BY ED FELIEN
To socialize: “to make someone behave in a way that is acceptable to their society.”
Carol Becker was a member of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation from 2006 until Dec. 31, 2021. She is a respected conservative voice in Minneapolis politics. She wrote a very long and complicated letter to Southside Pride raising serious questions about the prospect of the Democratic Socialists of America gaining a majority on the Minneapolis City Council in the coming November general election. It would require volumes to answer all of her objections, but perhaps we can try to begin to answer her central criticism of how “the far left use the machinery of the Democratic Socialists of America to take over the DFL instead of creating their own party.”
First, to state the obvious: Minnesota does not have a Democratic Party. It has a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. The Minnesota Democratic Party in 1944 merged with the Farmer-Labor Party to present a United Front Against Fascism during World War II and created the DFL. The Farmer-Labor Party enjoyed tremendous success in the thirties, electing a majority to the Minnesota Legislature and re-electing the popular Floyd B. Olson as governor. The 1934 Farmer-Labor Party convention declared: “Capitalism has failed and should be abolished. We mean to establish a Cooperative Commonwealth.” Radical populism is baked into the DNA of the DFL.
Second, there has been a profound change in the national Democratic Party beginning with the student protests against the Vietnam War in 1968. The first “shot heard round the world” was when young people went “Clean for Gene” and campaigned successfully for Gene McCarthy to defeat LBJ in the New Hampshire Democratic primary and force a sitting president out of the race. The SDS Days of Rage that followed the Chicago Democratic National Convention told party bosses that continued support for the Vietnam War was not acceptable.
In 1972, as a gift to the anti-war left, the Democratic Party nominated George McGovern, but this time the bourgeois liberals sat on their hands and McGovern lost mightily.
Jimmy Carter was a kind of compromise between the two factions. He was from the South, fairly conservative, but he quoted a lot of Bob Dylan.
Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were able to dominate national elections for the next 12 years, but “Slick Willie” Clinton was able to fool the left into thinking he was on their side, and they enthusiastically worked for him to end 12 years of conservatism.
Al Gore made a fateful and foolish decision in the 2000 election in ignoring Ralph Nader and the legitimate programs of the left. The left leaked to Nader and that (along with the machinations of Roger Stone) cost Gore the state of Florida and the election.
Barack Obama rode “Hope and Change” into the sunset, and he took everyone along for the ride. The left loved him for what his candidacy said about racism, and the Norwegian Parliament was so thrilled they gave him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Trump was the racist’s revenge. Hillary ignored Bernie and the left in 2016 and that cost her. Biden publicly respected Bernie’s campaign and the two campaigns got together, hammering out a program that both could agree to, and that working coalition between the liberal and the progressive/socialist factions continues.
What do socialists believe?
They believe in things like public education, parks, good roads and bridges. Those public amenities that we now take for granted are the result of struggles by progressives who believed in socializing some part of private wealth (through taxation) to provide for the common good. Carol Becker spent 16 years approving the selling of bonds for such projects. She approved the transfer of wealth from property owners to the commonwealth of parks and roads and bridges.
Is Carol Becker a secret socialist?