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dcsmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-08-09 08:09 PM
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What is the socialist answer?
Edited on Thu Oct-08-09 08:11 PM by dcsmart

"CAPITALISM IS evil, and you cannot regulate evil," Michael Moore concludes in his new movie Capitalism: A Love Story. "You have to eliminate it and replace it with something else."

The film is an incredible indictment of the current system. But what is the "something else" that should replace it.

We propose socialism.

Socialism is based on a simple idea--that the vast resources of society should be used to meet people's needs. We should use the tremendous achievements of human beings in all the realms of life, not to make a few people rich and powerful, but to make sure every person in society has everything they need to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

It seems so obvious--that if people are hungry, they should be fed. If people are homeless, we should build homes for them. If people are sick, all the advances in medical technology should be available to them. But capitalism produces the opposite.

To begin with, a socialist society would take the vast wealth of the rich and use it to meet the basic needs of all society. According to the United Nations, the cost of providing food, shelter, clean water, primary education and basic medical care to those who go without around the world could be covered with the fortunes of just the world's two richest men--Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

How about we abolish advertising? Is there really enough difference between Sprite and Sierra Mist to justify the millions of dollars spent to convince us to buy one over the other? Imagine what all the people employed today to peddle Coke over Pepsi could do if they were asked to use their talents to educate the public about what the government is up to, or about critical scientific or technological questions like climate change or nutrition.

Rather than sell commercial time to multinational corporations at $3 million for 30 seconds--the cost of getting an ad broadcast during the 2010 Super Bowl, according to reports--television could be returned to the public domain where it belongs, and the money that paid for the ads could be devoted to increasing the funds for every K-12 school.

SOCIALISM WILL be democratic in a much more fundamental way.

But for most people, this seems to contradict what they've been taught about socialism. The record of the former USSR under Joseph Stalin's rule, of China and other so-called socialist countries existing to this day would seem to show that socialism is a top-down society run by party bosses, with the secret police or army handy to keep people in line.

The truth of the matter is that none of these countries are socialist by the standards of the basic principles of Marxism--summed up by Karl Marx this way: "The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves."

It doesn't matter what the rulers of the ex-USSR and other so-called "socialist" countries call themselves. The question is whether workers control society. In the USSR and the other bastions of "socialism," the experience of workers wasn't one of control and freedom, but of exploitation, oppression and alienation from any kind of social and political control.

IN HIS movie, Michael Moore proposes that capitalism is the problem and needs to be eliminated--and that the solution is democracy.

He's right. But the question is what kind of democracy. If our vision of a future after capitalism is limited to the kind of "democracy" the so-called "Founding Fathers" enshrined in the U.S. Constitution--with elections only every two or four years, with economic power remaining outside the control of elected representatives, with so many opportunities for the wealthy to manipulate the system--then that's not enough of a change.

But a socialist democracy--rooted in the participation of everyone in society through a system that springs from the grassroots--holds the promise of building a society based on solidarity and equality, with the highest priority on people, not profits.


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