The strategies in effect here are not likely to work. The right can scream ‘socialism’ but the reaction to the term is far more favorable now than even ten years ago. The left should not try to beggar the term to ‘social democratic’ in order to defend themselves from being smeared as socialist. The right is correct, ‘socialism’ means the expropriation of private property, closing down wall street, …The term socialist means the (revolutionary/evolutionary) expropriation of capital, and the sanders usage has had a short term benefit but has probably doomed the current round of discussion to chaotification. The real socialist left in fact has no real definition of the term either. Usually it means state capitalism with a leftist class as the new bourgeoisie. The right is actually on the mark if they cry bullshit.
So if socialists don’t mean state capitalism, what do they mean?
We have invented an ersatz term that quadruples the definitional requirments: democratic market neo-communism, based not on state capitalism but on a Commons, etc…
So the right has the ‘right’ to be wary of woolly socalled socialists who if they got a chance will end up in the same screw up as the bolsheviks.
If the term is on the move toward increasing acceptance, witness the example of bernie sanders, then the charge of ‘socialist’ should be defended as true even in a revolutionary sense. Just shout back to the right that socialism means the expropriation of private property, capital…That forces the issue of detailed definition. The time is coming when the use of the term socialist will again mean revolutionary.
Those who used the term on the left need to grasp that bolshevism was a failure and be prepared to creae new terminology.
The problem is that the rightwing is correct that the legacy of bolshevism has spoiled the use of the term.
Leftists consistently destroy their case by spouting nonsense about the russian revolution. It would have been better if it never happened, and it was never anything intended or worthy of the term socialist.
So the left might just applaud being called socialist but redefine the term in a way that is new and consistent but with nothing to do with bolshevism.
Our idea of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ is clear about what it points to and this, like real socialism, is detailed but steers clear of stale terms like socialism with its neo-communism’.