‘Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, told attendees at the right-wing CPAC convention on Thursday that nobody should be fooled about the term “democratic socialism,” because that’s just the politically-correct term for “communism” being used by people that “want to take away your hamburgers.” Also your house and your pick-up truck. “This is what Stalin dreamt about but never achieved,” Gorka blustered. “You are on the frontlines on the war against communism” ‘ (commondreams.org, 28 February). According to one of the attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference, ‘the favourite in the Democratic race is Bernie Sanders because the way he makes socialism sound’ (theguardian, 1 March). Brandon Morris added ‘most citizens don’t know how the system works; once I tell them, they see it will fall apart’ and that he is against socialism because he sees ‘..it as a form of slavery. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris talk about Medicare for All and that will kill doctors’ incentives to work hard. Look at Cuba.’
Where did these two MAGA men learn such arrant nonsense? They probably, for starters, enjoy the same media outlets, and are likely familiar with – possibly edit – the mine of misinformation known as yourdictionary.com. Here socialism is defined ‘…as an economic theory, system or movement where the production and distribution of goods is done, owned and shared by the citizens of a society.’ This is pretty much par for the course as far as dictionaries are concerned and leaves one unprepared for the load of dingo’s kidneys that follows. Under the wholly bogus title ‘Facts About Socialism’ we are told: ‘In theory, citizens have equal access to the products and resources and are compensated based on the amount of work performed. Under the ideals of socialism, there is no motivation for workers to excel at their jobs because there is no benefit to the worker. Friedrich Engels, a French social theorist, developed modern socialistic theory in the late 18th century when he advocated the elimination of production methods based on capitalism. Karl Marx described socialism as a lower form of communism and held the opinion that socialism was an intermediary step in moving from capitalism to communism… The two largest “socialistic” systems are the former Soviet Union and Mainland China. Each of these began with the ideals of socialism, but ended in becoming totalitarian in nature. An example of socialism is the Mainland Chinese economic system.’
Poor Engels is probably spinning in his grave and not because of being called an 18th century French social theorist! Space does not permit more than a very brief clarification of some points. Verily, Gorka, Morris (oh, the irony!), the many MAGAs and other supporters of the status quo could all benefit from a free trial subscription to this journal. William Morris: ‘…what I mean by Socialism is a condition of society in which there should be neither rich nor poor, neither master nor master’s man, neither idle nor overworked, neither brain-slack brain workers, nor heart-sick hand workers, in a word, in which all men would be living in equality of condition, and would manage their affairs unwastefully, and with the full consciousness that harm to one would mean harm to all—the realisation at last of the meaning of the word commonwealth’ (Why I Am A Socialist, 1884).
Less than a decade after the deaths of Engels and Morris, the Socialist Party started making a number of distinctive contributions to socialist theory. These include being an open democratic party standing for revolution rather than reform and recognising that political democracy can be used for revolutionary ends without the need for leaders. We opposed WWI and all other wars. In 1918 we recognised the Bolshevik seize of power as a coup which hastened the development of Russian state capitalism. We identified nationalisation as state capitalism and predicted the inevitable failure of electing Labour and Social-Democratic governments as a way to introduce socialism. We stated that capitalism will not collapse of its own accord and that the state, including the ‘welfare state’, is ultimately financed by taxation on profits. Further, that as capitalism is a global system its replacement, socialism, will be too, but without borders. There is no need for a ‘transition period’ between capitalism and socialism: we have long had the resources and technology to establish a world of production for use and free access without the need for money or central planning.