So many people are ignorant of socialism or misunderstand it that much of my "political" time on Hubpages is spent working on misconceptions. I have been doing some preparatory work for a nest of hubs about Socialism, tentatively labelled "Socialism 101", effectively a beginner's course on socialism.
When I got to over 20 possible hubs to write I realised that I was going about this the wrong way. Why not invite the other socialists on hubpages to join with me? Obviously we all keep the revenues our hubs earn, but by cross referring and cross linking we can by working together achieve more than any one of us could achieve individually.
I suggest we try to agree
-a list of what hubs need writing
-who wants to write each hub
Naturally anyone who wants to write a hub and suggest it for Socialism 101 or wants to nominate an already written hub is welcome to do so. I expect a stampede of Amazon linked hubs over the bext few weeks, so good luck comrades.
I nominate myself as a loose "coordinator" but I am very happy to share that role with any other socialist who has already written say 30 hubs to show they are a serious hubber.
Some folk are paranoid about the CIA and Homeland Security, so if they want to correspond anonymously by email my email is email@example.com .
I would suggest that people try to write hubs that will still be current in 10 years time, so "Will Sarah Palin Stumble in 2012?" or "Is Obama a Socialist?" are perfectly fine as hubs, but do not qualify for the "Socialism 101" series
My friends and sparring partners on the Right can also help by suggesting hubs they would like to see or questions they would like to see answered - the more challenging the better!
Gee...if ya don't split the revenues equally, is it really socialism?
And where's the tolerance for diversity and individuality??
(Can you tell I'm a Republican?)
I suggest if you want to know about socialism you move to Cuba, Venezuela, or China.
Socialism certainly needs some explaining. But in America it is like spitting into the wind.
reminds me of that old Jim Croce song....
Socialism In America would be harder than spiting in the wind. For a very brief time in American history socialism sprung up over the land that would be the United States Of America. There was no goverment and few laws in those early years. The people who came here had to become socialist to survive. As goverment, laws, and constitutions were made Capitalism was born, all for one and one for all die. America would have to loose everything to become socialist again
Would you mind sharing your list? Maybe I can do one of them.
"My friends and sparring partners on the Right can also help by suggesting hubs they would like to see or questions they would like to see answered - the more challenging the better!"<--Charles
"And where's the tolerance for diversity and individuality??
(Can you tell I'm a Republican?)"<--Brenda
I hope not.....
"Gee...if ya don't split the revenues equally, is it really socialism?". Hardly whatever goes
to the community as a whole as opposed to special segments of society, usually called elite. "(Can you tell I'm a Republican?)" I can.
But not 'round long enough to know what kind. Not that it matters to me. I like everyone in the flesh, although I may not like their ideas.
I'll take a guess.
"You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim, da do da do...".
Sounds like your a real sentimentalist. The only sport I like anymore is baseball. Apple Pie - my
body don't like fruit. I may be a Lap Lander.
You know no fruit up there. Don't mind small capitalism. 'Spose it's corporatism I don't like.
May I humbly request a treatise on Successful Socialism.
Here's an interesting pipe dream you lefties will enjoy.
You are so cute. I don't like humbly pie either.
But love my local park.
I live in a socialist town, good honest people and government for the community. It is the national government that has been hijacked 'bout
a hunderd years ago.
Thank you for the helpful part of your input. The fact that someone is a Republican is simply a statement of where they are now, not that they cannot change for the better. You have a sense of fun and mischief, which I do like.
Sharing income equally is not the only form of socialism.
Here I am concentrating on "from each according to his ability", and illustrating that people working collectively can achieve more than people working alone.
Ann Cee - a very reasonable request.
Haunty - I thought of posting the list of topics I had thought of, but there is a fine line between being prescriptive and being constructive. If you write about what you want to write about, and a dozen of us do likewise, it is a start. There are hundreds if not thousands of possible hubs.
everyone who tries to defend socialism either
1) reinvents capitalism
2) is actually advocating free-market economics
3) fails to understand socialism.
I'd like to see which you are.
I like this idea.
There are some very interesting examples of socialism small scale such a rural communes or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, free stores, food co-ops and school breakfast programs.
There are also large scale examples such as the New Democratic Party of Canada, trade unions, wheat co-ops, Medicare programs, public schools, public highways.
Generally when public money is spent for the public good, that is socialism.
Socialism got a very bad rap in the USA thanks to McArthyism in the 1950's.
In other countries around the world people did not get so hysterical about the socialist menace.
This may be because in the Mc Carthy era many people in the USA confused Democratic Socialism as has been practiced in multi party states such as: Canada, Western Europe,Australia, New Zealand and India with Authoritarian Communism one party states as practiced in the former USSR and present day China.
Perhaps this confusion continues to the present..I would be interested to write on a topic.
Evan Rogers - Not everyone on the Left is a straightforward pleasant cooperative person with well thought out ideas. In that respect we on the Left reflect humanity in general. None of us are perfect. (is perfect?)
The fact that a task is challenging is not a reason for not attempting it. The Socialism 101 concept is fine. I am not confident that I know everything about socialism, and so I am not issuing a list of topics and saying "This is Socialism".
Mao said "Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom". Let lots of people write about socialism, and let us link them together, creating a cloth from a collection of strands.
