A Short Lesson on Capitalism in the Telegraph-Herald

Yesterday the Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque’s daily newspaper, published a letter to the editor written by two DDS members, Christine Darr and Chris Lammer-Heindel. Their letter was a response to a letter last week that grossly mischaracterized socialism and capitalism. 

For those who aren’t subscribed to the TH, here is the text of their letter along with an image of the printed version. Well done, Christine and Chris!

An image of the newspaper article.

Letter to the Editor

John Bernardi’s “Fable of the City on the Hill” (July 20 editorial) demonstrates a laughable ignorance of capitalism and of the lives of American workers. The fictional capitalist city he describes is just that: fiction. It does not describe what the vast majority of us experience. For many, work isn’t fulfilling or meaningful in itself; it is simply what has to be done to earn a wage. Nor are things better for us now than they used to be. According to the Pew Research Center, the purchasing power of the average hourly wage is lower today than in 1973.

Bernardi claims that if his fictional city adopted socialism, the consequences would be vast economic inequality, rampant poverty, and the segregation of the upper and lower classes. If his readers find this appalling—and such injustices are appalling—we suggest they look around. Compare our lived capitalist reality with Bernardi’s dystopia: our capitalist system has created and is destined to sustain vast economic inequality; and the working poor are segregated and kept away from wealthy neighborhoods, as in the case of the Galena Territories, where Bernardi resides.

As democratic socialists, we invite anyone appalled by such social circumstances to join us. We believe that the productive force of labor should benefit ordinary people, not line the pockets of wealthy folks who simply collect dividend checks. We believe that de facto economic and racial segregation is a moral blight on our nation. Changing this reality requires participatory, democratic, working class solidarity.

Christine Darr (Winona Street, Dubuque) and Christoffer Lammer-Heindel (Mt. Pleasant Street, Dubuque) are members of the executive committee of the Dubuque Local of the Democratic Socialists of America.


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