In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, have you found yourself–long a liberal, perhaps you even called yourself “progressive”–wondering why the Democratic establishment has failed us so many times over?
Were you disappointed when Bernie Sanders promised to work with Trump? When President Obama and Secretary Clinton asked us to “give him a chance?” When they kept letting opportunities to stand up against Trump’s cabinet picks, executive orders and blatant, dangerous lies fly past them?
Because I was too. I was a longtime progressive liberal, and while I found myself regularly frustrated with the Democrats, I didn’t feel I had a better option. After all, you move at all to the right of the Democrats and you start getting real racist, real fast. And what was to the left? Jill Stein? Like, no thank you.
Well Bernie Sanders did something ridiculous and wonderful when he campaigned for President, and that was bring socialism back to the mainstream. He identifies himself unabashedly as a socialist, and while he still ran within the Democratic party, this alone was a ballsy move.
And the fact that he got such an enormous following says a lot about the state of the people right now, especially young people. Which is more or less where I was at.
I found myself disillusioned with the Democratic party, frustrated by their weak-ass response to Trump, and motivated to explore more deeply the possibilities to the left. And it turns out, there are some truly viable options that I had never really considered, largely because the propaganda I was fed in school was still very Cold War-reminiscent and associated anything to the left of the Democrats with freaking Stalin and Castro. Which, just…no.
I also became determined after Trump was elected to do more with my activism; I decided that writing was no longer enough and that I needed to get myself out there and fight. So, in the weeks following the inauguration, I did something pretty wild. I joined a socialist organization.
And my disillusionment has only continued as I learn more and more, and so many things I always found confusing or depressing about our system are starting to make more sense.
So I’d like to share some reasons you should follow the same path I did: ditch the Democratic establishment and rediscover your politics as a socialist!
25 Reasons You Should Stop Being a Democrat & Start Being a Socialist
- The Democratic party is still imperialistic and violent.
- Democrats still believe in borders, walls and “illegal” immigrants.
- Barack Obama is a nice guy, but he’s no hero either–he deported more people than any other president before him, continued an imperialist war in the Middle East, and continued to support the state of Israel, a settler-colonialist apartheid state.
- Democrats can still be (and are) bought by Wall Street, big oil, big agriculture, big pharma, and so on–meaning they’re not really voting in favor of their constituents either.
- Democrats are unabashedly pro-capitalism.
- Democrats often co-opt actual movements, watering them down and feeding back crumbs of what was initially demanded (the civil rights and womens liberation movements are good examples of this, as is the labor movement of the 1930s).
- The Hyde amendment–which bars federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother–has to be re-approved every year, and has been re-approved every year, whether it was Democrats or Republicans in office.
- Many people–liberals and progressives and socialists and other leftists–vote for Democrats only because they are the “lesser of two evils.”
- Capitalism–again, embraced across both parties–is so pervasive and dominant in our lives and our culture that most of us have just never honestly considered an alternative.
- Socialism can mean a broad range of things, but at its core, it just means “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
- Unions, historically our main method of organizing as working people and asserting our rights, are at an all-time low with membership in 2016 at 10.7%.
- Some Democrats have made a big show out of opposing income inequality, but as a whole, they are nearly as corrupt as the Republicans.
- Capitalism–which again, the Democrats support–is a big motivator for the powers that be to continue to allow racism, sexism, ableism, and all the other -isms that affect society to continue to divide and stratify us.
- We don’t currently live in an actual democracy. We’re barely even what’s called a “representative democracy.” We make a show of “by the people, for the people,” but even 20 minutes delving into the actual process of government casts some serious shade on that romantic lie.
- Cold War-era propaganda has colored socialism and communism with a very misguided and untruthful brush in most Americans’ eyes.
- We have a very strong history of socialist movements in this country–we just don’t learn about them.
- Why do so many of us live in poverty–and most of the rest of us barely above it–in the richest nation in the world, and when it is our labor that produces all that wealth?
- Real change doesn’t come from the top down–from a powerful elected official or one leader of a movement–but from the bottom up. Change happens when the masses make it happen.
- In a socialist society, people would all have what they needed. There would be no homelessness, no hunger, no unemployment. Art could flourish. We would not need to keep working if there was overproduction (which there regularly is under capitalism); this would instead be cause for rest and celebration.
- Under socialism, surpluses would not go to the already-wealthy few (*cough* CEO bonuses in the billions) but could be allocated in ways that would really benefit people.
- We could have a true democracy; where everyone has a right to not only vote–and have their vote count for something–but to be heard; where being elite is not what gives you a platform.
- This would do wonders for improving our issues with racism, sexism, homophobia and so on, as we’d live in a society with equal representation as well as no built-in structural incentive to pit people against each other on these sorts of bases. Whatever amount of these -isms is natural (I imagine not nearly as much as we think, actually) could be more easily controlled and we’d have no reason to pretend they weren’t a problem.
- Socialism is more possible than it’s ever been, with technological advances, mass food production, and easy travel and connection. Socialism would be possible–and, indeed, far better–on an international scale. We could truly feed, clothe, house, and care for every human being on this planet.
- Socialism would be a far better system for caring for the planet itself. While capitalists stand to benefit from destroying the earth for profit in the here and now, under socialism there would be no benefit at all to this and in fact it would be in the best interests of the masses to do everything possible to curb the effects of global climate change.
- Last but not least, socialism is just more fair, more kind, more empathic, more moral, and–in my opinion–more human. Why would we not want to live in a world where everyone could reasonably expect to live well, instead of where only a few live like kings while the poorest among us starve, freeze, or are killed in a war for more profit?
Basically what it comes down to is this: the Democrats are absolutely the significantly lesser of two evils. But we live in a severely broken system, and it can’t be truly fixed through slight corrections within the Democratic party. Instead, we need to build a people’s movement to replace it with a better system; make change from the ground up; get at the real root of the issue.
And from where I stand, socialism is our best bet.
What do you think? Share your thoughts on socialism, capitalism, the Democrats, or whatever else this article sparked in you in the comments below!
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