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If supporting family farms is socialist, count me in

Regarding Professor Steve Corbin’s March 31 column on democratic socialism, it should be obvious that precise use of words to describe our political choices is very important. For many decades, the word socialism has been used pejoratively to label almost any economic reform that challenges our undemocratic economic system. That tactic was intended to shut down debate, leaving the anonymous, unaccountable owners of giant multinational corporations and banks through their lawyers and lobbyists – the swamp – running our country instead of “we the people.” We are supposed to ignore their ill-begotten power accumulated over the centuries, and quietly accept our undemocratic economy.

In fact, now both political parties promote the discredited economic regime of laissez-faire economics that preceded the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl under presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. This “Washington Consensus” has been imposed on every country by the World Trade Organization. No honest conscientious company can survive where only money rules and the winners are companies that get away with polluting the environment, exploiting their employees or moving their production overseas to do both.

So despite the rhetoric and talking points or which party you support, you’re voting begets the same policy, the policy of “the swamp” – any other truly democratic policy alternatives will be labeled socialistic.

The catastrophes of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl led many people, including President Franklin Roosevelt, to conclude, “Never again.” Roosevelt’s New Deal truly reflected the dreams and aspirations of family farmers, workers and small business. The New Deal guaranteed family farmers parity prices and supply management, credit to buy land and machinery, and important conservation programs. After over 60 years of big business’ efforts to destroy New Deal policies, we now see the results.

Today’s family farmers are sacrificed by disastrously low commodity prices guaranteed when Monsanto and DuPont technology is used to grow corn and soybeans on grassland and rainforest in South America. Vertically integrated livestock corporations buy cheap grain to monopolize livestock production at the expense of family farmers and the environment. We see the same corporations drive wages down and employ immigrant laborers from countries where the same free market policies have destroyed their villages and economies. Will the politicians of both political parties running for president please explain how this makes sense? If democratic policy assuring family farms raising livestock with conserving crop rotations in thriving rural communities is socialistic, count me in.