Some clues in the National Public Radio piece What You Need To Know About The Democratic Socialists Of America
Here's how one socialist sums up his beliefs:Oh. Management by committee? Or by the whole? Are some workers going to be more equal than others in order to direct the effort of the bakery? Will there be meetings to discuss what products will be produced - a ban on unhealthy things like cakes and doughnuts and an increase in non-GMO, gluten free products? What happens if the consumers reject the bakery products? Can the workers dump "free-riders" - non-productive "owners?" Or will they demand other bakeries conform to their product list?
"I think we just need to realize that the end goal is, ultimately, like social control of the means of production," said Joe Cernelli, a founding member of that West Virginia DSA chapter. "You know we don't just want to improve capitalism, we will ultimately want to get rid of it."
That's not just his idea; the DSA views capitalism as an oppressive system — "We see it as fundamentally undemocratic," as DSA National Director Maria Svart put it. Here's how she sums up what the group wants:
"When it comes right down to it, we believe people need to be able to live a dignified life. I mean, there are certain things that should not be left up to the market," she said.
Removing some parts of the economy from the forces of the free market, for example. In other words, socialism.
In the DSA's ideal economy, some sectors — like health care and utilities — would be government-controlled. Other businesses would be worker-owned, as Svart explains it.
"Let's say you were negotiating at a bargaining table with workers in a bakery, and the workers said, 'Look, we want more than a quarter of the bread; we want half of the bread, or we want two-thirds of the bread,' " she said. "The socialist would say, 'Actually, we want the bakery. We want to control it all, for all of our benefit.' "
I've got to hand to these people - they truly believe that humans can be perfected by this approach and "if only" "real socialism" were applied then everything would be wonderful. That "true belief" relies on a total lack of historical knowledge and a whole lot of magical thinking.
Then there's the need to get rid of that messy U. S. Constitution thing:
It's easy to focus on the "socialist" part here, but the word "democratic" is also a part of the group's name, and members often stress that part of their ideology. They say putting workers in charge of businesses, for example, necessarily makes those businesses more democratic.And, of course, money is never a problem for these folks - they'll just raise taxes on the "wealthy" and on "corporations" to pay for their pipe dreams. Of course, those "corporations" have employees who are free to purchase stock in their companies or other companies, thus becoming "worker-owners" - who will be hurt by the confiscation of the income generated by their work and the work of their fellow workers.
But beyond that, the group advocates for some pretty revolutionary changes to democracy, like abolishing the Senate. The DSA calls it "extremely unrepresentative" for the way it gives both tiny and huge states alike two senators each — the group would like to replace it with a more representative body.
Well, as many of us know, this sort of thinking has not worked well in other places.
What Exactly is a Socialist Economy?:
In a capitalist economy, the market determines prices through the laws of supply and demand. For example, when demand for coffee increases, a profit-seeking business will boost prices to increase its profit. If at the same time, society’s appetite for tea diminishes, growers will face lower prices, and aggregate production will decline. In the long run, some suppliers may even exit the business. Because consumers and suppliers negotiate a new “market-clearing price” for these goods, the quantity produced more or less matches the public’s needs.Political motivations? When the government controls work, housing, and medical care it can control behavior by selectively denying access to such things to disfavored groups as happened in the former Yugoslavia, as set out in David Rieff's Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West (p87)
Under a true socialist system, it’s the government’s role to determine output and pricing levels. The challenge is synchronizing these decisions with the needs of consumers. Socialist economists such as Oskar Lange have argued that, by responding to inventory levels, central planners can avoid major production inefficiencies. So when stores experience a surplus of tea, it signals the need to cut prices, and vice versa.
One of the critiques of socialism is that, even if government officials can adjust prices, the lack of competition between different producers reduces the incentive to do so. Opponents also suggest that public control of production necessarily creates an unwieldy, inefficient bureaucracy. The same central planning committee could, in theory, be in charge of pricing thousands of products, making it extremely difficult to react to market cues promptly.
Furthermore, the concentration of power within government can create an environment where political motivations override the basic needs of the people. Indeed, at the same time the Soviet Union was diverting vast resources to build up its military capability, its residents often had trouble attaining a variety of goods, including food, soap, and even television sets.
. . . But most people still expected to work in the same place for life, and had grown accustomed to looking to the workplace for all kinds of accompanying benefits. Being fired meant losing a great deal more than a paycheck . . . what were indispensable were the health insurance and other state benefits that were immediately revoked when a person was fired.Far-fetched in the U.S.? Noticed any people losing their jobs because of current or even lost past transgressions of the whatever today's standard of politically correct behavior is?
People were even made insecure in their lodgings . . . In Serbia proper, people's fear of being fired . . . and losing a flat owned by that enterprise was one of the ways the Milosevic regime compelled consent. Better support the regime than be out in the street homeless. In Banja Luka, this legacy of the Titoist period provided the Serb authorities with the next move in the process of ethnically cleansing the urban non-Serbian population. The firing itself was only the beginning. For once when someone's dismissal had been made known officially, the next step was for a letter to be sent demanding that the person vacate the apartment in which he or she had been living.
Thus, to be deprived of a job was almost to stop being citizen, to be forcibly be moved from the status of non-Serb to the status of non-person in only a couple of official decrees.
In case you haven't gotten the message, the DSA is all about power. The power to take control of your life and the lives of all Americans and subvert them to the will of a small group of people who have the firm belief that they know what is best for all of us - despite what we may believe.