(Open Letter to New York Times and Prof. Corey Robin)
Dr. Valdemar Malin
God created Paradise as the promised land of economic equality, free stuff and freedom for all.
Everyone was Equal there (and, therefore, was naked and barefooted); and everyone owned everything (had nothing, but a fig leaf).
There was plenty of Free Stuff there—everyone received a guaranteed minimum income (one apple for two); attended free college (where a fork-tongued serpent taught Good and Evil—that’s why Adam couldn’t tell between good and bad apples); and everyone used free health care (no wander, because of a doctor’s mistake, Adam got a wrong rib ripped off without anesthesia).
In addition, everyone enjoyed Freedom and free elections (Adam was coupled with some Eve against his will and had to choose a wife among one candidate).
But, despite all these goodies, the Paradise could attract very few (just two) people.
…Making this parody, I had in mind the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a political organization that also promises economic equality, plenty of free stuff and freedom—the Paradise on Earth. But, despite all these goodies, the DSA could attract very few supporters or voters over the years.
Everything has dramatically changed before the 2016 national election, when the DSA adopted a new (for them) political tactics known in Nature as “brood parasitism.” Some birds use such deceptive but successful reproductive tactics by laying their egg into the nests of other birds.
That’s what the pragmatic DSA does imitating Nature—they are laying their socialist eggs into the nests of the Democratic Party using democratic mimicry as a disguise. They pretend to be democrats!
Here are some facts about this elusive and secretive socialist organization and some thoughts provoked by inadvertent admissions of an insider about their intentions, behavior and goals.
On February 21, 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote their famous Communist Manifesto—a road map to class struggle and the destruction of capitalism through violent revolution. Marxism, as an ideology, was popular in its glorious days of global socialism and communism, but found itself currently on the fringes of societal evolution. Nevertheless, in August 2018, the New York Times commemorated the 170th anniversary of the Manifesto by publishing an op-ed by Corey Robin1 “The New Socialists. Why the Pitch from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and Bernie Sanders Resonates in 2018.”
The op-ed (an article in the Opinions section) praises the rise of a political organization the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and explains the appeal of the self-described socialist Bernie Sanders and democratic socialists, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes. In addition, it offers a “true” vision of socialism and socialist freedom, but reveals, inadvertently, the inconvenient truth about the DSA true intentions, behavior and goals.
Meet Corey Robin
Corey Robin, the author of the op-ed, is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. When he was asked on his Twitter page (@CoryRobin, July 18, 2018) whether he was a democratic socialist, Prof. Robin answered evasively, “I am a leftist.” Even when pressed to come clean, he answered choosing his words carefully, “I would vote for the DSA platform.”
Why is Prof. Robin hesitant to be directly associated with the DSA? It is because his ideology stands even further to the left of the current DSA platform. Outside of his college employment, he is a hard-core left-wing journalist—a contributing editor at Jacobin magazine. For curious, Jacobin is “a socialist quarterly based in New York offering socialist and anti-capitalist perspectives on politics, economics and culture from the American left.”2 No wonder, the authors and editors of this socialist periodical have been greatly influenced by Marxist Michael Harrington (the founder of the DSA), Trotskyist Ralph Miliband, Eurocommunist Leo Panitch and the founder of Russian communism Vladimir Lenin, himself.2
These facts explain the evasiveness of Prof. Robin who is trying to keep some distance in his op-ed between the discredited Marxism and the rising democratic socialism. But he leaves a message between the lines—don’t get wrong ideas, Marxism has no issues with democratic socialism. It is an older brother in the same ideological family. The brothers may argue on their way home, but what they argue about is which road to take in order to get home faster.
Why does the Pitch from Sanders and Ocasio-Cortes Resonate in Corey Robin?
Why are these two socialists (so different by gender, age, race, experience and origin) so appealing to a Marxist Corey Robin? Because both of them claim to be the champions of the working class. But most of all, both of them teach working class how to free themselves from “exploitation by capitalists”—the most important tenet of Marxism.
