The Nation, a magazine that has long stood as the standard-bearer for liberalism, has devoted a special issue to declaring that capitalism has failed and must be scrapped.
The issue includes a symposium of liberal thinkers on what system to adopt aside from capitalism, including one who offered qualified praise for Nazi Germany's economic programs.
"Adolf Hitler practically abolished German unemployment within five years, and Franklin Roosevelt triggered a spectacular recovery and reindustrialization with the New Deal," wrote British economist Paul Mason, author of the book PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, in a column for the magazine's issue cover-dated May 22-29. The issue is headlined "Out From Under Capitalism."
The magazine issue focused on what the supposed death of what the writers call "neoliberalism." The term generally refers to the type of center-left economic policies embraced by President Bill Clinton's administration in 1990s. Those policies avoided attacking big business and favored international deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Nation's issue shows just how far out of favor those policies have fallen among liberals. Features editor Sarah Leonard damned the "heavy yoke of capitalism" in an introductory piece to the symposium. She added, "Neoliberalism as common sense is over. The struggle to replace it is on."
She said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and President Trump represent the two alternate paths, respectively, "socialism and barbarism."
Mason's contribution to the magazine argued that Trump and European politicians such as France's Marine Le Pen, represent the rise of economic nationalism. He argues that these approaches will ultimately fail, but added, "This is not because economic nationalism has always been a losing strategy" before noting the economic improvements ushered in by Hitler and Roosevelt.
He concluded his piece by arguing that the "one big cause" liberals must embrace is "a systemic project of transition beyond capitalism." He said that this will require "using the existing, oppressive, imperfect state while simultaneously trying to democratize it. Street protests, mass resistance, strikes, and the occupation of squares are great ways to assemble the forces. But the arc of the story from 2011 to 2015 — Occupy, the Indignados, and the Arab Spring — shows that we have to do more than simply create a counterpower: We need to take power and diffuse it at the same time."
Joelle Gamble, a student activist and contributor to the symposium, similarly believes in taking complete control of the government and looks to Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as a leader.
"As espoused by leaders like Pramila Jayapal and Keith Ellison, left populism demands public control as well as redistribution; it is pro-regulation, pro-state, and anti-privatization," he wrote. "These values are inherently at odds with the small-government, anti-regulatory tenets of neoliberalism."