Earlier this week the Washington Post carried an article titled 'Obama's No Socialist. I should Know'
by Billy Wharton, editor of Socialist magazine. A writer for salon.com, likes what Billy has to say:
"What makes this op-ed particularly good, though, is that Wharton, who certainly has the perspective and credentials to do so, rightly counters the "socialist label," arguing that Obama's beliefs are nothing like his."
But, as we will see, Wharton's Socialist credentials are utterly bogus. He states that Socialists support nationalization, a national health system as well as the immediate removal of all troops. Nay, nay and thrice nay!
Nationalisation is state capitalism and does not differ from private capitalism as far as the exploitation of the workers is concerned. They still need their trade unions, and the strike weapon, to protect themselves from their employers. Nationalisation is not socialism, nor is it a step towards socialism. And history shows that nationalisation is not restricted to capitalist parties of the left or centre: the first Act of Parliament authorising nationalisation was passed in 1844 under Peel's Tory government.
Contrary to popular belief, the National Health Service is not dedicated to satisfying the human need for health care, or the eradication of disease. Medical practice and research in capitalist society is strongly influenced by its role in maintaining a healthy labour force, and in socialising and controlling people in a class-divided society. The NHS keeps us fit for work so we can produce profits for our bosses. It is an integrative mechanism that helps hold class-divided society together. Months after its inception the National Health Service in the UK stated charging for dental and optical services. There is no such thing as an adequate health service within a capitalist system of society and there never can be.
Socialists do not call for call for the immediate removal of all troops. We are, of course, all in favour of peace, "...but at the same time we recognise that so long as men live in societies based on class opposition, in societies based upon class opposition, in societies in which the modes of producing
the material sustenance...are monopolised by a class, so long will war be rife as a means of satisying national disputes." (Socialist Standard, January 1905)
Obama and Wharton support capitalism, they just disagree as to how it should be run.