In an effort to squash the progressive agenda, the latest attack by the ‘right’ is around socialism. They are trying to paint it is an ugly, scary thing. It is their latest attempt to undermine the work of people like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), who proclaim to be Democratic Socialists. If they can promote messaging that socialism is bad, unwanted, and ugly they can in turn, also denigrate the ‘social’ programs like Medicare for All that have grown in popularity as well as justifying privatizing jails, the post office and social security. If these progressive ideas gain traction it could hurt the corporations that bilk us from our hard-earned money.
First, let’s define socialism; per Wikipedia: Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership and workers’ self-management of the means of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. Furthermore, “Socialism is an economic theory of social organization that believes that the means of making, moving, and trading wealth should be owned or controlled by the community as a whole. In Marxist theory, it is a transitional (temporary, in between) social state between capitalism and communism.” And to explain, Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production with an emphasis on self-management and democratic management of economic institutions within a market or some form of decentralized planned socialist economy.
SOCIALISM PROGRAMS CURRENTLY ENJOYED
In truth, we Americans currently enjoy, in fact thrive, on many socialistic programs and practices. Socialism programs are plentiful in our capitalistic society and can be found in public education, food stamps, Veteran’s affairs, sewer systems, the military, roads/highways, public libraries and museums, police and fire fighters, the postal service, bridges, garbage collection, student loans, welfare programs, health care for Congress, the CIA and FBI, social security, Medicare, prison system and many more. These are many services that we count on, and enjoy which are easier to administer to the general population as a collective rather than having to pay for each of these services as an individual.
Can you imagine having to pay a fee to call the fire department to your house when it’s on fire? Or having to pay a toll for every road you travel upon? And many people would just be destitute at retirement or disability if it weren’t for Social security and Medicare, where many barely get by as it is on that income. Remember the Trump supporters with the signs, “Keep your hands off my Social Security”? Yet those same people would probably say socialism is evil.
Additionally, some corporations and the libertarians would like to privatize many of these programs, and some have already been affected like many prisons and schools. By paying some taxes, we can enjoy the benefits that these programs provide to us. Why is that so scary? Maybe because it doesn’t make the fat cats a profit?! Another great article lays out some facts: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2012/3/29/1078852/-75-Ways-Socialism-Has-Improved-America And the corporations benefit by our social programs as their products are moved via our collective roads and bridges, their children can go to public schools without tuition, and much more.
Americans are finding Democrative Socialism more palatable than ever and the membership in the Democratic Socialists of America has grown from 7,000 in 2015, to over 55,000 today. Also, no one is saying we should embrace socialism in totality, but it can be used in positive ways within our capitalistic republic for the good of all people. If we had to pay individually for all of the services listed above, only the rich would enjoy them. Like many other countries, education would likely be unaffordable if you had to pay from day one through college. One article addresses the popularity of Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Socialism movement: https://www.thenation.com/article/socialism-sotu-donald-trump-bernie-sanders/.
So, when someone is quick to condemn socialism as evil, you may want to point out all the services we receive and enjoy (over 60 of them) and question if they really know what they are talking about, or if they are just repeating the latest Fox news talking point.