The Atlantic

Democratic Socialism Threatens Minorities

Nothing better protects victims of bigotry than a system where they can pursue their needs and wants outside the realm of popular control.
Source: Christian Hartmann / Reuters

Last week, the leftist magazine Jacobin published an article arguing that “the spectacular rehabilitation of socialism as a legitimate position within American politics, particularly among young people, is one of the most significant developments for the socialist movement in decades.” I maintain that those young people aren’t being told the whole story.

When I first responded last week, my focus was a passage the authors intended as an acknowledgement that what they call “socialism from above” is dangerous.

They wrote:

Socialists don’t just want to replace private ownership with state ownership. In the same way we don’t believe that capitalists should be able to have disproportionate control over economic resources, we don’t think unaccountable state officials and bureaucrats should have the power to control investment and production through ‘socialism from above.’ In some cases, like the former Soviet Union, the failings of such a system are nearly as deep as those of capitalism itself.”

I inveighed against the notion that the Soviet economic system, with its many epidemics of mass starvation and death, was less flawed than market capitalism. Upon reflection, the authors changed their article to better reflect their actual belief: that “in some cases, like the former Soviet Union, the failings of such a system are as clear as

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