Elizabeth Warren declares she believes in ‘markets’ and it’s ‘just wrong’ to call her a socialist
Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts and 2020 presidential hopeful, appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday morning. Among other things, she clarified that she doesn’t identify as a socialist. In fact, she believes in capitalism, provided that everyone is willing to level the playing field.
What exactly does this mean? The senator has plenty of policies and ideas that seem to ring the socialist bell. As of this weekend, she even talked about breaking up big corporations, like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook in order to promote healthy competition. So let’s clear this confusion up.
“The reality is, it is not capitalism to have one giant that comes in and dominates — a monopolist that dominates the market,” Warren explained to Ed O’Keefe on Face the Nation. “What I have supported all the way through are the kinds of things that help level the playing field. So I think a level playing field says that the big guys have to pay kinda like everybody else does and they have to pay to help create some opportunities.”
Then, they got into specifics…
O’Keefe asked if Warren thinks she should be described as a capitalist, and she stated, “Yeah, I believe in markets — Markets that work. Markets that have a cop on the beat and have real rules and everybody follows them.”
“So if you get labeled as a socialist?” pressed O’Keefe.
She put it simply: “It’s just wrong.”
On Saturday, a similar discussion cropped up at South by Southwest (SXSW). During a panel discussion, Warren clarified, “I am not [a democratic socialist] and the centrists have to speak to whatever they are doing. What I can speak is to is how I am doing.”
She distanced herself from fellow presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, a senator and Independent from Vermont, saying they would have to ask him what the term means.
I went to #SXSW2019 to talk with @AnandWrites about how I’m fighting for big, structural change in this country—and that includes breaking up some of the biggest tech companies so they don’t have so much power over everyone else. pic.twitter.com/ZEqbF6GpyG
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 10, 2019
On Friday, the senator also published a piece on Medium discussing her beliefs. The piece is worth reading in full, but to sum it up, she writes that big tech companies have “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”
In contrast, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also went to SXSW, spoke about Democratic Socialism and capitalism and what they mean to her in a panel.
It’s worth noting that in this reference, Democratic Socialists are not a formal political party, but rather a belief system. (For the record, Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.)
Ocasio-Cortez summed up the difference, and her personal slant, as follows:
”Capitalism, to me, is an ideology of capital. The most important thing is the concentration of capital, and it means that we prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else, and we seek it at any human and environmental cost… But when we talk about ideas like democratic socialism, it means putting democracy and society first, instead of capital first; it doesn’t mean that the actual concept of capitalistic society should be abolished.”
You can watch Warren’s full CBS interview here: