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Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:30 AM

What led you to socialism?

I thought it might be interesting to discuss how the various posters here became socialists, since the ideology is so demonized here in the U.S. For me it was two things.

The first was my disgust for how unfair a system capitalism is. I'll be honest, I'm fairly fortunate my family makes enough money that I can go to college without having to worry about student loans and such, but most people aren't that lucky. Luck is a big part of it, my dad freely admits he got his job parietal based on luck. A lot of people are suffering, and I don't think we can fix that within the framework of capitalism. I don't think its right that children starve while some people dine on steak. For the record,when I say well off, I mean what most would consider "middle-class" or would used to be middle-class here, that group is dying it seems.

My second reason, is the simple fact that capitalism is an unsustainable system. It requires constant growth and expansion on a planet with finite resources. It simply is not sustainable. Also capitalism as a system is prone to crisis. It can't seem to go more than a couple of decades without having at least a minor economic rescission and things seem to be getting worse over time.

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Arrow 63 replies Author Time Post
Reply What led you to socialism? (Original post)
white_wolf Dec 2011 OP
freshwest Dec 2011 #1
TBF Dec 2011 #17
freshwest Dec 2011 #18
TBF Dec 2011 #22
PETRUS Dec 2011 #32
socialist_n_TN Dec 2011 #33
freshwest Dec 2011 #34
white_wolf Dec 2011 #35
jwirr Dec 2011 #26
OswegoAtheist Dec 2011 #2
Lunacee2012 Dec 2011 #12
OswegoAtheist Dec 2011 #14
Starry Messenger Dec 2011 #3
white_wolf Dec 2011 #4
freshwest Dec 2011 #20
Starry Messenger Dec 2011 #23
daleanime Dec 2011 #5
napoleon_in_rags Dec 2011 #6
Duct Tape Dec 2011 #7
coalition_unwilling Dec 2011 #8
patrice Dec 2011 #9
patrice Dec 2011 #10
Lunacee2012 Dec 2011 #11
GeorgeGist Dec 2011 #13
tavalon Dec 2011 #15
TBF Dec 2011 #16
RC Dec 2011 #19
socialist_n_TN Dec 2011 #21
kestrel91316 Dec 2011 #24
jwirr Dec 2011 #25
Odin2005 Dec 2011 #27
toddaa Dec 2011 #28
socialist_n_TN Dec 2011 #31
Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2011 #44
mistertrickster Dec 2011 #29
PETRUS Dec 2011 #30
joshcryer Dec 2011 #36
Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2011 #41
joshcryer Dec 2011 #42
Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2011 #46
Owlet Dec 2011 #37
TBF Dec 2011 #38
PETRUS Dec 2011 #39
Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2011 #40
TBF Dec 2011 #43
Fantastic Anarchist Dec 2011 #45
Hell Hath No Fury Jan 2012 #47
TBF Jan 2012 #48
Sisaruus Jan 2012 #49
emaxwell1313 Jan 2012 #50
PETRUS Jan 2012 #51
TBF Jan 2012 #52
socialist_n_TN Jan 2012 #53
emaxwell1313 Jan 2012 #54
Starry Messenger Jan 2012 #55
emaxwell1313 Jan 2012 #56
Starry Messenger Jan 2012 #57
emaxwell1313 Jan 2012 #58
Starry Messenger Jan 2012 #59
emaxwell1313 Jan 2012 #60
Starry Messenger Jan 2012 #61
PETRUS Jan 2012 #62
provis99 Jan 2012 #63

Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:48 AM

1. Initially, it was the spirit of New Testament Christianity:

Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

And from reading about it in high school, studying it in college, getting into work and growing up with union family members.

I was not brought up to fear it from parents who supported FDR and accepted his form of de facto socialism I was active in the SWP for a while.

But I don't usually think in those terms much anymore. I do appreciate the insight of Parenti.


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Response to freshwest (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 11:17 AM

17. This is an interesting response -

I don't find many other Christian leftists, glad you posted.

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Response to TBF (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 12:05 PM

18. I became unchurched because of the righties, and fundies of all persuasions.

I was brought up a Baptist in a family Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Unitarians and atheists. We also had Quakers in our lineage. For that reason, we didn't take any of those stances to be ultimate authorities as we respected our individualism. The main emphasis for us was the Golden Rule.

