Is ‘Democratic Socialism’ a Cover for Communism?

June 10, 2019 Updated: June 10, 2019

Commentary

Last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) claimed to oppose Soviet “authoritarian communism” and to support “democratic socialism.”

Yet, according to Bishop E.W. Jackson, chairman of the new group Stand Against Communism, “Socialism and communism are exactly the same, and we will not allow euphemisms to lull us to sleep.”

Who is right?

A set of experts assembled May 20 argued that America needs to beware of both.

They dedicated themselves to pushing back against the increasing prevalence in America of an ideology implicated in the extermination of an estimated 94,351,000 human lives, as of 1999

The Soviet Union

Likewise, at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire, an attendee told Sanders that her father’s family had escaped the Soviet Union in 1979, “fleeing from some of the very socialist policies that you seem eager to implement in this country.”

Sanders, however, attempted to distinguish Moscow’s murderous Marxism from his version of democratic socialism.

He began by arguing: “Is it your assumption that I supported or believe in authoritarian communism that existed in the Soviet Union? I don’t. I never have, and I opposed it. I believe in a vigorous democracy.”

That might come as a surprise to those with whom he “honeymooned” in the USSR in 1988, a trip on which he sang “This Land Is Your Land” to his Russian hosts while shirtless after relaxing in a sauna.

Cuba

Sanders’s stance might also come as a surprise to those who fled communist Cuba, given that Sanders also once claimed Cubans hadn’t risen up against the repressive regime because totalitarian dictator Fidel Castro had “educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed the society.”

At the Stand Against Communism event, one of those who escaped Cuba, Nelson Velez, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Federation, observed, “I have a real, intimate, undying, abiding love for this country,” but has noticed, “people who come here legally from Communist countries are more adept to understanding freedom than the people who are native-born to this country.”

For instance, Velez recounted stories he heard in his youth of how prosperous and beautiful the country had been.

Yet Marxist revolutionary Fidel Castro had persuaded his countrymen to sacrifice it all.

How? Velez asked.

Castro “talk[ed] about hope and change” without specifics, opposed corruption, claimed to hate communism, dictatorships, and divisive class warfare, and claimed to “love” the Church and God.

“The reason he was successful,” Velez argued, “was because he lied. And the reason that the lies were successful was [that] he presented this to the American media, and the American media laundered … the fact that he was surrounded by communist infiltrators and his own violent past.”

Because of that, said Velez, both Castro and his brother Raul, now head of state, “have said over and over again publicly that without the American press they would not be able to … win the revolution.”

Venezuela

Sanders’s sidestep might also surprise the 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled the Bolivarian Bolsheviks, whose iron grip on their country continues to hold, given that Sanders listed Nicolas Maduro’s totalitarian state among places “the American dream is more apt to be realized” than America, given that “incomes are actually more equal” there.

The problem, of course, is that some incomes are more equal than others.

In fact, not so long ago, Sanders defended bread lines in Latin America, saying: “Bread lines are a good thing. In a lot of countries, the rich get food and the poor starve to death.”

True—in countries like the Soviet Union, which deliberately starved millions in Ukraine. Like China, which starved tens of millions during its Great Leap Forward. And like Venezuela, where the average citizen reported losing about 25 pounds in 2017.

So, as a counterpoint, “ask people now who are leaving Venezuela how they feel about socialism, how they feel about Communism,” said Velez, reminding the audience that U.S. actor Sean Penn had once come to visit Hugo Chavez, the nation’s late Marxist dictator, who was democratically elected—“a socialist Democrat.”

Yet in 2012, Velez said, the “free people” of Venezuela were “disarmed, and now they’re being run over by tanks.”

Nordic Countries 

Sanders has argued separately that “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn what they have accomplished for their working people.”

Let’s do so.

Denmark’s prime minister, in response to Americans referring to Denmark as an example of socialism’s success, has said: “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

The Economist labels Scandanavians “stout free-traders who resist the temptation to intervene even to protect iconic companies.”

Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands are all in the top 10 most globalized countries in the world, and Norway is in the top 20. According to the World Bank, Denmark and Norway are in the top 10 countries in the world in “Ease of Doing Business,” and Sweden and Finland are in the top 20.

Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have no nationally mandated minimum wages at all.

Sweden even adopted a universal school choice system in the 1990s, including for-profit schools, and it has worked.

Perhaps Sanders should look to these countries to learn what they have accomplished for their working people: Stay far away from a socialist planned economy and instead remain a market economy; preserve the benefits of free trade and refuse to intervene to save even the best-connected companies; maintain a globalized and interconnected economy; maximize ease of doing business; eliminate minimum wages; and adopt universal school choice nationwide, including for-profit schools.

