What is America? America is a capitalist republic. We are capitalist by our economic system, and a republic by our form of government, despite the best efforts of Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and most of the Republican Party to undermine our political system and its safe, secure, free, and fair elections.
What is socialism and what is communism? Socialism and communism are two economic theories; they are not types of governments. They vary by different degrees of economic integration and government intervention in a country’s economy. Communism is the system where there is complete sharing of the economic goods of society and no existence of private property. On the other hand, socialism still accepts the existence of private property. Socialism involves a redistribution of wealth where there are higher taxes, yet significantly more services with the end state being a more equitable society.
When someone hears the word ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’, they may think of dictatorships, like those we see in Venezuela, or North Korea, or that we saw in the Soviet Union. “But wait”, you ask, “What about China?” Again, there is the distinction between economic system and government: China blends a capitalist system, allowing private enterprise and private property ownership, with state-owned enterprise. On the government side, it is a one-party rule (essentially, a dictatorship). It’s the worst of both worlds, a forced-work camp where people have no say in the political system that oppresses them. This is what we’d have in the US if Republican Party has its way. What people do not hear about, or associate with socialism or communism, are democratic socialist or democratic communist societies that blend representative political systems with cooperative economic models. “Democratic Communists?” can’t be real, can they? Yes, in Kerala, India:
“Instead of ossifying into an autocratic force, Kerala’s communists embraced electoral politics and since 1957 have been routinely voted into power. Instead of being associated with repression or failure, the party of Marx is widely associated with huge investments in education that have produced a 95 percent literacy rate, the highest in India, and a health-care system where citizens earning only a few dollars a day still qualify for free heart surgery …
Unlike communists in China, Latin America or Eastern Europe, party leaders in Kerala never seized factories — the “means of production,” in the words of Marx — or banned private property. Instead, they competed in elections with the center-left Indian National Congress party, winning some years and losing others…because in Kerala the communists had never sought to stamp out religion…clusters of simple, concrete homes, each one with electricity and indoor toilets. Kerala is one of the few states in India where that is the case.”
In Europe, “‘…social democrats were some of the strongest advocates for democracy in Europe,’ political science professor Sheri Berman says. ‘Social democrats accepted capitalism,’ she says, but knew the government needed to protect citizens from its “negative downsides” for this economic system to work.” An example of a social democratic society is Norway. In short, Norway is a democratic, parliamentary system, with an extensive social welfare system, but also a thriving private sector.
Is Joe Biden, or Kamala Harris, a socialist? No, and by extension, they are not communists either. But guess who is?