Capitalism. It’s a word most nations are familiar with, running on its false promises of easy upward mobility. Capitalism – A Small Yet Big Idea No One Will Stand For.
The theory goes that if you just try hard enough, you will succeed. It rules us, determining everything from our general day-to-day activities to whether have food and a place to live.
And, depending on your political and moral persuasion, you either support it and live by its code, or it fills you with a burning, never-ending rage.
With the United States presidential primaries underway, the concept of capitalism has come to the fore once again. Our candidates and their varying shades of personal politics have stepped into the ring, declaring their allegiances and making pleas to supporters and the undecided voters who make up many of the statistics.
Most of them are hardcore capitalists, still supporting an idea that is at the point a failed dream. The future feels like a nightmare, a classic dystopia once the purview of novelists and screenwriters. The system is dead if it ever truly worked. We need a new system. Those unabashed, hardcore evangelists for the old guard are looking backwards, and the underprivileged (women, people of colour, and LGBT people, for example) among us are paying – sometimes with their lives.
We need to incorporate various socialist principles and end this crisis, and we need to do it fast. Medical and rent costs are increasing year-by-year, and yet, the minimum wage has stagnated. Sure, we can increase the minimum wage, but then all that would happen (this is just my interpretation) is food and rent costs would increase.
Doing the same thing again just isn’t enough. Sure, it’s a nice and needed attempt at this point, but it’s only a band-aid. A complete overhaul would be a better step at coming to a solution.
There’s an oft-referenced concept in Communism (which, contrary to popular belief, isn’t quite the same as socialism) that states “the worker must seize the means of production.” Give the power back to the workers from the hands of the capitalist overlords, even if workers must use force to achieve this aim. The fight will be long and gruelling, but in the end, it will be a better place for having had it happen.
But we don’t even need it to be such a violent thing, as many leftists seem all-too-comfortable and eager with. I’m a practical person, and would much rather not have blood on my hands (if I can prevent it). If we incorporate socialist ideals into our modern system, why would we even need this?
Communism ends up with state control, and if you talk to people who lived under communist dictatorships, it seems unlikely you’ll get a rave review. Or don’t talk to them, just look at the defectors from North Korea who escaped into China.
All that we need to do for the time being is change our economic system. Look at countries where socialized medicine is a thing. These places always rank highest for life happiness, and lowest for suicide rates. They must be doing something right. And they’re not even communist societies. This distinction between communism and socialism is so slight, but it makes all the difference.
Will the United States ever adopt anything approaching what other developed nations have? It’s hard to tell. I’m definitely certain now is not the time. If you listen to conservative talk radio, the logic goes that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are just as far left as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Biden and Harris are pretty much dead-centre as far as their political alignment goes, meaning they tow the line and aren’t trying to upset the status quo. No socialism with either of them and to be honest, both tend to be pretty conservative when you examine their voting records. To my knowledge, neither believes in socialized medicine (a hallmark of socialist democracies).
Sanders might be the closest thing to a socialist candidate we have right now, and even he doesn’t fit the bill. It’s gonna be a long night before we have a candidate who genuinely fits the definition of a socialist. But of course, we’ll cry about how crazy he is. It’s shameful, really.
I’m not making any suggestions as to who you should vote for, so don’t take any of this as such. But I am making a plea that we need a better system than the one we have right now. It’s a failure, and nothing is getting better.
I’m sure I’ve angered a lot of people who have made it this far (on every end of the spectrum), but I believe entirely in what I’ve said. This doesn’t mean I’m not open to general criticism, or a firm, yet kind, rebuff.
Being able to change one’s views is something we should all be fans of, and I’d like to see more of this change in peoples’ views toward socialist democracy and the system we have right now. Change and adaptation is the only way we thrive.
Stephanie Knarr recently moved to Pittsburgh, PA from the Harrisburg, PA area. Her writing appears in Harrisburg’s local magazine, The Burg, and her work will soon appear in Unwinnable and Five:2: One. Her favourite drink is RC Cola, and her favourite band is probably Animal Collective.