What Would a Socialist America Look Like?

September 3, 2018 | | Politico |

Socialism would remedy the systemic deprivation of people of color.

Connie M. Razza is director of policy and research at the think tank Demos.

A more democratically socialist—or equitable—American economy would require a re-engineering of the structures that have systematically stripped wealth and other resources from communities of color. To see these structures, one could look back hundreds of years to Europeans stripping land from Native Americans and enslaving Africans to till that land; one could look back just nine months to Republicans passing a tax cut to benefit their big-money donors at the expense of the working and poor people.

Additionally, a new system would adjust how corporations are treated, recognizing what is already true: We invest in corporations and the infrastructure they rely on because they should serve us. With the current mood for deregulation and cutting taxes, we’ve shifted power to corporations. Appropriate regulation and fair taxation help business to pool resources—whether money (as in finance), power (as in energy companies), technology, food—and distribute them where they truly need to go.

Crucially, an equitable future requires that everyone has an equal say in American democracy—equal ease in access to voting, free of overly restrictive hurdles. Smart public financing would enable voters to participate meaningfully by donating to candidates and enable all qualified citizens to run for office. Money should not give the wealthy extra votes. A more balanced political economy would recognize that only speech is speech, and the opportunity to influence the thinking of representatives is through the soundness of ideas.