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Do NOT Call Andrew Gillum a Socialist -- Only His Longtime Supporters Can Call Him That

November 3, 2018 - 6:00am
Andrew Gillum
Andrew Gillum
It has been a common refrain heard from many on the left since the August gubernatorial primaries: It's wrong to call Andrew Gillum a “socialist.” In the strictest application of the term, no, he doesn't fit the description. After all, he is not in a position of power to enforce true socialism. 

However, on the political scale, he certainly resides on the far-left wing. And, in most revealing fashion, his acolytes are avowed proponents of the collectivist system.

 
Since his nomination, Gillum, of course, has tried to position himself more toward the center. The hybridized label democratic socialist -- as his backer Bernie Sanders has cloaked himself -- was initially bandied about, but that has been dumped, because even a whiff of the term carries some political toxicity. Gillum has routinely positioned himself as a proponent of the mainstream Democratic agenda, striving to sound less extreme.
 
This still does little to stem some of his policy positions that trend to the far left of the spectrum. State-centric proposals like sharply increased tax rates, broadening of the government-run healthcare, and sharp increases in the minimum wage are a few, as is the dramatic call to abolish ICE. Beyond these items, however, is a more direct indicator.
 
Much has been made about Gillum’s connection with the group known as the Dream Defenders. This Florida-based community organizing group has its own manifesto that carries a far more strident anti-capitalist, pro-socialist agenda. Gillum has had a difficult time in the past weeks reconciling his connection with the group. At times, he wants to sound supportive, but he also recognizes many of the group’s positions are not widely popular with the electorate. 
 
Except, the group enthusiastically supports the Democratic candidate, and has gushed over what his rise to the Capitol would mean for them. 
 
Further, in their formal endorsement of Gillum, the organization declared precisely what its positions are: “We are a socialist, abolitionist, feminist and internationalist organization. Our vision for Florida -- the Freedom Papers -- is one where a people-centered state replaces our current profit-centered one (emplasis added)."
 
More revealing descriptions were delivered in their overall assessment of Gillum’s agenda:
 
“This is not only one of the most progressive platforms that a Florida gubernatorial candidate has ever run on," says the Dream Defenders, "but it is also one of the most progressive platforms we have seen from any gubernatorial candidate in the country.” 
 
Those are some very stark words. Imagine if Andrew Gillum’s opponent had said that sentence. The charge of hyperbolic fabrication, and surely the accusation of racism, would be instantly made. Yet, this was in fact a glowing assessment coming from one of Andrew Gillum’s most ardent supporters.
 
It was revealed that Gillum had signed a pledge this summer that was created by DD that carried a number of controversial stances (defunding of police forces, elimination of privately run prisons, and channeling those monies to social programs). Additionally, the pledge declared signees' support to the group’s broader platform, dubbed The Freedom Papers. Some specifics include calling for an end to “disaster capitalism,” rants against Independence Day, and promotion of the movement to boycott Israel while promoting pro-Palestinian causes. (A revealing detail in this current climate of anti-Semitism accusals.)
 
Realizing this agenda challenge, a spokesperson from Dream Defenders tried to massage the clear connection Gillum has with the group. “Our ideology is different from what we asked of politicians. We know they’d never share the same ideals because we’re leftists, so we just asked that they prioritize different things in the Pledge.” That attempt at excusing responsibility does little to fix a much larger issue -- Gillum’s history with the group.
 
As I wrote previously, Gillum is more than agreeable with DD; he is entrenched. He has backed the group in the past, both in word and deed. Gillum, prior to his election as mayor, wrote a lengthy, glowing op-ed about the co-founder of Dream Defenders, Phillip Agnew, whom he has known for over a decade. And now, Agnew has told us, Gillum is far more than an ally of the Dream Defenders movement. He is crucial to its actual founding.
 
During a recent appearance on a broadcast with Democracy Now, Agnew declared how vital Gillum was in the formation of the organization. He began by stating their relation went as far back as 2003, when they met on the campus of Florida A&M University. Agnew later rose to student body president and says he was later inspired into community organizing.
 
“So, in 2012, when we start this organization, it is really with a model of what Andrew has led for many, many years in the state. We like to say Andrew Gillum isn’t a friend of the movement, he is a part of the movement.” 
 
That movement is one they declare to be socialist, anti-capitalist, anti-police, and anti-Israel. By their own words. And it is their own people who are saying Andrew Gillum is an integral part of that movement, from its inception. This makes the argument against suggestions of Gillum’s socialist positions rather moot. 
 
After all, when the very things we are told are extremist to ascribe to the Democratic candidate, are at the same time considered a selling point by his allies, there is no need to continue. This isn't the Republicans calling Gillum a socialist, it's the people who claim him as one of their own. They are the ones saying it -- which makes it a much clearer message.
 