Baptists at that era in my area, weren't political, did not exclude, and did not take themselves that seriously, had just found a difference of opinion on how baptism was to be performed, thinking that it literally meant submersion in water and not sprinkling, as a symbol of a changed heart.

The focus where I attended was on having a childlike faith and a humility that ensured a built-in sense of not judging others, realizing all could be in error, when compared to a 'creator.' That breeds kindness and respect. In other words, walk humbly and realize you don't have all the answers, so live and let live. I guess it would be called a 'liberal' Baptist church.

My family respected all the different methods of living according to the Golden Rule, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Judaism, Zoroastrianism or native American beliefs.

We felt comfortable with socialism as a way to promote equality of all peoples and 'creation' itself, although the family was composed of working women, housewives, businessmen, blue collar men, academics and unionists. Not that gender assigned those roles exclusively, we were a mixed bag there.

Socialism appealed to a sense of a universal spirit of love, inclusive and non-judgmental, spreading to all living things. It just seemed the right way to go, getting to the basics of life, in fact it's natural. We have been deluged with a philosophy that says that nature is all about competition and eating each other. If it was, there wouldn't be many survivors. There are numerous examples of how individuals within species work together and how different species also live in cooperation with each other.

Anyway, socialism is the most logical system for many functions of society. It allows for the greatest accountability and public input in the needs of people. Such things as water, electricity, healthcare and care of those in need is best dealt with by socialism. When society is maintained as inclusive, not divided by wealth, and the basics of life are not disputed because of sense of the sanctity of life (not this travesty the rightwing has promoted), human beings can soar with freedom.

Privatization is selling those needs to those who are not accountable, not inclusive because the capitalist mindset, of necessity, makes division in order to squeeze out a profit. A profit essentially is a function of inequality. Not the spirit of love and inclusiveness, of cooperation and meeting human needs, as I explained in my view before.

Nice talking to you here.



P. S. Note that MLK was not only a Christian, he had found the meaning of love, and sought to understand reality far beyond any confining religious view, and his political stances were decried as being socialist and communist.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 12:35 PM

22. I think that "unchurching" may happen with many folks -

the fundamentalists so distort and misuse religion. I would call myself spiritual rather than old-school religious, I believe there are things out there we definitely don't understand, but I also believe that doing good here on earth and making an equitable society here is more important than waiting for heaven (which may or may not exist in the way many believe).

My family background includes Puritans, Lutherans, and most recently (past 50 years) Methodist. I grew up Methodist and that is where I feel comfortable as an adult, with a more liberal interpretation and doing good works on earth (through groups like Umcor and Methodist Women). MLK is definitely someone I admire as well.

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Response to TBF (Reply #22)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 10:06 PM

32. Religion is odd.

I'm a preacher's kid, my dad was an activist and worked on anti-war and anti-poverty things. When I consult the Bible, I see warning after warning about accumulated wealth and the injustices people perpetrate when they have material advantages. (I see similar observations and teachings in other histories, literature, and ancient wisdom.) But then I turn around and hear people quoting Thessalonians out of context to justify letting the unemployed starve. Religion is always partly moral teachings and partly a power network, and those two aspects are often dissonant.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 11:46 PM

33. "A profit is essentially a function of inequality"

That's a VERY good way of putting it. Welcome to the commie forum. Glad you found us.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #33)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 11:58 PM

34. I live in a commie area. Don't tell anyone...

The righties want to nuke us.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #34)

Mon Dec 12, 2011, 12:00 AM

35. The righties want to nuke everyone slightly different from them.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 03:26 PM

26. I'm with you on that angle of why I am here.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:50 AM

2. Socialized medicine saved my life

Hard to come up with a counter-argument to that, right? My family has never been rich (hell, we've only been "Middle Class" a few times), and I needed emergency surgery. Thankfully, I happened to live in Canada at the time; given the same circumstances here in the US (one parent working a low-paying job with less than a year of service), I'd either be dead, or my parents would still be paying off my bills. One of the cornerstones of the Upstate New York healthcare system is (I shit you not) chicken BBQs. Think about that for a second: I live on the shore of the same lake I did when I was five, and on one side, I get taxpayers who GLADLY give up a portion of their income so everyone can access affordable care; on the other, I get to hope that it doesn't rain on my BBQ day, and that people are hungry. If I were a heartless Capitalist, I'd invest in starting a factory here that mass-produced BBQ chickens, pre-printed fliers, charcoal, etc., and sell them as a package deal. Hell, I'd probably be called a humanitarian for it.