We have to be proactive as socialists, setting out our stall. Just responding to the Right allows them to set the agenda.
Marsha - I make that 12 hubs you could write just there. I am really impressed you have written 22 hubs in only 4 weeks.
My late father was involved in TV advertising for the CCF in Saskatchewan. He had been a sound engineer with the BBC in England and was a salesman for the province cooperative insurance company in Regina just as TV took off.
Then the family moved to Vancouver and then later to England. In Vancouver my parents were friendly with a woman who I think was originally from Jamaica who was later elected as a NDP candidate. As this was a very long time ago I have forgotten her name or what she was elected to.
Mao also killed over 100 million people, using famine as a political tool to topple dissenters.
Who will take out the trash? - how can a system of socialism reward hard work, ingenuity, or the anticipation of the future accurately, while at the same time punishing the very opposite? (Free-Markets do this through profits and losses)
Tragedy of the Commons - why should I bother NOT taking everything I want from my fellow people if it leads to personal gain? (Free Markets punish this through prices - as prices go up, demand tends to decrease)
Planning - How could a socialist system plan the proper amount of screws on a year by year basis without using money or profits? (Markets reward those who properly anticipate what consumers want through high salaries -- those who deliver what the masses want are rewarded for helping eliminate want)
Who gets what? - If we were to install socialism, how would we divide the ownership of all that exists today? Who gets to control and work with the new IBM Watson computer? Who gets to take hold of my computer? What about the factory that the computer was made in? Who gets to decide how the machine that screws the toothpaste lid onto my toothpaste should be used? (This is worked out on the Free-market through "property rights)
[b]The stock market exists - how is socialism any different than owning stock in the company you work for? If socialism works so well, then why doesn't everyone choose to buy stock of the company they work for -- after all, this is the SAME thing as "every worker owning his factory". (The Free-market ALLOWS socialism to exist, there just aren't many takers)
Is it really the best idea to let everyone that works take hold of their company? - Why do CEOs exist? Are they really just moochers? Of course not. They get paid astonishing amounts of money to make sure that their companies don't go under and stay profitable. Do you REALLY think that you know what's best for Microsoft? Let's do a role-play: Bill Gates just died, and YOU just became the head of Microsoft... GO! ... you'll obviously fail. (Once again, the market rewards people who can properly manage systems of production that deliver what people want accurately).
[b]Socialism ignores how wealth is created - Wealth is created when two individuals willingly exchange good X for good Y. In a socialist economy, you are spending other people's money and hard work, thus wealth can NOT be created. (Through property rights and "Marginal Utility", the free-market creates wealth in a sustainable fashion)
Anyway, for these reasons - and more - socialism simply can't work.
Check out my "Evan's Easy Economics" hub series for more.
I await the bombardments of "Capitulizm is EVIHL" to follow.
I think the black woman politician you were referring to is Rosemary Brown. She was the first black woman legislator in our province serving as a New Democratic Party (Socialist) member 1972- 1986.
Rosemary Brown was a social worker, newspaper columnist in The Vancouver Sun,political organizer, feminist. She recieved the Order of BC, and has a Canadian postage stamp and a Vancouver city park in her honor. She was a truely remarkable woman and sadly died of a heart attack in 2003.
AnnCee - You were wanting a socialist success story.
Have a look at the British Cooperative movement. 4,000+ stores, over 5 million members, bank, internet bank, pharmacies, travel agency, insurance, cars, and it owns a number of farms to ensure security of supply. With the Funeral Services the Co-op literally helps customers from the cradle to the grave.
The Coop has an ethical policy and the Co-op Bank came through the economic crisis with no problems at all. They do not lend to arms companies and other unethical businesses.
The Co-op is not perfect but frankly it is pretty good.
Two points about the Co-Op that point out that it isn't socialism, it's just a private club that obeys the rationale of free-market capitalism:
The movement discriminates in who is allowed to participate: "Membership is open to everyone, provided that they share the values and principles upon which the group was founded."
It also uses "money" and rewards hard work and generosity, thus, it is actually just reinventing capitalism, but is doing so with "stamps" instead of "money": "The dividend is a financial reward to members based on each member's level of trade with the society" .... "...some societies, including Co-operative Retail Services, started to issue stamps to members for qualifying transactions...Members would collect the stamps on a savings card and, when the card was complete, would use it as payment for goods or deposit into their share account."
Info gathered from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Co-operative_Group
The Co-Op isn't socialist, it's just a private club of members who voluntarily work for "stamps" and "points".
This is the same thing as... you guessed it... capitalism.
Ladylove - The United States frequently opposes socialist leaders, even freely elected socialist leaders. As Kissinger apparently remarked when told the Left were going to win an election in Chile "You can't let a whole country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people". Think about the democratic implications of that for a moment.
Although Cuba is a significantly poor country the life expectancy and infant mortality figures are quite close to the USA and in some instances better. And this is despite the economic warfare the USA has waged on Cuba. Had Cuba not been penalised the way it was it would be much better off now. Would you prefer to go back to the Batista military dictatorship the Americans supported?
Evan - I am prepared to admit socialism has issues and problems and is less than perfect. Are you prepared to accept that capitalism as practiced in the USA is also less than perfect?
