Nation magazine is as far left as Fox News is far right. So I wasn't surprised to see this article in the Nation's online edition on Aug. 7: "America Has a Long and Storied Socialist Tradition. DSA Is Reviving It."
It's supposed to impress us with the argument that socialism has been an integral part of American politics and has had some storied successes. Chief among them, according to the article by John Nichols, is Milwaukee.
From 1910 to 1960, the “hotbed of socialism” in America was Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time it was one of the largest and most prosperous cities in America—and it was run by Socialists.
And so forth. But what Nichols fails to mention in this long homage
to Milwaukee "socialism" is that it was widely known as "sewer socialism." It was a variety of municipal reforms that would not be considered socialist or progressive by the likes of Bernie Sanders or his far left supporters.
In other words, municipal ownership of the street cars and utilities and the kind of "good government" today advanced by civic and business groups. The term "sewer socialism" was...
coined by Morris Hillquit at the 1932 Milwaukee convention of the Socialist Party of America, as a commentary on the Milwaukee socialists and their perpetual boasting about the excellent public sewer system in the city. [From Wikipedia.]
Nichols' omission might not have been intentional, considering the way history is taught these days in schools. But it does, by omission, overstate the extent of socialism's "storied history."