By Robert Wenzel
Recently I had dinner with two economics professors and a financial analyst. All three are libertarians.
During the dinner, the talk turned to the Democratic primary victory in New York City of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
All three seemed to think she was not a greater threat than your run-of-the-mill Democratic politicians because her platform views were not different from the majority of Democratic party leaders such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
I was shocked. To be sure Pelosi and Schumer are giveaway artists and Ocasio-Cortez supports the
giveaways, but there is an important difference.
Pelosi and Schumer are crony capitalists who only favor giveaways to buy votes and keep themselves in power. They don't want to tear down the system.
Ocasio-Cortez is a completely different species. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and they want to tear down the system.
From their website:
DSA made clear that Bernie's New Deal or social democratic program did not fulfill the socialist aim of establishing worker and social ownership of the economy. But in the context of 40 years of oligarchic rule, Sanders’ program proved sufficiently radical and inspiring. (Sanders made clear that he opposed state ownership of corporations, but no mainstream reporter was astute enough to know that the particular socialist tradition that Sanders came out of favored worker, not state ownership, of most firms.)From their constitution:
We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit...Bottom line, these are extreme anti-capitalists, anti-private property people. They are using Lenninst tactics to generally show to the general public only as much as they can get away with to advance the cause.
We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning..
They admit as much deep in their website:
As democratic socialists, we enter coalition efforts with no preconditions that our allies embrace our socialist politics.They are low key about their more radical views when in coalitions. They promote only what coalition members want to hear.
From a major Yahoo profile:
Across the state, the Philadelphia chapter also had success, as first-time candidate Elizabeth Fiedler won a competitive Democratic primary. Both Fiedler and her campaign manager are members of the DSA, which was one of many progressive groups to endorse her candidacy. In Fiedler’s race, DSA helped out with her expansive door-knocking operation, which she said reached 55,000 homes.Murray Rothbard understood this Leninist technique of the ideological pyramid and the cadre and wrote about it in his unpublished paper on strategy in the context of libertarian strategy:
“I think that health care and education and clean water and clean air, these things to me are obvious, they’re human rights and things we should all have access to regardless of how much money we have or where we live or the color of our skin or our gender,” said Fiedler. “I don’t apply labels to myself or to my politics, but I do share a lot of my vision of the world with them. I knew a lot of folks who were quite active in DSA and I was really fortunate to have their support. They were a piece of the puzzle for me, along with other groups like teachers and nurses unions.”...
Jacquelyn Smith, the Metro D.C. DSA member who helped lead Lee Carter’s insurgent campaign in Virginia said they focused on issues voters in the area cared about. She said they didn’t make the “s-word” a loud part of their campaign and focused on issues, Carter didn’t hide his affiliation if asked about it.
But what should be the proper relationship between cadre and noncadre? First, we might put forward the concept of the "pyramid of ideology." For while "cadre" and "noncadre" may be a first approximation to the real-world situation, the actual condition at any given time is akin to a pyramid, with the cadre at the top of the ideological pyramid as the consistent and uncompromising ideologists, and then with others at lower rungs, with varying degrees of approximation to a consistent and comprehensive libertarian vision. Since people usually become cadre by making their way up the various steps or stages of the pyramid — from totally nonlibertarian to completely libertarian — some rapidly, some slowly, this implies that the stages will assume a pyramid form, with a smaller number of people at each higher stage.
The major task of the cadre, then, is to try to get as many people as high up the pyramid as possible. From this task, there follows the importance of ideological coalitions, of working with allies on various ideological issues.
In this way, Lenin and the Bolsheviks worked within the Soviets with other Marxists, or with the peasants against the old regime, or with the broad masses of Russians who wished to leave the World War as quickly as possible. A coalition -- or what the Marxist-Leninists call a "united front" strategy -- accomplishes several things. In the first place, it maximizes the influence of the numerically small cadre on important social issues, and does so by allying oneself with people who agree on that particular issue, albeit on few others.To think that Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and other establishment Democrats have such an ideological pyramid plan is absurd.
To not be aware that democratic socialists are operating with such a strategy is dangerous.
They will be more than happy to show everyone their demands for giveaways that the masses are fine with but they will discuss their more radical views only with those they deem ready to enter higher up the ideological pyramid.