God forbid you should ever think of the staff and management of the New York Times as a bunch of crypto-socialists whose red-diaper-baby roots go back unto the generations. Right?
Are You a Democratic Socialist?
Democratic socialists have been one of the breakout groups of the 2018 election season, but many voters don’t know what exactly they stand for. Do you?
Democratic socialists have been one of the breakout groups of the 2018 midterm elections, springing to national attention in June with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset of a 10-term incumbent, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
But for all their electoral triumphs so far, democratic socialism remains poorly understood and is frequently conflated, incorrectly, with communism — or, on the flip side, with European-style social democracy. So we built a quiz to help you understand what it is, and how your own political views compare with it.
A word of caution before we start: Just like “liberal” or “conservative,” the term “democratic socialist” can mean different things to different people. For the purposes of this quiz, we are using the definition promoted by the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the United States.
Forty D.S.A.-affiliated candidates have won primaries this year, the organization says, and eight others were nominated after running unopposed. If you hear a 2018 candidate describe her- or himself as a democratic socialist, it is a safe bet that they mean this kind.
There follows a series of six multiple-choice questions. If you know anything about the basic tenets of socialism/communism, you easily get them all right. Who should own the means of productions? Check! Are government regulations helpful in a capitalism system? You betcha! Minimum standards of living, labor unions, socialized medicine — got ’em all!
Except the last one — because the answer the Times supplies is a lie:
Ideally, how should major social or political changes be achieved?
Through the traditional democratic process: elections, legislation and popular lobbying.
Through grass-roots organizing.
By any means necessary, including violence and/or revolution.
According to the Times, the correct answers are the first two, in combination. If you picked the third choice…
You disagree with democratic socialists. This is a common point of misunderstanding for people who conflate democratic socialism with communism. Democratic socialists don’t support a revolution to overthrow capitalism; they believe change should happen, well, democratically. “Any possible transition to socialism would necessitate mass mobilization and the democratic legitimacy garnered by having demonstrated majority support,” Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Schulman wrote.
But we all know what the real answer is, don’t we, comrades?