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What’s Wrong with Democratic Socialism ?

Originally written for Medium

Democratic Socialism has existed in the US longer than you may know.


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If
one understands Democratic Socialism as a centrally managed wealth redistribution economy, the USA has been a Democratic Socialist society since at least the 1960's.

In 1964 the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was enacted by the federal government, promoted as an program to combat poverty.

In 1965 The National Endowment for the Arts was enacted.

This was followed by the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968, a design to centrally coordinate every unit of government, from the federal to the local, using government grants (wealth redistribution) as its instrument.

The transition that begins with creating a policy to improve the lives of the most distressed takes only four years to “mobilize human and financial resources” in service of a full blown top-down economy using grants to influence or control the economic development policy of the states.

During these years, Democrat, Lyndon B Johnson was president and both houses of Congress were controlled by the Democrat Party.

In Maine 

I use Maine as an example,because I have studied the Maine history and statutes since Maine became a centrally managed economy in 1976, eight years after the enactment of  the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968, at the federal level. One can usually follow the enactment of a Maine statute codifying distribution of grants back to a recently enacted federal act codifying distribution of grants. It is fair to assume the same is true of other states.

In Maine four years is a common time span for a transition from the original purpose to the real and permanent purpose. Maine’s Pine Tree Zone was enacted under Governor Baldacci in 2003 as a policy intended for low income high unemployment areas. A few years later Governor Baldacci proclaimed. “We want every place to prosper”. In 2008, the Pine Tree Zone Tax exemptions were expanded state wide in a bill that passed silently through the legislature.

During the Pine Tree Zone transformations, Democrat John Baldacci was Governor and both houses of the Maine Congress were controlled by Democrats, but the words “move silently through the Legislature” were found, at that time, on a website for the Republican party. It means the legislation was passed with no media coverage, a strategy favored by Republicans.

The current statute for the Pine Tree Zone revises the year of creation from 2003 to 2009, the year the Pine Tree Zone was expanded as a state wide program, erasing its historical origins as a program designed to lift up low income, high unemployment areas.

A Tale of Two City-States 

Today the Pine Tree Zones subsidizes the upper crust of the Maine economy and are used to create corporate welfare cities such as the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, a short driving distance from the Boothbay Peninsula, where my home town is located.

Pine Tree Zone policy has transitioned from a policy benefiting low income areas to a policy subsidizing the upper crust of the economy.

The Washington County Redevelopment Authority was the first former military base to be transformed and chartered, by the Maine Legislature, as a “municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the State” .

While both city states (MRRA and WCRA) were formed as economic redevelopment initiatives of former military bases, Washington County is Maine’s poorest county and is granted no development financial support by the Maine Legislature while the municipality of MRRA, located in Maine’s wealthiest county, is on the order of the unofficial court of the Maine public-private state with its streets paved in taxpayer dollars.

Strategic Planning 

In what, I submit, was a complex scheme to get around federal BRAC closure rules, the first military base to be reconfigured for civilian use was chartered as the Washington County Redevelopment Authority asmunicipal corporation serving as an instrument of the State.

I submit, that the first step in this scheme was unconstitutional, pursuant to the Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third Section 14. The WCRA had to be a municipal corporation to confer the vague impression of constitutionality, but since the Maine Constitution provides an exception to the prohibition against chartering corporations by special acts of Legislation, for municipal purposes and not municipal corporations, a municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state does not make the grade as a constitutional exception:

Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, Section 14

Next, the Maine Legislature donated all the real estate on the Washington County Base to a private non-profit organization. In BRAC Closure Rules a private non-profit organization does not qualify for a no consideration (cost-free) transfer unless it provides a vital public service. It is my speculation that the reason the base was first transformed into a municipal corporation was to get around the federal rules about no-cost transfers to non-profit organizations.

The Cutler Development Corporation was formed to receive the gift. As it was a gift, there were no sales proceeds, getting around federal BRAC closure rules that say the proceeds of the sales of base assets must be invested in the base location.

