Alan Augustson: This is not socialism
June 29, 2009 in Editorials
Alan Augustson, a Green Party activist and candidate for Congress from Illinois, published an interesting piece at his Face Book page in which he explains why the Obama administration is not taking the US down a socialist path. The content of the piece can be found by clicking this article’s headline. The text at Face Book can be found here.
This is not socialism.
I am sick to friggin DEATH of hearing people complaining about how President Obama is “socializing America”.
People who say that are either wrong, or they’re lying. And I don’t really care which anymore.
Here’s a few quick lessons. Take notes if you have to.
1. What is socialism?
It’s the idea that working people shouldn’t have to be poor. (Scary, huh?)
2. Is it democratic?
It can be. Socialism is an economic system; democracy is a political system. They’re two different things.
3. Is China a socialist country?
Hell, no. It’s not even a communist country. The PRC is a totalitarian capitalist state — possibly the worst of all human arrangements. You have poor, homeless, working people AND no freedom.
4. Was the former Soviet Union a socialist country?
Hell, no. It was a military dictatorship, with an inner circle living it up in Moscow while millions of other folks starved to death in the sticks.
5. What are some examples of socialist countries?
Socialism isn’t an “on-off” switch; you can have differing amounts of it according to what you need. Sweden has some; the UK also. France has quite a bit. Canada a little bit less. And you should notice: none of those are dictatorial police states like Russia or China — or what the US is turning into.
6. What’s happening here, if it’s not socialism?
It’s kind of the opposite of socialism — a Reverse Robin Hood scheme where poor people are getting shafted to keep the rich afloat. It’s wrong, it’s intolerable, and we should be willing to shed our last drop of BLOOD to stop it.
7. If socialism isn’t all that big a deal, then why do we hear so much about it from politicians and the media?
It’s the old “Divide and Conquer” trick. Keep poor, powerless folks at each other’s throats using artificial issues. Keep them distracted so they don’t go after the real source of the problem.
8. Could we afford a real socialized system for, say, healthcare in the US?
Pffft. Why not? You’re already paying for it; you’re just not gettin’ it. You wanna know what one of the real cost drivers is, in the prescription drug industry? TELEVISION ADVERTISING. It costs a friggin fortune. And factor in the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to buy off politicians. That alone would make a huge dent in the cost of universal healthcare.
9. Why don’t we hear about these things from other economists?
Because they wanna stay employed. Any economist is going to tell you, whatever s/he is TOLD to tell you by whomever’s paying the bills. I, as an unemployed economist, am free to tell you the truth.
10. Okay smart guy. What is this “truth”?
It’s this. Our economy isn’t receding. It isn’t depressing. It isn’t even imploding. Our economy is doing the very thing it was designed to do, the only thing it CAN do.
It is eating itself to death.
That is what you get, when you run an infinite-growth-oriented economy in a closed-system, finite world.
There is only so much of everything — only so much “value” to go around — and more and more and more people competing for it. A can of beans has the same number of calories whether you have one hungry person or a nation full of starving people. If it were suddenly the last can of beans on earth, its price would be incalculable — but its value hasn’t changed.
To fix the economy we need to fix it for EVERYBODY. That means three things:
–First, reduce the world population to a manageable level.
–Second, revert as much farmable land as possible to sustainable agriculture, not just for food but for textiles, timber, and everything else.
–Third, RIGOROUSLY protect the environment so we don’t lose drinkable water or arable soil, and so we don’t deplete our resources faster than we can regrow them. This applies to fishing, ranching, and everything else.
If we do those things, re-balance the world so that there is enough for everybody, then everyone will have work, everyone will have equal value (hello? the very idea BEHIND democracy?), and we have the pieces in place for everyone to have an equal say in how it’s administered.
Fail to do any of the above things, and we’re just eating and breeding and burning our way to a well-deserved extinction.