Socialism is a scarlet letter. We all know it; we fear being branded with it. All your do-gooder efforts can be quashed in an instant once you have been labeled socialist. It’s a disgusting word, like commie and pinko(and we know what happened to them—and they were so social, not fascist and crony capitalist). No effort has been spared by the enemies of community to make sure you revile socialism because socialism is the dire nemesis of inequality and the hater of wealth concentration.
I am constantly impressed, no, amazed, at how completely the very wealthy people who own the newspapers, magazines, and tv have convinced the great sprawling masses that said masses deserve squalor, that they should never join together and that they should fight and sacrifice to preserve the power and wealth that is concentrated in the hands of so few. It’s brilliant. More than that, there is a side-splitting irony to it all. It works so well that it is enough to make you hate your fellow man. Except, the elite disdain for the working class—that too is an effective measure in dividing people, disempowering people and smothering socialism.
Socialism is a charged term with disputed definitions. Some of the common notions or tenets associated with this vilified term are “social organization”, “collective decisions”, “allocation of economic inputs to satisfy economic demands and human needs”, “cooperative”. Doesn't sound so bad. Yet this socialism is the villain in our collective story right now, and is a vile boogey-man to be feared and hopefully dashed. According to the narrative.
Really? I can see being the bad guy and disguising vinegar as kool-aid. It’s a goal effective tactic. But just handing out vinegar and expecting it to be swallowed, well, that should fail, shouldn’t it? I’m being facetious. Obviously, the blanket message received by most people is that higher ups are struggling to look after us and that socialism is a menace that would destroy us. But, man, they don’t even try hard to con us. It’s like we were begging to be demolished.
There is no way I can put a dent in the effective, intelligent, far-reaching propaganda machine that wealthy neo-conservatives employ, but I can try. (and I am not being cad when I call it intelligent and effective. The proof is all around us).
When you help your buddy move, even when he couldn’t foot the bill for pizza and beer--that is socialism.
When you drop money in the plate at church, or in the Sally Ann pot next to the bell ringing Santa--that is socialism.
When expanding on the positive reinforcement you have received from networking and sharing with family, friends and friends of friends, you feel everyone should be safe and fed--that is socialism.
Devoting a bit of everyone’s income to building roads so we can get all the stuff where it needs to go, allocating it because no canny capitalist would be daft to do anything so unprofitable--that is socialism.
Devising a welfare system, either because starving homeless people make you feel icky, or you are afraid they will kill you for your home and food--that is socialism.
Building a healthcare system for the whole community, not just because it’s sad when sick children die, but also because it is unproductive and costly to let illness spread unchecked--that is socialism.
Understanding that the world is really big and complex, and wanting your community to be able to compete, and so subsidizing necessary education—all the way up, not just primary—that is socialism.
Wanting proportionate representation, and ensuring that every voter has access to valid information--that is socialism.
Creating institutions that examine and evaluate industry (say, pharmaceutical, energy, waste removal and construction, or anyone else who might affect all of society in good and bad ways) and giving their employees a living wage so they don’t have to take bribes--that is socialism.
Fighting tying up knowledge in copyrights that suck all the affluence out of a community or not--that is socialism.
Fighting the patenting of food so giant corporations cannot hold the entire hungry planet hostage--that is socialism.
Questioning labyrinthine Gordian financial tools that decree all profit to the few and all costs and failure to the community--that is socialism.
Demanding that the richest not be allowed to hide behind unaccountable corporate documents when they steal or fail--that is socialism.
Getting really angry when the richest nations on the planet feature mass amounts of hard working people losing their homes and jobs, and angrily demanding some kind of reasonable answer and response from the government that everyone pays so much for, votes for and counts on--that is socialism.
Envisioning a world where some people are rewarded more than others depending on the amount of school, work or necessity of their tasks, but not supporting a few people to make thousands of times more than most, and not relegating most tasks to a wage that is below cost of living--that is socialism.
Wishing for a world where the average person wasn’t seeking two or three jobs to get by, where that person did not live in anxiety and had time to see their kids--that is socialism.
Demanding accountability from our elected representatives, since we elected them based on what they said they were about--that is socialism.
Not treating the planet like it, and we are transient, not behaving as though we are sociopaths, alone, on our own little islands, not looking at others like they are logs for the fire--that is socialism.
If you should happen to be some well off person who despises socialism, and believes there is some meritocracy that gave you--by your bootstraps alone--all you possess, MAKE NO MISTAKE: when socialism fails, I will sit in your sparkling kitchen eating a sandwich over your bleeding out body that I stabbed, before I loot your home. Do you know why? It will be me only because I was first in a very very long line. And I will laugh while your life ebbs.