I’ve already started threads on:
What would an America First America be like? (Pat Buchanan’s paleoconservative America First Party)
As you will see, I’m trying to box the whole compass of American third-party politics.
Next: Socialism. Some background is necessary here. The United States is unique in being the only modern industrialized state where no socialist, social-democratic or labor-based party has ever emerged as a major player in national politics. The reasons why are analyzed in It Didn’t Happen Here, by Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks (discussed here.) The result being, Americans in general are much less sophisticated than other industrial nations’ peoples about socialist politics. What’s more, our history of socialist politics is rather different than any other country’s anyway.
Thumbnail summary: The Socialist Party of America was founded in 1901 by a merger of the Social Democratic Party with the Socialist Labor Party of America. When the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia in 1917, there was an internal split in the Socialist Party of America. The pro-Bolsheviks were expelled and formed, eventually, the Communist Party, USA. The remaining Socialist Party of America remained anti-Soviet throughout its existence, holding the Bolsheviks had perverted socialism by taking power by force and by abandoning electoral democracy. (The Trotskyists, who had their own grudges against the Soviet Union, later formed a different party in the U.S. – several, actually.) Finally, in 1972, the Socialist Party of America broke up over the issue of whether to oppose or support the U.S. in the Vietnam War (i.e., necessary element of the fight against the Soviet Union, or just another instance of capitalist imperialism?). The pro-war faction went on to form the Social Democrats, USA. The much larger antiwar faction, led by Michael Harrington, formed the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, which later became the Democratic Socialists of America;* and the Socialist Party, USA.* The principal differences between the DSA and the SPUSA are (1) the DSA has a much larger number of active members; (2) the SPUSA actually runs candidates for office, while the DSA eschews this and functions purely as an “educational” organization; (3) the Socialist International includes both the DSA and the Social Democrats, USA, as full member parties.
With that introduction I pose the question: What would America be like if the Socialist Party, USA, were to win the presidency, a majority in both houses of Congress and of all state legislatures, etc? (IOW, I’m not proposing to debate here what America would be like under any particular ideal conception of socialism or communism, but only what it would be like under the leadership of that particular political party.)
Here are the party’s principles and platform. As you will see, what they envision for America is something more radical than what you’ll find anywhere in Europe, but OTOH bears little resemblance to anything you’ll find in Cuba or North Korea.
*I’m a member of both the DSA and the SPUSA. At least we’re not a bunch of fucking splitters!