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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Socialism Is The Logical Conclusion Of Wanting Justice And Equality

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Socialism aims to achieve what fascism aims to crush, and what liberalism aims to dilute: a society where no human being can exploit or oppress another.
This goal is as realizable as was the abolition of traditional chattel slavery. Yet as American slavery continues in so many forms under capitalism-poverty wages, the domination of tyrannical corporations over most people’s daily lives, jails that pay their working prisoners slave wages for corporate profit-we’re told that we can’t get rid of the system that allows for these things.
Socialism has been demonized so much that even many progressive-minded people are afraid to call themselves anti-capitalists, saying instead that we only need to reform capitalism with regulations and social programs. For an example of this squeamish attitude towards socialism, one pro-Sanders internet meme from the 2016 campaign said that:
A democratic socialist is not a Marxist socialist or a communist. A democratic socialist is still a capitalist, just one who seeks to restrain the self-destructive excesses of capitalism and channel government’s use of our tax money into creating opportunities for everyone.
This meme’s goal of “reforming” capitalism contradicts its own stated goals in order to rationalize staying within the capitalist framework. Capitalism entails exploitation. As long as we let the means of production be privately controlled for profit, a class will exist that holds resources hostage and demands people’s labor in return. Capitalism doesn’t just have destructive excesses, capitalism itself is destructive.
This is why all the attempts throughout history to tweak capitalism have failed. In Sweden, Norway, and the other Nordic countries where strong welfare states have been combined with capitalism, not even these reforms have been able to stop capitalism from driving people into poverty and devolving into plutocracy. Poverty continues to exist throughout Scandinavia, and income inequality has been in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland in recent decades. Neoliberalism has also risen in all of these countries.
Without exception, these and the other experiments in “reformed” capitalism have collapsed through the same historical pattern. As Lee Camp has written: “Please don’t give me that ‘It’s not capitalism, it’s Crony capitalism’ line. Capitalism always leads to government working in favor of those with the most Capital.”
These factors alone make it clear that supporting capitalism in any form isn’t compatible with supporting justice and equality. As does the reality that as long as the capitalist drive towards profit exists, it won’t be possible to reduce carbon emissions in time for the looming climate catastrophe deadline.
But a lifetime of propaganda and gaslighting has conditioned most Americans not to oppose capitalism, even when they otherwise want increased checks on corporations and expansions of the social safety net. This is the model of “fixed” capitalism that mainstream progressives like Bernie Sanders Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have to offer, in contrast to the goals of actual socialist organizations like the Socialist Equality Party.
Inevitably, the unwillingness to challenge capitalism among these progressive leaders has lead to them making concessions to imperialism, which the deeply pro-imperialist Democratic Party demands of anyone who tries to reform it from within. As the socialist blogger Comrade Ty has assessed in his essaySocialism…for whom?, this watering-down of a true socialist agenda will ultimately lead to a continuation of the American empire’s evils:
In their rush to win the favor of the Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, and all others like them have demonstrated that they will obediently march to the beat of Washington’s drum, and proclaim the mythology that the United States of America is the greatest experiment of freedom the world has ever seen, despite its history being drowned in blood and fire.
Indeed, one might even go so far as to say that this “socialism”, i.e., a capitalist welfare state with a few public works here and there, which only offers this model to those who are considered to belong to the privileged “nation”, and which actively works to crush and destroy any movements, both domestically and abroad, which attempt to throw off the yoke of imperialism and neocolonialism, and make true progress, sounds more akin to “national socialism” than anything else.
Some readers will reel in shock at such a labeling, but let us take a moment to think. “National socialism” was not socialist at all! The capitalist mode of production and distribution was maintained, as were capitalistic property relations. The few public works that were undertaken were designated only for the “privileged nation”, allowing them to enjoy the spoils of war while “inferior nations” were trampled under the imperial boot.
Socialism, while corruptible like all systems, is the only system that can take us to a sustainable and just society. It’s the ultimate iteration of the worldview of anyone who considers themselves progressive.
Which is why, as Ty also says, progressive-minded people who support capitalism can be radicalized towards supporting these truly revolutionary goals: “This is not to say, however, that working with social democrats or in organizations like DSA is fruitless or hopeless. On the contrary, many disciplined Marxists have been able to introduce a truly revolutionary discourse by embedding themselves in social democratic communities.”
So many people are now turning to socialism because capitalism, which has always been an unstable system, is in the 21st century being revealed as a potential death sentence for humanity. By a conservative estimate, if global carbon emissions don’t drop 45% by 2030, our already locked in climate feedback loops will reach levels that wipe out most of life on earth, and that potentially make the planet uninhabitable for humans.
In this situation, socialists and communists should disregard all of the social pressure to side with capitalism. Support for capitalism is still prevalent in our culture because the ruling elites have conditioned society to towards this, not because capitalism is the right system. Socialism is the only way to create a society that’s free from injustice, and at this point it’s the only way to create a society that can survive.