a top tax rate in excess of 50%, with an increase in corporate tax too. No other candidate has gone so far as to support a tax increase this high, and his resolute opposition to the TPP trade agreement only serves to embellish him as a man of principle rather than pandering to corporate interest.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participates in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 29, 2015.  Sanders will announce his plans to seek the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday, presenting a liberal challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a
Sanders has vociferously supported a $15 minimum wage, which is more than double the nationwide $7.25. Talk about revolutionary.

Sanders, along with Senator Barbara Boxer of California, tried to pass legislation back in 2013 which would tax methane and carbon emissions and rebate 60% of that revenue to citizens. The legislation was not passed but this shows that along with Sanders’ clear economic agenda, he has also proven to be equally clear and vocal on preserving the environment. His website states

“We must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels, and towards energy efficiency and sustainability. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, and we need to greatly accelerate technological progress in wind and solar power generation.”

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn, a staunch supporter of socialism and someone who has also debated its merits publicly, has been an MP for Islington North for over 30 years. He has not been afraid to deviate from what his party tells him to do, having rebelled over 500 times, most recently voting ‘No’ to the Tory Welfare Reform bill. His bold stances have not gone unnoticed, with Unite, Britains largest trade union endorsing him.

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Jeremy Corbyn has consistently opposed the introduction of university fees and their subsequent increases. He eventually hopes for university tuition to be free.

While Corbyn was initially seen as a token candidate for the hard left of the party, many polls now have him set to win the leadership election. The prospect of Jeremy Corbyn leading Labour is no longer a far fetched one. Like Sanders, he is also opposed by the ‘establishment’ with former Labour leader Tony Blair telling those who wanted to vote for Corbyn to have a transplant.

On Corbyn, Owen Jones points out what I think really makes me support this new wave of progressivism. The youth are no longer disillusioned; there’s a mass mobilisation of them in opposition to austerity. In this article he goes on to write that:

“His policies align with their progressive values. He is focused on the long-term issues that will stretch to the end of our generation and beyond. He is proactive in his efforts for peace in the Middle East, and stopping the replacement of Trident. He wants to immediately tackle climate change, and create more equal opportunities through education, and the cutting of tuition fees. He focuses on people and their needs.”

By no means do I agree with everything these two are saying; it would be scary if I did. But I think the rise of these two figures re-ignites a debate which is worth having, and this can be seen through the enthusiasm with which the young are supporting these candidates. Some would say you need only to look at the Nordic Model’s successful welfare state to see an example of successful socialist policies.

The special relationship between the UK and the US could, and most likely would stand the test of time but would be absolutely redefined under the leadership of these two people.

Do you think that Socialism is the way forward or a failed project altogether? Drop a comment below.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Robin Hume says:

    Socialism is the way forward. Real socialism, not state managed capitalism. It doesn’t seem coincidental to me that over the last few years capitailsm seems to be failing. Bailing out the banks, growing inequality….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PoliticsNow says:

      When the moderate part of the political spectrum begins to stagnate the economy and fail to satisfy its people, citizens look to extremities on the political scale – the far right and far left. This has been proven, the rise of Nazism following the 1929 wall street crash which significantly stagnated the German economy. The rise of Maoism in China when the warlords and moderate nationalists failed to provide prosperity. When Titiosim in the former Yugoslavia offered an alternative to the failing moderate parties who couldn’t unite the region. Furthered by the rise of Stalinism. The problem is all these extremist run nations fell before the current generation, a generation who dont generally dont read and make no effort to understand the past. The pattern will thus continue, people will turn to the far right and left. Is this good? Can either the far right or left offer and provide prosperity? I believe yes, however under certain conditions… Such conditions rely on un-corrupt leaders. Thus are difficult to come by… Corbyn good for Labour? Yes. Good for Britain? Maybe not… Sanders good for US? I believe not, its citizens operate under a different mindset to him…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just what we need,more radicals. smdh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don Royster says:

    Maybe a little socialism is what Greece needs. Capitalism sure ain’t working for them. I am wondering why communism has not made a comeback in Greece?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Van Coulter says:

    An economy for the common good is required to replace selfish, predatory capitalism. I recommend Felber’s five fundamental values: (1) human dignity, (2) co-operation and solidarity, (3) ecological sustainability, (4) social justice and (5) democratic co-determination and transparency. If that translates to socialism, so be it.

    Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robert Chapman says:

    Francois Hollande is the Socialist President of France.

    I don’t see the distinction between his Socialist policies and Angelika Merkel’s, a Christian Democrat, on many European issues.

    With ongoing French military in Africa and the Levant, I find it hard to view Socialism as being so different than neo-conservatism.

    Bernie Sanders is even worse. As the Mayor of Burlington and as a grass roots organizer before that, Bernie was EFFECTIVE in speaking out and advocating for the low income and disempowered people in Vermont and elsewhere.

    However, Bernie seems to have decided that keeping cushy Washington jobs is more important than advocating on behalf of the people and during his 22 years in Washington has advocated for extreme positions which curry favor with his constituents, but which have negligible effect in Washington or elsewhere.

    Bernie is the ultimate sell-out and a huge phoney.

    Given these two examples: President Hollande of France and Senator Bernie Sanders here in America, I would have to say that Socialism has become the opiate of the masses.

    Like

    1. How is he a sell out? He’s not taking any corporate donations, and has the backing of most unions.

      Like

    2. Temp says:

      Being the opiate of the masses implies being something which soothes real social ills, but also masks symptoms and keeps people from being as rightfully upset as they should be.

      In politicians, that would be a pretty clearly positive trait.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They already mask things, no doubt.

        Like

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