Oswego "Once I realized that disparity, the rest simply fell into place." Atheist

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Response to OswegoAtheist (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 07:40 AM

12. I've been through a lot of medical emergencies.

Even with medicaid I still owe over $1 million in medical bills. A few weeks ago a pharmacy that I used 2 years ago had the nerve to call me and ask for the money I owe them, even though the meds I got from them led to me getting cancer. WTF?!

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Response to Lunacee2012 (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 08:38 AM

14. In true Capitalist form...

...there's no such thing as a free tumor. Hope you're doing alright.

Oswego "In Capitalist America, the most deadly malignant growths are the health insurers" Atheist

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 03:14 AM

3. Education reform.

The systematic privatization of public school. I have to admit I never really looked at the whole system of economics and politics until a very late age, but being a teacher and seeing our little patch being ravaged led me to question many things that had always puzzled me. A few DUers here were reading Marx and discussing Capital and Value, etc. and their threads on other things led me to trust their point of view. I took the plunge and started reading. The Manifesto nearly made me cry seeing what exactly was in store for education and everything else. But being armed with the knowledge helped me too. I feel like I have more of a direction and I'm not just aimlessly pissed off.

It also helped put into perspective my early life as an exploited wage earner, experiences I had never had a vocabulary for before. I came of age in the Reagan years as a classic suburban 70's kid, went to college and thought that if you hung in and plugged away that eventually you could do what you hoped to accomplish. The "profits before people" life here pretty quickly stripped me of any hopes of doing more than feeding myself and staying sheltered. I did eventually manage to find work as a teacher in my art field, practically a miracle these days. Now, my students are a 100 times more vulnerable, with emails sent out to us high school teachers on how to spot the homeless students and how to support them, etc. Now it is hard not to be angry at people who oppose socialism, because the system that they protect harms so many young people who pass under my care.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 03:24 AM

4. The privatization of schools is terrible.

I have a conspiracy theory that the religious right and business right are working together on it. If they can get rid of public schools, then students will have to go to private schools if they want an education, and a lot of parents won't be able to afford that. So,then the churches can say, "Well you can send your kids to our schools for free or reduced cost." The parents will have no choice and their children will be forced to undergo indoctrination by the religious right and will likely grow up with a poor education, having been forced to study the Bible instead of "Origin of Species." They will know of Calvin, but not of Jefferson. Trust me, I went to a school ran by the Southern Baptist Convention,the education was awful. From 6th-8th grade I actually bought their anti-evolution crap. Luckily, I grew up and turned my back on their silly superstitions.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 12:09 PM

20. I agree totally with your analysis. They also want to eliminate unions because they are conscious of

Social classes and work to elevate people.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 01:06 PM

23. Your theory is totally correct.

I don't know if you know about Diane Ravitch--she's a former hard-right conservative who actually helped with education reform in the Bush years and has now totally recanted. Her latest speech from yesterday backs up what you write: http://www.ucc.org/justice/public-education/pdfs/NatlOTL.pdf She's talking more about the corporate angle than the religious angle though. I would love it if she explored that more too, she had to be around for some of those conversations back in the day.

Right wing churches have been up to their necks in supporting the most fascist strains of capitalism in this country, so it's a natural partnership too.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 03:30 AM

5. Nothing fancy....

I got called a socialist once too often by people who have no idea what it is.




And I liked it.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 03:39 AM

6. Good post. For me its experiences overseas and talking to people from overseas.

That's where you realize that all the horror stories about socialism are fantasies. US has some crazy fantasies going on, for instance there are still rural areas where they believe America has lots of covert communists, that communists by nature are covert. But then you talk to people from overseas, who had friends who were communists. How did they know? Because they were proud card carrying members of the communist party, just like a member of a regular party here.

