Barack Obama Is NOT A SOCIALIST!

By Jack Jodell, Mar. 21, 2012

Almost from his first day in office, and especially during the debates leading up to the passage of his Affordable Care Act in 2010, talk radio idiots, and many extremist, ignorant, reactionary Republicans have made the very false claim that Barack Obama is a Socialist, and that his programs, including the bailout of our automobile manufacturers, have been “socialistic.” These allegations are so insane they are almost laughable, as the President has by no means been a “socialist” and his policies have overwhelmingly aided and enhanced our capitalist system. In this post, I will prove how ridiculous these claims by the far-right have been, and destroy their argument altogether in the process.

First, let us define the very term “socialism.” Merriam-Webster puts it like this:

SOCIALISM noun
1  any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.
2  a:  a system of society or group living in which there is no private property.
b:  a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.
3   a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

Given this information, ANYONE with even the tiniest bit of knowledge about the President and what he has done over the past 3+ years will know at a glance how utterly foolish these allegations of socialism are. But for those stubborn knuckle-draggers out there who still cling to this crazy notion, here is some more information to learn and absorb.

KARL MARX, a brilliant 19th century German philosopher, author,  and political/economic analyst, first came up with the term “socialism.” As the author of Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, he described the flaws of the capitalist economic system and predicted it would be replaced by a more humane, communist one. He said this new system would empower workers (the proletariat) and free them from exploitation by the business owners (the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie) through the eventual elimination of all private ownership. His idealistic motto was “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” Marx said the overthrow of capitalism and its transition into pure communism would be a gradual process in which the first step would be a dictatorship of the proletariat, and that socialism (i.e. the abolition of private property, profit, and the adoption of a worker-controlled, state-run planned economy) would be the natural and necessary end result. 

Marx died long before his theory of a communist revolution would even be realized. He had predicted it would originate in an industrialized country such as Germany or Great Britain first. But instead, Vladimir Lenin seized power in backward, agricultural Russia and proclaimed it to be the first workers-state in 1917. After a long civil war, Lenin’s forces emerged victorious  and renamed the country the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Lenin began to break up large chunks of land previously held by nobles and started redistributing them to the peasants. He nationalized Russian industry and turned factories over to workers’ committees. The 8 hour work day and a pension system was set up for workers. The practice of religion was banned, and a network of secret police was established to protect the new revolution.

After a period of failing health and having suffered three strokes, Lenin died in early 1924. He was replaced by the wily Josef Stalin, who soon used an expanded secret police to eradicate all of his real or imagined political enemies and to terrify average Soviet citizens into complete subservience and absolute obedience. Many were dragged from their homes without charge in the middle of the night, sent to Siberian labor camps, and/or were never heard from again. Both Lenin and Stalin were heavy on dictatorship and light on proletariat freedom. While subsequent Soviet dictators were milder in their application of power, true communism was never achieved in Russia, China, Cuba, or anywhere else, whereas only the dictatorship of the proletariat had been attained and nothing more. These bloody and repressive excesses gave the communist doctrine, and along with it, socialism, a bad connotation in the minds of many. Though never as repressive or totalitarian as the Leninist/Stalinist models, socialism became viewed as a restrictive and less-than-desirable path to follow, and that is why it is so needlessly feared and misconstrued by so many today.

But back to Barack Obama, the charge that he is a socialist or is employing socialist policies in his administration is lunacy, and here is why:

1). At NO point has Obama ever advocated or even implemented worker or state control of American industry. He has treated labor unions in a very benign way, never forcing them upon companies, and he certainly hasn’t nationalized any. The closest he came, which wasn’t really close at all, was in his government bailout of the American automobile industry. He demanded, and got, the resignation of a worthless General Motors CEO, and pushed for certain internal reforms, none of which included direct government day-to-day operation of the company; collection and distribution of its income; or regimentation of its labor force or production operations.
2). Obama has NEVER abolished private property, and in fact always supported and aided private companies both on Wall Street and in the automotive industry. Even his much-derided health care program never adopted a private option which would certainly have hit the private health care insurance industry hard. In fact, a portion of it even mandated that individuals carry a health insurance plan, thereby guaranteeing the private health care insurance industry a significantly higher number of customers!
3). Obama has NEVER advocated a massive redistribution of wealth downward, out of the hands of the wealthiest 1% and into the hands of the 99% below them, even though those same 1% HAVE managed to funnel an ever-increasing amount of wealth upward to themselves over the past 3+ decades! They have done this, of course, through the freezing and lowering of workers’ wages, the outsourcing of their jobs to foreign slave-labor markets, the manipulation of the tax code to significantly lower their taxes, and their increasing adoption of the use of fraudulent offshore tax havens. Through all of this, the President has made only weak efforts to raise the taxes of the richest 1% by a tiny, neasley 4%, and he has come under withering criricism from conservatives on this, which, incidentally, is supported 2-1 by the voting public!
4). Lastly, Obama has NOT given us a “planned economy.” There have been NO five year economic plans submitted whatsoever, and he has never interfered with or attempted to eradicate the type of irresponsible Wall Street commodity speculation which has allowed the price of consumer gasoline to rise unimpeded. Clearly, were he actually a socialist, he would have set the price of gasoline at a much more palatable level for American consumers a long time ago!

