Friday, February 12, 2010

The Jim Burnett Statement On Social Democracy

There are a lot of people these days who call themselves left radical, socialist, etc.,we are all as those things--but we are different.

1.WE SUPPORT THE AMERICAN LABOR MOVEMENT. We think that working men and women, organized in their trade unions, are the most important force for progressive social change in their overwhelming majority, workers and their leaders and their leaders do not set the stereotypes of moronic and opportunistic know-nothing-ism advanced by their enemies.

2. WE DEFEND ISRAEL. The State of Israel is not a product of "racism" or "imperialism". It is a democratic society. Its labor movement is lead by social democrats. During the first decades of its existence, it was governed by a social democratic labour party. We are unconditional advocates of Israel's right to exist, and that our support does not depend on it being "nice" in order to deserve our defense. But we are not uncritical. We support Israeli Labour in its criticisms of ultra-right and crack-pot religious policies. There must be a resolution of the Palestinian-Christian that grants the legitimate rational aspirations of these people without fatally compromising the legitimate security concerns of the Jewish State.

3. WE OPPOSE COMMUNISM. Communism was a horrible, destructive parody of socialism. For generations, Stalinism existing in Russia, China and elsewhere presented an image of the socialist ideal that had as much to do with that ideal as the Spanish Inquisition had to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ. All through that period, "Communism" was the most dangerous enemy of democracy and free labor in the world. We rejoice in its collapse in most of most of its former domain. However, the idiocy that this collapse represents the vindication of capitalism is just that idiocy.

4. WE WORK WITHIN THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES. The realities of American politics make running independent socialist candidates for public office almost always a gesture in futility. We ally ourselves with the pro-labor forces of the democratic party and work to change that party into a social democratic party.

5) WE REJECT THE MYTH OF THE "MOVEMENT". This refers to the myth that all who oppose the social and political system of the United States are "comrades". Third world dictators.terrorists.and youthful psychopaths are not part of OUR movement.

6. WE REJECT THE MYTH OF "MOVEMENT". This refers to the myth that all who oppose the social and political system of the United States are "comrades". Third World dictators, terrorists, and youthful psychopaths. are not part of OUR movement.

7. WE STAND FOR SOCIAL DEMOCRACY,. We fight for a democratic socialist society, which means not a government-dominated, but a democratic, non-sexist, un-racist, welfare state with a mixed economy in which the people and democratically-responsible representatives will have the last word in setting economic priorities.
Social Democrats USA (SD USA) is the successor to the Socialist Party whose past and present leaders include labor, civil rights, and humanitarian leaders, such as Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, A Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin. We think America needs a stronger voice for our kind of program. We are not for everybody. Maybe we are for you.

The Relevance of Socialism

The conventional wisdom these days is that the collapse of the Soviet empire represents the demise of Socialism. This is ridiculous. We never believed the identification of Stalinist totalitarianism with socialism during all of the decades which proclaimed by both Stalinists and right-wing reactionaries. Why should we believe it now? We should reclaim the socialist ideal-- a just society, a society not based on invidiousness and narrow-minded "individualism". This is not the time for us to become traitors and cowards. The basis of Socialism -- communism in its unfalsifiable sense -- remains as valid, even more valid, than ever. We want and needed a society of collective justice where everyone gets food, shelter, health care, education, and the ability to actualize his or herself. Why not? We're civilized, aren't we? We will win our most valuable support by asserting an ideal, not by ambiguity and misdirected "moderation". We need a cadre before we can aspire to mass influence and few people of character or intelligence have ever been able to get excited about moderation. I want to make a point about symbols. This is hardly something that would be taken up in an official document, but is important socially, I do not think we should give up the word "socialist, the term "comrade", the red flag, or the Internationale. They are symbols of a commitment and a brotherhood and sisterhood that is invaluable. There is no such thing as "only" a symbol. Our era has seen many outstanding champions equity and freedom not the least have been Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxembourg, Julius Martov, Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, Max Shachtaman, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Michael Harrington, and the students of Tienanmen Square. I stand in their tradition.

 Dr.James T. Burnett, Ph.D




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