At a deeper level, I just don't think you can be successful in a vacuum, eating steak while children starve as you put it. Real success has to occur in a social context that brings others up, and the best socialist systems can foster that.

Also, socialized medicine saved my bacon when I was really poor, Washington State Basic Health.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 04:37 AM

7. I first read Marx in the

eighth grade and I immediately took to him. I didn't really consider myself a Socialist back then but I definitely felt a kinship to everything Socialism stood for. One day I was listening to Thom Hartmann interview the head of the DSA and I was inspired. Upon reading what they stood for I realized that everything I've thought and cared for lined up with their message. I officially became a Democratic Socialist that day, and since then I have only strengthened my faith in Socialism and, specifically, in the context of the various forms, Democratic Socialism.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 04:58 AM

8. My parents were both Democratic Socialists, so I was brought up in a household where

 

it was never a dirty word.

My TA in Intro to Philosophy my first semester in college was a member of the CP-USA and I credit him with turning me on, although the soil had already been prepped by my parents' influence. A couple history profs were also commies, so I was always getting pushed to challenge bourgeois interpretations of history.

Also didn't hurt that I cam of age in the reign of Reagan (voted for the first time in 1980). That was a great time to see how the pigs were in ascendance.

Finally, and perhaps most important, I would say that socialist and revolutionary interpretations of the current situation always ended up making more sense to me than bourgeois or reactionary interpretations

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 05:12 AM

9. Real values in our own lives. Our work. OUR SOCIAL contract.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 05:14 AM

10. because I think everyone should move in together.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 07:24 AM

11. Just thinking about how unfair life can sometimes be

made me a socialist.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 08:07 AM

13. In a nutshell.

Sociopaths in positions of leadership drove me ... for a price.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 10:44 AM

15. It was nearly a decade for me,

and it was learned at the feet of some really, really smart DUers. I find it ironic that I ended up as a socialist because of Democratic Underground.

Actually, though, we implemented a form of socialism in our communal household well before I realized it was my preferred political view.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 11:01 AM

16. WW, I'm from a union family

my dad was in a union (working in a metal factory back in the midwest) in the 70s. I painted strike signs as a kid and listened to his thoughts "the union isn't perfect but we wouldn't have anything without it". I did well in school and made it through undergrad and grad school with scholarships, grants, and small loans. I didn't really get involved in politics other than showing up to vote dem for presidents. When Barack Obama came along I worked on the campaign - I thought he could put pressure on in Washington to reverse the effects of 30 years of very conservative rule. When he either refused or was unable to do that I started to do more reading online and met some communists. Two Americas, Chlamor, Blindpig - these folks encouraged me to do more reading and really question everything I've ever learned. I was open to that because I had read the Manifesto in high school and thought it brilliant but impractical. Well, I'm done being practical now.

Cheers!

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 12:06 PM

19. Nothing led me to 'Socialism'.

 

It is the only logical way. After all we are Social creatures, are we not? We innately form groups, as in villages, town cities, etc. We join 'organizations' such as everything from neighborhood watches to DU and FR to churches to political parties to... even capitalism has its groups. Dig out the Yellow Pages or google the Internet for more proof.

Socialism is the natural order for humans. It is a fundamental part of how we survive to wipe out most other life forms.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 12:12 PM

21. Well I wasn't a red diaper baby, but it was pink...

My Dad was a union local president for a few years at a dairy in the 60s, so I picked up the union solidarity from him. My family had always been working class with some consciousness about that social/political class. Plus I was a HS antiVietnam war advocate, so that exposed me to a lot of Marxist ideas. And I've never been a pacifist in my thinking. I've always believed in self defense, even when I couldn't defend myself which led to a militant attitude.

All of those things came together to lead me to a Russian History course in college where I learned more about Trotsky than just the name. I fell in love with the IDEA of Trotsky. He was brilliant and a true Reinassience man. Intelligent, a GREAT writer, theoretician, propagandist, orator and agitator, yet also a man of action. He was as comfortable speaking to a crowd as marching at the head of a revolution. As comfortable writing as creating and leading the Red Army. After reading about 8 to 10 books by and about Trotsky, I decided I was a Trotskyist and 40 years later futher study hasn't changed my mind.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:52 PM

24. I did some serious thinking from my science/biology perspective

 

about the whole idea of endless "growth" that is required for capitalism to work. It is unsustainable.

