Monday, October 28, 2019

Comprehending Socialism

There is a new poll out in the USA which 70 percent of U.S. millennials—those between the ages of 23 and 38 in 2019—would support a socialist candidate for president, and among those slightly younger, voters between the ages of 16 and 22, the sentiment was almost as high with nearly two-thirds of Generation Z saying the same.

While it is gladdening that a lot more people are considering the virtues of socialism, what is of concern is that many fail to understand what socialism actually is.

 They are being told that socialism is state ownership, government intervention or regulatory control and such institutions as the fire service and the public roads is what socialism means. 

In the 19thC people were told that Germany’s chancellor Otto Von Bismarck was implementing socialist policies.
" ...of late, since Bismarck went in for state-ownership of industrial establishments, a kind of spurious socialism has arisen, degenerating, now and again, into something of flunkeyism, that without more ado declares all state ownership, even of the Bismarckian sort, to be socialistic. Certainly, if the taking over by the state of the tobacco industry is socialistic, then Napoleon and Metternich must be numbered among the founders of socialism. If the Belgian state, for quite ordinary political and financial reasons, itself constructed its chief railway lines; if Bismarck, not under any economic compulsion, took over for the state the chief Prussian lines, simply to be the better able to have them in hand in case of war, to bring up the railway employees as voting cattle for the government, and especially to create for himself a new source of income independent of parliamentary votes — this was, in no sense, a socialistic measure, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. Otherwise, the Royal Maritime Company, the Royal porcelain manufacture, and even the regimental tailor of the army would also be socialistic institutions."  - Engels

Those young Americans ( and the older) who have a genuine desire to know about socialist ideas could benefit from a visit to the website of the World Socialist Party of the United States to learn more.

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