But you never hear about that fact from Sanders or his followers, they do not advertise their secret ties to Marxism hiding the real nature of democratic socialism. Thanks, Prof. Robin, for reminding us about this deceptive tactics used by the DSA.
It’s interesting, despite their claims to bе the champions of the working class, both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortes did not live the lives of real working-class people and have no successful history of holding meaningful working-class jobs, for long or at all. Ironically, another important tenet of Marxism is the “equal obligation of all to work” (the 10-point program of Communist Manifesto, point #8). Never mind. Historically, many Marxist, socialist or communist ideologues and leaders, including Marx himself, have never been employed. This is another example of duplicity and hypocrisy of the DSA: don’t do what I do—do what I say.
Is there a reason why those, who do not belong to the working class or have no real work experience, are attracted to democratic socialism? Of course, not! According to Prof. Robin, “The stories of Sanders, Ocasio-Cortes and others are socialist for another reason, they break with the nation-state.” And Prof. Robin explains this new trend. “Ms. Ocasio-Cortez (Puerto Rico, Bronx) and Ms. Tlaib (Palestine, Michigan) are cosmopolitan wanderers. They came from different corners of the world…Even Mr. Obama had its Hawaiian (as well as Indonesian and Kenyan) chapters.”
Obama? What a surprise! Prof. Robin linked the former US President (inadvertently or by mistake) to socialists and the cosmopolitan wanderers known as the Squad. Well, you can trust Prof. Robin—Marxists know their own. Another inconvenient fact hidden by the DSA becomes known to the public, thanks to Prof. Robin.
Prof. Robin even invented a special term (“geographical references”) to label this new trend that can potentially unite the democratic socialists all over the world. But, in fact, this new term is the old famous slogan from the Communist Manifesto co-written by Marx: “Workers of the world, unite!” It just sounds awkward today, and, therefore, had to be slightly rephrased. But due to the Prof. Robin’s revelation, we know that this petrified Marxist slogan still remains a guideline for democratic socialists, even today.
So, while Bernie Sanders and others are trying to deceive the public by pretending that democratic socialism differs from Marxism, Prof. Robin lets the cat out of the bag revealing its hidden ties to Marxism and reminds them that the adherence to Marxism is a significant factor in the success and the rise of the DSA.
How Significant is the Rise of the DSA in the US?
“Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country, is skyrocketing!” Prof. Robin announces triumphantly. He refers to the claim3 that, “since November 2016 through April 2018, the DSA membership has increased from 5,000 to about 35,000, nationwide” (56,000 by November 2019, per Wikipedia). It does look very impressive on the surface—eleven-fold increase in two years!
But such incredible rise is also a sign of a marginal organization. If the membership is close to zero (5,000 is about 0.001 of 1% of the US population), even a small increase looks like a “skyrocketing” rise. (For comparison, the Democratic Party has 45 million members or 13% of the US population).
How marginal the DSA is? Just think about it. It was founded in 1982 and has attracted only 5,000 members by 2016. It took them more than three decades to achieve that. By the way, the membership was about 6,500 in 2012.4 It means that for the next four Obama’s years, they’ve lost about 25% of their members. You may say, 56,000 is rather significant membership, nationwide. Judge by yourself—Chicago Botanic garden has 50,000 members.
Then what was the reason for Bernie Sanders to be so successful in two recent presidential elections getting millions of votes? “The virtues of socialism,” Prof. Robin explains meaning that socialism brought many voters, especially young ones, to the ballot boxes.
The virtues of socialism? Prof. Robin deliberately ignores one crucial fact. In 2014, for the first time in its history, the DSA adopted a deceitful tactics “to run in Democratic presidential primaries for maximum exposure and effectiveness.”4 In other words, democratic socialists dressed themselves as members of the mainstream, influential Democratic Party to get the votes of anti-Clinton democrats in 2016 and democratic loyalists in 2020.
Does it mean that the DSA adopts the platform of the Democratic Party? Not at all! Using such treacherous and dishonest practice, they have been covertly pursuing their own agenda. They do not share the values of democrats. They and Prof. Robin even blame democrats for being “complicit in the rot of American life.”
