socialists in US

Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Tue Jun 13 07:45:25 MDT 1995

On Tue, 13 Jun 1995, ANIELLO MARGIOTTA wrote:

> Nello writes: > I am interested to know what's happened in US why no
strong socialist party or movment > is grewn; was it hardly broken in
first years of the century ? Or the cold war and mcarthism have hindered
the use of the term socialist for defining organized groups who named
preferelly "liberals" to be not considered enemy of own fatherland ? And
has never american worker class showen the need to be represented by a
party with strong features of class? Or has the electoral system been a
decisive bound ? and have the trade unions an antagonist function or vice
versa they have more a corporative dispos ition ? ]

Ah, the $64,000
question--and old one. In 1904 Werner Sombart wrote a book called "Why
There Is No Socialism (strong socialist party) in the United States."
There's big debate. Eric Foner has a nice short review in his paper on the
American Exceptionalism issue in William Tabb's The Future of Socialism
(Monthly Review). Common factors cited include:

1. The absence of feudalism and struggle against that sort of class system;

2. The presence of racism, in the virulent form due to slavery, which
divides the working class.

3. The frontier, which allowed the discontentedd to get cheap land and
become small propertyowners (with Federal help).

4. Savage antisocialist repression, arguably the worst outside actual
fascism in the Western World.

5. The immense natural resources and general success of American
capitalism, which allowed for a rising standard of living up to the
present generation.

6. The American political system, Congressional instread of parlaimentary,
which excludes third parties.

7. The coopted American labor movement, free from the constraint of a
labor or sociaalist party, which seeks accomodation to capital and
respectable junior partner role for the labor bureaucracy.

I recommend Mike Davis' Prisoners of the American Dream (Verso, 1986) for
a booklength survey.

--Justin Schwartz

> About young people of eastern europe countries, many of them luaghed scoffingly when I told them I was comunist if I visited their country, but they don't laugh any more if I tell it when I met them begging along the streets in my town.
> By
>         Nello
> ********************************************************
>             il sonno della ragione genera mostri
>             the dream of reason generate monsters
>                        (.) (.)
> **********************   \O/  ****************************
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