John Nichols speaking at the DSA National Convention

John Nichols, the Washington, DC correspondent for The Nation, writes The Beat, a blog, and is cofounder of Free Press and author of many books including The "S" Word: A Short History of an American Tradition...Socialism.

“A. Phillip Randolph was a socialist. Bayard Rustin was a social democrat. Others who were involved [in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom] had been socialists or social democrats or radicals or progressives from different groupings, and the fact of the matter is John Kennedy and even Lyndon Johnson accepted them into the White House and said “You’ve got ideas.” . . . Ideas of economic and social justice were once invited into our political discourse. Now, at every turn, they are pushed out. And when a crisis occurs, the social democratic proposal to repair it is the first one taken off the table. . .

“Concentrated economic power knows that they’re on the losing end of the discourse. The only way that they keep themselves in the game is by flooding the messaging and the politics of this country with an absolute lie. The absolute lie is that America is broke, that America doesn’t have the resources to provide school lunch programs or Women, Infants and Children nutrition programs or maintain the basic infrastructure of civil society, but somehow we have the money to go to war in Syria, or we have the money to bail out a bank. That lie is starting to fray at the edges. And activists who are willing to step up and speak truth to power now have an opening that they have never had in my lifetime.”