Bernie is running for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2016 Presidential Election. This is a fan-supported page with info about him, his ideals, and voting resources for all.
Gasp! "What did she just say?"
No, I'm serious, lets look at it. Most people have no idea what socialism really is, yet the word is thrown around a lot. It seems the more to the Right someone leans (in my experience at least) the more evil the word Socialism is. In fact, just a few days ago when commenting on some random Internet article. I was called a "sodomy-loving lesbian socialist". Sounds like a mouthful (especially for a lesbian).
This entire section is my own musings rather than those of Bernie - if you don't like my take on it, feel free to check this Reddit search result out for a much larger source of opinions.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Socialism is the end-all-be-all to human existence. I'm not that stupid. But I am going to tell you that capitalism is definitely not - well maybe it is, if you are the .01% of the population who benefits dramatically from it. There is no "pure" form of governing people that is a good choice. Every form, Capitalism, Socialism, Libertarianism, Authoritarianism (and the list goes on), has good and bad's to it. What is good and what is bad varies greatly for each form, especially if you ask the people who benefit vs the people who suffer.
The reason we have so many forms of government in this world is that no one has found the perfect system. A lot of these look good on paper, but in practice don't work quite as well. This is why so many countries have realized that the best approach is to adopt the best "qualities" out of several different types of government as sort of a checks and balances system.
While Capitalism is great - ability to make infinite money - the end result is what you see happening here today. 99% of the new money our country makes goes to the top 1% of the population. Yes - you heard me, those 40, 50, 60 hour weeks you work are indirectly making the rich richer, the poor poorer, and sliding the middle class down a slope covered with WD-40.
Socialism can also be great - but just like Capitalism, it isn't perfect. In the long run a pure Socialism-driven economy is not the answer. Socialism "means well", but when it is abused like Capitalism can be, it has the potential to turn into - dun dun dun! Communism! This is why so many people, when asked or commenting about Socialism will list USSR/Cuba/China as failed Socialism experiments. While this is partially true, they neglect to tell you all of these countries fell into Communism (wait, there's a difference?)
Its not, we've just been lead to believe that it is.
"Thinking of Labor's Future" — (Article One) - By Harry Kelber
To most Americans, Socialism (or worse still, Communism) is either a sinister, alien doctrine or a hopelessly utopian ideal. They believe it has nothing to do with their daily lives, and it rarely crops up in their conversations.
The Russian, East European and Chinese models of Socialism are linked in the public mind with low, per capita income, lack of free speech, an insensitive bureaucracy and drab, dull life-styles.
While more than half of the world's population live under some form of Socialism, Americans pride themselves that they are the exceptions. They will be the first to admit that Democracy and the Capitalist System in the United States (they lump the two together) have faults.
They will concede that unemployment, inflation, racial tensions, hunger, poverty, pollution, decaying cities, crime and political corruption are serious problems. But in the next breath, they will assert emphatically that the United States is the greatest nation on earth, and they wouldn't trade it for any other.
Unions Were Born by Applying Socialist Principles
Millions of American workers learned long ago that if they acted on their own to ask the employer for a wage increase or improved conditions, they could be rebuffed, harassed, demoted and fired.
To win any rights, workers had to band together to confront their employer as a group and press for collective bargaining of their demands. That's pretty much how unions were born, adopting the Socialist principles of worker solidarity and collective action.
The first president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), Samuel Gompers, was a Socialist. He abhorred the Capitalist system in which workers were compelled to compete with each other for survival, while capitalists amassed profits from their employees' labor.
One of Gompers' many pointed, quotable statements: "Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected." Isn't that true [now]?
Neither is Obama!
Bernie Sanders refers to himself as a "Democratic-Socialist". What exactly is that, and how does it differ from pure Socialism. He will still call himself a Socialist, and while not untrue, unlike America's perception of Socialism, he isn't looking to have you pay 1/10 of your net pay to each of your 10 neighbors. He just wants to keep American jobs and American money in America, to benefit America. WHAT? THAT DEMON! I know, I know.. its horrible. I'll get into it more below.
Don't believe me? I invite you to Visit /r/Socialism on Reddit - they will be the first people to tell you he isn't a true socialist. A huge majority of them don't even support him because of this!
"But Socialism is the OPPOSITE of Capitalism" - I like to think of it as more of a counterbalance. Actually almost every society that claims "Capitalism" is actually a hybrid of Socialism and Capitalism. Even here in the good 'old US of A - Socialism is a HUGE part of our life, we just have no idea what it is. And one thing that America hasn't fully realized (although, it seems as if they are starting to wake up), is that your Socialism-driven society that you don't even realize exists is being taken away every single day by none other than - Capitalism! Socialism, realistically, requires higher taxes to benefit everyone, at the same time, everyone benefits (ok, maybe not the billionaires). Bernie Sanders doesn't want to take extra taxes from you making $40,000 a year just trying to make ends meet. Bernie wants to take "extra taxes" from the billionaires making millions a year, keeping the majority in off-shore accounts, and paying virtually nothing in taxes.
Why did I put quotes around "extra taxes"? Because billionaires, and even millionaires aren't paying fair taxes. In fact, some billionaires are using a tax loophole to lower their tax rates to 1%. While, at the same time, up to 1/4 of millionaires in this country are paying LESS taxes than average, middle-class families. Well, this hardly seems fair - because it's not. But you are starting to see how the system works now, aren't you? Capitalism at its finest!
Billionaire pays low taxes -> Spend extra money to campaign for politicians who protect their interests -> Politicians pass ridiculous laws such as Repealing Estate Tax -> Billionaires as a result get major tax breaks -> (back to the beginning)
All of this is happening, right now, while at the same time - Our country has public schools that are forced to close their doors early this year because they have no funding left.
The following are ways you benefit from Socialism every single day. (WHAT? I'm HATE Socialism! - you may be surprised) This data was gathered from This Article via Daily KOS - If you're confused by any of the below things, I suggest visiting the site for a complete breakdown of each item. You may recognize these as Social Services. Now you know what "Social" stands for.
Veteran's (VA) Health Care
Our Court Systems
Free School Lunch Programs
Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Free Public Defense Attorneys
Dept. Health & Human Services
Dept. of Energy
Dept. of Education
Dept. of Justice
National Weather Service
The White House
Student Loans & Grants
Congressional Health Care
The following map shows top 10 countries based on Quality of Life Index. More than half of them tout a Socialist-centric (but not entirely, because that would be bad) Government. Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore are Capitalist-Centric (but not entirely, because that would be bad). Switzerland is a bit of an outlier - it is the closest thing this world has to an actual true Democracy. The way the Swiss run things is simply not feasible for the rest of the world. Though, I'm sure it is a bit easier for them since they have all of our billionaires' money to invest.
Extremes of both Capitalism and Socialism are very bad for everyone. Extreme and total socialism can lead to Communism. It is also said that this scenario causes extreme lethargy - "why should I work when everyone works for me!" While Extreme and total Capitalism can lead to an Oligarchy.
"the ruling oligarchy of military men around the president"
"the English aristocratic oligarchy of the 19th century"
So if they are both good in some ways, and both bad in some ways, why not take the good parts from each and make them work together?
Congratulations, you have just figured out what Bernie Sanders is trying to do. Right now our Country's Capitalism has far far taken over its Socialism, the result is the World's Most Powerful Oligarchy.
Say you want purple paint, but they don't sell purple paint. Well, luckily for most of us, we went to Kindergarden and learned that red + blue makes purple. But if you mix too much red, you get magenta, and if you mix too much blue, you get indigo. Bernie Sanders is trying to balance out the red with some blue. He likes purple too - but magenta? Not so much. The problem is that our country is barely even magenta anymore - it is turning more and more red every day.
While technically an Oxymoron, all that Socialist-Capitalism (or Capitalist-Socialism, if you prefer) infers is that one side prevents the other side from getting out of hand. We use this checks and balances model, all the time, in every-day life. In order to have a checks and balance system - you need to have two opposing forces of equal power pulling in each direction. Right now Capitalism is literally tearing this country apart at the seams. It has gotten SO bad that our country is actually thinking about electing a "Socialist" into office. THE HORROR! Actually, let me rephrase that, I just realized sarcasm on the Internet is hard for some people. Our country is starting to realize that the shift towards pure Capitalism is hurting us more than helping, and Bernie Sanders is offering a solution to this ever-growing, never-slowing problem. So we should all do ourselves a favor, and listen to what he has to say.