Opinion

Readers React: Bernie Sanders and Americans’ misconceptions on socialism

To the editor: By having the courage to declare himself a democratic socialist in his campaign for president, he has transcended the ugly propaganda that has for so long maligned socialism. In doing so he has altered the course of this presidential campaign. (“Before Bernie Sanders, there was Upton Sinclair,” Opinion, Jan. 20)

Soviet communism collapsed a generation ago, and capitalism was brought to the brink of collapse several years ago. To rephrase John Lennon’s memorable lyric, it’s time to give democratic socialism a chance.

Ben Miles, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: It is possible that Sanders’ bid for the presidency may shake loose the word “socialism” from “communism.” Their meanings are neither identical nor interchangeable.

Communism is government ownership of everything. There is no such thing as private ownership. The world has never known true communism. Private ownership and capitalism are more acceptable.

Socialism is government regulation of services vital to its citizens. That includes control of interest rates and safety standards for housing, food and drugs and transportation. Building traffic stop lights is socialism. Medicare is socialism, as are the standards for air and water quality that will hopefully come to the rescue of Flint, Mich., and Porter Ranch.

We are all socialists. Some are democratic socialists like Sanders, and others are Republican socialists. But in the interest of our own health and safety, we are all socialist capitalists.

June Bailey, Thousand Oaks 

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