Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Socialist Ideology

By Robert Caswell

This world is plagued by fear. Fear of economic downturn. Fear of financial insecurity. Fear for the lack of control over the means of production. This is the fear that has inhabited the planet since the inception of the free market; as such, it is perpetuated by the fundamental structure of capitalism. The capitalist system breeds anxiety and self-loathing, and thus, all ideologies that adhere to this economic system innately oppress the masses. Every ideology, from the New Right to modern liberalism, endorses the corporate structure, save one: socialism. In a society where job security is guaranteed and economic hardships are shared across a population, suffering is significantly less present and poverty on the individual level is nonexistent, since the whole of society distributes the burden equally. Socialism is the only political theory that holds any merit, and its establishment is necessary to guarantee true freedom to all and give courage, hope, and a voice to the oppressed.
Capitalism, especially the American version, is comprised of artificial entities that serve no purpose other than to generate a surplus of wealth and to propagate insecurity. Banks and conglomerates, minorities in the world, are nothing more than constructs that own a majority of the assets and control the means of production. Meanwhile the real majority, the working class does not actually own property, even in the Information Age; rather, they are allowed through contract to operate underneath capitalist oppression. The banks permit proletarian residents to live in property that is actually owned by the banks, so long as the workers continue to make monthly payments. All the while, the banks, which serve no real purpose, generate large amounts of capital to feed back into the same illusory system, and the working class remains in the same fearful state, worrying whether they will have a roof to live under next year. To make matters worse, markets are allowed to fluctuate violently over periods of time and force massive layoffs which spread more misery through the working classes. As long as the system is fairly stable, the government allows a certain amount of individual freedom, which is taken away the moment financial security is lost. This perpetuates fear and inequality, which causes suffering. Suffering would be limited in a socialist society where the means of production are owned and controlled by all.
Whether through reformation or through revolution, a socialist world must be brought about to ensure equality. The abolishment of private ownership is necessary to end the cycle of human suffering, and its end will help to see the creation of a truly free society. When the means of production are owned collectively, self-interest decreases over time, and mutual prosperity ensues without the interference of affliction upon the masses. The selfish ego matters less and less during the evolution of a classless society. Goods and services are valued only by the need they fill in a community, and monetary value is abolished to be replaced with a system of need-based consumption in which all commodities are free to everyone. When items are free and readily available to all, theft and greed lose their appeal, and hoarding supplies to create a safety net is no longer necessary since all individuals are secure in all aspects of life.
At current, the American system is not yet ready for the construction of a society based on collective ownership of all industries. The recent election of Barack Obama as President of the United States shows a slight movement towards the left for this country, but even President Obama endorses the free market without remorse. His support for nationalizing healthcare is only a movement towards a state operated social democracy, under which the proletariat is still oppressed by capitalist overlords. In fact, on the political spectrum, Obama lies entirely to the right of the median line, encouraging market competition instead of cooperation. His views are not only authoritarian, but they help to artificially substantiate the claim that capitalism could be reformed to eliminate class oppression. This idea has failed in the past in Northern Europe, as all Nordic economies have started a trend of slow decay, and the reformation of capitalism will fail in the United States if President-elect Obama intends to found it there.
While detrimental to the working class now and further along if a social democracy is established, the Obama regime could further the spread of leftist ideals in the long run. In fact, he could prove entirely different than his Senate record suggests in terms of ideology. Also, although descriptions of a socialist Obama are at this point entirely false, his administration could allow Americans to observe what a social democracy is like, and if it’s a success, the political spectrum of the United States could shift as a whole towards socialism. However, this would be a slow transition for American politics and would allow for the bourgeois to maintain power while the suffering of the working class continues. Patience is the only path to tread in seeing what the Obama’s regime holds in store.
On a world scale, socialism’s future is more hopeful. In particular, the Netherlands, famous for its ingenuity and forward thinking, has seen an increase in socialist movements. The Socialist Party of the Netherlands has had enormous success over the past fifteen years, currently comprising the third largest share of seats in the politically significant Lower House which directly reflects the democratic will of the people unlike the Upper House which is appointed by regional councils. As one of the forerunners for modern capitalism and the stock market, the Netherlands was among the first colonialist nations to build factories and transition to modern oppression; at that time, capitalism and imperialism were a step forward for human rights. Also, the country has always been known for its permissive attitude towards non-standard cultures and has been able to maintain this attitude in a world that isn’t so complacent. Thus, a self-sufficient agrarian economy is feasible for the tiny nation, and its embrace of modernity allows would allow it to progress intellectually and technologically. These two key features would allow the generation of capital and of required goods, and a society like this would be able to subsist while the rest of the world remains capitalist. This is why Holland is one of the more perfect breeding grounds for the first true tests of socialism.
Other small democratic nations could follow suit, or perhaps could beat the Low Countries to the chase by claiming a majority of socialist citizens within their borders; a simple majority is all that stands in the way of establishing a socialist state in most countries. Other options exist, but are less favorable than democratic processes, since they require the suppression of dissenting ideas which are needed, even if they are primitive. Anyway the revolution is brought about, the ultimate goal of socialism is a single, unified, and globally socialist human civilization. This is brought about through the rationalization of individuals across the globe, and their inevitable rejection of capitalism. The spread of ideas is therefore the key factor in swaying minds to the cause.
But why must capitalism be rejected? With reform and a post-ideological mindset, it could be possible to keep the free market, since rationality could justify this position. Post-modernism and the globalization of the “shrinking world” through the spread of capital, information, and ideas have brought about the simplified approach to politics that is the post-ideological belief structure. This position concentrates on skirting multiple viewpoints with a strong sense of incredulity, and its skepticism of simple methods of progression seems valid at first since it calls into question all foundations. The post-modern approach to ideology claims socialism, like every other belief, cannot be justified. It rejects the notion that there is only one legitimate political view, asserting that post-ideological non-partisanship is the most logical way to view politics.
However, a post-modern globalized system is still oppressive to the majority of the world, and creates excess capital that is squandered on the business class bourgeois. Post-modernity, while striving for a valid philosophy through reason, overlooks the fact that the entire capitalist system is based on fear. Consequently, the exploited classes should refuse this and every other viewpoint as corrupt and tyrannical. They should embrace the globalization of socialism as the only valid ideology.
The socialist view holds that the means of production must be collectively owned by all in order to ensure security for all. This principle is unyielding to a reformed free market or State capitalism, and it calls for the expedition of global revolution, primarily through the active spread of ideas. As stated by the Socialist Party of the Netherlands, “Silence is consent.” In order to throw off an oppressive capitalist government, the spread of ideas and the spread of one unified voice for socialism are mandatory. So stand up, gather your voice, and support the socialist ideology by inspiring action and thought.

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