Capitalism, as practiced in the US, is largely socailism. Around 50% of the money I make goes to the government.
20-30% as income, a good 4-5% through government mandated monetary inflation (out of control spending leads to inflation of money supply, leads to increased prices), plus about 6-8% sales tax, another 3-8% STATE income tax, tariff costs, subsidies, and countless other non-capitalist measures.
Yes. Definitely. "Capitalism" as it's practiced in the US has MANY flaws. They're all government (i.e., socialist).
Even Castro admitted socialism is a failure. Personally I don't care what other countries want for a government... but socialism can only exist by force... it has to be imposed and some will benefit in that system others wont... should the USA deal with countries that subjugate their people... or promote freedom... I think we should always stand by our values but apparently money always has a way of superseeding what is morally right which strengthens the argument yet again for smaller limited government.
"Yes. Definitely. "Capitalism" as it's practiced in the US has MANY flaws. They're all government (i.e., socialist).". What's that mean?
it means that the problems aren't part of the market (laissez-faire capitalism), they're actually problems with government.
And Socialism relies heavily on government powers -- after all, government IS socialism: the pooling together of each others resources for "the better good".
I am sorry that the Cooperative is not part of your definition of socialism. What about working mens clubs, workers cooperatives and Israeli kibbutzim? They are all within my definition of socialism. Fortunately the non-socialists like you will not be defining socialism for us socialists.
And you reckon your US system is too socialist! Maybe the answer is to govern your country better or differently. Or maybe the country falls between two stools, neither capitalist enough nor socialist enough, getting the worst of both worlds.
Perhaps you can start a hub or forum post about that. What I am working on in this forum is seeing whether there are enough socialists on Hubpages who would like to get involved, and if there are we will do some thinking and planning together possibly by emails or an off HubPages discussion board. This is so we can get on without distractions from nonparticipants.
The thing with working men's clubs etc. is that they are based on voluntary participation. People can, and do, opt out whenever they want to.
In a 100% socialist state, there is no opt-out. That's the crucial difference - I have a feeling that some people on this thread will only realise just how important that difference is when they experience it in practice.
(shameless plug)I wrote a hub about this if anyone's interested - it's called You Gotta Fight For Your Right NOT To Party (end shameless plug)
But the same applies for any political creed.
Look at all the right wing totalitarian states and try and get out of that!
I wouldn't argue with that. The extreme right wing has much in common with the extreme left wing - the term "National Socialism" was pretty apt...
"totalitarian states" are ALL "Left" wing.
By definition, "right" is the limitation of governmental power.
No they're not, in fact I can't think of any that are left wing!
You are of course joking when you say that the right is the limitation of government power, or are you under the belief that the right wing conservative party in the UK is secretly left wing!
It's no good replacing thought with dogma and just saying that every thing you disagree with is left wing, it doesn't convince me and it doesn't convince any right (proper) thinking people.
LOL, ok, then define for me, WHO is for the limitation of governmental power over your life? It certainly isn't the left, which is a radical authoritarian.
Oh, and we're not talking about "UK" left and right, we're talking about American left and right. American left is about unlimited governmental power to confiscate and redistribute and force behavior changes to suit the wishes of governmental figures.
The right - far right, is the libertarians, who see government as having no role whatsoever, in the moral or civil aspects of society.
Politics, weholdthesetruths, is control over citizens' life. Pure and simple, both sides want the authority, via government.
That's the problem. Too much distortion and misinformation, so as to confuse the people, so they don't realize it.
Absolutely not. The ONLY legitimate purpose of government is to defend the freedom, liberty, and rights of the people, NOT TO CONTROL THEM.
Which your lot are singularly not doing.
Where is the liberty in being allowed to starve?
Where is the freedom in not being able to earn a living wage.
Where are the rights in being forced to carry a pregnancy through to term?
You are so prejudiced that you are blind to the contradictions in your arguments.
You understand neither what rights are, nor what liberty is.
John, a T...gger is someone who commits sexual assault upon another person, for the purpose of denigration, disrespect, humiliation, and insult.
You apparently see no problem with accusing people of doing this. So, from now on, I will refer to you as "rapist", ok? After all, being accused of being someone who performs routine sexual assult on others is "not bad" according to you.
So, it's ok to call you "rapist" from now on, right? It's "no big thing", right?
John, I would rather die free, of starvation, want, and exposure, a forgotten wretch in a sewer ditch, than to live as a slave to a tyrannical state, who believes that I exist for the sole purpose to rob, to buy votes from those who choose to be dependents, and willingly trade votes for promises of unearned wealth.
And the best you can do for principle, is to mock freedom and those who believe in it. You are truly a pathetic wretch.
So why do you seem intent on that sort of government?
Do you really believe that the right doesn't believe that you exist to be robbed?
It's your right wing government that will give you the freedom to work for nothing and not have a roof over your head.
You just do not understand socialism do you?
And where do I mock freedom? I mock your distorted and restricted view of freedom but that isn't the same thing at all!
And how civil of you to refer to me as a pathetic wretch, but then you don't think that anybody but yourself is owed any civility.
Your every post mocks it, because you do not have the faintest clue what you're talking about.
