Thor Halvorssen, head of the Human Rights Foundation, does not believe Bernie Sanders understands socialism. The runner-up in the Democratic primaries claims to be a Democratic socialist. According to this recent Reddit thread, Halvorssen said in an interview on Fox News that socialism denies human rights and used the example of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez.
Socialism is a form of government where the means of production are owned collectively. It may be by the people, by the employees of a group, or some other form of shared equity. It exists in two forms, market socialism and non-market socialism. Non-market socialism tries to correct the imbalances that occur in the for-profit system. Market socialism is usually a mix of socialist polices and free-market policies, such as
While Halvorssen believes that socialism can be stable in areas with long traditions of democratic government, such as Western Europe, he also believes that such systems can easily be perverted by corrupt rulers. During the Fox interview he stated that corrupt rulers who do not have the best interests of the people at heart can become despots.
Although he criticized Sanders for his naïve positions, Halvorssen has donated to his campaign. Unlike his democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, Sanders has not supported the regimes that support torture. At the moment, the Sanders campaign is funded through small donations of individual supporters. Clinton and her Republican competitors have all taken donations from large corporations.
Sanders has criticized the role of lobbyists and large corporations in the United States political system. The Democratic candidate also voiced support for overturning the Citizens United Decision. This Supreme Court decision furthered the existing legal doctrine that corporations are people and have the same rights as citizens. To find more about Thor Halvorssen’s involvement in human rights and other political matters, be sure to find him on Facebook.