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Briahna Gray, The Intercept:

…Frank Rich was explicit that Tuesday’s results “cannot be construed as a harbinger of what might happen nationally in November.” According to Rich, “despite her embrace of the socialist label, there is nothing radical about what Ocasio-Cortez ran on.” He argues that government-funded higher education, Medicare for all, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are “solid Democratic positions.” That will be news to anyone who remembers Hillary Clinton’s 2016 primary strategy of characterizing these types of Bernie-style initiatives as policies that could “never, ever, come to pass,” or California Senator Kamala Harris’s recent defense of ICE: “Yes, ICE has a purpose, ICE has a role, ICE should exist,” she said in a March interview. (She’s since revised her opinion).

Socialism is a framework that supports a belief that a country in which everyone can live with dignity is not the stuff of fantasies, of “ponies” — nor is it the selfish dream of a “privileged” populous who want something for nothing. It’s a socialist conception of the world which emboldens Ocasio-Cortez to aver, on a popular late night show, that “in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live.”

Socialism reveals that capitalism — a system which privileges markets over community — is not a natural truth, but a political choice to which there are alternatives. It shows that Jeff Bezos’s wealth cannot be understood as unrelated to the plight of Amazon’s workers, but is a consequence of their hardships. It reveals one man’s merit to be another woman’s wage theft, and challenges society to value humans outside of our ability to toil. It’s what sets up Ocasio-Cortez to talk about human dignity as non-negotiable. Where Nancy Pelosi quips, “we’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is,” socialism says that’s not good enough.

Paul Ciano

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