The incorporators of the Cutler Development (non profit) Corporation were also selectmen for the towns of Cutler and Machias. There is no mention of the towns in the articles of incorporation documents. The Cutler Development (non-profit) Corporation sold the property to private developers. It is told that the surrounding municipalities split the profits among them, but that is not verified.

In 2015 After two developers could not succeed with the expensive-to-maintain commercial properties, the private developer gave the commercial property back to the base. WCRA applied to the Maine Legislature for a bond to maintain and develop the property. The request was shelved by the Maine Legislature. I have not found any further news since.

The residential property had proved successful for private development but since the WCRA is chartered as a municipality serving as an instrument of the state, it cannot collect municipal property taxes as that is a revenue stream intended for municipal purposes.

Aside from a few rentals, the WCRA has no source of income outside of State bonds.

WASHINGTON COUNTY ANNUAL REPORT July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015

Federal and State funding $0.00

Interest Expense (0.00)

Salaries 0.00 depends on support from private and municipal organizations and volunteer labor

The report recommended legislative approval for a public bond referendum to fund maintenance and operations.

The Maine Legislature postponed the vote until the next session.

How is “We want every place to prosper” working out for Maine, Governor Baldacci? MRRA is a Pine Tree Zone. WCRA is on its own, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone, quoting Mr, Bob Dylan.

That is how Democratic Socialism works in practice in Maine.

Democratic Socialism and the Economic Structure of Mussolini’s Fascism 

Democratic Socialism, when partnered with state capitalism and public-private relationships is socio-fascism. There is not a lot of difference between the economic structure of the “organized, centralized democracy” of democratic socialism and that of Mussolini’s fascism?

Definition of Fascism as Real Democracy

But if democracy be understood as meaning a regime in which the masses are not driven back to the margin of the State, and then the writer of these pages has already defined Fascism as an organized, centralized, authoritarian democracy if liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government. Benito Mussolini The Doctrine of Fascism 1932 

Mussolini, unapologetically includes the descriptor, “authoritarian”, which democratic socialists are sure to deny but how can a centralized democracy, not also be an authoritarian one?

Sweden 

American Democratic Socialists deny that they are socialists and like to compare themselves to the Scandinavian welfare states. I haven’t explored the government structure of the entire land of happiness and so I shall restrict this discussion to Sweden.

Sweden has the SwedeFund, which is called the Development Finance Institution of the Swedish State, sounding very similar to Maine’s Financial Authority of Maine Incorporated.

FAME Inc 

I submit that FAME inc is also unconstitutional in Maine pursuant to Article IV Part Third Section 14 of the Maine Constitution. (see above). FAME Inc does not serve a purpose which cannot be done another way. Wealth can be concentrated and redistributed privately. It does not need to be done through a state corporation, unless the argument is that it exists to capture federal funds redistributed to the states, and then one can argue whether that is an enumerated power of the federal government. However like most of the State corporations in Maine, the FAME statute says that it can collect money from any source:

The FAME Corporation (Financial Authority of Maine)

§969-A. Powers and duties of the authority 14-A. Receive funds. Receive and accept from any source allocations, appropriations, loans, grants and contributions of money or other things of value to be held, used or applied to carry out this chapter, subject to the conditions upon which the loans, grants and contributions may be made, including, but not limited to, appropriations, allocations, loans, grants or gifts from any federal agency or governmental subdivision or the State and its agencies. ….[1991,c. 780,Pt. P,§1(AMD).] 

FAME inc’s purpose is to concentrate and redistribute wealth, using the Department of Economic and Community Development as it’s fiscal agent and redistributive planning division. In an economy, controlling the flow of capital is the equivalency of controlling a river in nature.

SwedeFund 

Our goal is a world without extreme poverty. Our method is sustainable investments that create decent jobs and inclusive growth. Here you’ll find formal information, engaging stories and a whole lot more. SwedeFund Website 

....Invests in selected sectors only Swedfund invests in three specific sectors where we believe we have the best opportunities to make a difference: Energy & Climate, Financial institutions and Funds, and Health. The sector approach is fundamental to Swedfund’s activities and boosts effectiveness. In contrast to the situation with a broad range of investments, resources and specialist expertise in the three sectors can be focused on selected areas. 