It also becomes a message you cannot argue against.
 
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.

Comments

yes for goodnes sake - he is a socialist/marxist obama-like!

Never hear anything about Mr. Gillum attending Rockwood Institute for Leadership, in 2012. School for leaders of Black Lives Matter, Code Pink, and other extreme organizations.

That’s because it is Soros-funded, and the press declares mentioning it anti Semitic.

Losing is really hurting these people more than it should... Go live your life people...

Two things should never be seriously discussed between friends: politics & religion. Now that the mid-term elections are officially over......we need to come together; be tolerate of one another’s beliefs & help our newly-elected politicians to learn why diversity and compromise should be in everyone’s vocabulary. We all need to be on the same page......the same team......and utilizing “community consciousness” instead of lies, slander, hate, and hurt. Together we win; divided we fail. Let’s leave something better for our children & grandchildren <3

I have lived in a socialist country, I know a socialist when I see one. Andrew Gillum is a hard Socialist. If Totalitarianism was a house, Socialism will be is dinning room and communist its bedrooms, Social Democracy its garden. All part of the same poisonous home.

You probably just need to go back to your Socialist country. I think you would be better off... You are the same types of idiots that would call Great Britain, Canada and France Socialist just because they have Gov't run healthcare. This dufus rhetoric is just not working with educated people anymore. Thanks be to God!

You need to live in one of these countries. Like a citizen not a tourist seeing only the pretty places they paint for you to get your American dollars that the people don’t see a dime of MORAN!! Look at any country that has tried socialism and or communism. Poverty, hunger, DISASTER. PRICK!

Most of Gillum's critics and the majority of rightwingnut partisans have absolutely no idea what the definition of "socialism" is. Socialism is a social, political and economic system that is based on the fact that all the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned and operated by the population as a whole. Andrew Gillum certainly does not advocate converting America's representative democracy into socialism, nor does any other contending Democrat advocate conversion to socialism.

"run by the people as a whole"? That has to be the most ignorant and naive (not to say stupid) definition of socialism I've ever seen. "The people as a whole" don't run ANYTHING is a socialist society (or in any other society, for that matter). The GOVERNMENT runs everything in a socialist society. The one characteristic of socialism - in ALL its variants (communism, fascism, Naziism, etc.) - is that rights (including property rights) belong to the STATE and NOT to the "people". So "people as a whole" run NOTHING. The STATE does. Those are the rules of the game. It seems you have no idea of what the definition of socialism is. I suggest you learn before you start writing inane responses to other people's comments. As far as Guillum is concerned, he signed on to the "Freedom Papers" manifesto of the "Dream Defenders" (yes, literally; he signed the pledge). Typical of communist word games, pretty phrases are used to describe the rope they will hang you with. The manifesto is a clear socialist manifesto which promotes totalitarianism. In that sense, it at least is "honest". It promotes a totalitarian socialist state - which is in keeping with the socialist doctrine that rights belong to the STATE and not to the people. That is why the state must be totalitarian... lest the people get any stupid ideas that they have any rights under socialism. So your statement that Guillum "certainly does not advocate" converting this country to socialism is a LIE. It is a product either of your deliberate intent to deceive or of your stupidity and inability to see the evidence and the obvious. HE SIGNED THE PLEDGE. With his signature, he confirmed his support for the totalitarian socialist manifesto. It doesn't really get any clearer than that. So the FACTS and his BEHAVIOR clearly demonstrates that he is committed to that. In fact, the founder of the socialist "Dream Defenders" himself, Phillip Agnew, has stated publicly that he does not consider Guillum a friend of the movement but that he considers him a PART of the movement. So again, the FACTS are clear. You may choose to live in "la-la land", or you can decide to grow up and learn about what's REALLY going on around you. I suggest you take the lollipop out of your mouth and start learning about reality. And, by the way, I was a Democrat until I decided to walk away from the blue wave of socialist bull-sh** that these idiotic socialists decided to infest the party with. That doesn't mean I will vote Republican, but it means I will analyze the positions of specific candidates (as I have always done) and determine whether they deserve my vote or not. Guillum doesn't. He's a BS artist and a committed socialist. I didn't spend time in the military working against people like him in other countries just to come home and find them asking for my support here. So stop being stupid. Spend some time in the real world and find out what things are really like.

Maybe give that lecture to the group claiming to be socialists and also claiming Gillum to be one of them?

Saw the funniest t-shirt ever over the weekend. "I'm supporting the black guy over the racist..." Touche.

