Is this a socialist moment?

Is this a socialist moment? I hear this question when I travel. So here is the answer I usually give when asked at public meetings.

It depends on how we understand a "socialist moment." If it means that the American people in their majority are insisting on a socialism transformation of society, there is little evidence for it.

People are angry and frustrated; they want change; they are ready to struggle for jobs and relief, health care, public education, housing assistance and so on. But are they demanding a system change, a socialist society? Not yet. To say otherwise seems like a stretch to me.

If, however, what is meant is that many more people are ready to give socialism a hearing, not reject it out of hand, then I would say, "Yes, this is a ‘socialist moment'." This is no small thing. It wasn't that long ago that socialism didn't have much currency among broad sections of the American people. It was considered a failed model, undemocratic and worse, a bankrupt idea - something best consigned to history.

In fact, the ideologues of capitalism thought they had buried the socialist idea once and for all, but to their chagrin the genie is once again out of the bottle, thanks in large measure to the conditions buffeting the domestic and world economy. It is not economic determinism to say that force of economic circumstance and the crisis of everyday living for tens of millions is shaping and reshaping mass thinking, although in contradictory ways.

Communists and socialists should welcome the rebirth of this dialogue on socialism and eagerly participate in it.

Like everything else our vision of socialism needs to adjust to new conditions (economic crisis) and challenges (economic and environmental sustainability, nuclear disarmament, world poverty and inequality) as well as examine the experience of socialism in the 20th century.

After all, there are no universal models into which every country fits. The cloth of socialist experience is a beautiful weave of many colors and threads, not a drab monotonous gray. Each country fashions a socialism that bears a deep imprint of its own history, politics, economics and culture.

The experience of successful and unsuccessful socialist revolutions and societies has to be filtered carefully into our national context. In no case can those experiences be uncritically and simplistically imported.

As Gus Hall, the former leader of the Communist Party USA, said on many occasions, "We are for Bill of Rights Socialism," referring to our nation's Bill of Rights, which in his view would be preserved and expanded upon in a socialist society in the United States.



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  • FDR and the Democrats (primarily) helped mitigate the suppression of Debs and socialists when Social Security was created in the 1930s. Since that time, in a series of moves including The G. I. Bill, college loans, Medicare, Medicaid, RX coverage for the elderly and the acceptance of the concept that a National Healthcare system is a good idea (although Obamacare is a long way from Single Payer), America has creeped slowly, but ever so steadily toward Socialism. This cannot be a Socialist Moment because socialism has to creep in the back door to avoid the vilification that primarily exists today on FOXNews. But the horror over the very concept, the knee jerk association with the worst aspects of Stalinism is gone. So long as basic freedoms of speech, association, press, assembly, religion (or what passes for them) are maintained, the process of Socialism will continue. However, when 1-2% of the population controls over 97% of the wealth, America will not be "Socialist." Indeed, to retain these untold trillions of dollars, the power elite will be willing to grant a measure of socialism. Just don't talk about redistributing the wealth!

    Posted by Stephen Ernest Smith, 12/29/2013 2:39pm (2 years ago)

  • I have to say that there are not many people know the truth of politics. The politics terminology like freedom, democracy and human rights are abused by ideology propaganda, making them kind of religious.

    Imagine you were living in Syria, Libya or other countries suffering in riot, would you prefer a safer society environment away from fears and hunger to so called personal freedom?

    The truth of politics is that for thousands of years of human history, the majority of population are always ruled by a small number of people. It's unrealistic to ask for a comprehensive equality, however, the power of people grows in every step of social progress and it will never stop.

    Posted by people's US, 10/26/2013 11:22pm (2 years ago)

  • It's funny that my comment is blocked and there is not a single anti-government word. Where is the freedom of speech of US?

    Posted by people's US, 10/26/2013 10:56pm (2 years ago)

  • In history, capitalism failed countless times but finally it replaced the feudalism. It could be a longer time of fight between socialism and capitalism, during which the capitalism regimes will adjust and make themselves more like "socialism" to sustain society stability. The progress of history can not be stopped. The wealth of human society is produced by all human beings and should be shared by larger groups of people.

    Posted by people's US, 10/26/2013 10:51pm (2 years ago)

  • To accomplish its revolutionary task and win emancipation the proletariat needs most to know truth. The downtrodden and exploited masses need most to learn meticulously the laws of science and to pursue knowledge in all its spheres. This address to agricultural labourers and peasants at a school of politics is a brief analysis of the materialistic thinking in society and of social development in the light of Marxism. It brings out the fundamental difference between dialectical materialism and other philosophies and emphasizes how capitalism in its present decadent stage obstructs the progress of science and society.

    ----- Comrade Shibdas Ghosh

    Posted by Ranjan Dey, 08/10/2013 12:44pm (3 years ago)

  • only sexual socialism has merit , every person should have full sexual rights to another , economic socialism however , is historically impossible

    Posted by JT, 07/09/2012 8:25pm (4 years ago)

  • I am 85 yrs old and have seen all socialist countries fail & fall. It is not the answer!

    Posted by BB, 06/23/2012 3:41pm (4 years ago)

  • Im gonna join this socialist movement!!!

    Posted by YOYO, 11/14/2011 6:15pm (4 years ago)

  • It's great that many more people are at least considering an alternative to capitalism such as socialism. But for how much longer are we going to speculate on the matter, it's time for change now.

    Posted by Sonny Black, 09/22/2011 11:52pm (4 years ago)

  • I would live in Cuba!
    no crime
    no homeless
    work for all of my society,the betterment of all
    even with the hardship they have it is better than the false wealth of an american

    Posted by sweet, 07/14/2011 4:46pm (5 years ago)

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