Bernie Sanders Explains 'Democratic Socialism'
It's not about the government owning grocery stores, he says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2015 4:49 AM CST
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at Georgetown University in Washington on Thursday about the meaning of "democratic socialism" and other topics.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – Democratic socialism is nothing to be afraid of unless you think of FDR as a bogeyman, Bernie Sanders said in a landmark speech at Georgetown University on Thursday. "Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system [that] is corrupt, that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy," he said, per USA Today, explaining that he doesn't believe that "government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production." He quoted Martin Luther King Jr., who said the US has "socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor."

Sanders—who said other countries "have done a far better job" in protecting the elderly, the sick, and the poor—likened the inequality in the US today to that of the Great Depression and noted that FDR was called a socialist for trying to deal with it, CNN reports. "Real freedom must include economic security," he said. "That was Roosevelt's vision 70 years ago. It is my vision today. It is a vision that we have not yet achieved. And it is time that we did." Sanders' plan isn't true socialism, but it "is really framed to try to bridge the gap between socialism and liberalism—to bring back a framework that was operative during the Great Depression and World War II but collapsed soon after," writes Matthew Yglesias at Vox. (Sanders was very pleased when Pope Francis praised a "radical Catholic activist" during his US visit.)