Joshua Fauver: Socialism is Making a Comeback

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Joshua Fauver, a frequent IPR contributor, is a Louisianan political activist who was formerly a member of the Constitution and Libertarian parties. He now describes himself as an unaffiliated democratic socialist. He recently started a blog called Bayou State Socialist

Published June 26, 2014

It’s been over 100 years since he left the earth but the ideas and teachings of  Karl Marx are currently enjoying a resurgence, according to Salon. “Karl Marx is on fire right now.” writes Sean McElwee , adding “Marx has also graced the cover of the National Review earlier this month.” The Salon article went on to point out that Jacobin, a socialist publication which publishes the writings of many Marxist thinkers, was recently profiled by The New York Times. Also recently, novelist Benjamin Kunkel’s compilation of essays, “Utopia or Bust” earned him a profile in New York Magazine as well as a hit piece titled “Lena Dunham of Literature” by Breitbart. This resurgence of Karl Marx’s ideas are being felt even in places as high in profile as the United States Senate, where the Independent U.S Senator from Vermont openly calls himself a democratic socialist.

Socialism isn’t just making a comeback in the pages of magazines though, but in the real world of electoral politics as well! As mentioned earlier, U.S Senator Bernie Sanders is a self professed democratic socialist and his openness to a 2016 presidential run has drawn new interest in the teachings of Marx and Engels. But Sanders isn’t the only socialist office holder in the U.S. In November of 2013 Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant became the first socialist to be elected in the city of Seattle since 1916, and the first socialist City Councilor since 1877. Kshama Sawant’s campaign centered around the following issues: A minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, “a millionaire’s tax” (a tax on Seattle’s super wealthy) and rent control.

Sawant’s success has inspired other socialist to seek elected office. In fact, her good friend, campaign supporter. and 15 Now organizer, Jess Spear is running for the Washington State House against incumbent Frank Chopp. But Sawant’s victory isn’t only inspiring socialists in the Seattle/Washington area. Socialist activists in Chicago have recently organized the Chicago Socialist Campaign. The purpose of the Chicago Socialist Campaign is to elect socialist Jorge Mujica to Alderman. Jorge Mujica’s campaign was directly inspired by Kshama’s victory in Seattle.

The inspiration of the success in Seattle hasn’t just been limited to just electoral politics, however. The success of the Socialist Alternative and 15 Now to pass a $15 minimum wage has inspired others to to fight for a living wage. San Francisco will be putting a $15 minimum wage on the ballot. New York city council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, has recently floated the idea of raising New York City’s minimum wage to $15. And some states have acted to raise their minimum wages, though not to $15 an hour. (MassachusettsVermontMaryland.) All across America activists are being inspired to fight for a minimum wage increase, for a living wage.

Taking all recent events into consideration, the future of the socialist movement in America appears to be promising. With socialist inspired movements sweeping the nation, the election of an openly socialist city council member, the viable campaign of another openly socialist city council member,(in Chicago) viable campaign of an openly socialist for the Washington State House, and the ever growing possibility of Bernie Sanders, self professed democratic socialist, running for president in 2016, who know’s what the future may hold. But it certainly seems bright! Without a doubt, Socialism is making a comeback!

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10 thoughts on “Joshua Fauver: Socialism is Making a Comeback

  1. Joshua Fauver

    I’ll be the first to admit that it is a pretty big shift. My shift in ideology, at least economically (as I am still very much a civil libertarian) is the result of hours upon hours of studying the economic situation in America. (namely income inequality)

  2. Jill Pyeatt

    I admit that I hadn’t found my true beliefs by Joshua’s age, and certainly not Krzystof’s. It took a few bumps in the road, and having to pay taxes for a few years to end up where I am now. I have no idea of the percentage of people who remian in the same idealogy their whole lives.

  3. Joshua Fauver

    I think that the best any of us can do is to study the information we have, both old and new, and adjust our views accordingly. (Not to suggest that everyone will adjust to their findings the same way.)

  4. NewFederalist

    Lyndon LaRouche changed his beliefs from extreme left to extreme right and then concocted his own bizarre version of a political philosophy. It can be done! As they said on the X-Files… “the truth is out there!”

  5. Dave Terry

    > “I’m glad you found your true beliefs.” <

    Nothing as cathartic as a gallows conversion,
    but the carcass of Christian or Communist will
    still decompose at the same rate.

    'Belief' and 'Knowledge' are not synonyms!

  6. Green_w_o_Adjectives

    Nice article. While I’m pleased to see socialism making a comeback, I think socialism is only a part of the coalition we’ll need to overcome the plight we are in. We need a red, black, and green coalition. That is, the solution to our plight will involve elements of socialism (every citizen should have access to the means of production and get the full product of their labor, minus socially necessary taxation), libertarianism/anarchism (people should rule themselves to the fullest extent consistent with liberty and the public interest), and ecological thinking (sustainability and the surivival of the species has to come first!).

    So consider becoming active in your local Green party in addition to correcting people’s misconceptions about socialism. If we want liberty, we’ll have to associate on a broad front!

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