Those who stridently insist that the President is a socialist fall into a number of different groups. One is racists, who can’t stand the very idea of a black President and will use any name they believe to be derogatory to hurl against him. These include, but are not limited to, a number of conservative talk radio hosts and ignorant Tea Party extremist members. Another is  libertarian Republicans, who hate government to begin with and view any activism by any President for any reason to be a direct assault on their individual freedom. These include self-centered, paranoid idiots like the notorious Koch Brothers, who view the ability to pollute anywhere anytime without question as long as they can make big money their sacred right, and government and tax-haters like Grover Norquist, who want to keep all of their earnings completely to themselves. It also includes a number of very irresponsible, apathetic Americans, who are quick to criticize public figures but are too lazy or stupid to dig up the facts and make an intelligent, rational political decision or statement and will instead go along with whomecer is making the loudest or most forceful claim at the moment. These are the types of people who claim that Barack Obama is a socialist.

All of them are dead wrong.

UP SOON: “Neither a Fascist; Nor a Socialist: What President Obama REALLY Is!”

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About jackjodell53

I am an American Dissident trapped in a country where poor and middle class people are constantly being exploited and lied to by a very rigid and conservative plutocratic elite. I believe in government OF, FOR, and BY the people, not one controlled as it now is by corporations and special interests.
This entry was posted in capitalism, commentary, conservative Republicans, extremists, labor unions, libertarians, Politics, reactionary Republicans, talk radio, taxes, Tea Party, the 1%, THE MAJORITY 99%, Uncategorized, wealth disparity and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Barack Obama Is NOT A SOCIALIST!

  1. “ANYONE with even the tiniest bit of knowledge about the President”

    Republicans do not argue from a basis of knowledge. They expect people to believe them because they say so, not because they are telling the truth. Ignorance is their friend.

  2. Darlene says:

    Since man first walked the face of the earth the powerful have abused and exploited the weak. Name calling is just part of the way they get the weaker to fall in line. Remember during the cold war liberals were labeled ‘pinko commies’? Socialism is just the flavor of the day. Bullies use name calling as a way of demeaning their victims. Nothing changes when they grow up.

  3. JollyRoger says:

    It may not be the cool thing to do, but I’m going to do it.
    Lenin was aware of his errors. He was in the process of fixing them. Smaller shops were allowed, and the “Nepman” became the face of the “New Economic Policy.” Lenin still intended to keep larger corporations and land barons from ever regaining a foothold, but no one should believe that Lenin’s USSR would ultimately have been a far different place than Stalin’s turned out to be.

  4. tnlib says:

    Sadly, I have family who think Obama is a socialist. Of course, they happen to also be Bible-thumping racists with minds that are permanently frozen. It’s a term they use in “polite society” because to call him the N-word is politically incorrect – except among themselves, of course. Excellent article, which I have shared on FB in the off chance that one of them will read it.

    One of my more enlightened cousins gave me a copy of Terry Eagleton’s “why marx was right” but haven’t yet started reading it – something I do in bed at night and I suspect this is one in which I will want to underline and make notes.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Thanks, tnlib, and good to hear from you again! That Eagleton piece sounds like a good read—I may do the same thing, because clearly, Romney and the other 1%ers are all wrong!

  5. He never advocates to redistribute wealth. Not true. He just never uses those exact words. Oh and didn’t he recently sign an executive order giving the government the power to control all private property and resources. What was that called again? Oh yeh, The National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order. I don’t care what you fricken call him. He’s no friend of liberty.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Neither are the far-right talk show hosts who creatively interpret that last executive order as a power grab by Obama to take away all private property. Or the ditto heads who listen to and believe that utter nonsense. I’ll tell you what, Mr. Orick: when the governnent steps into YOUR life and takes away YOUR car, YOUR house, and confiscates YOUR bank account, then come back here and tell me all about it, and you’ll find me to be a strong advocate for you. UNTIL then, however, don’t even bother coming here to try to pollute this page with such reactionary malarkey!

  6. Tom Harper says:

    Most of these rightwing shouting heads have no idea what the word Socialism means, and they aren’t informed enough to have an accurate picture of what Obama has and hasn’t done. They’ve been instructed to spew out the word “Socialist” at every opportunity, and they’ve carried out their orders obediently.

  7. thevalolsoncos says:

    As always, thanks for all the research you do to help present the facts in the midst of so much smoke and mirrors.

