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There’s a lot of talk in the media today about socialism. The conversation centers on the deepening government intervention into the economy and whether a socialist America is in fact being created. However, two key points have been confused or avoided. The first is that government handouts of billions of dollars to giant corporations is not socialism. The second is that there is no discussion in the media of what socialism really is.

Socialism is the transition period between the winning of political power by the working class and the period where a cooperative society is organized. Until the working class achieves political power, there is no way to reorganize the economy to meet people’s needs because the capitalists won’t allow it. Under socialism, the struggle is to transform corporate private property into public property that is owned in common by the people.

Socialism sets the stage for the creation of an economy based on the principle that everyone contributes their talents and skills to the society; in turn, everyone receives from the society all of the food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, and other necessities that they need. In addition, under a truly cooperative society, there is no need for government to “order people around.” Government merely organizes the distribution of what people need to survive and thrive.

Yet it is in the interest of the rich and powerful to promote confusion and distrust about what socialism really is. Let’s dispel these misconceptions.

The first misconception comes from the idea that “Social Democracy” (as in England, France and Germany) is socialism. In fact, these nations are capitalist. Also, it is impossible to have an economy that is half capitalist and half socialist. (Can a slave be half slave and half free?) What happened is that after WWII, Western Europe provided extensive social programs for their workers in order to stabilize capitalism.  But these are social programs, not socialism. They can be taken away in times of economic crisis, and are being taken away today. This is why workers must achieve the political power to enforce their will.

A second misconception comes from the different way socialism was organized in various countries during the 20th century. Each took a different form based on the particular history of the countries involved. All were based on the limited productive capacity of the time.

What is new today?

The ideals of socialism have been around for centuries, but, the productive capacity to fully create such a society did not exist until now. With robotics, the ability to produce abundance has finally arrived. Today, there is no need for a single person to go without any necessity.

Robotics is also creating — for the first time in history — an objective, practical, non-ideological movement that is forced to fight for a new cooperative society. In America’s Rust Belt, for example, millions of formerly well-paid workers are losing their jobs permanently. Under capitalism, without work, people have no way to buy food, clothing, shelter and other necessities. Something has to give.

What can we do?

The capitalists are nationalizing key sectors of the economy in a vain attempt to stabilize capitalism. This is our opportunity. We must demand that nationalization be in the interest of the public, not the corporations. Through this struggle, revolutionaries can educate people about their true class interests and about the need to fight for political power over the corporations. Revolutionaries have to show that what people are actually fighting for is a cooperative world where everyone’s needs are met.




Those of us who seek fundamental social change are engaged in a battle to win the hearts and minds of the people. This can't be done without a revolutionary press. For 40 years, the People's Tribune has brought our readers the stories of those who are struggling to move forward in a world where corporate power is threatening to crush them. Along with those stories, we try to offer some strategic perspective to help put the struggle in context and point the way toward victory. We need your help to continue doing this. The People's Tribune gets no grants and has an all-volunteer staff. We rely completely on subscriptions and donations from our readers to enable us to go on telling the truth. Please donate whatever you can. See the subscription/donation form on the right. You can also donate using Pay Pal on our web site, www.peoplestribune.org.
People's Tribune Editorial Board





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The People's Tribune needs your help to go on being a voice of the people. We need to raise an additional $1000 each month  to continue publishing in our current form. For 40 years, the People's Tribune has brought our readers the stories of those who are struggling to move forward in a world where corporate power is threatening to crush them. Along with those stories, we try to offer some strategic perspective to help put the struggle in context and point the way toward victory. The People's Tribune gets no grants and has an all-volunteer staff. We rely completely on subscriptions and donations from our readers. We do this so that we can continue speaking the truth.

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