The State is a significant company owner in Sweden. The state company portfolio contains 46 wholly and partially owned companies, of which two are listed. The State has a substantial responsibility to be an active and professional owner. The Government’s overall objective is for the companies to create value and, where applicable, to ensure that the specifically adopted public policy assignments are performed well. Swedefund Annual Report for State Owned Enterprises 2018 

I can’t fully discount the possibility, that in Sweden the public-private state is not wholly run by selfless good samaritans, afterall, It sounds like something any Pollyanna would love.

But I am a cynic as a result of my real experience in interacting with what appears to be a very similar system in Maine, using almost identical rhetoric.

Swedfund is going to eliminate poverty and create sustainable jobs but only if one’s interests coincide with the three areas targeted by the Swedefund. Where have we heard that before?

Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity Mussolini The Doctrine of Fascism 1932 

I don’t have resources to study the Swedish Statutes as I have done for Maine and so I can only speculate that surface similarities can be found to be supported by deeper similarities, which can only be uncovered by going directly to statutes. The statutes represent the actual laws and have to be written in such a way as to allow the oligarchy of nobles to do as it wants, while spinning what they want as altruism.

The Potential of the Individual 

Fiona Hill, testifying in the impeachment hearing’s said that the reason she left England and came to the United States, was because of her belief that she would never be allowed to reach her full potential if she didn’t get to the USA.

Democratic Socialism has entrenched itself in Maine making it more like the England Fiona left than the America she found. The prevailing system is designed to keep the bottom classes in their places and to capitalize the top’s endless opportunities and ability to steam roll their ways and wills over a culture and its natural resources.

Human potential is not found exclusively in any class, as Fiona Hill exemplifies. Fiona is a coal miner’s daughter who wrote the pinnacle text book on Putin and had an illustrious career in the US State department until she was fired by Donald Trump, born with a silver spoon in his mouth and thought by many to be Putin’s puppet.

The difference between the collectivist social democratic state and a nation protective of individual freedom and liberty is that the purpose of government in the former is to provide for all of man’s material needs and in the latter to nurture the spiritual well being of man, allowing the individual to full fill his own potential, and in so doing, his material needs. This idea is found in the words of James Madison when he says that it is the first object of government to protect the faculties of man, and it is through these faculties that different degrees of ownership arise.

The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties. James Madison Federalist Paper #10 

A Local Community Serving State Purposes Fails its Local Purpose 


In my home town, a recent article in the local newspaper announced the finalization of the codification of the town ordinances to reflect the Town Plan of 2015 (mistakenly written as 2013) in accordance with ”state law”. Industrial Partnerships is a state law enacted in 2013.

Adding some personal context, my family started one of the first businesses in the home in the Boothbay Region in 1952. In an “Aha “ moment, I connected the dots. In 2015, the ordinances governing home businesses were already copied, word for word from a state law Industrial Partnerships- to the Boothbay Town Plan of 2015. They did not need to be codified. They were the quid for the pro, inserted into the Town Plan to demonstrate Boothbay’s solidarity with the state’s “redevelopment plan”.


 MRRA and WCRA are both redevelopment authorities, the former located in Maine’s wealthiest county and the latter in Maine’s poorest county. The city-state of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority is within commuting distance of Boothbay.

Maine differs from Massachusetts in its definition of a redevelopment authority because in Massachusetts a redevelopment authority is authorized to redevelop substandard areas. In Maine Washington County Redevelopment Authority, in Maine’s poorest county receives no funding, while the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority is in Maine’s wealthiest country and is abundantly funded. Maine’s redevelopment zones, excepting Washington Country, are more similar to special economic zones of China and Southeast Asia

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 121B (M.G.L. c. 121B) municipalities acting through their redevelopment authorities, are authorized to redevelop substandard, decadent or blighted open areas for industrial, commercial, business, residential, recreational, education, hospital, or other purposes. Future development within these designated urban renewal areas must be undertaken in accordance with use limitations specified in approved urban renewal plans. Urban Renewal Mass Gov 

If the Massachusetts definition of a redevelopment authority is used, it makes Boothbay, in Maine’s second wealthiest county, the equivalency of a blighted area and home businesses the blight that is targeted for destruction.