Yes, Freedom means you have the right to die, cold, starving, and naked. Or to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. That's the wonderful thing about freedom. The outcome is up to YOU, not someone else.
I am not for sale, for cheap promises from politicians about giving me someone else's earnings. I despise those who are. It is THE definitive description of "corruption".
"Voluntary Socialism" is otherwise known as "Charity". You know, people doing things for others, out of the goodness of their hearts. But, socialists wholesale reject the validity of voluntary acts of goodness, and insist that it be replaced by forced charity and central planning.
it's not part of "my" definition of socialism - it's NOT socialism.
The co-op system "rewards those who produce via a medium of exchange"...
... that's like *THE* definition of capitalism.
Sorry, but Socialists just decry capitalism, then re-invent it, call it socialism, and then bash the very system that they create.
Wake-up, you've just invented capitalism.
marshacanada - A hub on Rosemary Brown would be good, and definitely right for Socialism 101. If we start writing about individual socialists we are looking at thousands of hubs.
How wonderful and how inspiring that would be.
ladylove- socialist governments do get elected. Then the USA destabilises them. If you truly believe in democracy you should accept that sometimes the choices other peoples make for themselves are different to the choices you would make for them. And you should encourage the USA government not to destabilise them.
Uzbekistan actually boils to death political opponents
yet in 2003 the USA gave $30,000,000 towards helping Uzbekistan's law enforcement and security services. How do you Americans sleep at night when your country supports and funds cruel dictatorships all over the world?
Evan - the reason you no longer have laissez faire capitalism in the USA is that capitalists have repeatedly proven that without regulation they pollute and take risks with other peoples lives. Even now there are regular scandals where capitalists are caught stealing. Laissez Faire did not work. Come over to proper socialism or stop whinging.
Laissez-Faire did work - it was just overrun by socialist tyrants.
Bad pollution is a result of socialism - it's not Laissez-faire's problem that the "authority" (a socialist government) refuses to enforce property rights in waters, or that it refuses to enforce lawsuits against companies that pollute and ruin others' property.
That would be government's problem -- after all, they claim a monopoly on law enforcement.
Charles... "socialist" governments are inherently unstable.
Charles, I appreciate that somehow you think that "misunderstanding of the finer points" is why people reject socialism. But, I can save you, and a lot of other people, a whole lot of pointless work. Here is the definitive description:
Socialism: The belief that once people who believe themselves smarter, more moral, more caring, and more worthy of authority, are elected to office, and all restraints of power removed from them, so that they are able to control any facet of your life, of business, of financial systems, of production, of consumption, of building, of tearing down, of investing, of spending, of redistribution of opportunity, money, assets, and all other things, too, that, these people will, by force of will and government, create security, economic freedom, and deliverance from want, for all.
When it doesn't work, they immediately blame the opposition to their agenda by other pols, meaning "impure" therefore tainted and unworkable policies have been implemented.
If given the power to work their will on these matters, they then find it still doesn't work, and at that point, will purge the government itself of all the wrong thinking people, and again, re-write the laws and policies.
When that doesn't work, they'll then blame it on the recalcitrance, ignorance, and resistance of some of the people. At that point, they then implement control of education and media, to make sure that only proper thoughts are disseminated.
After that fails, they then blame the outside world, raise barriers to prevent any impurity from leaking in from the world outside, purge the population of unneeded and impure people.
After that fails, they then become cynical and just rule to benefit the incumbents and the people can just waste away in desperate want and need.
That's all you need to know about Socialism. It is the definitive, 100% authoritative, 100% accurate summation of the ideology and it's course of actions.
There, wasn't that better than taking hours and hours of useless writing, to try to sell people on an insane idea?
Weholdthesetruths - thank you for illustrating the general ignorance and hence fear of socialism even among intelligent Americans.
Evan - in what year in American history did the socialist tyrants get elected? I must have missed that. Which particular pieces of legislation are you pointing to as examples of the socialist tyranny? It is not becoming of you to put forward assertion instead of fact.
knolyourself - many thanks for your kind comments. I am old enough now to recognise that I have flaws and failings, and also that almost everyone else does too. If you want to get something done you have to do it. Fortunately as a socialist I know we can do more together collectively than any individual can.
You cannot demonstrate that what I said is wrong in ANY fashion. It is absolutely and wholly correct.
Please explain for me, then precisely what aspect of the definition paragraph is incorrect.
However, you could apply the same definition to any political creed, you cannot demonstrate that it is right in any fashion either.
No need for precision, it is wrong.
You can't possibly be that ignorant, could you?
For instance, I'm classic American liberal - more "Jeffersonian liberal" to you - which means I believe in the extreme limitation of governmental powers, and that the individual is sovereign over the state, and over himself, and that the only purpose of government is to defend his rights, his liberty, his freedom, and to provide collective physical security - meaning police, courts, military.
Furthermore, I do not "fear" anthing. I know exactly what it is, and exactly what it does. It's crystal clear.
Hamilton, Lincoln, FDR, Everyone since.
Anyway, I've made my case, and you have yet to provide any strong refutation of my arguments of how socialism fails in EVERY aspect.
