I normally couch my politics through a less obnoxious and direct way, but I’m more than a little annoyed today by a bunch of people and I feel the need to scream into the ether my impotent rage. I’m not even sure how coherent this will end up, but here goes.
The one phrase that annoys me more than anything else is “socialism has never worked anywhere”.
Actually, it flat out infuriates me, because of the absolute brazen ignorance it displays and because it is so popular. Socialism never works… because people actually believe that.
It is so ignorant on so many levels that I almost struggle to argue against it because where do I even begin? So lets start at the most basic level.
Socialism is an economic system where by public money (such as taxes) are used to provide social benefits such as public works and projects (such as roads), and social safety-nets (such as healthcare and welfare).
At the purest level it advocates the idea that there should not be private ownership of the means of production – that is, if you have a factory it should be owned by the workers and not by a corporation.
You can have market and non-market versions, with the market version having an economic market that people can sell their goods and services on, and the non-market version having an economic market where the state controls the goods and services. Non-market systems are most often referred to as planned economies.
It’s different from communism, which advocates for a similar economic system as non-market socialism, but which also advocates for things such as no private ownership (all things are publically owned in the ‘commons’ where it gets its name from) and a move towards democratic anarchism.
There has never been a true communist country.
The red scare propaganda that arose from the Cold War slandered the idea of communism and socialism because it challenged the dominant capitalist model of the Western powers, but the Soviet Union and its puppet states were not communist.
They were not left-wing, they were non-market socialist and their political ideology was more in line with fascism than with the communist utopia that Marx and Engels proposed.
The opposition to socialism is libertarianism. People like to say capitalism is a thing, but it isn’t. It is an old and inaccurate term that does not truly express the reality of things, because everything is capitalism and nothing is capitalism. You do not have an economy without capital because capital is investment – be it currency or labour or any other.
The economic spectrum is divided between Socialism (left) and Libertarianism (right).
Socialism and Libertarinism both advocate that capital should belong to the people that generate it.
The difference is in how they try to achieve it, and how they perceive who generates the capital.
To a Socialist it is the worker who invests their labour into the means of production (the way in which capital is generated) and produces capital.
To a Libertarian it is the manager who organised the workers to provide their labour that produces the capital.
To get the capital to the workers, Socialism regulates and ensures that they get paid fairly – some even push into the removal of the management and giving over the means of production to the workers so they have control.
To get the capital to the manager, Libertarianism deregulates and ensures that they are freely able to exploit the workers so as to maximize profit.
Feudalism functioned off of libertarian economic ideals. The people that worked the lands did not own the land they worked, the land was owned by a man who never had to work it because he organised the labour – and more specifically the labour were functionally speaking slaves. They were property of the owner of the land they worked. It was not an abberation, it is peak economic libertarianism.
If you want to have a discussion about how much socialism we should have, then that is reasonable. Some people chafe under the idea of strict regulations and the redistribution of wealth from a handful of non-workers to the working classes. We can have that discussion.
If you however tell me socialism does not work, you need to re-examine your world view. Maybe you came from a shitty country that collapsed because of economic mismanagement and associate that with “socialism” or maybe you grew up under the thumb of a dictatorship that called itself socialist. Maybe you have a legitimate reason for believing what you believe but you’re still wrong.
You can tell me “oh, you’ve never experienced it so you don’t know what you’re talking about”. Sure, but I’ve also never been stabbed or shot or poisoned and I can safely tell you that those are horrible things to experience. And by your logic, you’ve never experienced “capitalism” while I have.
If you want to claim that I have no legitimacy because I have not experienced something, then you have no legitimacy because you have not experienced something.
I speak against “capitalism” because I am intelligent, not because I am brainwashed – unlike you.
If you want to say “look at all the freedom that ‘capitalist’ countries have, socialist countries do not have that”, you are wrong.
Every day “capitalist” countries murder journalists, they genocide minorities, they suppress dissent, they allow gays to be persecuted or openly persecute them. There is no country in the world that is not “capitalist” to some extent, and most of the countries you may claim are most ‘free’ are more socialist than most countries.
If you claim “but the United States of America”, then I will tell you that it is one of the worst examples you can make – it is beset by civil unrest, rampant in its oppression of minorities and suppression of dissent, it actively allows entire cities to be poisoned and it does nothing to prevent what is essentially a genocide by their police. They do not function as a democracy, their economic system is constantly on the verge of collapse and most of its capital is held by a dozen people. The USA is a modern feudal state, with the veneer of democracy to keep the people ‘appeased’.
Economic libertarianism does not work and it never will work.
Economic socialism does work and it always will work.
Once you accept that, you will be a better person.
For everyone else who only follows me for the poems and fiction and what not, sorry – I’ll have more tomorrow like usual.