Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Do Americans Hate Socialism?

This is the answer I submitted to question posed above at Yahoo!Answers. The questioner chose it as the best answer.l Hopefully, this will bring some curious folk to our websites for more information, as I attached the URLs. Don, I made the corrections you suggested. Hopefully, this entry will go some distance in addressing your suggestion of explaining what we are for and what we are against! The questioner wondered why Americans disliked the welfare state policies of a country like Denmark. There were the usual defenses of capitalism as part an parcel of American democracy which most respondents found infinitely better than Stalinism. Most however failed to see the "Welfare State" as a part of capitalist society. I chose not to go in to depth in explaining that the welfare state socializes capital's cost in maintaining an able and non- rebellious workforce. I will leave that for another time.

There is some real confusion here. Socialism, communism, fascism and capitalism are models of economic organization. Democracy, monarchy, totalitarianism, and theocracy, are all models of political organization. Positing a struggle between democracy and communism is an apples and oranges comparison.

Socialism argues for worker and consumer control of the means of production. In the former Warsaw Pact states, the workers and consumers controlled nothing. Of course the Leninist oligarchs used and continue to use words like socialism and communism. They also use words like people's, democratic, and republic. Does anybody other than the most gullible believe these lies?

Most Americans do not hate socialism. Most Americans do not have enough information to hold an informed opinion, pro or con. In the proposing of the the question there is clearly a misunderstanding, or more precisely, a confabulation, of the Western European style "welfare state", which exists in nations like Denmark with socialism. The welfare state, while providing most Europeans with a better quality of life than most Americans, is not the economic or industrial democracy which is inseparable from true socialism.

Europeans and Canadians live longer than Americans, work less, and in general earn more for their labor. The welfare state attempts to ameliorate the inequities of capitalism. It has never been seen as road to socialism, but as a stop gap while a road to socialism was found.

The fall of the Soviet Union does not prove the unworkability of socialism, it proves the unworkability of monopoly capitalism. American and Soviet capitalism were like the fun house mirror reflection of each other. In the U. S. a small group of economic elites, because of their wealth, control the political system. Political campaigns rely on vast sums of money to influence voters. These elites have never been reluctant to use force when political slight of hand failed. In the former Soviet Union and its client states, a small group of economic elites controlled the economy by the use of state terror. George Bernard Shaw quipped in "The Intelligent Woman's Guide To Socialism" that:."Under communism man oppresses man, while under capitalism it is just the reverse".

It is impossible to argue that the American democratic experiment is tied to the development of industrial capitalism, as industrial capitalism would not begin for a half century after the founding of the the United States of America. The U.S is the world's remaining superpower only in munitions and the reasons for that have more to due with collapse of other capitalist economies than there being something special about American capitalism.

The socialist model of economic organization is a democratic one. It calls for workers to actually own the means of production, while consumers would form co-ops to purchase goods and services at low cost. This would be a true "ownership society" in which each worker would be heavily invested in the productiveness and profitability of the enterprise in which she or he worked. Socialism is not state ownership of industry.

Every attempt in history by an elite to control the national economy has brought domestic turmoil and then war as that elite sought to focus the attention of the polity toward a foreign menace, generally a contrived threat. Democracy is the only cure for intrinsic violence of coercive national policies that create both domestic tumult and external warfare. Socialism is not do good-ism! It is not charity. It is a through going democratic reform of economic life which provides citizens with the means for a democratic political life. The idea of people governing themselves in all areas of their lives will always terrorize some enough to kill to stop it. It remains however, the only way to realize what it is to be truly human

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