If you want to set up a forum posting or a hub saying socialism is better than capitalism or capitalism is better than socialism please do and we can argue for weeks. Since you ask, nearly every word of your "definition" is wrong. It only demonstrates the level of ignorance of an intelligent good hearted decent American and further illustrates the need for a Socialism 101.
The purpose of this forum strand is to see if there is a critical mass of socialists who would be willing to write socialist hubs we can interlink to begin the creation of a Socialim 101 project.
John - I cannot see from your posting which side you are on, but your contribution is welcome.
Charles, I'm not arguing "x good, y bad" here, we're talking about the fundamental definition of what you're writing about.
Socialism is an ideology which says that the CORRECT PEOPLE, given UNRESTRAINED POWER to do what they think is fair, forcing change upon others, will create a situation where there is security and a lack of economic distress.
That is, that centralized controls over lives, the economy, assets, money, and opportunity, is required and will create equity for all.
HOW do you disagree with that? That is precisely everything you have ever stated, all in one.
But doesn't the current system depend on the CORRECT PEOPLE given UNRESTRAINED POWER doing what they don't think is fair, forcing change on others and creating a situation where there is insecurity and economic distress?
What on earth are you talking about? Our current law limits the power of our federal goverment to just a few duties. It reserves all other powers to the people, PRECISELY TO PREVENT government from forcing its wishes upon the people.
So why so much whinging on these forums about the excesses of government?
Because our government has vastly exceeded it's authority, and people like Charles James and other socialists want vastly more of the same.
I know you don't like the "sound" of it. But your basic premise remains... that force must be used to adjust everything according to the judgement of a few individuals who are smarter, more moral, more just, and more worthy of decisions than those they force them upon.
There is simply no way out of your trap, because there is NOTHING you can say to contradict this. This is the core belief of you, and everyone on the left. Everything you advance, everything socialists do is based on this premise, that the people in power, are smarter, wiser, more moral, better planners, etc, etc, than the chaos of free markets and free people. And that forcible redistribution is required to "fix" things.
Tell me what part of any of this is wrong.
Empress - Your posting came through as I was writing a posting so I did not see it.
The context was that AnnCee asked for examples of successful socialism, which I was seeking to give. Evan intervened, so I gave some more examples.
You have raised a different and very important issue which is that of compulsion. Every state uses compulsion to some degree. It would be odd if a socialist society did not use both incentive and compulsion, just as a capitalist society does. We would encourage and punish some of the same things, and we would have differences both in our aims and in our tools. That would make quite an interesting hub, so thank you for your input.
That is a fair question.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a good start. You are tremendous in coming up with good ideas for hubs. Thank you.
Thanks for your answer. I must admit I have a huge problem with Maslow's heirarchy of needs. One idea of his makes sense: that people who are struggling for the basics (food, shelter etc.) are going to be focused on meeting those needs to the exclusion of pretty well every other need, most of the time.
It's when you get to the upper reaches of the hierarchy that things start to get problematic. (From Wikipedia: "This level [self-actualisation] of need pertains to what a person's full potential is and realizing that potential. Maslow describes this desire as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.")
Just what is self actualisation? Presumably it's different for different people, although I doubt if Maslow saw it that way (or at least, not in as broad a way as he should have done). He probably saw self-actualisation mainly in terms of emotional/spiritual/creative achievement. But there are a helluva lot of people out there who don't care about spirituality or being an emotionally well-rounded person. And that's not necessarily a bad thing - there is an important place for sportsmen/entrepreneurs/explorers/inventors as well as for introspective and spiritual types.
Side note: what about totally dysfunctional people? In Fred West's case, I'm sure his self-actualisation mission statement would have been something along the lines of "to be the best serial killer I can possibly be"
I am afraid that for me socialism is one of those "isms" that just doesn't factor in the sheer breadth of human psychology and type. It dictates how everyone "should" behave (and how they should want to behave), while ignoring that there is a sizeable percentage of humans who just aren't wired that way.
No, socialism does not dictate how every one should behave or want to behave. Neither does it ignore that there are differences amongst people!
I rather think that you are getting confused by regimes who call themselves socialist whilst not even paying the slightest homage to socialism.
No, it just forcibly changes the outcome, after the fact, of what people do.
What? You've totally lost me now, remember I only speak English.
LOL... Playing cute word games is your way of insulting the other party and trying to choke off conversation that's proving to be damaging to your 'cause'.
Ok, play the game if you want. Same old dishonest liberals at work again.
No, I honestly could not make head nor tail of your meaning.
It seemed no more than a random collection of buzz words.
No matter what flavor of socialism you subscribe to, all of them have a basic premise, that power of the state must be used to confiscate wealth from those who have gotten it, and give it to those who have not. Most flavors also use taxation or other means of punitive action to control the decisions of businesses, enterprises, education, the financial system, etc.
I disagree with your basic premise. There is a world of difference between socialism and the sort of robbery you ascribe to socialism.
Really, do you think that anybody would vote for a system where the power of the state must be used to confiscate wealth from those who have it!
Does capitalism then not use taxation to control the actions of businesses, enterprises, education &c?
I really think you've been reading too many horror stories put about by capitalists you do not see socialism as I see it.
"Does capitalism then not use taxation to control the actions of businesses, enterprises, education &c?"
