I hate to upset all this speculation with facts.  Apparently if the system weren't rigged and require great scads of money to buy elections, we could very well have a Socialist Party today with anywhere from 20% to 30% of the vote.  That would be a decent base to build from.  Of course the hard core supporters of capitalism would try to paint the U. S. Socialists the color of Stalin or whomever; but if the ability to reach the public did not depend on immense resources, the New Socialist Party would have a chance to flesh out a program based on the needs and expectations of the U. S. working class.  If you don't trust PEW, try Gallup: http://www.gallup.com/poll/125645/socialism-viewed-positively-americans.aspx
Gallup's poll is entitled
Socialism Viewed Positively by 36% of Americans

What needs to be emphasized is that, in spite of long standing propaganda against socialism and  continuous discrediting of it by relating it to repressive regimes and painting those regimes as evil as possible by the main stream press and others, it still is viewed positively by a substantial portion of the population.  Just imagine what kind of support it would have if we had democracy instead of corporatocracy.  Anyways, i didn't need these polls.  Working with the foreclosure movement, youth doing street theater and other art forms, and organizing adjuncts (in spite of being an old fart) i find a majority consider that capitalism has failed them.  They want an alternative and have some pretty well defined views of what some of its attributes should be.  They don't seem to be bothered by calling it socialism and hardly ever refer to other countries that use that word.  Unlike older persons like Michael Balter they don't even know who Stalin was and what it felt like to be part of a weirdo group like PLP.  As a matter of fact what they do know about Cuba and Venezuela is the cool music that comes out of there.  They definitely are tired of our being permanently at war and the government not having money for other more essential things.  I will admit they generally are not too happy with China, mostly because the Chinese work for such low wages that  they take our jobs away  So their negative view of Communism is of a nation full of economic opportunity for dudes with cash and hell for the workers, and with a government that lies and is not a government of, by, and for the people--sort of like the United States.
Sweet dreams,
herb

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

"Socialism" Not So Negative, "Capitalism" Not So Positive

A Political Rhetoric Test

May 4, 2010

"Socialism" is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all Americans. "Capitalism" is regarded positively by a majority of public, though it is a thin majority. Among certain segments of the public -- notably, young people and Democrats -- both "isms" are rated about equally. And while most Americans have a negative reaction to the word "militia," the term is viewed more positively by Republican men than most other groups.

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="321" width="328">These are among the findings of a national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press that tests reactions to words and phrases frequently used in current political discourse. Overall, 29% say they have a positive reaction to the word "socialism," while 59% react negatively. The public's impressions of "capitalism," though far more positive, are somewhat mixed. Slightly more than half (52%) react positively to the word "capitalism," compared with 37% who say they have a negative reaction.

A large majority of Republicans (77%) react negatively to "socialism," while 62% have a positive reaction to "capitalism." Democrats' impressions are more divided: In fact, about as many Democrats react positively to "socialism" (44%) as to "capitalism" (47%).

Reaction to "capitalism" is lukewarm among many demographic groups. Fewer than half of young people, women, people with lower incomes and those with less education react positively to "capitalism."

The survey, conducted April 21-26 among 1,546 adults, measured reactions to nine political words and phrases. The most positive reactions are to "family values" (89% positive) and "civil rights" (87%). About three-quarters see "states' rights" (77%) and "civil liberties" (76%) positively, while 68% have a positive reaction to the word "progressive."

Reactions to the word "libertarian" are evenly divided -- 38% positive, 37% negative. On balance, Republicans view "libertarian" negatively, Democrats are divided, while independents have a positive impression of the term. "Militia" elicits the most negative reaction of the nine terms tested: Just 21% have a positive reaction compared with 65% who have a negative response.

Partisan Divide over "Socialism"

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="553" width="278">The most striking partisan differences come in reactions to the word "socialism." Just 15% of Republicans react positively to "socialism" while 77% react negatively. By more than two-to-one (64% to 26%), independents also have a negative impression of "socialism." However, Democrats are evenly divided -- 44% have a positive reaction to "socialism" while 43% react negatively.

"Capitalism" elicits a less partisan reaction. About six-in-ten Republicans (62%) react positively to "capitalism," compared with 29% who have a negative reaction. About half of independents (52%) have a positive impression while 39% react negatively. Among Democrats, 47% react positively to "capitalism" while nearly as many (43%) react negatively.

