"You may say I'm a dreamer
but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you will join us
and the world will be as one"
-- John Lennon (Imagine)
Socialism, the word is today almost as bad as facism was after world war II. After the fall of the Soviet Union, people say that socialism was a fine idea, but it doesn't work in reality. Because one version of socialism (marxist dictatorship 1) didn't work I wouldn't rule out the whole concept. It's like saying that humanity is evil because of what Hitler did. You cannot judge the whole from one sample.
Why I am a socialist
I am not a socialist because I think it is possible to have an Utopian society. I am simply a socialist because the market has some built in errors in it and I think socialism is the best way to get rid of them. If you like to know more about socialism check out Why socialism, by Albert Einstein or try this link, which has listed many types of socialism (and I probably disagree with most of them).
Actually, it is not socialism that doesn't work in reality, it is capitalism that doesn't. I can give some examples:
- A totally free market will lead to economic depression like the one in the 1930s. There are computers programmed to buy and sell according to the "rules" of the market, but they are designed to cut off when a recession comes or else all computers would sell and the market would collapse. This shows that there has to be an external controll to keep the recessions away and keep the booms high.
- The market is totally unaware of, and unconcerned about, the wellfare of an individual.
- Some sectors of the market requires big companies so there will automatically arise oligopoly and monopoly and theese might be able to take control of the world
- The market does not take concern about long term goals. Imagine a table with something that looks like a landscape with mountains and vallies. Now put a metal bullet on the table, and give it a good shaking. The bullet will roll to one of the valleys and stay there. This is a model of the market, which I think is in good agreement with fractal theory. The bullet does not "see" if there are deeper valleys that it could go to. For the same reason the market will miss its highest gain, because it can only see to the short term goals.
- Because of our present economy the earth is dying.
- What will happen when 1000.000.000 Chineese, x thousand Indians and everybody else want to buy cars?
- We are using the best topsoil to grow coffee, tobacco and other useless growths
- Money has become a trading goods, which leads to many problems such as inflation and interest.
There are many problems with capitalism, and I think that socialism is the best way to solve them. Note that socialism is not marxism, is not dictatorship and does not require that market economy is removed.
In recent times I have more and more come to like the idea of Syndicalism. For those of you who don't know what Syndicalism is, here is a little description of the parts I like.
Syndicalism is against centralization. Small self-running units will give the workers greater democratic controll over their works, and will decrease alienation. The units are owned by the workers as a cooperative, and all descisions are made by worker-councils. The units will cooperate with each others by means of networks -- no centralized authoritarian controll. Interestingly enough, similar ideas of company networks are very popular today among company leaders.
Unlike Social Democrats and Communists, Syndicalists are men of action, not politics. Syndicalism is not aimed at taking controll of the state through elections or revolution, but to eat up capitalism from within. Since that hasn't happened in all time that has passed since the mid 19th century, when Syndicalism arose, I suppose there is a hitch somewhere. This is probably the biggest reason why I just like the idea of Syndicalism and don't call myself a Syndicalist.
Another means for Syndicalism is to work through the Union, by general strikes. History has shown many examples of Syndicalist strikes which have been, at least partly, sucessful. When the Fascists began their revolution in Spain in the 1930s and the politicians and company leaders flead from the country, it were the Syndicalists who made resistance, by strikes, taking controll over factories, and arming themselves. In the 1920s the Kapp government in Germany was removed in a coup, and the politicians ran away, but it were the Syndicalists who made resistance by a general strike which forced the coup-makers to resign and reinstall the legal government.
Syndicalism is also anti-nationalistic. It is a super-national organisation, which wants to unite all poeple in the world. The loyalty for a Syndicalist is not towards people of an arbitrarily defined nation or people, but to people with similar ideas all over the world. There are neither any reasons for a syndicalist to make war or use any other violence, unless his rights are threatened.
Before WW1 the French Syndicalists wanted to make a deal with the largest Union in Germany that both would make a general strike if the countries would declare war against each other. The Germans refused, but it is an interesting thought to ponder what would have happened if some of the European unions would have made such a treaty before the great war. Would there have been any World wars at all? Would it have been possible for Hitler to take over the power in Germany? Anti-democratic forces may have the political power, but if the workers are agaist them, what can they really do if no one obeys? This is one thing I like about Syndicalism, that the people don't just take orders, but that they act when something is wrong. Strikes and boycotts are the peaceful weapons of Syndicalism.
I you haven't read Why socialism, by Albert Einstein yet, I think you should do that now. I certainly don't agree with everything he says, but a lot is good.
- Marxist Dictatorship is a term that is highly contestable. I use it, not as I understand Marxism, but after the image most people have of it. Marxist Dictatorship is for many socialists a contradiction in term. "The dictatorhip of the proletariat" was not supposed to be anti-democratic, but a term used in the same way as "The dictatorship of the majority", simply meaning that the workers would be legally in controll of society. For those socialists, a Marxist society is a classless society, where there can be no dictatorship. I see this as an unreasonable Utopia, but I still think that the Soviet system was a distorted version of Marxism, probably one Marx would have critizised even harder than he critizised capitalism.
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Last update: Monday, September 21, 1998