In preparation for a piece at Poli-Tea surveying the ongoing debate over the Obama administration and Democratic-majority Congress’s “march toward socialism,” I contacted Dan La Botz, Socialist Party candidate for US Senate in Ohio, and asked the following question:
On the heels of health care reform, and ahead of financial regulatory reform, what is your response to the claim that the Obama administration and Democratic majority Congress are on a “march toward socialism”?
Mr. La Botz was kind enough to provide an in-depth response, excerpted below from Third Party and Independent Daily:
Dan La Botz on “The March Toward Socialism”:
Historically, socialism grew out of the labor movements of the nineteenth century, and its basic notion was the working people, the workers and farmers who formed the majority of the society, should democratically control the government and the economy for the benefit of all. The Obama administration, which came to power in the midst of a severe economic crisis, has demonstrated that its principal preoccupation has been to save American capitalism, the banks and corporations. Billions of working peoples’ tax money has been redistributed to banks, insurance companies and corporations, but we have not gained any control over those institutions. On the contrary, they continue to exploit working people and to block the road to reform . . .
What would socialism mean? Here’s an example. The U.S. government now owns almost half of General Motors, so why don’t we turn those plants to green production—solar panels, wind turbines, hydrothermal equipments—to solve both the economic and environmental problems we face? We could as a people democratically elaborate a plan for the banks and corporations which we own, a plan to be carried out by workers collaborating with consumers, advised by environmentalists . . .
The Obama administration proposes that a government run by corporations also regulate the corporations in order to save the corporations from destroying themselves in their chaotic struggle to control our nation’s wealth and resources. Obama’s government, like Bush’s did, acts as a kind of super-executive committee of corporations, working to coordinate the corporations so they will be more successful in wringing their wealth from us. Socialists argue that America’s working people make the country run, and working people should also run the country. There is all the difference in the world between those two visions and programs.