And the "I win, you lose", dog-eat-dog mentality is, well, unAmerican to me.

ETA: I have never read, Marx, or Lenin, or Trotsky. Not interested for the most part (I don't exercise my brain THAT much anymore, lol).

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 03:20 PM

25. I have been called a socialist since working for McGovern. Finally decided that I really do want to

be a socialist. Came to learn.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 04:17 PM

27. I grew up in a Big Labor household.

My grandfather was a union activist back in the 30s and an ardent supporter of the MN Farmer-Labor Party.

It all grew from there. My Socialism ultimately is based on ethical principles more than economic-material ones, though the latter are important as well. I'm a big believer in the notion that society should be ordered so that all people are able to self-actualize themselves, achieve what Aristotle called Eudaimonia, without having to worry about ending up destitute. He have the technology to create an economic system based on plenty rather than scarcity, and a society in which people have lots of free time.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 06:27 PM

28. Odd path, but I came to be a socialist through membership in the Libertarian Party

Hard to believe.

I still consider myself to be a libertarian, but it was after reading Benjamin Tucker, when I realized that usuary was not compatible with liberty. Capitalism's greatest accomplishment is its ability to market the notion that indentured servitude is a choice and you can opt out anytime you wish. Greatest economic scam ever created. Even now, I am still sometimes suckered into believing it.

I suppose I'm not a particularly good state socialist, as I have an inordinate amount of distrust for hierarchical systems. The deeper the heirarchy, the easier it is to hide bullshit. That said, there ain't a lick of difference between "public" and "private" hierarchical organizations. Both suck. I think a community with full, noncoercive participation is ideal, but I'm afraid it doesn't scale. There's always going to be some number of assholes who ruin it for the rest of us. The larger the community, the greater the possibility for assholism to run amok. A federated socialist state is the best option, provided we place plenty of restrictions placed on positions of power. Assholes* can still be assholes, but they just can't do any damage if they manage to finagle themselves into a position of power.


* - yes, I am well aware that I am frequently an asshole, which is why I never, ever should be put in charge of anything.

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Response to toddaa (Reply #28)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 08:52 PM

31. As a Trot, I'm not real fond of bureaucracy in general

and the Stalinist kind in particular, but also as a Trotskyist I think that, at least for a while, there is the need for a more centralized power structure if for no other reason than the defense of the revolution.

HOWEVER, to keep this bureaucracy from gaining too much power, I would suggest something like the ILWU (and other groups I'm sure) does. That's limiting terms to two consecutive two year ones. After those two terms (4 years total), you can't run again for at least one cycle. And of course, ALL delegates are immediately recallable if they get out of hand.

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Response to toddaa (Reply #28)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:50 PM

44. I'm King Asshole ...

That's why I don't want anyone else ruling over me.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 06:32 PM

29. I read some Socialist literature, and it just made so much obvious sense.

 

Why should a guy (it asked) make more money producing poison gas than a farmer growing wheat for bread?

That question cannot be answered using the standard "free market solves all problems" mindset.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 11, 2011, 07:16 PM

30. Good question.

My dad was a preacher/activist and his ministry involved a lot of anti-war and anti-poverty work. So I give him (and my family in general) a fair amount of credit (or blame, ha!) for the way I see things. Unless you live in a bubble it's pretty hard to go through life and not realize that often enough people's circumstances have little to do with their abilities, efforts, morals, etc.

A little later in life it became obvious that we are destroying the planet for a few people's short-term economic gain.

Then I worked for ten years sourcing consumer goods and discovered it cost far less money to have my products manufactured where environmental and labor regulations were lax or nonexistent. This meant using factories that consumed more inputs (energy, raw materials), used more labor, and produced more waste - plus I had to freight stuff all over the globe. Why does this cost LESS? "The market" is clearly not giving us the whole picture.

