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Senate Democrats, with Few Exceptions, are a Gang of War-Mongers

Where’s the 'democratic socialist' challenge to militarism?

Anastasia Ocasio-Cortez, the dynamic young Puerto Rican woman who stunned the supposed experts by trouncing a 10-term Democratic House leader, Joseph Crowley, in a Bronx/Queens congressional district primary, is one of the few such avowed socialist Democrats to actually say she wants the US to have a “peace budget,” which one has to assume would mean one with a much smaller military. Yet when asked how she would pay for the programs she advocates, instead of saying, “by drastically cutting military spending,” even she instead talked about fairer tax policies, as though just ending corporate welfare and taxing the rich more would do the trick. She had the opportunity to attack the Pentagon budget, which she knows is where the real money is, but she whiffed.

Why?

When Bernie Sanders is asked how he can expect the US to pay for Medicare for All and free college tuition for anyone who wants to attend public college, he typically points to the Nordic countries which all have both such programs, and also much more lucrative versions of social security that let people retire without taking a hit in their standard of living. But he doesn’t ever point out that the reason those countries can have such progressive socialist-style programs is that unlike the US, they spend only a pittance of their budgets and taxes on their military forces.

If so-called socialists in the Democratic Party cannot openly and with righteous self-assurance make the case for shifting the US away from a permanent war economy to a peace economy and for slashing military spending by, oh let’s say 75% (which would still leave it the biggest spender on arms in the world!) how can we call them socialist? Or democratic? How can we call them progressive for that matter? Just check out the featured article in the current issue of In These Times, a journal founded by a group of Democratic Socialists of America activists. It talks about DSA candidates now running for office, like Ocasio-Cortez, about how the organization has suddenly seen a surge in membership jumping from 6000 in 2015 to almost 50,000 now. But in describing what democratic socialism stands for there's not a word about opposing the US war economy and a decades long imperialist policy of permanent war on a global scale, much less a call for slashing military spending. The silence on that huge issue is staggering and indefensible.



story | by Dr. Radut