 …………..Redevelopment Authorities have broad powers to plan and implement activities needed to redevelop underutilized, deteriorated or blighted open areas, to encourage new development and to promote sound growth. Redevelopment Authorities have the power to: … Redevelopment Authorities are exempt from M.G.L. .An economy centrally managed by the , which must first get rid of the pre-existing culture to make way for its own plans. Urban Renewal Mass Gov 

That was last month. This month the coronavirus recreated the business model of the near future, at least, as the business in the home. Suddenly in a neighborhood where there were virtually no rentals, there are advertisements for rentals as AirBnB takes a nose dive.

State Central Management Occludes the Possibility of All Individuals Living Up to their Potential 

Simply put, the above statement is true because the State attempts to control all the financial resources of a community and use it to limited ends defined solely by the State, not locally, and not individually.

It is important to put the misconception that a state can dictate what is for the public good in real world terms. It is not for the public good to prevent individuals from realizing their potential and to stomp out growth and innovation from local roots. Businesses in the home are as locally rooted as it gets. Even Microsoft started out in a garage, and perhaps that is the key to why Maine State Inc is trying to limit businesses in the home and move them to designated commercial or industrial zones, or perhaps state communes, like Tech Place.

The State of Maine Development Corporation, as I think of our government, is interested in gaining ownership of high valued industries, which in the age of 3D printing, means owning the intellectual property rights. The only claim the State has to ownership of intellectual property rights is through ownership of the facilities, a claim currently in place at the University of Maine. In 2011 that communist ideology was shot down by the US Supreme Court but only pursuant to federally funded labs. If the facilities are funded by the State and private investors, that ruling does not apply, not to say anything about other rulings.

Patent Ownership

The Intellectual Property Clause grants ownership of a patent to the inventor of the patent. In Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems Inc, 563 U.S. 776 (2011), the Supreme Court held that even when a researcher at a federally funded lab invents a patent, that researcher owns the patent. 

The Maine Development Corporation (the State of Maine), has invested in public-privately owned business communes, required by statute to have a connection with the university system. Public-private ownership of the means of production in Maine joins together a consortium of University-owned productions including the Advanced Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine, Aqua Ventus, Quality Places (for job training) and Tech Place, a commune for private start-up companies. All are connected to the University of Maine which has quietly put claims to ownership of intellectual property rights in place, based on its ownership of facilities used by the authors of the intellectual property. The claims apply to employees and to anyone whom the University decides is using the facilities more than incidentally.

The Maine Technology Institute is a public charity for private corporations, with a board authorized to make a profit and own intellectual property rights pursuant to its statutory charter. MTI and the University of Maine are closely entwined.

Why are requirements for permits for home occupations in the Town ordinances? 

Theory: Casting a broader net conceals a specific intention. 

What if the specific target is the budding new tech innovator working in facilities which the innovator owns? In this scenario the State has no semi-legal claim (based on ownership of facilities) on the innovator’s intellectual property rights. Can the ordinances requiring inhabitants to have permits from the selectmen, if a living is earned at home, be a means for the State to identify potential authors of intellectual property, and to lure such creators out of their privately owned facilities into State-owned communes ?

State maintained startup communes are linked to the University of Maine system, which maintains claims to ownership of intellectual property rights, based on ownership of the facilities. Such a devious strategy is consistent with past practices of Maine Legislature such as the complicated scheme to get around Federal Base Closure Rules. There was no purpose in creating the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, just to leave it undeveloped. In retrospective, the only purpose in creating the Authority, was to create a means to transfer the base’s assets cost-free to a non profit organization, which then sold them for a profit to a private developer. After that the State showed no further interest in the Washington County Redevelopment Authority.

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