The whole idea of centralized control is the precise opposite of capitalism.
In a a capitalist society, taxation is merely the means of funding government's few necessary functions, and nothing else.
No, I'm not getting confused at all.
The way I judge any "ism" is not to go by what it says it wants to achieve in its manifesto, but to try and gauge what the practical outcomes would be if it were applied in the real world.
The outcome of full-on socialism (abolition of private property, 100% nationalisation) will be always totalitarianism. Because there will always be a large contingent people who don't want their property confiscated by the state. So the state has to apply pressure and try to brainwash people, in order to get them to comply.
So you would say it has been a total failure then! that socialism as practised in the UK has been a washout.
You think that privatised health care is the way to go, that those who can not find work should be left to die, even though the system requires unemployment?
No ism should be allowed full control, be it socialism or Thatcherism , you can guess which ism I think has done the most harm in this country! And there was no shortage of totalitarianism under Thatcher.
Whatever you might think about Thatcher, I don't think she deserves to rank with Hitler or Stalin in the Totalitarians' Hall of Fame.
FWIW, I actually agree with you about not allowing any "ism" full control. The point I'm making is that if you completely eliminate the private enterprise/private property component of a country's economy, you would end up with totalitarianism, because to eliminate private enterprise/property would mean that the government would have to use major force since there is a significant number of people who wouldn't give up all their property willingly.
I have often wondered what it might be like to live at the other end of the scale to 100% socialism, in a totally capitalistic/private enterprise world. Nobody's ever tried it though. And I suspect that it might turn out to be a lot less free than the libertarians think.
I wouldn't completely eradicate private ownership of property or business.
I believe that there are things that the state should do and things that should be left to the individual.
For example the means of production should be managed by the state, what those products are used for should be left to the individual, those means being energy, water, telecoms and raw materials, ie steel. I would also include health and welfare.
Maybe the state should have some responsibility for sponsoring artists, poets and other dreamers, but not by employment.
I don't think that total capitalism would offer much freedom either, rather some of the more wealthy living in gated communities whilst the rest robbed and plundered at will.
Brothers and Sisters
Lenin predicted that a socialist society would lead to a withering away of the state. Lenin did not regard this as right or wrong but as a natural evolution. I had thought Lenin was broadly speaking Left rather than Right.
wehold these truths - I would ask you to consider that those of us who are socialists and try to live socialism so far as we can, actually know what we believe in. Your parodies are frankly an insult and do not contribute to the discussion. I forgive you because you are well natured but ignorant.
We will have hubs on "What is Socialism" and "Why Laissez Fare Captalism does not work" and you will be welcome to join those discussions. What we are discussing here on this forum is not "socialism right or wrong" or "what is socialism" but whether the socialists on Hubpages or some of us at least want to work together to present the socialist case.
People who are not socialists are not centrally involved in this question. I do express my gratitude to non socialist contributors who have responded to my invitation to raise awkward questions which we as socialists must answer.
It seems clear that there are socialists interested, so I propose we next discuss the general shape. There is a need for "nuts and bolts" articles about "What is Socialism?", the evolution of the Internationals (I think we are up to 5 or 6), the history of socialism before Marx, what Marx contributed, Engels, Marxist economics, what Lenin contributed, whether Stalin contributed anything, Trotsky, and other writers past and present.
There is a dire need for American history, where I really would be struggling but USA colleagues will be very happy to write about.
We certainly want lives of socialists for inspiration and instruction.
We want Socialism and Art, Music, Literature ....
The development of the trade unions and the struggle of labour, women, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and sexuality issues.
The third world methods of struggle and their issues.
Socialism in every country.
Whatever else I have forgotten!
I would prefer to be inclusive rather than exclusive, so hubs I do not personally agree with would still be acceptable.
There is so much to write about that even if there are 10 of us producing a hub a month on an aspect of Socialism we will not run out of material in a decade.
What thoughts do comrades have?
all of this socialism you talk about is capitalism. wake up.
Socialism could EASILY evolve on the free-market. In fact, it DOES exist: it's called "stocks". All you have to do is work, buy stocks in the company you work for, and you become the owner of capital.
If you own stocks, then you're a capitalist.
Quit inventing the wheel and then calling it a square.
Perhaps a necessary understanding might be the difference between Communism and Socialism, where a definition for each would be in order so people can have a rational discussion. Otherwise its a swamp.
It has occurred to me overnight that I have missed out on a few more hubs - the CIA and socialism, the FBI and socialism, the role of Pinkertons and union busters, socialism and religion.
Cuba, former Yugoslavia, Singapore. colonialism and neo-colonialism. Zimbabwe.
We probably need to have reading lists by author, and also list hubs and books that are not by socialists or about socialism but which socialists would want to read.
knolyourself - an excellent suggestion
John and weholdthesetruths
I suspect you guys have some history. Can I ask you to carry it on elsewhere please? This hub is about getting a large project started. Hurling insults is distracting.
I'm sorry Charles but I'll defend myself where ever I am attacked.
Further thoughts on content-
We need to have a column or section or hub for good quotations. I could not resist this
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, and those who are cold and are not clothed"
-Dwight D, Eisenhower 16 April 1953.
