Since Bernie Sanders burst onto the mainstream political scene in 2016, a debate has raged amongst both his supporters and critics regarding where his true political allegiances lie. Many critics argue that the senator from Vermont is a devoted communist. His supporters will dismiss this as right-wing slander, stating that Sanders is a self-proclaimed “Democratic Socialist!”
Only a few days ago, Newsweek published a piece titled “Bernie Sanders Is A Democratic Socialist Not A Communist, Here’s the Difference” which perfectly demonstrated the Left’s blind acceptance of the senator’s ideological self-declaration, instead focusing on the definitional differences between communism and socialism.
Dr. Eileen Hunt Botting told Newsweek that Democratic socialism "aims to use democratic government to promote a more fair and egalitarian distribution of social goods and opportunities among all people in a society,” and that “Sanders, like Elizabeth Warren, is far closer to Scandinavia than to Venezuela on his democratic socialist proposals, such as 'Medicare for all.'"
Bernie Sanders and his supporters are well practised in using Scandinavia to justify their growing list of demands, often applying the attributes of Nordic countries in support of their definition of “socialism.” The fact that the free-market success of these countries was actually negatively impacted by so-called “democratic socialist” policies is a detail they prefer to ignore.
The problem here is that too many are willing to accept Bernie Sanders’ recent “democratic socialist” rebrand without question, allowing Sanders to stand on the shoulders of Scandanavian capitalism to laud an ideology which would drag such societies into ruin. If we scratch beneath the surface of the kooky Brooklynite, we find an ideology completely indistinguishable from communism.
Communism is a political theory deriving from Marxism which calls for class warfare in pursuit of a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person is provided for according to their needs. Given that every Bernie Sanders speech includes a call for “revolution” to overthrow the millionaire and billionaire class, why are so many so eager to ignore his historically-familiar rhetoric?
Despite speaking the language of communism, Bernie Sanders continues to hide behind the shield of “socialism.” He even adds the somewhat redundant prefix of “democratic,” as if that alleviates any moral concerns. “It’s not murder, it’s democratic murder” would hardly lead to an acquittal. However, it’s deeply important to understand that socialism and communism exist along the same spectrum, and along the same path. Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Russian Communist Party, stated that “The goal of socialism is communism.” Bernie Sanders may claim to be a socialist, but says nothing of his goals beyond delivering socialism to American shores.
In order to understand Bernie Sanders’ motivation, we must look at his past. While journalists at Newsweek will claim that “Democratic socialists obviously esteem democracy and social justice and reject a need for a trade off," is it obvious that this applies to Bernie Sanders?
After all, this is a man who warmly praised the communist regimes of Cuba and the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Neither of these regimes held democracy or social justice in high esteem, so surely a “democratic” socialist would have abhorred the horrors of communism? Surely a gentleman who respected freedom and democracy would never honeymoon in such a country?!
For most of his life, Bernie Sanders was politically irrelevant. This allowed him to embrace the radical and immoral ideologies of Lenin, Stalin, Marx, and Trotsky without having to answer any difficult questions. However, Sanders can no longer candidly admit the goals of his ideology. Instead, he hides beneath the thin veil of “democratic socialism,” and happily avoids any challenges to this unsubstantiated claim. While the evils of communism are still universally understood, Sanders intentionally takes advantage of political ignorance when it comes to communism’s cousin, socialism.
If someone talks like a communist, and acts like a communist, they are - in all likelihood - a communist. Don’t be distracted by the promises of free healthcare, education, and housing. Those promises have been made before, and are nothing more than honey on the end of an ideological sword which has claimed the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Communism is evil, socialism is evil, and “democratic evil” is still evil.