Friday, October 28, 2016


Why am I a socialist? Perhaps it'd be best to start with defining socialism. I will be the first to admit I am still growing in my understanding of socialism and communism. Growing up I always heard both as evil and only done by authoritarian dictators. However, over the past ten years or so, my view has changed. No longer am I fixed on dictatorial socialism, or even what everyone assumes is “socialism” which is really state-run capitalism. Not to say this version of socialism isn't beneficial, with taxes providing the basis for infrastructure, education, emergency services, etc. However, more recently in the past few years my mind has been opened to the beauty of democratic socialism. While idealistically I am a Communist, pragmatically I am a Socialist. This is seen in Marx as well as modern ideas such as Dr Richard Wolff's “Workers Self-Directed Enterprises,” where the employees themselves make the decisions rather than CEOs and disconnected board members. That said (knowing even more can be said as explanation), I will return to the question as to why.

I believe all men are not only created equal but they remain equal the rest of their lives, regardless of their sitz im leben. That does not mean that I think the (over) privileged need to be brought down to the impoverished level. Rather, the impoverished need to be elevated the world over. Universal healthcare should imply for the world, not just those settled in a richer nation. (Which, this is beneficial to everyone as a healthy worker is more productive than a sick or beaten down worker.) Everyone should be able to meet their caloric and nutritional requirements everyday without scrounging in the trash. (This is fully capable as reports show we can feed everyone over 2800 calories a day.) Education should be accessible to all (Society cannot afford for the potential lost from uneducated masses.) Jobs, too, should be equally attainable. (Everyone has different interests, so we should be able to find tasks for everyone.)

Related to my last point, to say socialism creates or causes laziness is to ignore the fact that there are more than enough lazy people in a capitalist structure. There will always be lazy people. However, socialism provides more opportunities, especially equal opportunities to be active and interested. One of the main issues is the current structure says it encourages entrepreneurship. Yet, that is based on the needs of the environment and if the needs are satisfied elsewhere for cheaper (typically through further exploitation of workers), then the ones who want to be entrepreneurs will not be successful without said exploitation. If they then partake in the exploitation they encourage the cycle of downward mobility to continue, leading to more crises. Conversely, when entrepreneurs and workers succeed, that means more wealth which can then support businesses which creates more opportunities. This is a much more positive, less volatile cycle of growth as compared to Capitalism's necessity of higher profit and stagnant wages.

Socialism is not about making things free or even necessarily cheaper. It is about making things equal and accessible (such as healthcare, education, emergency services, drinking water, etc.) It is about ending the exploitation of the proletariat. When we echo Marx's cry for “Workers of the world, unite!” we are crying out for the liberation of the working class. Not to be lazy and unproductive members dependent on a “welfare state.” Rather, to be loosed from the chains that have bound them to the grindstone. This WILL be difficult. Sacrifices will have to be made. However, unless we are to deny that every human is equal, then we have no ability to deny them an equal chance.

As an end note, I would love for this to be a genuine, open dialogue. I reserve the right disagree, as I'm sure many of you will disagree with me. However, civility is a must.


Anonymous said...

What kind of socialism is Venezuela?


Karl said...

Authoritarian dictatorship with state run capitalism is what has dominated Venezuela, same with the era of Stalin. Those are not true socialism.

Anonymous said...

Nice article.

I'm sure there are many important differences between Stalin's Russia and contemporary Venezuela. Similarly, capitalist countries are different from one another, and they too are often charged as not being truly capitalist.

Professor Wolff argues that all economic systems include markets (capitalism) and socialist programs. If we socialize medicine, education, housing, finance, banking, and currency exchange (at least for the masses), and all basic essentials for people's livelihoods, what could be left for some to profiteer from in a market? Athletes could still give their all (and some would) to perform ever more Citius, Altius, Fortius, and team competition could still be just as inspiring. True artists and performers would continue to perform as their nature urges them to do. Can we overcome ALL the contradictions of capitalism, and after hundreds of years, can we dismantle it in a relatively short period, while preventing reactionary oppression from the state, oligarchs, and their subscribers?


Karl said...

Thanks for the comment. I think Wolff's suggestion to utilize unemployment checks to have groups of workers start their own WSDEs is a great idea to get the ball rolling. I think also getting education in place on how it will effect different sizes of businesses would be good. For instant, obviously massive multinationals and their boards/CEOs are going to feel the change a lot more than a small business that already operates fairly close to a WSDE. The key will definitely be with mass support, united for the common cause to end exploitation.