I look around today and see one example after the other where the profit motive produces horrible results - healthcare, schools, prisons, etc.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Dec 13, 2011, 03:51 AM

36. I grew up poor.

Very very poor.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #36)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:27 AM

41. I grew up fairly wealthy ...

... but ever since I was a kid, I remember thinking the system just wasn't right. I didn't have the intellect to know what it was that was wrong, hell, I didn't even know what capitalism was ... I just remember always thinking something was wrong (even though I had everything I wanted).

Then, I just started to think of myself as a "liberal." Then I finally understood that that's not the answer - I love my liberal friends, but they still believe in capitalism.

I studied socialism, then started to think, hey, this is the system I've been thinking about all my life. My socialism became complete, to me, when I studied anarchism specifically. At that point, I felt, voila, this is what it's all about.

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #41)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:37 PM

42. I had illusions that if you worked really hard you'd become rich...

...and to some extent, it's true, but only if you're a white, straight, male with nothing to hold you back. That's when I realized. Here I am, a poor person, surrounded by other poor people, and I'm getting my way while the black guy or the woman or the gay person doesn't. I've seen it with my own eyes. Guys getting ID'd at the store because they're black, handing over a twenty right after the black guy in front of me has his twenty checked, and my twenty goes straight into the cash drawer without it being scrutinized.

When you live in that sort of environment and if you're observant you see the inequality all around you, and then you wonder, why am I different? I'm the poor guy. The kid who shared potatoes with his family and eagerly reached for the last one even when busting from near starch poisoning!

I discovered the Anarchist FAQ back when it was version 2.0 or something, it was still in a relatively new stage. I read What is Property? since it was being quoted extensively, and then Eric Fromm's To Have Or To Be, and that was it. I was an anarchist. I was always an anarchist.

Being poor (I have but my dreams), I was never a materialist, I never had "stuff." I didn't have toys or anything of that nature. It was just me and mother nature, a stick or rocks, seriously, it sounds cliché, but I did make bows and arrows and I made walking sticks, and they're damn good walking sticks. I still have one propping my window up right now next to me!

And what was interesting is that I never wanted toys. The only toy I ever recall getting was a yo-yo. I played with it, became skilled at it, and when it broke, that was it, no more toys for me (I did later discover video games, but I didn't get back into them until my mid-twenties, when I discovered "file sharing," shall we put it).

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #42)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:57 PM

46. File sharing!

Yes, that's it ... I do a whole of file sharing.

See, there's something fundamentally wrong with a system where you had nothing, and I had anything I wanted (and still bitched about it).

Like you, I was always an "anarchist" ... just didn't know how to express my ideas. When I young, while thinking the system was wrong, I was still always suspicious of any authority - I didn't care who. I was always a bit of rebel. I was a well-off Jew in a great part of town, but I had some sort of angst. So, while I always agreed with socialism (even while I didn't know the term), and because of propaganda, I always had that libertarian inner me wanting to fuck the system.

Punk rock didn't help either. Just made me worse (or better).

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Dec 13, 2011, 08:32 AM

37. My background is in education

Taught for 8 years in the '60's, and became active in the then new teachers' association's interest in collective bargaining (or as some then insisted on calling it: "professional negotiation". I joined the staff of the State Association and was a field rep for 20 years before taking on the job of computerizing our efforts in the early 80's.

I believed when I started so many years ago that the purpose of public education was to produce an informed citizenry who would then make political choices for the good of the country. Among other subjects I taught 9th grade Civics - a course I doubt you'll find in many schools today.

It has become apparent to me that those in charge of public education today have an entirely different goal. No longer is it the purpose of public education to produce an enlightened citizenry. Now the phrase I hear most often is something like: schools should "train the future workforce" in order to be "able to compete globally."

Sad to say, I don't think today's citizenry is particularly well-informed. I rather suspect that this condition has been created, and continues to be reinforced, deliberately by those whose interests are best served by an ignorant populace.

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Response to Owlet (Reply #37)

Tue Dec 13, 2011, 08:52 AM

38. Ignorant Populace -

that's for sure. I would like to see educational changes in this country as well. To start off I would lower the ratios of class size substantially, do away with much of the standardized testing that takes away time from actually teaching, and add electives back into the schools. And as far as I'm concerned education should be available free to those with ability/desire to study.

