In America, the word socialism has a negative conation to it. Since the red scare and McCarthyism people were afraid to say that they were socialist. But things began to change with the Bernie sanders 2016 presidential campaign and eventually with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the midterm elections. Anchor Keenan Millinger is on the site at the Queens branch of the Democratic Socialists of America, the branch that helped elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Democratic Socialists of America meeting. The members are snapping and clapping. They are having a meeting about labor in America
Aaron Taube is a volunteer organizer at the queens Dsa and has his own ideas about the perception of socialism in America.
“ Is it bad? I’ve read interviews that actually among millennials socialism is polling higher than capitalism. You know I guess there were generations of anti-communist propaganda, there was a red scare, there was Ronald Regan. There was a negative perception sorta partially colored by Stalinism, which wasn’t good; it was a perversion of socialism. And then part of it was pro-capitalism, anti collectivist propaganda.
According to Gallup’s measurements, in August 2018 for the first time in over the past decade Democrats have a more positive image of socialism than capitalism. Also according to Gallup’s polling, Americans aged 18 to 29 are more positive about socialism than capitalism. Older Americans have been consistently more positive about capitalism than socialism.
Dr. Mitchell Cohen, a political science professor at Baruch college has his own opinions on the changing perception of socialism in America.
“Well, I think we’re gone through several decades in which social and economic inequality has grown and grown and grown and grown and at a certain point, there’s going to be a response to that. It’s grown and grown and grown at the same time organizations and institutions that used to represent working people like unions have been damaged, done weaker, are weaker and weaker. The Regan period basically led to an assault on unions. I find it very amusing to hear people talk about big labor as if it was a correspondent of big business, but big business has a lot of social and economic power, whereas the power and membership of unions declined greatly over many decades.”
Bernie Sanders And AOC political campaigns increased people’s interest in democratic socialism. The Dsa reported that their membership grew from 32,000 at the end of 2017 to 60,000 in 2019. Bernie Sanders and AOC’s polarization in the media had helped grow the popularity of democratic socialism
“Well, they put certain things back on the map. If you take something like the idea of universal health care, call it Medicare for all, call it whatever you want. Virtually every western society has some version of that, we don’t.
Though Bernie Sander and AOC can be seen as near-perfect candidates, people still have their reservations. Dr. Cohen believes that they also have their flaws as political suitors
“I think they have their own problems. I tend to be quite sympathetic with them on domestic affairs, I think when it comes to foreign policy I find that they usually don’t know what they’re talking about.
DSA Organizer Aaron Taube believes that their polarization is not necessarily a bad thing.
“I think every time you have someone who is saying things that haven’t been said in a while or haven’t been said before; they’re going to be polarizing. Gandhi was polarizing, Martin Luther King was polarizing. There’s a lot of people who accepted capitalist ideology and even working people who has taken the ruling class’ ideology and taken it as their own. And also there’s a lot of wealthy powerful people who are upset that they will not get to be all-powerful because Alexandria is challenging that power. On the other hand, there are people making murals of Alexandria, they send art to Alexandria. The people who love Alexandria: working people who see themselves in her, Latina women who see themselves in her adore her.
This is Keenan Millinger from Baruch college, Signing off
My podcast I would like to profile a non profit called Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement. It is a non profit in the center of Queensbridges houses. They provide the tenants at Queensbride with a safe space. They have a senior center, tutoring for kids k through 12. They also have immigrant safety.
For my podcast I would interview Aaron Taube who is a volunteer at the Queens DSA. I would interview him about the Tiffany Caban campaign. I want to talk about how organizations affect a political campaign