I wonder, Prof. Robin, what success Bernie Sanders would’ve achieved if he had run, not in a blue uniform with the donkey across the chest, but in a red one with the hammer and sickle?
But Prof. Robin is right—the “pitch” from Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes “to give socialism a try” does resonate in the minds of young people. Unfortunately, immature, brainwashed and rebellious youngsters were not taught the lessons of history—socialism gives you only one chance to try. It’s like a trap for roaches (“The Roach Hotel”)—you can check in, but you cannot check out. Once the socialists gain power in democratic elections or by violence, there will be no free, democratic elections; no pluralism and no freedom, anymore. These indisputable historic facts have been confirmed time after time by socialists in Russia, fascists in Italy, national-socialists in Germany, socialists in Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam, Cuba or Venezuela.
But Prof. Robin vehemently objects to such depiction of socialism. He considers it obsolete because it does not represent what the true socialism means.
What does the True Socialism Mean, Prof. Robin?
“Socialism means different things to different people,” Prof. Robin admits. “For some, it conjures the Soviet Union and the gulag; for others, Scandinavia and guaranteed income. But neither is the true vision of socialism.”
Is American progressivism or liberalism a true vision of socialism? “Not really,” Prof. Robin shakes his head. Today, the progressives and liberals are too “timid and tepid.” They are not real “champions of workers and unions;” and they do not wholeheartedly support “high taxes (on the rich), redistribution (of wealth), regulation (of economy) and public services” (at the expense of the private sector). They are ashamed even to utter the (Marxist) term “working class” using the plain words “working people,” instead, Prof. Robin complains.
Then democratic socialism should be true socialism for sure. But Prof. Robin remains silent about merging socialism with democracy. A faithful Marxist, he knows that democracy has been flatly rejected and despised by Marx and modern Marxists; that the first thing socialists do, when they come to power through a violent revolution or democratic elections, is to get rid of democracy. Socialism dominated the world for 70 years suppressing democracy and collapsed only when and because it allowed it.
So, from the standpoint of Marxism, the idea of “democratic” socialism flies in the face of Karl Marx himself, and every faithful Marxist should object to such heresy. But from the standpoint of simple logic, it’s a true oxymoron (combination of contradictory words) similar to “democratic fascism” or “democratic Nazism”.
Wait a minute, Prof. Robin! From the list of socialist countries, you unceremoniously removed the truly socialist ones (USSR, Cuba or North Korea) in which the means of production have been in the hands of working class, as Marx envisioned. You rejected also the Scandinavian version of socialism denying Sweden, Denmark or Norway their widely accepted socialist status. And finally, you view liberals and left-leaning intellectuals, and even democratic socialists, as being not genuine socialists. Then what in the world is the true vision of socialism?
Socialism is “a hopeless, often vaguely defined dream,” Corey Robin, the intellectual, starts his op-ed referring to the unsuccessful and foggy experience with various versions of socialism in the US. But sooner or later, the fog in the minds of intellectuals fades away, and they clearly see the only road leading to true socialism. This is the road that was paved by Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro and other ideologues who turned the socialist dream into a waking bloody nightmare.
No wonder, at the end of the op-ed, the fog fades away and Corey Robin, the Marxist, clearly reveals what “vaguely defined” tenets of socialism he considers true. As Ten Commandments, they were gauged in the granite tablets of Marxism by Karl Marx almost two centuries ago—the state should own all means of production and run the economy, while individuals should have no private property and individual rights.
Are you confused by now by all those numerous versions of socialism? What kind of game is this?
Dealing from the Bottom of the Deck of Cards
Playing political games in their quest for power, socialists do not scruple to use any means to achieve their hidden goals using the Machiavellian principle—the ends justify the means. Before the game becomes deadly, it starts with shuffling ideological cards flipping names and meanings.
The origin of the modern “democratic” socialism is a good example. They put a sweet adjective “democratic” in front of a bitter term “socialism,” but they did not change its original (Marxist) meaning. Now, they say, it is “worth a try.” History is littered with many examples of such manipulations when socialists flip ideas to confuse and fool the public.