There is a substantial partisan divide in views of the word "progressive." However, majorities of Democrats (81%), independents (64%) and Republicans (56%) have a positive reaction to "progressive."

More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word "libertarian," while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).

Majorities of Democrats (70%), independents (66%) and Republicans (59%) react negatively to the word "militia." Nearly twice as many Republicans (27%) as Democrats (15%) have a positive view of this term.

Young People Lukewarm Toward "Capitalism"

[log in to unmask]" alt="" height="666" width="320">Young people are more positive about "socialism" -- and more negative about "capitalism" -- than are older Americans. Among those younger than age 30, identical percentages react positively to "socialism" and "capitalism" (43% each), while about half react negatively to each. Among older age groups, majorities view "socialism" negatively and "capitalism" positively.

People ages 65 and older have a particularly negative reaction to "socialism" -- 73% have a negative impression of the term compared with just 14% who are positive. But those 65 and older are no more likely than those ages 30 to 64 to have a positive reaction to "capitalism" (56% vs. 55%).

More than twice as many blacks as whites react positively to "socialism" (53% vs. 24%). Yet there are no racial differences in views of "capitalism" -- 50% of African Americans and 53% of whites have a positive reaction.

Those with a high school education or less are evenly divided over "capitalism" (44% positive vs. 42% negative). Among those with some college experience, 49% react positively to "capitalism" as do 68% of college graduates. Those with a high school education or less are more likely to express a positive view of "socialism" than do those with more education.

People with family incomes of $75,000 or more are the only income group in which a clear majority (66%) reacts positively to the word "capitalism." Views of "socialism" also are much more negative among those in this income category (71% negative) and among those with incomes of $30,000 to $75,000 (64% negative) than among those with incomes of less than $30,000 (46% negative).

Conservative Republicans stand out for their overwhelmingly negative reactions to "socialism" (84% negative) and highly positive reactions to "capitalism" (67% positive). No more than about half in other political groups, including moderate and liberal Republicans (51%), have a positive impression of "capitalism."

Perhaps surprisingly, opinions about the terms "socialism" and "capitalism" are not correlated with each other. Most of those who have a positive reaction to "socialism" also have a positive reaction to "capitalism"; in fact, views of "capitalism" are about the same among those who react positively to "socialism" as they are among those who react negatively (52% and 56%, respectively, view "capitalism" positively). Conversely, views of "socialism" are just as negative among those who have a positive reaction to "capitalism" (64% negative) as those who react negatively (61% negative).

There are some differences in the relationship between these terms by demographic groups, although the association is not particularly strong among any group. For instance, among college graduates, 71% of those with a positive reaction to "capitalism" have a negative reaction to "socialism." By contrast, among college graduates who have a negative view of "capitalism" a smaller proportion have a negative view of "socialism" (51%).



On 8/10/2011 12:28 PM, Kamran Nayeri wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite">
Kamran, I'm out of posts today, but perhaps you would care to post my
response to yours which is below. That will be my last post for today.

thanks, Michael

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:20:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Please apologize, and soon
To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

When it comes to Marxist analysis, I'm an amateur and so is nearly
everyone here, although it would be refreshing if they would admit it.

But more incisive analysts than us have thought and written about
false consciousness (Stanley Aronowitz and many others) and sought to
explain the clear fact that it is not just the working class being
badly led or mean capitalist crackdowns a la Reagan that are to blame,
but the consciousness of the working class itself which has turned
away decisively from socialist values over the decades. Or does anyone
here want to argue that the workers are just stupid and subject to
threats and suggestions and unable to make up their own minds about
anything? The problem is that they HAVE made up their minds, and the
job of socialists is to change them. But JOB ONE has to be to convince
workers that socialism doesn't mean Cuba, Chavez, USSR, Chairman Mao,
etc. Is anyone other than David Westman actually going out into the
street and trying to sell socialist or Communist publications? I did
it for years, and this is the main argument I had to deal with every
time. Try it today, you will get the same response.

MB

On Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Kamran, I'm out of posts today, but perhaps you would care to post my
response to yours which is below. That will be my last post for today.

thanks, Michael

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:20:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Please apologize, and soon
To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

When it comes to Marxist analysis, I'm an amateur and so is nearly
everyone here, although it would be refreshing if they would admit it.