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Response to Owlet (Reply #37)

Tue Dec 13, 2011, 10:40 AM

39. Since the 60s...

...the gap in achievement between rich and poor children has doubled. This is according to an article I read yesterday: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/11-3

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 08:19 AM

40. Being human.

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Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #40)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:18 PM

43. Great answer :) nt

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Response to TBF (Reply #43)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:51 PM

45. I have my moments sometimes. :)

Edit to Thank you.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 07:26 PM

47. First, by way of the RRC -

 

I was one of those who actually paid attention in religion class. Second, by way of my own families experience -- my Mom used public housing at one point back in the 50's, I've used socialized medicine here in SF, my sister has depended on unemployment. Third, by way of pragmatic thought -- it makes plain ol' SENSE to to keep people fed, housed, healthy, educated, and employed to have a productive/successful country.

The older I get and the more I see our current system crush our citizenry and country, the MORE socialist I get.

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Response to Hell Hath No Fury (Reply #47)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 09:05 AM

48. Love your last line -

For me I started out socialist (trade union family) and spent some years as an adult try to go along with the establishment. Everything I experienced in the working world, however, drove me back to socialism. You can be pro-profit or you can be pro-people. You can't be both.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 08:33 PM

49. I thought it was because I was smart and insightful at a young age.

I found my way to socialism in my teens. I turn 60 this year and I have recently stumbled on pieces of family history which I never knew (or knew that I knew). My maternal grandparents were Wobblies (and my now 83-year old mother remembers going to Wobbly family picnics as a child so I've started calling her Baby Wobbly). I always knew my paternal grandfather was chair of the local ethnic (Finnish) hall which I assumed was more or less a social club, and where I spent much time as a little kid. About 4 or 5 years ago, I discovered it was considered a socialist organization. It now houses historical archives of materials from all the other New England Finnish-socialist halls from that era. So I guess there must have been some early influence... even if I was smart and insightful at a young age.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 04:23 PM

50. Nothing led me to Socialism, and I hope not everyone here is a pure Socialist

 

I am for a hybrid of socialism and capitalism. Either system on its own simply has too much power and too much potential for abuse. For Capitalism, the power is in the hands of unethical companies, for Socialism it is in the hands of govt.

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #50)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 04:56 PM

51. You'll find a range of view here.

I suspect most of this group's members would find your (implied) definition of socialism to be rather narrow. Socialism does not necessarily mean state ownership or control.

When you write "too much power and too much potential for abuse," you are getting at something essential. Transparency and accountability are important issues.

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #50)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 05:47 PM

52. Welcome to DU and Socialist Progressives -

there are many readings on socialism ... I hope you'll poke around in here and do some reading. Although we have a range of views in here many of us are anti-capitalist and prefer a more libertarian socialism/communism as opposed to centralized state control. If you have any questions please just ask.

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #50)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 08:12 PM

53. Who is the government?

In a true socialist state the government would be the people. Directly elected representatives recallable at any time would be a people's government. That's what I support.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #53)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 04:20 AM

54. That is true

 

But what do we have to do to make the people the govt ? Most times it has tried, it ultimately ends in the govt forcing people at gunpoint to share the wealth equitably. Even though they were supposed to be govt by the people; there's a reason China's name now is the People's Republic of China. Designed to be govt by the people, clearly didnt turn out that way. Sweden is the sole truly successful case. How do we get more cases ?

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #54)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 11:05 AM

55. The development of socialism is part of the historical process.

The process of the decay of capitalism. At one time, capitalism was part of the historical process of the decay of feudalism. Before that, feudalism replaced tribalism. It is an uneven process, because of the uneven development of capitalism in different parts of the world.

If you had been alive in the 1700's in the US, and people were talking about establishing a democracy instead of being ruled by kings, would you have said--there needs to be both the ballot *and* being ruled by kings in order for society to work?

