Letter to the Editor
Joey Cadre's letter on Feb. 21 said Christians should not have a problem with socialism. I don't see how anyone could call themselves a Christian and be in favor of that form of government. Socialism is fueled by people's jealousy of what others have (Thou shalt not covet." ) It gives politicians authority to confiscate the rightful earning of one segment of society and give it to another in their name (Thou shalt not steal.)Jesus said to sell all you have and to give to the poor, but he didn't say anything about politicians stepping in and declaring themselves the overseers of that act. Socialism intentionally encourages distrust and envy among different segments of society for its own benefit. (Thou shalt not bear false witness.)
But What Would Socialism Look Like?
...We don't have to draw up elaborately detailed plans for a socialist future, but we can imagine the broad outlines of would be possible if we, regular working people, ran society:
-- We could provide free health care to everyone.
-- We could house everyone (why not free housing?).
-- We could feed everyone (why not free restaurants?).
-- We could give people real leisure time, to spend with their friends and families, travel, pursue other interests.
Impossible, you say? Well, it's happened before.
In 1871, the workers of Paris took over the city and ran it for two months. They set up an egalitarian workers' government. They abolished the standing army, and instead armed the people. They elected representatives with no term of office and no perks, who were paid only an average worker's wage and were recallable at any time. They opened up education for women (unheard of) and for working people in general. Marx described how:
The whole of the educational institutions were opened to the people gratuitously, and at the same time cleared of all interference of church and state. Thus, not only was education made accessible to all, but science itself freed from the fetters which class prejudice and governmental force had imposed upon it.
The mass of people participated directly in the running of the Commune, and they planned to reorganize the factories under worker's control. Crime virtually disappeared since everything was organized for the purpose of meeting people's needs. Marx wrote that the masses of Paris had "stormed heaven," and the wealthy classes of the world howled in protest:
It is a strange fact. In spite of all the tall talk and all the immense literature, for the last 60 years, about emancipation of labor, no sooner do the working men anywhere take the subject into their own hands with a will, than arises at once all the apologetic phraseology of the mouthpieces of present society, with its two poles of capital and wage-slavery...The Commune, they exclaim, intends to abolish property, the basis of all civilization!
Yes, gentlemen, the Commune intended to abolish that class property which makes the labor of the many the wealth of the few. It aimed at the expropriation of the expropriators. It wanted to make individual property a truth by transforming the means of production, land and capital, now chiefly the means of enslaving and exploiting labor, into mere instruments of free and associated labor. But this is communism, "impossible" communism!
Even this socialist society, Marx argued, is not some dreamland. It's really just a first step:
The working class did not expect miracles from the Commune. They have no ready-made utopias to introduce...They know that in order to work out their own emancipation...they will have to pass through long struggles, through a series of historic processes, transforming circumstances and men. They have no ideals to realize, but to set free the elements of the new society with which old collapsing bourgeois society itself is pregnant.
If you think that capitalism is an utterly corrupt system, and that our society is "pregnant" with the possibility of radical change, and if you have some intuition that we, the working people of the world, could run things in a better way, then you should join the socialist movement and help to make that dream a reality.