Why did the Socialist Party in the U.S. fade away?

If you’ve read any history, you know that the Socialist Party in the U.S. was actually pretty robust in the early 20th Century, but it gradually fell out of favor. Why? Was it McCarthyism? Perhaps.

Perhaps, though, it was because they realized they already had a platform…the liberalism of the Democratic Party.

Norman Thomas, six-time candidate for president under the Socialist Party said:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of “liberalism,” they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” He went on to say: “I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.”

Reagan once quoted Thomas in one of his speeches…so I take this quote as valid.

Just some food for thought as we debate card check, cap and trade, socialized medicine, nationalization of industry, etc.

  • Mark

    I think we need to define “socialism” – today, and since the election, it’s been used by the right in the same propagandist manner that the left used “fascism” when Bush was President. As such it essentially becomes an empty word without real meaning.

    I also think we need to decide what is “socialized medicine” – particularly as no one of any import in Washington is talking about a system that would meet the strict definition of a socialist system – there will still be private for-profit insurance companies.

    Finally, I’ll ask you this: what are the most socialist programs in America today? Medicare and Social Security, right? Now tell me this, does the GOP want to eliminate either program – or is the GOP a socialist party?

    Oh – and the socialist party didn’t fade away – at least not in 1948. If you voted in Michigan you’ll know that we had a) the Socialist party, b) the Workers World party, and c) the Communist Party of America all on the ballot regularly – not so much in the last few elections, but when I voted for Bush in 1988 all three of these parties were still on the ballot.

  • Fade away? Try http://www.sp-usa.org

  • Henry,
    If you feel the Socialist Party in America has the same political possibilities that it did at the beginning of the 20th Century, you go on and keep believing that.

    I wrote this post just for you. Seriously. I knew it would be good for a comment.

  • Socialism and Fascism often go hand in hand. What party did Hitler belong to? The National Socialist party?

    I saw an interesting definition on wiki:

    “Socialism refers to various theories of economic organization advocating state, public or common worker ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with a more egalitarian method of compensation.[1][2][3] Modern socialism originated in the late 18th-century intellectual and working class political movement that criticized the effects of industrialization and private ownership on society, however, socialism itself is not a political system; it is instead an economic system distinct from capitalism.”

    Hmmm….government ownership of and administration of production and distribution. Sounds a LOT like the Democrat Health Care Plan that even Blue Dogs are afraid of. Mark, we’ve heard the contents of the bill, we see Democrats balking even, there are past Obama quotes( I suppose he could have altered his views to be fair) that point to a pushing private industry out. It is socialist Mark, the new talking points coming from the Left using misinformation to project on to opponents as misinformers won’t fly. The Emperor wears no clothes and that bill is socialist.

    The government does OWN much of the means of production in the auto industry. The government pretty much OWNS portions of the banking system. Some of it is incremental socialism, but it is socialism that wasn’t there before.

    Don’t worry. I can assure you that many socialist are indeed in the Republican Party. The Democrats have friends across the aisle.

  • JR,

    My point was that it still existed. I never commented on it’s political chances.

  • Mark

    Jim – Thanks man! I know I don’t come by too often any more, nice to know that when I do I might find a gem just for me. 🙂

    Of course if you write something about “birthers” or “Obama’s secret soylent green plan” I think my blog-dar will go off and I’ll be here to comment quicker than Palin can quit a job.

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