Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has been on a tear, criticizing opponents of the anti-abortion legislation that the Texas Legislature passed during the second special session. One group he blamed for disrupting the process via the filibuster at the end of the first special session?
“Just four short days ago thousands of abortion advocates were whipped into a frenzy by the International Socialist Organization, the Occupy movement, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU to disrupt our legislative session,” Dewhurst said. “People of good conscience should be deeply concerned that our opponents are willing to undermine our democracy to protect something they cherish — the ability to terminate a pregnancy anytime and any place.”
I was at the capitol several times during the first and second special sessions, and the truth of the matter is that I did see a handful of people whose buttons and shirts identified them as socialists.
Of course, I saw thousands of people wearing shirts and buttons that identified them as Democrats, and hundreds whose sartorial stylings marked them as Republicans, so I don’t think we need to worry about the International Socialist Organization dominating the political landscape in Texas.
I do think we need to provide people like David Dewhurst with a remedial lesson on socialism, and a new description of his politics and the policies he supports.
First: what socialism is. Socialism is an economic system under which the means of production are owned collectively by the people. Generally, where actual socialism has been practiced, the government stood as a proxy for the people.
Second: what socialism isn’t. What socialism isn’t is a threat to Texas or the United States. We operate under a capitalist system, and every single cog in our system supports that system. I know politicians like to throw the word around when they are talking about single-payer healthcare, but the fact of the matter is that there is, practically speaking, no way in hell that we are in any danger of the government of the United States seizing ownership of the means of production.
I promise, we’re safe from the threat (or, depending upon your perspective, the possibility), of socialism, barring some catastrophic event like a tsunam-osaur on top of a shark-nado.
I don’t buy into the notion that calling someone a socialist is an insult, but clearly, David Dewhurst and other reactionary, regressive, right-wing politicians do.
Knowing they find socialism so threatening and scornful, let’s have a little fun. Let’s suggest a more accurate coinage for politicians like the Rs (and Ds) in Texas and across the country who are abridging our reproductive rights.
Repro-Socialism: when the people (collectively as the government), not the individual, controls the means of reproduction.
Repro-Socialists: the legislators, jurists, executives, and administrators who promulgate, legislate, or adjudicate policies which limit, regulate, or remove the ability of individuals to control their means of reproduction, shifting that control to the government.
I don’t think it’ll catch on, and this is essentially the linguistic version of he who smelt it, dealt it, but maybe it’ll force him to refine his rhetoric.