And a quip from the First World War (source not known yet)
- "a bayonet is a tool with a worker on each end".
We need a hub or space for anecdotes and another for jokes for and against socialism. I am sure colleagues from the Right will help with this one - but not on this forum posting please, - add them to my existing political jokes hub which I will incorporate into Socialism 101.
And another hub: "Are wealthy socialists hypocrites?".
More suggestions and queries are welcome
Well the first purpose written hub for Socialism 101 is up. At least 200 more to go!
Here's a good hub:
"Why are all the systems of socialism that fail called 'communism', whereas all the systems of socialism that work REALLY just capitalism?"
Evan - Welcome back. I was afraid you had taken your bat and ball home. If I have a belief system, I define my own belief system. Cooperatives are in my belief system. Forgive me, but I will not let you define my belief system.
But this forum strand is about a major project I have now initiated. When I get round to writing "What is socialism?" I will consider your commemts on the definition(s) of socialism.
Even in the current capitalist society there is general recognition that even a private business has "stakeholders" who frequently have no financial investment in the company. This is an interesting recent development in capitalist thought. I would welcome your input on this.
I have like 20 assignments due in 2 weeks, and I'm student teaching.... AND, Ohio is taking away my right to voluntarily associate with fellow teachers (even though they only want to pay me $40k to work). Seriously thinking about moving back to Japan after I get my masters.
Anyway, it's nuts over here. I responded to your other "Laissez-Faire Forum".
I'm not defining your belief system, I'm simply pointing out that Co-Ops ARE capitalism. That's all.
Call it whatever you want, at the end of the day "people are being paid according to their production for society, and are using that pay to buy other things from other people". That's capitalism!!!!
I'm not familiar with the "stakeholders who frequently have no financial investment in the company" idea. if you could elaborate it would be helpful.
I'll throw out my 2 cents from what I understand about the issue right now: If people want to see a company succeed, but don't want to invest in it... then... ... ... OK?
BUT! If people want to tell another person how to live, without earning ownership of the other individual's property, then to hell with them!
Socialism (in general - this IS an exaggeration) says that "we all own everything", and capitalism says (in general - this is another exaggeration) that we only own what we earn.
PS - I noticed that you respond in the same way that Mighty Mom responds: you reply to the FORUM, and not the POST.
This makes it harder for people to figure out who you're talking to. I recommend clicking the "reply" button that is under others' individual posts INSTEAD OF the "Post a reply" button at the bottom of the entire forum.
No they aren't! The workers own the means of production, they own all the profits and are responsible for all the debts.
Where is the capitalism in that?
How do they own the means of production? You're telling me that 30 people own a pizza oven? And they have to collectively agree to when, how, where, why, what to clean it?
Capitalism allows for socialism, it's just that no one ever picks socialism because it's a horrible method.
For example: Cleaning a pizza oven.
Capitalism: I went into debt to buy a pizza oven, so it is mine. I used that pizza oven to make pizza and then sold that pizza to make money so I could hire workers. Those workers agreed to work for me. I want my pizza oven clean, so I had my prices set at a rate that would let me clean my oven. I then, by myself, chose to hire someone to clean it.
The oven got cleaned.
Socialist: 14 people decide that they want to own a pizza oven equally. So, they all get together (it took them a few hours to decide on what day would be best for them all) and went around shopping for an oven. Sure, 6 of them wanted the RX model, but 8 wanted the PZ model -- too bad. They then decided that they would split the cost evenly between them all. It became a problem, because the cost of the machine was $989. They each agreed to pay (even though 6 were unhappy with the choice) an equal amount... but someone had to pay 1 penny more than the rest. Oh well, I guess someone has to pay more (now half the people have been screwed over).
Then they wanted to decide how to use it. They all had to get together to decide the schedules to work. They began working, and eventually needed to clean the oven. They all had to decide which company to use, what price to use, when to do it, how to do it and all the rest. During the voting procedure fights broke out because some people reminded the rest that they didn't even want to PZ model, they wanted the RX model!! One of them even demanded "hey, I paid more! I should have a stronger vote!!"
... eventually they all agreed on how to do it. But they weren't very happy with one another, it took twice as long, and half the people got screwed over.
Oh, and they bought the oven from a capitalist.
Socialism doesn't work as well as Capitalism. Sure, it can work: but not as well.
Yup 30 people can own a pizza oven.
A private pizza company with 30 shareholders would have no problems would they?
Why should it be any different because the shares held are different?
The differences aren't in the day to day management.
You really have no clue about how cooperatives work do you?
Evan - I am frequently replying to the group as a whole rather than the individual.
If a company is a significant employer in a community, then if it were to cease trading suddenly the local community would be faced with higher unemployment and lower income. Property values would weaken. The community is affected by what the company does. Businesses that supply and purchase from the company and its workers have a legitimate interest.
The workforce have a concern for the continued success of the company. If the managers are not shareholders they also have an interest in their jobs.
All of these folk have no financial investment in the company but have legitimate interests. They are collectively described as stakeholders.
If the company has the power to put up electricity and water ptices, or bus fares, the community also has an interest.
What is your take on the stakeholder question?
