Why I Believe In Socialism

Those of us who believe in socialism are sometimes asked why. Doesn’t capitalism work? The answer is yes, it does for some. For others, it doesn’t work so well, and for many, it would be a stretch to say it works at all.

Any economic system can have imperfections and problems which its participants can strive to alleviate and improve on, but what makes capitalism irreparable is that instead of uniting people and engendering harmony and cooperation so they can face problems and issues facing them in a united and cooperative way, it divides them into two opposing and warring classes with contradictory and conflicting interests and objectives. For example, due to different and opposing interests, they naturally have different and opposing views on Global Warming – among many others – which threatens the future of life on the planet. What is often destructive, harmful or damaging to the environment or people’s health, safety or well being is often profitable and hence worth fighting to maintain and continue for some. So, for example, while those concerned with the quality and safety of the food we eat, try to protect us from the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals which cause health problems from cancer to diabetes and from obesity to heart disease, others will fight to the end to undermine those efforts because their profits depend on it. And, unfortunately, usually, those who win such battles are those who cause or contribute to the damage and harm, due to their wealth, influence and dominant position in the society. Recently, a proposition which proposed to require food manufacturers to simply label genetically modified food as such, so people would at least know what they’re eating, was defeated after food and agricultural giants such as Monsanto spent tens of millions of dollars against the effort. Due to the influence and political clout of big money, many research projects vital to our collective health and well being or to the environment go unfunded, are tossed aside or outright made to disappear from even discussion. Consumer advocates, due to their limited funds and influence, are in a constant losing battle with giant corporations who have almost unlimited resources. Just think how much money which can be used to meet people’s basic needs is spent on conditioning us and our children to eat junk food or to take up smoking in our teenage years or to acquire liking for fast food.

Another example is with wars which have always been presented to people as necessary and sometimes even as good things, instead of the most absurd, vile and inhuman things that any human society can engage in. If there has been any admittance as to the destructiveness and undesirableness of wars by policy makers, who invariably and naturally are allied with big money and therefore whose agenda they push, is because of the limited pressure from below where war makers draw their subjects from. The poor who provide the cannon fodder for wars don’t even reap any “benefits” from wars, and on the contrary, stand to lose, as vitally needed funds are spent on killing other poor peoples overseas to make the rich richer. The fact is all wars, regardless of how they are sold to us, are ultimately perpetrated by one or more capitalist classes, either against competing capitalists of other nations over control of territories and their resources – which was the case with both world wars – or against a country for control or possession of its wealth and resources or its use as a stepping stone for domination over a region and beyond, as is usually the case with wars committed by the US and its imperial allies. There is nothing that’s either necessary or natural about wars. Yet, the media that’s owned and controlled by big money presents them as both necessary and natural and creates the social psyche and mindset to accept and even welcome them.

In addition to the destruction of the environment, damage to people’s health and well being and senseless and devastating wars, capitalism constantly creates economic crises and turmoils. During the frenzy of economic booms which funnel huge profits into the coffers of capitalists, they overproduce, creating a bubble, which naturally and inevitably bursts, causing the inevitable economic bust and massive layoffs and shutting down of factories, laying them to waste. While recourses were wasted during the boom to produce more than the society could consume or absorb, despite an ever intensifying culture of infantile consumerism which has added “shopping” to the list of addictions, during the bust, it wastes both human energies and natural resources by closing factories in the thousands while people’s real needs go unmet. Ironically, these periods of economic recession and stagnation which are devastating to working people, present big business with the opportunity to gobble up smaller businesses and assets enlarging their wealth. Even during the economic boom, capitalism requires and always maintains a pool of unemployed workers.

As we constantly battle to keep our children safe and healthy and provide a decent future for them against all odds and against constantly deteriorating economic outlook and rising tuition and healthcare premiums and deductibles we no longer can afford, the question to ask is: why do we even have to fight such battles which most of the time result in the corporations’ victory, in the first place? Why shouldn’t our otherwise advanced societies be able to find the truth and implement what’s for the common good? Why allow abuses in the first place? Why expend human labor and our limited natural resources to make things that are harmful and damaging? Can profits truly be the right guide or motivation to meet human needs? Why can’t an otherwise advanced society which keeps making newer and better ways of killing people en mass provide jobs, education and healthcare to anyone who needs it? Do profits as the basis for the economic system and as its driving force meet human needs or do they cause destruction of the environment, wars and result in millions’ falling into and remaining in poverty while a select few keep getting richer? Does this system contribute to peace, justice, harmony, unity, cooperation and betterment of human lives in a broad and universal sense, or does it cause conflicts of interests and purpose, abuses, wars and leaving behind a significant portion of human societies whose energies could otherwise be utilized to create a better future for all? Was Dr. King who spoke of the need to change our values, our ways and priorities wrong? Was he wrong to suggest that there was a better way?

Under socialism, too, people would work and generate wealth, as they do under capitalism, but the wealth would not go into the pockets of a few already rich making them richer and the poor poorer. Production under socialism would not be driven by what’s profitable with all the environmental, health and other misguided and wrong headed policies it entails, but by what’s needed, where it’s needed and how much it’s needed. By getting rid of exploitation of man by man which creates two different classes of otherwise similar human beings, socialism would also eliminate an ever widening wealth gap between the haves and have nots and by so doing, it would do away with the motivation for wars of conquest and would create conditions for harmony and cooperation, instead of class war and conflict. By channeling wealth that’s produced by the society away from the pickets of a few who already are rich, it could afford to meet the needs of millions who have been left behind and whose most basic needs are not being met. And by so doing, it would welcome them and their energies towards contributing to the society, instead of making them outcasts and undesirables or incarcerating them in the tens of thousands. It would thus be able to provide jobs to anyone who is physically and psychologically capable of working, as well as free education, healthcare and retirement, putting an end to hunger especially among children which is a stain on our collective consciousness.

Currently, all technological advances and rise in productivity including the use of computers and robotics go to benefit the capitalists. While nowadays, a typical worker produces far more during a working day than before, he or she still gets the same minimal pay, resulting in higher profits for the proprietors and no improvement for the worker. In fact, as profits have soared in recent decades, workers’ standard of living has gone down. Under socialism, such improvement in productivity and the use of robotics could be used to lower the number of hours people have to work each day leaving time for leisure. Now, that leisure is reserved only for a select few, among us.

Socialism also treats people with dignity and values them as equal human beings, instead of tools to be used by the privileged for getting rich off them and tossing them aside when not needed anymore. How can a system claim it’s working when after serving the bosses for decades, people are escorted out into the street and told they can’t work there anymore because they’re not profitable anymore? How can it claim it’s working when the elderly who spent most of their lives making the rich richer end up quietly and secretly buying and consuming cat and dog food because they can’t afford real food? How can it claim it’s working when a mother who works two jobs still can’t afford to take her sick child to the doctor? And all this in the richest capitalist country!

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