As far as I can tell, the spending bill does not advocate the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production. Sen. Rubio may therefore rest easy. — Lawrence Quill, professor of political science at San Jose State University
As far as I can tell, the spending bill does not advocate the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production. Sen. Rubio may therefore rest easy. — Lawrence Quill, professor of political science at San Jose State University
Marco Rubio called the $3.5 trillion Democratic spending bill 'Marxism,' the latest example of the GOP baselessly linking things they oppose to communism
  • GOP Sen. Marco Rubio said a Democratic spending bill that aims to bolster the social safety net is "marxism."
  • One expert told Insider this is "nonsensical" and "hyperbole."
  • It's the latest example of a Republican demonizing something they oppose by tying it to communism.
GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida denounced the $3.5 trillion spending bill being pushed by Democrats, which includes provisions to address climate change and expand the social safety net, as "Marxism."

Rubio tweeted: "The $3.5 trillion Biden plan isn't socialism, it's marxism."

This does not make sense, based on the definition of Marxism, and the Florida Republican was mocked by economists, historians, and Democrats about it on Twitter.

"Rubio is engaging in political hyperbole, a sin which both Republicans and Democrats commit quite often," Thomas Alan Schwartz, a Vanderbilt University historian and political scientist, told Insider. "What the Democrats are doing with the $3.5 trillion dollar program is one of the largest additions to the American welfare state since the Great Society in the 1960s. To that extent I do understand the hyperbole, even if it's nonsensical."

Marxism, experts say, is a term employed to describe ideas posited by Karl Marx: the vision of a communist society whose workers share ownership of the means of production, therefore abolishing capital markets and the private wealth it generates — a political philosophy that in practice has never been achieved and mostly leads to the same widespread impoverishment it was intended to address.

... The Florida senator's "marxism" tweet is just the latest example of a Republican attempting to demonize something or someone they oppose by linking it to communism or socialism.


"Socialism" and "communism" have long been dirty words in the US, which is largely thanks to the Cold War and the anti-Soviet sentiments and paranoia that typified that era. Polling continues to show that most Americans have a negative view of socialism, though there's an evident generational divide in this regard.

"'Socialism' itself has lost some of its edge for many Americans, since they might associate it with European welfare states that aren't all that threatening," Schwartz said, adding that Rubio throwing in Marxism "does add a great sinister element" given the term is "closely associated with the Soviet Union and all of its horrific history."

Republicans have played off of these sentiments by routinely labeling Democrats as socialists, Marxists, and communists.

... Rubio has "hurled himself into an academic debate that has been raging for decades," Lawrence Quill, professor of political science at San Jose State University, told Insider.

"Socialism and Marxism both stand in contrast to capitalism and are critical of it. They share a commitment to common ownership rather than the private ownership of the 'means of production' common to capitalist societies," Quill said. "As far as I can tell, the spending bill does not advocate the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production. Sen. Rubio may therefore rest easy."

"It is worth saying that Socialism is sometimes regarded as distinct from Communism, which is supposed to be the full blown realization of [Karl] Marx's goals," Quill added. "We may further speculate that what Sen. Rubio was suggesting was that the Democratic spending bill was an example of Communism rather than Socialism."

Quill said if Rubio is being "critical of state spending then he is in good company," and this appears to be "what is really going on in that little Tweet of his."

Republicans have consistently portrayed themselves as the anti-Big Government party, and have pushed against some government spending for decades while continuing to support massive increases in defense spending. There was a historic rise in the national debt under Trump, so they don't always practice what they preach.


As Quill put it, "The utterances of politicians ought to be taken with a pinch of salt."
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/rubio-baselessly-calls-35-trillion-democratic-spending-bill-marxism-2021-9