But more incisive analysts than us have thought and written about
false consciousness (Stanley Aronowitz and many others) and sought to
explain the clear fact that it is not just the working class being
badly led or mean capitalist crackdowns a la Reagan that are to blame,
but the consciousness of the working class itself which has turned
away decisively from socialist values over the decades. Or does anyone
here want to argue that the workers are just stupid and subject to
threats and suggestions and unable to make up their own minds about
anything? The problem is that they HAVE made up their minds, and the
job of socialists is to change them. But JOB ONE has to be to convince
workers that socialism doesn't mean Cuba, Chavez, USSR, Chairman Mao,
etc. Is anyone other than David Westman actually going out into the
street and trying to sell socialist or Communist publications? I did
it for years, and this is the main argument I had to deal with every
time. Try it today, you will get the same response.

MB

On 8/10/11, Kamran Nayeri <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Would you perhaps consider (1) the timing of the decline in membership (does
> it not coincide with the anti-union push beginning with Reagan attack on air
> traffic controllers strike), (2) inability /lack of interest of union
> leadership to fight back (due to the rise of labor aristocracy and labor
> bureaucracy that have more in common with the employer class than with
> rank-and-file workers, in addition to the crimes of Stalinism?
>
> It is my observation (others can correct me if I am wrong) that Michael B.
> typically blames "socialist" and "anti-imperialist" currents for much of
> what is wrong with the world. This is a serious theoretical and
> methodological error that share nothing with Marx's heritage if that is what
> he aspires to follow.
>
> Kamran
>
> On Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 8:48 AM, Michael Balter
> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> Thanks to Carrol and Herb for taking my digs with humor, and to Herb
>> for responding to them in a thoughtful way. Better responses than that
>> of our moderator, who insists on silly apologies.
>>
>> The decrease in union membership can probably be traced to a number of
>> factors, and anyone here who tried to explain it would probably just
>> be guessing. My guess is that it is a combination of increasing
>> disenchantment with the possibilities of socialism beginning in the
>> 1950s with Hungary, the 1960s with Czechoslovakia, the 1970s with
>> China, and the 1980s with the fall of the Soviet Union, along with
>> capitalism's increasing ability to satisfy the major needs of an
>> increasing number of people (a big middle class despite poverty and
>> increasing wealth gaps.) Certainly the fall of Communism, which many
>> on the American left have yet to come to grips with, has made
>> socialist goals farther away than ever for both leftists and the
>> people they might organize.
>>
>> But good to know that my remarks have generated a discussion, that's
>> encouraging. I will keep on truckin.
>>
>> MB
>>
>> On 8/10/11, Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> > At 10:54 AM 8/10/2011, herb fox wrote:
>> >>Apparently either unable or unwilling to investigate what actually
>> >>is the political practice or position of those whom he judges, he
>> >>cavalierly invents their views.
>> >
>> > Putting words in the mouths of one's opponents is an old
>> > tried-and-true tactic. Sooner or later, some of that will inevitably
>> > stick, tho' we never know beforehand which ones.
>> >
>> >>in 1952 (when this old fart's eldest son was born) 21.6% of the
>> >>workforce was organized and popular support was at 75%.  Today about
>> >>half, around 11% is organized and popular support of unions is below
>> >>50%.  Explain that M. B.
>> >
>> > Similarly, let me put Michael Balter's inevitable one-note response
>> > in his mouth. Why should Michael have all the fun? Michael says: No
>> > doubt 10.6 percent of the workforce withdrew support from labor
>> > unions because they were disgruntled with the Soviet Union. And Cuba.
>> >
>> > Isn't it obvious?
>> >
>> > :-)
>> >
>> > Mitchel
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > http://www.MitchelCohen.com
>> >
>> >
>> > Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
>> > There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
>> > ~ Leonard Cohen
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>>
>>
>> --
>> ******************************************
>> Michael Balter
>> Contributing Correspondent, Science
>> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>> New York University
>>
>> Email:  [log in to unmask]
>> Web:    michaelbalter.com
>> NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
>> ******************************************
>>
>> “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there
>> is
>> no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
>>                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith
>>
>


--
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
******************************************

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is
no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                 --John Kenneth Galbraith



--
******************************************
Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
******************************************

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is
no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                 --John Kenneth Galbraith