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Bail Out NO, Buy Out YES

Strange Bedfellows: Left and ultra-right

by Richard J. Ochs
Thursday, 25 September 2008
My history professor said that FDR was really a conservative because he conserved capitalism at a time when its continuance was in question.
When the most conservative of Republicans are rebelling against their president and a $700 billion bail-out of Wall Street, saying the taxpayers should not bear the burden, one has to wonder why the left is saying the same thing. Does the ultra-right know something we are missing? Yes, as a matter of fact.

They know that the stakes are higher than anyone wants to talk about—that is, the very existence of capitalism itself. I remember my history professor saying that FDR was really a conservative because he conserved capitalism at a time when its continuance was in question. His New Deal reversed a growing socialist movement, when a million people voted socialist.

We are at a similar juncture in history, when capitalism may have destroyed itself and socialism must take over, not because the working class is in revolt, but because that is the only thing that can keep the lights on and the food coming.

I suggest our slogan go beyond opposing the bail-out and demand a positive solution: a buy-out. In other words, we should demand public ownership of the commanding heights of finance capital. That’s what the ultra-right is afraid of—or at least, they're afraid of shared ownership between Wall Street and the government by way of tight regulation and unprecedented controls.

A buy-out would give elected officials total ownership and control of the banking industry, subject to public influence. Such a socialist banking system, would, in turn, control any business in the country and in the world which seeks financing.

$700 billion is a small price to pay for socialism. This is a buyer's market. Divided by 350 million people, it comes to a mere $2000 for every man, woman and child in the USA. When one sees what other countries have paid in treasure and blood for revolution, that is peanuts.

Now is the time to up the ante. We should not have the same demand as the ultra-right. We need to propose a positive solution. Bail Out: No, Buy Out: Yes!

Mr. Ochs, a progressive activist and retired printer, writes from Baltimore.

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This story was published on September 26, 2008.