Im doing more studies on a university in Canada, and decided to attend a meeting regarding socialism.
I don't support socialism, but I wanted to know the LOGIC behind this group's ideology. I also had some questions for them.
Sadly I left more disappointed and confused. Logic was not present tonight. I still support capitalism.
1. After the speaker, we were encouraged to ask questions. I asked the question, "Socialism has had many failings before. Many socialist countries became corrupt and oppressed its people later on. How would you ensure that socialism would be implemented properly in Canada and that we will MAINTAIN it? (basically, I wanted to know what checks and balances they would put in to ensure that corrupt leaders could be ousted and that the working class would maintain power.)" I had to rephrase this question many, many and many times, since people wanted to either skim over it. I never received a clear cut answer and was told to purchase a pamphlet that answered my question.
2. When i walked in, a greeter asked me if I wanted to sign a petition regarding recent government cuts. I asked for more information and she directed me to a pamphlet (no price tags visible). I took the pamphlet and tried to walk away, but I was told that I have to pay for this pamphlet since they don't collect money from anyone (the irony right? They also collect donations from their members every week, which was not advertised in their poster. In fact, no mention of any payment required on the poster.). I decided not to take any pamphlets since I was unsure of this organization and I could just Google this issue.
3. Their stance on capitalism (does it work or not?): The speaker first started by bashing capitalism for about 30 minutes. He talked about how capitalism never worked and that there is significant poverty. But at the end, he said that capitalism worked and created wealth (and that now, since there are more working class people, socialism should take over to redistribute the wealth).
4. They also said that it is wrong for the "bosses" of using their workers to profit which is wrong but then encouraged the working class to revolt and basically steal the means of production that the owner created?!
5. No clear answers were given on how socialism will be implemented with proper checks and balances or how it will solve all of the world's problems (that capitalism caused, see below).
I do not agree with these points, but I will leave them up for people who are curious about why university kids may support this ideology.
The speaker's main points
1. Introduction: They quoted Malcolm X.
2. Capitalism bashing: THIS WAS A MAJOR PART, consisting of many many many over-generalizations.
- Socialism can be successful. Successful socialist country: Sudan. Apparently, this group thinks that Sudan is an example of a good country, where means of production is truly owned by the people.
The argument against capitalism was basically as follows:
Premise 1: We live in a capitalistic society, but
Premise 2: a lot of bad things are happening (rising poverty, food scarcity, refugee crisis, ).
Conclusion: Therefore, capitalism must be causing these problems. (To which I wanted to ask, couldn't socialism still be worse? Perhaps if we lived in a socialist world, we would be worse? But i did not ask)
2.1 Unhappy people. Apparently, in 2016, majority of Americans didn't agree with where the country was going. I think they were trying to imply that Americans wanted to be socialist, since they followed up with the sentence, "Likewise, 58% of Canadians support socialism."
2.2 Poverty and food scarcity is rising. Yet big corporations like supermarkets are throwing away food.
2.3 Capitalism ensures unemployment, racism and sexism. Capitalism is a "profit driven mode of production" that can't survive without profit. It also does not use max labour and needs certain amount of people to be unemployed to profit.
We were told that capitalism encouraged racism after World War (I or II, dont remember). Apparently, whites were given nice jobs with pensions and benefits where as coloured/other races were not given these things.
2.4 Inequality: The top 1% of the world own 50% of the wealth in the world. In addition, governments will do favours for these privileged people but not for the everyday worker. They quoted how to government bailed out banks in 2008 but would never bailout people who can't pay rent (which is weird because we have welfare.......)
2.5 Supply side economics (trickle down economics) does not work. They said wealthy people do NOT reinvest the money. Apparently, US companies have a combined 1.9 trillion USD just sitting in their bank accounts. The group claimed that these funds will never be reinvested, especially since the economy isn't good right now. (I'm not sure where they got this figure or the confirmation that the funds will not be reinvested).
2.6 Capitalism damages the environment because it is profitable to do so. They didn't really expand on this point a lot.
3. Why previous socialist countries failed.
3.1 USSR wasn't a complete failure: There were some successes. For example, women's rights were better much sooner that Western countries. Russia legalized abortion and decriminalized homosexuality.
3.2 Venezuela was not a socialist country. It was going towards being a socialist country but failed due to the oil prices and because government couldn't bail them out.
3.3 China, North Korea and USSR failed as a socialist country because the conditions were not good for socialism to develop. In order to be a successful socialist country, it needs a revolution as well as a strong working class (majority). Both of these factors need to be present. However, China and many other countries didn't have this. This is why it is not a truly socialist country.
4. Revolution will happen whether you like it or not. You can either have it done to you or you can be a part of the revolution. Yeah, i don't agree with this.