Friday, August 2, 2019

Opinion: Socialism & Other Dirty Words

OOOO socialism, such a scary word to some, but actually, in its purest form, socialism is a political, social, and economic system meant to empower the working class. In the U.S. today, though, it's often used as shorthand for "the services that government provides and which are paid for by taxes." [1] Have you ever driven down a street or walked on a sidewalk? How many parks have you visited in your life? Did you go to public school when you were a child? Do you or do you know of anyone who collects social security? Don't freak out, but those are socialist programs.

I know, I know, you might be a little put off because you've heard how bad and dangerous socialism has been in the past. However, used correctly, democratic socialism benefits our country and the world. Whether you believe it or not, America has been a socialist democracy with a capitalist economy for a very long time. It is how we manage to get a lot of everyday issues taken care of, such as roads, stop signs, stop lights, and the lines painted on the streets. There is so much effort and money spent on roads, infrastructure, and repair/upkeep every year. Don't forget the amazing people who do all the road construction and seasonal maintenance. Also, they are absolutely necessary for all of society to be able to work and function in their everyday lives. Public roads are socialism, and it's ok.

Today, many democratic socialists, especially in Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand want industries to be guided jointly (together) by representatives of shareholders (people who own part of the business) as well as the workers working together in what is known as an industrial democracy because both groups want the business to do well. This would be a more direct democratic way of organizing, rather than control by the central government. Trade unions and/or workers councils would represent the interests of the employees.  "Collectivization." [2]

Those are just a couple of examples of how we use democratic socialism and capitalism together, and our country is better for it. Raising the federal minimum wage will be good for our economy as well. Something I have discovered as I have gotten older is that not everyone is meant to go to college. We can't all be doctors and lawyers and have yachts. However, most people do and want to have children. Why can't they have enough money to live on and support a family? Not too long ago, a family of four could live quite happily on one income. That time has come and gone, along with many jobs that were available back then. Inflation and bills keep rising, & low-level employees paychecks do not, but their CEO's pay continue to skyrocket. What do you think will happen with this big of a wage gap?

So please keep in mind that while you keep hearing about socialists this and that, we already are and have been "socialists". How much money did we give those farmers? Socialism is not a dirty word.


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