Democratic Socialism is a socialist party run as a meritocracy. It is highly organized and strictly exclusionary of non-members.
Democratic Socialism is less of an ideology, and more of a highly organized machine of people committed to action. To the extent it can be said it has an ideology, it opposes "dictatorship" of a single person in favor of a collective dictatorship by a Politburo that extends democratic rights to ruling Socialist party members, and denies the democratic rights of non-party members and common people.
It allows citizenship rights of party members, and provides a pathway for career advancement through party elections to positions of "collective leadership."
Although members respect each other as equals with "democratic" rights, each member has a rank, position, and duty to fulfill. Non-members are the matter or subjects to be acted upon or against, whose civil, constitutional, and human rights impair the mission of establishing and maintaining socialist order.
An agreed upon definition of Democratic Socialism ideology remains controversial. Marxist dialectic rebranding of labels for themselves and their targets has generated much confusion and contradictions in many historical narratives. However, definitions generally fall into three overall groups: (1) used by Lenin's leftwing opponents; (2) what North Korea calls itself; and (3) what Bernie Sanders and many members of the Democratic Party call themselves.
What it is
Voting rights only accrue to party members, and party membership is only granted after years of rigorous ideological indoctrination and training. Theoretically, under Democratic Socialism, one need not gain power by murdering party rivals or cronyism; one must gain the confidence of fellow members as a successful manager among policy wonks and technocrats.
Despite the fact that Democratic Socialism supposedly counters a single-person dictatorship, its policies of expansive government involvement in peoples lives, massive regulations, and a strong association with secularism and social liberalism, makes it indistinguishable from communism and Progressivism. They all advocate statism and single-party control by a technocratic bureaucracy.
In the modern era, Democratic Socialism is the realization of Mikhail Gorbachev's failed attempt at Perestroika - a restructuring of socialist party power and privileges while denying equal rights, power sharing, and a choice of political parties to the masses.
Emerging Democratic socialist counties in the Global South include Venezuela and Bolivia (although the former and sometimes the latter are considered dictatorships by many in the American mainstream, it is not known whether this is because of human rights abuses or just an ideological disagreement).
Only power elites vote in a Democratic Socialist system. It's an ideology that is in opposition to the American form of government.
Contrast with Social Democracy
- See also: Mixed economy
It has been claimed that social democracies—particularly the wealthy European countries—are happier than conservative, capitalist countries, but the polls tell only part of the story. The European socialist countries are in turmoil over issues such as unrestricted immigration, , and right-wing parties, such as the Sweden Democrats, Danish People's Party, Austrian Freedom Party, Swiss People's Party, French National Front, among others, are growing dramatically. In areas formerly dominated by the left and socialism, right-wing parties are growing dramatically. In addition, the United States of America, which is much more Christian, conservative, and capitalist overall, is still ranked at number 13, despite the existence of inner city slums across the nation.
Contrast with American civil service
In any Marxist state, all government jobs are held by socialist or Communist party members. From the Head of State to village librarian, from military officers, police officers to teachers and social workers.
By contrast, in the United States Civil Service System, government jobs are filled, theoretically, without regard to party affiliation. Appointments are made to government jobs by qualifications, not by ideological indoctrination.
In a typical Marxist society, special schools are set up for the children of party members and students selected by teachers, ages four to fourteen. Separated from the mass of their peers, they are rigidly infused with socialist theory as tomorrow's leaders, and as a privileged few. These groups have been traditionally known as the Young Pioneers.
At fourteen, those who haven't washed out yet go on to join the party Youth Organization consisting of young people ages 14-28, where the hope is in meeting a spouse. By age 28, full party membership and a good government civil service job is granted, replete with all party privileges and voting rights denied to the masses.
Cult expert Margaret Thaler Singer writes:
- Cults are defined by their methods and tactics, not their supposed beliefs. Cults and cult-like thinking always proliferate at times of great social upheaval, when people feel displaced.
- Cults always serve a powerful elite, with recruits manipulated from above to profit those elites, who employ coordinated persuasion programs.
- Cults always have a hidden agenda that is never exposed when recruiting. They isolate their recruits from other points of view in order to control and manipulate them.
- Cults control language in order to blunt independent thought. They cultivate dependency, debilitation, deception, dread of separation, and desensitization in people, all of which makes it harder for them to walk away.
- The main goal of a cult is simply to grow, grow, grow. There is no end in sight in terms of recruitment or fundraising or power.
- Cults make a point of getting footholds in the institutions of society — including government, media, and education — in order to get mainstream credibility.
- Cults are very organized in suppressing critics and criticism.
Author Stella Morabito, an expert on Russian and Soviet media and propaganda, observes about cults:
"political correctness has a lot of disruptive effects on discourse, such as inducing self-censorship that can cause us to feel socially and mentally isolated; manipulation of our basic fear of ostracism through the threat of smears; promotion of mob rule; and an authoritarian nature that promotes the power elites who use it....This acceptance of the anti-thought nature of political correctness is pretty much everywhere: 95 percent of the mass media promote it, 95 percent of celebrity culture promotes it, and obviously, on college campuses, the academics are 95 percent in compliance with political correctness.
You can't deny cult-like tribunals against “wrongthink” are pretty much everywhere––in the media, in celebrity culture, in our legislatures, among judges, in human resource departments all over the corporate world, and most obviously, on college campuses, where youth are scared to death of being ostracized for expressing a politically incorrect thought....When real debate happens, it gets shouted down or pushed into a corner of the internet dubbed the “intellectual dark web.” Increasingly, our minds seem to be operating in a dangerous state of isolation, especially with increasing censorship and control over our conversations by mass media and tech titans... Americans seem to increasingly mimic many of the behaviors of cult recruits: self-censorship, peer-modeled behaviors, emotions ruling their sense of reason, obedience to the mob, and adulation of politically correct idols and celebrities....
- Hetter, Katia (March 21, 2016). Where are the world's happiest countries?. CNN. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- EU Failures Fuel Rise of Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe. Sputnik. January 14, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- Aisch, Gregor; Pearce, Adam; Rousseau, Bryant. How Far Is Europe Swinging to the Right?. The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- Adler, Katya (April 28, 2016). Is Europe lurching to the far right?. BBC. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- Cohn, Nate (June 27, 2016). Right-Wing Populism Is Prevailing in Left-Wing Strongholds Around the World. The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- Friedrich Hayek writes:"It was not the Fascists but the socialists who began to collect children at the tenderest age into political organizations to direct their thinking. It was not the Fascists but the socialists who first thought of organizing sports and games, football and hiking, in party clubs where the members would not be infected by other views. It was the socialists who first insisted that the party member should distinguish himself from others by the modes of greeting and the forms of address [i.e. passwords like "Heil Hilter' or "Comrade," etc]. It was they who, by their organization of "cells" and devices for the permanent supervision of private life, created the prototype of the totalitarian party. By the time Hitler came to power, liberalism was dead in Germany. And it was socialism that had killed it."
See also: If Liberalism Is Dead, What Comes Next?, NYT Book Review;
Selfishness Is Killing Liberalism, The path to its revival lies in self-sacrifice, and in placing collective interests ahead of the narrowly personal. The Atlantic, FEB 19, 2018