Sign me up for socialism.

America

Seriously, though, does anyone really think democratic socialism in America might collapse into authoritarian communism? Come on.

Diana West, author of “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character,suggests Americans have never truly faced socialism’s evil, “in part because of the great success of the Communist infiltration of American institutions of power and influence,” which “helped establish the bureaucracies of what we call the ‘Deep State’ today.”

This leads to Western “institutional reluctance” to open the past’s Pandora’s box, since “communist crimes depended on Western complicity.”

Delving into those crimes, West reported that experts documenting U.S. federal government officials assisting the Soviets, activities “revved up during” then-President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration in the 1930s and 1940s, now put their number at over 500, towering over the handful of Aldrich Ameses and Rosenbergs of popular recollection, which she called “a national security fiasco of a magnitude that has never entered national comprehension.”

As a voice from inside this crisis, former Trump campaign aide Jerome Corsi, author of “Silent No More: How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller’s ‘Witch Hunt,'” appeared fresh from his persecution at the hands of former special counsel Robert Mueller. For historical context, Corsi contended, after World War II, it had become clear the United States wouldn’t fall to a classic Marxist revolution.

Thus as early as the 1950s, Corsi reported, the Communist Party made an explicit decision that the best way to take power was by co-opting the Democratic Party the CPUSA had long reviled.  For instance, an FBI report on Obama mentor Frank Marshall Davis related, “Members of the subversive element in Honolulu were concentrating their efforts on infiltration of the Democratic Party through control of Precinct Clubs and organizations.”

On April 6, 1950, Davis himself was elected assistant secretary and delegate to the Territorial Democratic Convention later that month. Twenty years later, Marshall became a mentor to the young Barack Obama.

West warned, “There still exists a threat to this republic from the ideology of Marx and Lenin.” She noted that after the USSR’s 1991 collapse, “these ideologies were supposed to be obsolete,” but “the Free World never fully exposed and judged to be evil” the history leading up to that fall—“not on a par with its exposure and judgment of Nazism.”

Something similar has happened to America’s unions since then, said Trevor Loudon, filmmaker on the Red threat and author of “The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists, and Progressives in the U.S. Congress.” He claims that in 1995, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), America’s largest Marxist organization, took over the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor union, under the leadership of John Sweeney.

Progressive Policy Institute’s Joel Kotkin goes further: “Sweeney is an advocate of European-style democratic socialism. He has opened the AFL-CIO to participation by delegates openly linked to the Communist Party, which enthusiastically backed his ascent. The U.S. Communist Party [CPUSA] says it is now ‘in complete accord’ with the AFL-CIO’s program. ‘The radical shift in both leadership and policy is a very positive, even historic change,’ wrote CPUSA National Chairman Gus Hall in 1996 after the AFL-CIO convention.”

The change, according to Loudon, opened the floodgates of left-leaning radicals into an American labor movement long caught in the crossfire between Soviet sympathizers, mafia bosses, and critics of communism.

The AFL-CIO’s 1995 about-face, Loudon said, changed “the face of the Democratic Party beyond belief.” In 1994, only 25 percent of Democrats identified as liberal; by 2018, that figure had more than doubled to 51 percent—a majority for the first time in history, according to Gallup. Even more telling, earlier this year, a survey suggested a soaring 77 percent of Democrats believe America would be “better off” under socialism.

Today, West says, Americans are learning of another such fiasco: “cells inside the U.S. government that have attempted to overturn the 2016 election and destroy the presidency of Donald Trump.” Further, she argued, “the ‘red thread’ of Marxist influence links these two fiascoes into a continuing crisis,” as laid out in her latest work, “The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.”

The Killing Fields?

Just before he died, Cambodian communist despot Pol Pot, who oversaw the annihilation of up to one-quarter of his country’s population—including citizens condemned for wearing glassestold The New York Times: ‘‘I came to carry out the struggle, not to kill people. Even now, and you can look at me: am I a savage person?’’

Pol Pot came to carry out the struggle.

Sanders believes in a vigorous democracy.

The problem with both socialism and communism is their philosophical foundation, which now has nearly 100 million corpses littered around it: It supplants God with the state.

Start there, and prepare for the killing fields.

We must not allow euphemisms to lull us to sleep.

Christopher C. Hull holds a doctorate in government from Georgetown University. He is president of Issue Management Inc., a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at Americans for Intelligence Reform, and author of “Grassroots Rules” (Stanford, 2007).

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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