I’m still stoked and celebrating the Ocasio-Cortez win. It’s yuge. So, I thought I’d share this short vid of an interview that she did w/ Stephen Colbert.
“Trump isn’t ready for a girl from the Bronx,” she says.
Hell yeah! While Trump represents an effort to force America back to a romanticized time that never existed, Ocasio-Cortex is the living embodiment of the kind of representative we desperately need in Washington: A young, non-white female who asks tough questions of capitalism and the privileges and prejudices that capitalism has created.In this very short interview (see vid, below) Stephen Colbert asks Ocasio-Cortez what being a socialist means to her. When asked, she pauses and sort of looks down for a second. I get the pause.
Discussing socialism can get incredibly complex, as well as emotional. And there’s so much mis-information and straight-up lies about socialism that it makes a socialist tread lightly — especially a new politician, like Ocasio-Cortez who just won one of the biggest upsets in recent political history.
Capitalism has its nice little tagline about “freedom” and “free markets,” but we socialists in the 21st century don’t yet have the tiddy slogans. In Maybe it’s reason #1, I speculated that deconstructing privilege and prejudice was the essence of socialism. I think that’s a pretty good start, but I’m thinking Ocasio-Cortez did better.
After her pause, she put it this way: In a modern, moral, wealthy society, no one should be without life’s basics. No one should be without food, shelter, healtcare, and education, among other things.
This is not at all meant to be a technical definition of socialism, of course. Ocasio-Cortez is a mainstream politician, so she’s framing socialism in a way that’s accessible and also pragmatic.
To really get into what socialism is, you have to discuss the nitty gritty of resource distribution, you have to talk about who owns capital and the means of production, as well as the nature of property rights and the concept of “ownership.” All of these are discussions that people are having, more and more, but I think that Ocasio-Cortez has done about as good a job as a person can do, to boil it all down in one sentence.
I would only add one thing. If capitalism has “freedom” as its tagline, socialism has “solidarity.” The goal of socialism is to meet the basic needs of people and planet, to build a sustainable society that respects all life (human and non-human). Solidarity, then, is the essential guiding virtue for socialism. It’s sort of the spiritual force for socialism: we’re are all in this together and we’re better, as a species, when we cooperate.