Fortunately the McCarthyism scare tactics only seem to be working with the uneducated proletariat. Unfortunately, that is a very large base of the radical right's group. As you can read, most actually...

Since 15% of Americans never finished high school and less than 30% of high school graduates actually go on to graduate from college, you're right! The "uneducated proletariat" is a pretty large group and the white males in that group make up most of Trump's so-called "base".

Socialist or Progressive If he wins the State of Florida and it's citizens are the losers.

Come on Florida do not make the error you will forever regret. The signs are all out there - Do Not vote for Gillum. Now for you "color" voters and any of you who still may be left out there with a weird lingering Obama infatuation I'm not talking to you. You few voters are expected to throw your vote Gillum's way. I completely understand that. And I still love you and all citizens of the Great USA!!! ***I am speaking to the rest of us: Come on Florida do not make the error you will forever regret.

Come on Florida do not make the error you will forever regret. The signs are all out there - Do Not vote for Gillum. Now for you "color" voters and any of you who still may be left out there with a weird lingering Obama infatuation I'm not talking to you. You few voters are expected to throw your vote Gillum's way. I completely understand that. And I still love you and all citizens of the Great USA!!! ***I am speaking to the rest of us: Come on Florida do not make the error you will forever regret.

Yeah------and Obama is not a Muslim.

I just saw someone say Ron Desantis got a dishonorable discharge...that is BS! HE is still in active duty in the reserves. and a Lt. Commander. Screw Gillum...

Big whipee do.

It'll be a big whoopee do when the FBI takes Governor-elect, Andrew Gillum into custody, and frog marches his sorry butt into federal court for trial on bribery charges.

That's bound to happen to Trump w-a-y before it ever happens to Gillum, Mr. Nitemare, and it's in the process of happening right now to several of Trump's key insiders and advisors. In just two years, Trump's administration has become the most corrupt presidential administration at least since that of U.S. Grant. #GoGillum! #VoteBlue!

Actually, the honor of being most corrupt goes to Obama, who's justice department and FBI top political operatives used the power of the gov't against their opponents. This ought to send shivers down the spine of every free thinking American.

SOCIALISM IS JUST ANOTHER SOFT SPOKEN, COSY, FUZZY TERM FOR COMMUNISM. GILLUM BY FAR IS A DOWNRIGHT SOB OF A COMMUNIST, THAT SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE BALLOT ANYWHERE IN THIS COUNTRY.

What an idiot! Look up the definitions. They are totally opposite politically philosophies. But Gillum is no more a socialist than you. Look how he has performed so far. Not socialist, not progressive, just pragmatic, fix-it kind of guy.

He's just evidencing the wisdumb of the current Republican Party and its wingnuts. (But, in my opinion, if Gillum is a socialist, then Trump and DeSantis are clearly fascists.)

Ah! An ignoramus accusing others of ignorance! Typical. And to be expected of fanatics. LEARN, son, and maybe you will not look like a fool anymore. Communism and fascism are just specific applications of socialism, which in turn is an economic system based on what they like to call "altruism". Altruism within a political context refers to man as a "sacrificial cow" of sorts: an entity that should consistently and constantly sacrifice itself for others. This is why socialism's, POLITICAL corollary is totalitarianism, which to US simpletons who do not understand English, is essentially dictatorship. This political manifestation is a requirement of socialism because socialism postulates that rights belong to the STATE... to the government. Rights under socialism (especially property rights) MAY be ceded, partially, at its discretion, to people, but people in and of themselves have no "inalienable rights". Socialism is an economic doctrine that literally mandates totalitarianism as its political consequence. Both fascism (the means of production can be in private hands, but anything produced belongs to the government) and communism (the means of production belong to the state) are simply variants of socialism. So your "opinion" is based on ignorance in a couple of counts. On the one hand, Gillum HIMSELF declared himself a totalitarian socialist when he signed the "Dream Defenders" pledge, which includes support of its socialist totalitarian "manifesto". So he IS a socialist by HIS OWN written declaration and behavior. On the other hand, your presentation of socialists and fascists as apparent "opposites" demonstrates an enormous amount of ignorance regarding both economic and political systems and philosophy. I would advise you that, instead of these idiotic, knee-jerk, ignorance based responses, you do a little reading and learning. That way, you won't be like Ocasio in New York, who opens her mouth only to stick her foot in it anytime she gets of her "socialist jingle" script and is asked to comment on something of substance.

When a group of socialists call him the basis of their organization, and he had praised them directly for over a decade, that proves to you he is not a socialist? Huh.

OMG, Gillum took bribes from an undercover FBI agent. That's on the record. He'll be indicted in federal court win or lose.

Gillum will destroy Florida and turn it into California

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