A century ago, during the socialist revolution in Russia, the appealing term “socialism” meant: factories—to workers, land—to peasants and freedom—for all. It was a scam of flipping. When the socialists gained power, the means of production and the land turned out in the hands of a small group and, eventually, of a single man—the most violent and ruthless of them all. The workers and peasants became the means of slave labor, and freedom turned into misery, dictatorship and tyranny.
An innocently sounding term “The Final Solution” (presented by German national socialists as a resettlement plan for Jews) meant bloody Holocaust. The “Purification of Populace” (carried out by Cambodia’s socialists to build prosperous agrarian socialism) turned out to be an atrocious genocide. And “Cultural Revolution” in the socialist China had more to do with bloody savagery than culture.
A modern example of flipping is the concept of altruism introduced by French philosopher Auguste Comte in the 19th century. Originally, the term meant “to live and sacrifice yourself for others” (for a state/government). Therefore, it was embraced by all collectivist ideologies, including Marxism, fascism, National Socialism and international communism. But after the collapse of those ideologies around the world in the 20th century, the meaning of the term “altruism” morphed into a deceitful concept of selflessness and kindness.5
Similar manipulations were applied to the term freedom—a sore issue for socialists. Although they claim that socialism is the embodiment of freedom, everyone who lived under socialism knows that freedom and socialism are flame and water—they cannot coexist in the same quarters. A fragile flower of freedom does not grow in a polar climate of totalitarianism, authoritarianism or tyranny (lessons of history). This is probably the reason why Prof. Robin addressed the subject of freedom in his op-ed.
Prof. Robin Clarifies the True Meaning of Freedom
“What the socialists seek is freedom!” declares Prof. Robin. And this is true—when socialists show up, freedom disappears. (That’s, probably, why they are seeking it).
What kind of freedom are they looking for, Prof. Robin? George Orwell, for example, thought that “freedom is slavery” as he described it in his book “1984”.
You can trust George Orwell, he was not a right-wing extremist. He believed in democratic socialism, although it was his own version of this utopian idea never practiced anywhere. Nevertheless, he understood that the true socialism was inevitably leading to totalitarianism in which freedom is always turned into slavery.
Just look at the former USSR. For 70 years, the true socialists practiced this kind of freedom in the camps of slave labor of the Siberian Gulag. Even today, it is still practiced in the true socialist countries, such as Cuba or North Korea.
You may ask, if socialism kills freedom, why is freedom flourishing in the Scandinavian socialist countries? It is because they are not socialist countries, although are often labeled so over their objections. They are free market-oriented capitalist economies in which the government intervenes in economy very little (or not at all) and has no desire to eliminate their billionaires and the rich.
For 170 years, socialists were leading humanity, hungry for freedom, to nowhere in a suicidal search for it. Why are they still seeking it, Prof. Robin?
For all free people, who have never been slaves, freedom means the same things—to have the rights to own property; to act as you (not someone else) want; to care about your own (not someone else’s) interests; to speak what you (not someone else) think—without fear of being restricted, forbidden or punished.
But this kind of freedom is not a “true vision” of freedom, according to Prof. Robin. So, what is the “true vision” of freedom?
“Socialist freedom,” replies Prof. Robin without hesitation. “Liberating men and women from the tyranny of the market and autocracy at work.”
Tyranny and autocracy? Tyranny means the rule of one person with absolute power, and autocracy is a cruel and oppressive regime. What can a professor-idealist know about such things if he is privileged to be born in the land of the free? What can he see sitting high at the top of his ivory tower?
I was one of those unfortunate people who was born in the land of the slaves (USSR) and who was “liberated from the tyranny of the market” for more than 40 years, but was enslaved by another tyranny—dictatorship and totalitarianism; one-party rule and predetermined results of elections with one candidate; verdicts without trials and courts of law without lawyers; judges taking orders from the party bosses and hard labor camps of GULAG; and bans on almost everything. That’s what Russian socialists called socialist freedom!
I was working in the USSR for a long time too, and I know firsthand what the “autocracy at work” looks like, thanks to socialist freedom. In Stalin’s era of the “GULAG” socialism, people working across a river had to swim to get to work in time if a ferry was broken—they could lose their freedom or even lives for being late. During the era of Khrushchev’s “mature” socialism, people could lose their jobs or freedom if they criticized their bosses—they were treated as saboteurs. In Brezhnev’s era of “stagnating” socialism, those, who were complaining about work safety or working conditions, were denied promotions or even lose their jobs—they were suspected of being critical of the Soviet authorities.
That’s what tyranny, autocracy and socialist freedom mean, Prof. Robin! Did you know that before declaring that “Capitalism…makes us unfree?”
But the liberation from tyranny and autocracy is not enough for making people fully free, according to Prof. Robin. He believes that only “making things free makes people free.”
Ironically, the logo of the Brooklyn College, where Prof. Robin teaches, is rather meaningful: “Nothing without great effort.” It implies that you cannot get anything for free—you have to ern it. Obviously, Prof. Robin believes that this logo is wrong. Moreover, this logo is based on a fundamental law of Nature followed by all living beings, including humans. But Prof. Robin believes that Nature is wrong too.
If Nature is wrong, why can’t professors be wrong? If anyone is given something for free, someone has already paid for it, involuntarily, and lost his own freedom in the process. Government has nothing to give until it takes it from someone else, including freedom. Such giveaway does not make people free—it makes them dependent on the government.
“Dependence is freedom!” That’s how George Orwell coined the definition of socialist freedom in his book “1984.”
Who are You, Democratic Socialists?
So, is democratic socialism true socialism, Prof. Robin? Yes or no? And Prof. Robin stops beating around the bushes and telegraphs his reservations by an open text. “There’s not much discussion, yet, of classic socialist tenets likeworker control or collective ownership of the means of production,” he regrets.
These “classic socialist tenets” are a fundamental dogma of Marxism —“factories and instruments of production (must be) owned by the state” (Communist Manifesto, point #7). And, while reproaching the timid democratic socialists, Prof. Robin calls upon them to come out of the closet and declare openly their concealed allegiance to Marxism.
Intentionally or not, but Prof. Robin treats the DSA as a Marxist sister organization in disguise that hides its goals from general public. But it’s hard to hide such fact. That’s what the DSA declares about their goals on its website: “…to establish direct ownership and/or control of much of the economic resources of society by the great majority of wage and income earners.” These goals can be traced to the program of the Communist Manifesto (point #7 mentioned above), but they are not widely advertised in fear of spooking the public.
Not widely advertised is also the DSA approach of achieving these goals—it is through “…massive redistribution of income from corporations and the wealthy to wage earners, the poor and the public sector.” This approach does not differ from that of the Communist Manifesto (point #2) that demands “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”
There is nothing vague about what the “massive redistribution of income” really means. The theory and practice of Marxism teach us that income and property of corporations, billionaires and the wealthiest 1% will be eventually confiscated. But socialists know that it is not enough, by far. They will not stop at 1%. They will shake down those who are in 5%, then in 10%, then in 50% (middle class). Eventually, they will take away all the income from every wage earner and redistribute or dispose it at their discretion.
The transfer of means of production to the state, in one form or another, but always through violence, has always been a cornerstone of Marxist-Leninist and communist ideologies. History showed that this Marxist dogma failed everywhere it was given a try. It was eventually abandoned by the socialist parties, including those in Scandinavia. Having learned bitter lessons of the command, centralized, socialist economy, they agreed to give the free-market philosophy a try. And have no regrets so far. Everyone rejected this Marxist dogma, except for fossilized communists and Marxist zealots. And… the Democratic Socialists of America!
Well, the DSA may instruct its members not to shout about these facts from the roof tops, but they cannot shut up the talkative history of socialism.
No wonder there is “not much discussion, yet” about worker’s (state’s) ownership of means of production. These discredited Marxist/communist goals can be achieved only through bloody, violent seizure of those means from their legitimate owners.
That’s why the DSA leaders prefer not to discuss this fringe topic aloud until the stakes are right. That’s why Bernie Sanders was so up-tight about these goals during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. He played it safe by baiting the naive public with populist slogans, such as income inequality and minimum wage, and with promises of free (universal) healthcare and free college tuitions.
