The Accidental Socialist (“TAS”) was started in 2015 by a couple of guys who, like millions of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, may have thought of themselves as liberals or progressives, but never socialists, democratic or otherwise. The more Sen. Sanders traveled, the bigger the crowds got, and the more Americans discovered that democratic socialism is not only compatible with American values – it is at their core.
In a market economy like America’s, some level of socioeconomic inequality is inevitable, and many would say desirable because it provides an incentive to produce and innovate. However, once that level of inequality passes a certain point, growing a strong middle class, making quality education and social mobility accessible to everyone who works hard, those true American values become impossible because those at the bottom have no resources beyond mere survival.
THE BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN AND BEYOND
In between attending events, phone banking and otherwise campaigning for Bernie’s 2016 campaign, we promoted and continue to promote Bernie’s message through Americans for Bernie Sanders, a social media group dedicated exclusively to educating Americans about Bernie’s vision and campaign, and winning over new converts. We grew the group to tens of thousands, and eventually hundreds of thousands of followers. This site was started to offer support to those efforts once it became apparent that corporate media was completely uninterested in presenting an objective account of the candidates, let alone give Bernie Sanders a fair shot or the American people a true picture of where the candidates stand and what the consequences of their policies are.
In the dark aftermath of the 2016 Democratic Primary, together with other Berniecrat activists we struggled valiantly against the forces to push our ideas into yesterday’s news, to fall in line with the mainstream of the Democratic Party and put all our issues on the back burner. However, unlike many other presidential elections, millions of people throughout America were not ready to put down their cause and walk away. We were among the many who helped corral those fans and through our social media tools held back the tide of irrelevance.
As the Trump presidency got underway, we became committed to continuing Bernie’s vision and electing down ballot Berniecrats, informing our readers on issues progressives care about, and mobilizing and activating grassroots supporters to become activists.
Here at TAS, we see that America today has reached that point, a position that is no longer at the political fringe, but has entered the mainstream. Income and wealth inequality has been growing for over 40 years, and it has now reached levels not seen since the late 1920s, just before the Stock Market crash that triggered the Great Depression. This record economic inequality has begun to transform our politics, as those at the top have begun to change the rules to favor of protecting their interests while making it more and more difficult for the rest of us below to effect change. The most visible of these policies is the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which has effectively opened our campaign finance system to unlimited money, allowing billionaires to buy elections.
However, not everyone agrees on what to do about it. At TAS, we believe that to restore the Middle Class which existed in America in the middle of the 20th century, we must have government policies which more closely resemble those of that era, when over a third of the workforce was unionized and jobs were available to high school graduates which could support entire families, when paying for a year’s worth of public university education didn’t require eternal student debt, but only a minimum wage job during the summer, when health care costs didn’t rise several times the rate of inflation and where government was massively investing in infrastructure which would later be used by businesses nationwide to grow our economy.
The only solution to reverse the decline is to enact both spending as well as tax policies which will narrow the gap between rich and poor, and the proceeds of said taxes to be used to create high paying jobs, invest in infrastructure, and make education, health care and other services both qualitative as well as affordable. But as Bernie Sanders has told us, this is not an easy task because there are powerful entrenched interests which very much like the system as it is, and the only way to beat it is for millions of Americans to mobilize and bring about a political revolution.