Posted: 4/12/2001 7:05:23 AM EDT
73 Years of (Ha, Ha) Progress
Socialism may be the most successful political movement in
By Michael Long, a director of the White House Writers Group.
April 11, 2001 9:10 a.m.
n 1979, Milton and Rose Friedman delivered the seminal book
Free to Choose. One of its most remarkable elements is the
now-famous "Appendix A,"
listing the 14 economic planks of
the Socialist Party platform of
1928. The Friedmans noted that
every goal in that document had
become a part of American
law. The list includes federal initiatives that are today neither
attacked nor even seriously questioned by even the most
hard-boiled conservatives: nationalization of natural resources,
maintenance of public employment agencies, regulation of the
workday, and federalization of certain transportation concerns
and utilities. Much of the agenda was enacted into law within
twenty years of the Socialists' announcement — and twenty
years past that, their accomplishments had become an
unquestioned part of the political landscape.
It used to be that the looniest ideas of the Loony Left lived only
in the Socialist Platform. And when guys like Bernie Sanders
needed the company of fellow travelers, they had to show up
at somebody's cell meeting with a password and a dog-eared
copy of Mao. But these days, Bernie et al can feel right at
home with the Democrats, who are borrowing pretty heavily
from the proletariat playbook.
So what are the Socialists campaigning for today? It seems
wise to take a look at their agenda, because twenty years from
now, we could be living it — and twenty years past that,
conservatives may even be applauding it. After all, it has
happened before. So consider these highlights from the 2000
Platform of the Socialist Party USA — and, while you're at it,
marvel at how many of these goals are also supported by the
We call for a ban on animal experimentatio
We call for an unconditional amnesty program for
undocumented people who should be accorded the same civil
rights that other members of society possess.
The Socialist Party stands for unconditional disarmament by
the United States….
We call for … rapidly reducing the military budget to less than
10% of its current level.
We call for the disbanding of NATO….
We call for … an end to military recruiting in educational
We support efforts to organize all workers, particularly …
enlisted personnel in the Armed Forces….
[Recognizing] the intimate link between racism and capitalism
… [w]e strongly support affirmative action ….
We call for the overhaul of the Constitution of the United
States in order to achieve a diverse legislative body.
We defend the right of seniors to a generous, publicly funded
We call for a National Pension Authority to hold the assets of
private pension funds….
We support comparable-worth laws and affirmative action for
… And a Few Words to Dream on
We call on all citizens of the world to fight the U.S.
We call for children's allowances in order to satisfy every
child's basic rights and needs in a stimulating, empowering, and
We oppose measures that increase responsibilities and
penalties on youth ostensibly to curb crime.
We call for … public ownership of all large databases….
We call for an end to the expansion of the interstate-highway
system in conjunction with the reduction of