Charles: were you for the bailouts? Were those companies "too big to fail?" If so, then you could argue that "stakeholders" are a valid argument. But if you don't think that the bailouts were good, then you agree that these sorts of "stakeholders" aren't really worth discussing.
If a company has to shut down because it can't stay in business, that means it's not providing what people want; it's wasting resources. It's a drain on society. That's how profits work.
Now, if the people who live nearby are worried about that company losing money... then... they should be investing in it to help out. The fact that they don't shows that they don't really care that much.
Situation: "Hey, the Honda factory is having trouble and might go out of business"
Capitalism: "Well, if you want us to stay in business -- and thus keep your everything paid for --- I recommend donating money to us"
Socialism: "Well, because you are all dependent on our company, you HAVE to give us money. Sorry, but you're all dependent on us, and thus you owe us money".
The bailouts are the same thing that you described as "stakeholders". If you are for the bailouts, then you're consistent, if not, then you're inconsistent.
One is clearly freedom, one is clearly evil.
Thankyou for your input on stakeholders. I suspected that would be your position.
I would have said to the companies "You are bust".
"Your share capital has nil value".
The Government will buy your company for the nil it is worth"
Then put money in to rescue the company. And then eventually float the company on the Stock Exchange so the government gets all the benefit of the money put into bailouts. I do not see why the owners and managers of failed businesses should be rescued.
I do see that the little guys like you and me need to be protected from the consequences of the actions of incompetent businesses.
However, this forum strand is about Socialism 101. I have written the first hub, which is part one of a socialist reading list. I expect there will be another 8-10 hubs here.
My knowledge around Art and Music and Religion are poor, so I really would welcome hubs linking socialism to these areas.
My knowledge of American and Canadian socialist history is also poor. As is my knowledge of so many things! All hubs welcomed!
There are quite a lot of hubs already written that socialists would like to read, so please suggest them here or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will link to them from the main Socialism 101 hub when it goes up.
"The Government will buy your company for the nil it is worth""
... if it's worth Nil, then why should the government waste my money buying it?
Your argument basically is this: "Those evil companies couldn't run a business, thus The government should steal money from the people it's trying to save to buy the company, and then run it even though it's losing money".
that makes NO sense.
"I do see that the little guys like you and me need to be protected from the consequences of the actions of incompetent businesses."
Why do you think a government that gets its money through theft would run the company better than someone who was risking their own livelihood and who had to give the public what it wanted?
That makes NO sense.
If the people who lived nearby didn't care enough to save the company, then why should people who live even farther away have to pay to save the company?
Your argument makes NO sense.
"Then put money in to rescue the company. And then eventually float the company on the Stock Exchange so the government gets all the benefit of the money put into bailouts. I do not see why the owners and managers of failed businesses should be rescued." Those owners and managers of failed businesses control the government.
Can't agree with Michele Bachmann on much except gangster government.
If the badly run American car companes all went bust, the knock on effects for workers and suppliers would be immense. The Government should have said "OK you guys are bust - we will take the valueless share capital for nil."
The Government then props up the compnies and hires in new and better management. The companies are turned round and floated off. In capitalism company rescues happen every day.
The reason government has to get involved is that the consequences of the car companies collapsing is just too damaging to the US economy. And the size of the funds required.
What is your problem wth this?
My objection is that the government (ie taxpayers) put in money and the shareholders and managers are unjustly enriched.
"you guys lost money, now we're gonna steal everything that you built"
That's complete nonsense.
First off, most of those companies were only as big as they were because we've been spoon feeding them socialist-driven money for decades -- this wasn't the first bailout, y'know.
If their factories are "worthless", then let ME buy them to try to turn them into something profitable!
Let Honda buy up parts of their factories to try to use them to make cars.
Let another "hey, I actually want to make money" organization step in and try to use that capital in a proficient way.
Many socialists are anti-monopolistic in their arguments, but they always ignore that government is a monopoly that has a military.
There's NO way you could EVER convince me that politicians know how to run businesses better than an entrepreneur. If that were true, they wouldn't bother to become politicians. The president only makes $400k/year, many CEOs make multiples more than that. Sure, it's a lot of money, but CEOs keep HUGE conglomerate organizations like Mircrosoft, Sony, Hitachi, and whatever running, profitable, and able to deliver what we want.
Socialism can't work because people are spending other people's money. You can write all the hubs in the world, but unless you can solve this one, unethical practice of socialism (voluntary socialism is nothing more than the free-market choosing a socialist system), then you can't win the argument.
The companies were bust.
No capitalists wanted to buy them.
The Government did not approach the companies - they went to the government and said "we are bust -please help us."
This is not government stealing. This is government helping to clear up a mess the capitalists created - to avoid even more people getting hurt.
The Suma workers cooperative in Leeds has been running since 1975 so I suspect they have solved the pizza oven cleaning problem. Have a look at their site.
The Bicycle Doctor in Manchester has been going for nearly as long, as have several others who elude me at the moment.
Ah yes, On The Eighth Day has I think been going a little longer than Suma, and then of course there are the cooperative stores that have been running for well over a century.
"This is not government stealing. This is government helping to clear up a mess the capitalists created - to avoid even more people getting hurt." Usually it is called Socialism for the capitalists and capitalism for everyone else or tough luck.
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