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #55)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 03:25 PM

56. I wouldnt have said that

 

But I also dont see that proof that socialism is becoming part of a historical process that will lead to the complete decay of capitalism in the US. Yes, anything and everything is possible, but evidence is not there that the US will be socialist in our lifetime. It is an uneven process, yes, but when you consider that Sweden is the one and only proven success of the success of socialism we have, along with possibly Canada. Other European nations have elements of socialism but are not pure socialism. And do not give me Cuba and Venezuela as examples of socialism's success-you hardly need to be a right wingnut to see that socialism has failed in both those nations. In the 1700s the concept of a democratic republic was gaining truly widespread support from Americans, I dont, at least not yet, see socialism as having the same mass support now. Plus, mixing economic systems and govt systems is not the same thing-many, perhaps most nations, have one type of govt but an economic system that mixes different economic theories. There are few nations that are purely Capitalist or purely Socialist.

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #56)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 04:42 PM

57. That's a lot of thoughts.

Sounds like you are more of a Keynsian. Sweden is capitalist with a strong social net. There isn't much about them that is actually Socialist. When they established an Ikea factory here in the US, the company behaved exactly like capitalists. Anti-labor and hostile to union organizing in the pursuit of profit.

I completely disagree with the characterization that socialism has failed in every other country. If you understand what Socialism is, then you can critique the various Socialist approaches that each country has taken in the historical record. Saying that "socialism has failed" is like saying a union strike has failed. It shows a misunderstanding of the social process. Repeated attempts are not "failure", unless you are looking for something readymade. What indeed is the yardstick for success?

Support for Socialism is actually on the rise in the US, FYI. We have a thread in here about the newest poll. You might have glanced at it.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #57)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 06:35 PM

58. Are you referring to the poll from 2009 ?

 

I was referring to the one where in 2009 1/5 of Americans said they supported socialism. That is surprising; but I doubt even they were referring to socialism like in Sweden/Denmark. In America, a system that mixes Capitalism and Socialism is considered by American people to be pure Socialism. As for me, I guess I could be called a Keynsian; I believe that there are times when a govt intervention is needed, and that a responsible govt should intervene in certain crisis, but also that the free markets can do very good things in encouraging individualism, promoting equality and encouraging to judge people by what they can do, not race or gender and protecting the environment. I want a degree of govt intervention and while I concur that we cant declare Socialism a failure, I am definitely not ready to declare the free markets a failure and I probably never will be. And as for helping the less fortunate, I have long been uncomfortable with the govt forcing people to help less fortunate.

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #58)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 06:49 PM

59. The relevent thread can be found here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1024542

And as for helping the less fortunate, I have long been uncomfortable with the govt forcing people to help less fortunate.


Can you please explain how this statement is at all compatible with an expressed support for Socialism? The support that you opened with in this thread?

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #59)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 07:35 PM

60. It is because...

 

It is because at the moment, Socialism ends up with the govt forcing its citizens to give to the less fortunate, and deciding for them who to give them to and how much to give. If that problem could be eliminated, there would be much more support for Socialism.

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #60)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 07:47 PM

61. You'll be relieved to know then, that isn't what Socialism is at all.

Socialism is the equitable distribution of resources, and worker controlled industry and businesses. The only people who will have the "problem" is the 1% of families who own most of the wealth, which wealth they obtained by not working at all, but collecting profits from the fruit of our labor. I'm sure as a progressive, you won't see that as a problem.

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Response to emaxwell1313 (Reply #60)

Sat Jan 7, 2012, 08:06 PM

62. Starry's point came immediately to mind when I read your post

I.e., redistribution after the fact within a capitalist framework is not socialism.

Another point that should be made is that we don't actually have free markets. For starters, corporations are not free market entities - they are products of government. Likewise patent and copyright protection and a whole host of other mechanisms used to accumulate wealth within western-style capitalism. Another example would be anti-union legislation (Taft-Hartley and various other state and federal laws since), which represents government interference in the labor markets. The term "free market" (like "free trade" is really just PR - people respond well to the term, but it's simply not accurate.

The system in the US today relies on the heavy hand of government. It's the proverbial "nanny state," but one operating for the benefit of an elite minority. If one is opposed to government enforced policies that benefit the unfortunate, why wouldn't one also oppose government enforced policies that enrich the well-off?

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 01:01 AM

63. asshole DLC and Third Way Democrats.

 

Being stabbed in the front from conservatives I can handle, but being stabbed in the back by supposed alliies drove me away from liberalism and towards socialism.

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