Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Some in the Republican Party are trying to re-dub the Democratic Party as the Democrat Socialist Party.
Nothing like getting out the old encrusted red paintbrush.
But I hope some Democrats don’t run from this label.
Running doesn’t get you anywhere.
Democrats have been running from the label “liberal” since the days of Michael Dukakis, and that hasn’t helped them.
And for those who, like me, are actually Democratic Socialists, it’s time to come out and say so.
Democratic socialism has brought a much better quality of life to the people in Scandinavia and France and Germany and Britain, and it has not erased one iota of the political freedoms we cherish in this country.
We need to move this country in the direction of democratic socialism.
We need a much sturdier social safety net.
It’s a sin that in this country, 35 million people do not have enough food to eat during at least part of the year.
It’s a sin that 47 million Americans are without health insurance.
It’s a sin that of the top 18 industrialized countries, the United States ranks last in the percentage of children (11.8 percent) who are not likely to live to age 60, and last in the percentage of people (17 percent) living on less than 50% of the national median income, according to the United Nations Development Program.
We need a much more egalitarian distribution of wealth and income.
The top 1 percent of Americans hoards 34.3 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 10 percent accounts for 71.2 percent of the wealth.
As far as income goes, the top 10% sops up 42.5 percent of the nation’s income.
(These stats are from the State of Working America, 2008/2009.)
We need much more control over the economic giants that dominate not only our economy but our political system.
Hell, it was just a few days ago when Dick Durbin said, “The banks own the place,” after Congress after ten Democrats joined the Republicans in voting against letting judges write down the mortgages of people in bankruptcy court.
And the people want universal health care, but the drug companies and insurance companies have been standing in the way for decades.
Right now, capitalism is eating away at our democracy.
So, thank you, Republicans, we do need democratic socialism.