The Strangest of Takes

Recently, I have read a lot of claims that the USA’s Democrats are best described as Marxist. Marxism is defined as ‘a social, economic and political philosophy that analyses the impact of the ruling class on the laborers, leading to uneven distribution of wealth and privileges in the society.’ To be Marxist, you’d want to evenly distribute wealth so that the working class was not disadvantaged compared to the ruling classes. Well, that’s a very basic outline, but you get the idea.

Marxism, communism and socialism are often conflated with one another when discussing these social and economic concepts, and to be fair, there is a degree of overlap that helps create confusion. Communism is ‘a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.‘ Socialism is ‘a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.’

Does any of this apply to the Democrats? Are they truly Marxist, or socialist?

Well, the last I checked, Democrats aren’t supporting public ownership very much. They’ve moved (via Obamacare) to a partial form of universal healthcare, and other classically public sector areas (such as policing, fire services, transport infrastructure) have been public under Republicans as much as Democrats. I am unaware of any Democrat plans to nationalise any and all means of production, or to abolish the upper classes of society. I am unaware of any Democrat plans to abolish millionaires and billionaires, or to forcibly redistribute all wealth to the working class. The differences between Democrats and Republicans (at least from this overseas perspective) often seem relatively minor, and nothing suggests the Democrats are so drastically different from Republican economic ideas as to call them Marxist. The Democrats might support higher taxes on the wealthy to ease the burden on the poor, but not to the extent that we might expect to see from truly socialist countries.

Are Democrats suggesting means of production get placed into the hands of the community? Are they campaigning for the likes of Amazon to turn control of their business to the hands of their workers? Or are they suggesting nothing more scandalous than the idea that these multi-billion dollar businesses contribute more through tax, and pay their workers a better wage? I think we all know the answer.

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