No, Democrats are no Communists. Not Even a Little Bit

Calling other people names has been part of the human experience for as long as human communication has existed. I would imagine cavemen referred to those from other caves as “Wheel-Jockeys” before crushing their skulls with large Mammoth bones. Even the youngest children call each other “poopy-heads”, and, more recently, “globalists” at the playground.

The names people choose to categorize others they don’t like or agree with often has very little relation to anything that is actually true about those people. I’m not even sure what being a “poopyhead” entails. Although, in fairness, many of your 2nd grade “globalists” do get their lunch money from George Soros. Insulting names are just an intellectually lazy way of demonizing another group of people, and one would hope that as we become mature adults, our name-calling instinct would recede a bit. Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Recently, we’ve seen various news outlets across the ideological range, from right-wing to extreme-right-wing to Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, calling those they disagree with “Communists”. These alleged Marx-worshippers include Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and no doubt the local Democratic Township Auditor. And every policy espoused by these “Communists” is, by definition, “Communism”. This is, of course, as President Biden himself might say, “utter malarkey”.

Calling people to the left of you Communists has a long, and not particularly happy history in this country. After the Soviet Union developed its own atomic bomb, America went into a full-blown panic about Russian spies infiltrating every aspect of society, from academia to entertainment to politics. The result was McCarthyism, and thousands of people losing their livelihoods after being “blackballed” for suspicion of being Communists. We were told Communists were EVERYWHERE! As Monty Python put it, “You can’t take a bath without 4 or 5 Communists jumping in with you.”

Eventually McCarthyism was discredited as the witch-hunt it was. For several decades calling other people Communists was out of fashion, and those on the right had to find other names to call those they disagreed with. “Liberal” actually did nicely for a while, as did “Hippie”. And while calling someone a Communist was problematic, saying that they were “soft on Communism” sometimes worked nearly as well. But now, time has passed. Donald Trump was President of the United States (really! look it up!!) and “Communist” as an insult has made a come-back!

In order to evaluate whether or not mainstream Democratic politicians are really secret goatee-sporting, beret-wearings singers of The Internationale, it’s worth exploring Communism itself. I say this because almost nobody (including even Sarah Palin, if you can believe that!) who calls others Communists, has the first clue about what Communist actually is.

The nuances of Communism are quite complex. Entire books could be written about it. In fact, I’m told they have been. I’m also told that I didn’t read these books in college despite what the professor assigned. But basically, Communism is characterized by two basic precepts, one economic and one political.

Economic — Communism says that the existential struggle of our time is the struggle between the “proletariat” or working class, who must labor to survive, and the capitalists or “bourgeoisie” who own everything and derive profits off of the backs of the proletariat, who they exploit. The way to solve this is to entirely eliminate private property and nationalize all of thee means of production and businesses.

Political — Democracy allows the bourgeoisie to exploit the workers and should be eliminated in favor of a “dictatorship of the proletariat”.

So, do real-life liberal leaders support these basic tenets of Communism? Let’s take two examples. We’ll look at President Joe Biden, and a Township Auditor in Michigan named Ralph Schmuck-Toodle. (This is obviously a pseudonym. His real name is Peter Schmuck-Toodle). Do either of them support eliminating all free enterprise and private ownership of the means of production? The short answer is “NO”. Actually, “NO” is the long answer too. Neither of these people has ever called for anything remotely resembling this. In fact, President Biden has proposed numerous policies geared toward supporting, assisting, and subsidizing privately-owned businesses. Pol-Pot would not be happy.

Social programs are not Communism. Taking a portion of the taxes that we all agree we should pay (while we may disagree on the amount) and using that money to provide food stamps or rental assistance, or Social Security has nothing to do with eliminating private ownership of the means of production. And if you disagree, consider this. Not only do Bernie Sanders and AOC support social programs, so do Newt Gingrich and Mitch McConnell. They believe in far more stingy programs. But neither of them support eliminating Social Security or Medicare. Just ask them. Especially around election time.

How about on the political side? Has President Biden or Auditor Schmuck-Toodle ever called for eliminating free elections and installing a politburo of the proletariat? That is also a hard no.

Those who call Democratic policy-makers Communists not only fail to allege that their adversary’s proposals meet the definition either politically or economically, they call proposals Communist that have nothing even theoretically to do with Communism.

Expanding early voting is not Communism! Neither are Red Flag gun laws, or limits on toxic waste being dumped into rivers. Gay rights have never been part of the great class struggle. And do you know what Karl Marx wrote about COVID-related mask restrictions. ABSOLUTELY. FREAKIN. NOTHING!! Do you know what Friederick Engels would saying about taking down monuments to confederate generals? “Who the fuck is Stonewall Jackson?”

The fact is that not every policy that you agree with is Communist. Frankly, in the context of modern American policy debates, NOTHING is Communist.

There is a Communist Party in the US. Their current leader is a woman named Rossana Combron (I had to Google it). You’ve probably never heard of her. Why? Because she was not given a speaking spot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. She has not been named as Joe Biden’s Secretary of Commerce (or even Ralph a/ka/a Peter Schmuck-Toodle’s Deputy Township Auditor). The things you don’t like are not Godless Communism. In fact, they are neither Godless nor Communism. And saying that they are betrays far more ignorance on your part than flaws in the policies you despise.

All of that said…it actually wouldn’t be so terrible if the workers of the world did unite, at least somewhat.

Long-time state House and Senate member, author of PA’s Medical Marijuana law, also creator of “shit-gibbon!” Comedian, professor, father of 2 awesome children!

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