But what a coincidence! Every Sanders’s proposal and promise of free stuff was borrowed from the Soviet Constitution! (Except for the minimum wage of $15 per hour, which, in the country of total misery and lawlessness like the former USSR, would’ve made everyone filthy rich). However, the free stuff and worker’s ownership of means of production did not bring prosperity and freedom to the Soviet and other people, as well. So, why do you expect different results doing the same things over and over again, Prof. Robin?
Obviously, the stakes are right now for the extremists from the DSA. “Socialists are debating the next steps: state ownership of certain industries,” Prof. Robin confesses. But the DSA leaders are hesitant to come out of the closet, yet. Why?
Listen to a revealing comment of one of the readers of Prof. Robin’s op-ed, a rank and file of the DSA, “We need to focus on the middle, not the extremes, as we try to regain power and control in the congress and senate. Once we have the power, then we can help the fringes of our party to rise.”
One of “the fringes” is a powerful Communist Caucus inside the DSA, although even to utter the word “communist” is a taboo among the democratic socialists. They don’t want to draw attention to the fact that the DSA founded by Marxist Michael Harrington is a communist organization hiding its origin as a coalition of former radical members of the Socialist and Communist parties.
The democratic socialists obviously learned the lessons of history. They remember also the dismal results of the previous national elections when socialists were just spectators rather than players. That is why, despite persistent encouragement from Marxists, such as Prof. Robin, they are reluctant to disclose what “final form of socialism” they advocate; not ready for “mass action—sometimes illegal, but always confrontational;” and hesitant to preach the classic socialism the way “Marx and Engels and socialists have always understood.”
In other words, despite recent nationwide protests against racism and despite the violence, organized by all sort of extremists, some of them being from DSA fringes, the cautious and pragmatic DSA leadership is not ready to climb on the barricades of a bloody socialist revolution under the Marxist/communist banners. At least, not now.
So, what is the DSA alternative to а violent socialist revolution?
“Brood parasitism!” In Nature, some birds use a deceptive but successful breeding tactics—they lay their eggs unnoticeably into the nests built by other birds when the host is not present.
The pragmatic DSA used the same tactics trying to mimic Mother Nature. Taking advantage of free elections, they unnoticeably laid their socialist eggs into the nests of the local and national Democratic Party using democratic mimicry as a disguise. But when a foreign egg hatches, the DSA brood-hen will be up to a rude awakening—instead of expected another democratic hatchling, an alien, ruthless Marxist/socialist monster will emerge. It will not rest until it pushes all democrats out of their nest because it cannot coexist or share the nest with anyone.
Many chapters of History repeat themselves contrary to popular beliefs. Once democratic socialists, running as democrats, gain power, the country will ве inevitably plunged whirling into the vicious cycle, again.
The Democratic Party that allowed the DSA to run in their primaries (hoping to get more votes or by naivety, shortsightedness or miscalculation) will seize to exist, along with other parties and social groups.
In a mortal struggle for power within the DSA, the most violent and ruthless leaders will emerge—most likely from the unscrupulous, militant Marxist/communist fringe. They will twist the power out of the feeble hands of the idealists and demagogues, like Bernie Sanders.
They will brush aside the impractical progressive theorists from academia, like Prof. Robin, and they will cheat their accomplices and the useful idiots—the brainwashed, rebellious youngsters and the soft-minded, naïve liberals. And, finally, they will mercilessly eliminate critically thinking intellectuals, the opponents and everyone else who disagrees.
The following chapters of this tragedy are well known from History.
Красильщиков Аркадий - сын Льва. Родился в Ленинграде. 18 декабря 1945 г. За годы трудовой деятельности перевел на стружку центнеры железа,километры кинопленки, тонну бумаги, иссушил море чернил, убил четыре компьютера и продолжает заниматься этой разрушительной деятельностью.
Плюсы: построил три дома (один в Израиле), родил двоих детей, посадил целую рощу, собрал 597 кг.грибов и увидел четырех внучек..