  8. For too many, “socialist” means anyone I don’t like, don’t trust; anyone who sees political and economic things differently from the way I see them. Alas, I don’t think providing facts and logic will make a bit of difference to them. They don’t need facts because they have a right to their own beliefs, and feel their beliefs are as good as anyone else’s facts.

    Understandably, confronting someone who has that perverse attitude tends to make people who value facts and truth want to bang their head against a wall.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      S.W.,
      You are right, of course. The only reason I even bothered to put this all down here was in hopes that someone who may be hanging on the fence, unsure as to what to believe, will see it and learn from it. Also, I am firmly convinced that future historians will thoroughly castigate those with these insane opinions who populate our current far-right elements, and I will take great comfort when this happens.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Thank you, Mike, for providing that link to a piece written for Forbes last January. Its author, Prof. Paul Roderick Gregory, is a research fellow at Hoover Institute, Stanford, as well as a Professor of Economics at the University of Houston. In those roles, of course, you realize that Prof. Gregory is arguing from the perspective of one who fully supports the Friedmanesque theory of “free market” capitalism, and, is paid to write accordingly. As such, he believes that if the market is left alone, unhindered by government regulation, economic problems will fix themselves. I, and a growing number of economists, reject that notion altogether. Our rejection stems from the historical precedents set forth both in the 1920s and the 2000s; both decades where the forces of the “free market” were allowed the ability to recklessly, in our opinion, speculate. This speculation led to disastrous outcomes: in the 1920s, it was the Great Depression; in the 2000s, it was the Great Recession.

      Prof. Gregory states “Our political discourse is conducted largely in the language of the left, to the disadvantage of conservatives. After all, who can oppose ‘fairness, justice, dignified life, or sustainable growth?’ ” As well it SHOULD be – I would reply that, rather than “the language of the LEFT”, this discourse is being conducted in the language of FAIRNESS and COMMON SENSE, language which the LEFT just coincidentally happens to be correctly employing at this moment! As for Gregory’s assertion that Obama has patterned himself after much of what the Party of European Socialists (PES) has stated in their 2011 principles, and is therefore truly a Socialist, I must again respectfully disagree. To say Obama is Socialist means that the Democratic Party has also been Socialist since 1933, which Gregory seems to insinuate, and which is a lot of bunk!

      Obama, just like FDR before him, has saved capitalism in this country. Both did so to reform what was proven to be a flawed economic system in dire need of such reform. FDR was more successful in instituting sweeping changes than Obama, but both have had their positive effects. To assert that the creation of labor unions, Medicare, unemployment compensation, Social Security and many of the other “safety net” features now accepted as pillars of our economy, are unnecessary “socialist” devices (as Gregory insibnuates), is outlandishly crazy, and a great majority of this country agrees with me on this, as you will definitely see next November when a far greater percentage ofvoters than in 2010 casts their ballots!

      The degree by which both Presidents modified our economy was by no means as great as did the socialist influence in nearly all other civilized, industrialized countries. We stopped far short of universal, government paid, single-payer health care; fully paid higher efucation; guaranteed 4-6 weeks annual vacation time for each worker; unemployment benefits lasting much longer than 2 years; or personal income taxes (without loopholes) far in excess of 50%, as numerous other countries have adopted with great success. Instead, we have allowed the richest 1% to game the electoral and tax systems tremendously in its favor, and all of this hardly qualifies Obama or his party for the title of “Socialist”! It is a safe bet to say that more Americans would have gladly supported even more “socialistic” policies originating from the Oval Office, not less!

  9. Re: “Gregory’s assertion that Obama has patterned himself after much of what the Party of European Socialists (PES) has stated in their 2011 principles. . .”

    Gosh, if I can whistle and make bird noises, does that make me a bird? If I prepare and serve an Italian dinner, does that make me an Italian? I see a big lapse of logic at work, leaving Gregory with a very flawed conclusion. That’s not surprising, considering where he’s coming from.

    Based on the evidence, Obama is at most a very conventional center-left American traditionalist and pragmatist. That’s a long way from being a socialist. At the least, a doctrinaire socialist would’ve gone for single-payer health insurance with a quasi-governmental corporation administrating the system. At most, Obama would’ve backed a system where the government takes over and runs the entire medical system. All health professionals work for Uncle Sam. All hospitals become government-run institutions, and so on.

    Our traditional system is an amalgam of free-market capitalism and socialist-like programs and services. Not surprisingly, many of the latter are in areas where private businesses didn’t see enough profit potential to want to get involved until long after the government started providing the programs and services.

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Very well stated, S.W., and I’m glad you, too, took the time to read that Gregory piece. Your summation of Obama is quite accurate, and I’m sure you’ll concur with most of my next post, which I have just now finished, and have scheduled for Wednesday’s publication.

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