We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Empire Files: Understanding Marxism and Socialism

Click here if you wish to access an interview conducted with Richard Wolff by Abby Martin posted by TeleSur on YouTube.

I highly recommend the first 29:50 minutes of this 31:18m interview in which Wolff explains the key concepts of socialism as interpreted by Karl Marx. In this major segment he offers with great clarity also an understanding of the criminal nature of capitalism, that capitalism is essentially organized crime.

The last 1:28m are marred by his promotion of Bernie Sanders' self-identification with socialism when in fact his political views are that of social democracy which represents a capitalist fix for all the chaos their system creates for working people. I challenge anyone to find among Sanders' speeches any statements that expresses his wish for public ownership and control of economic enterprises. The latter are the key ingredients of socialism and the direct opposite of capitalism with its fanatic emphasis on individual ownership and control. 

Social democracy only adds significant safety nets to capitalism to prevent the worst effects of the frequent capitalist crises on working people. Even the strongest forms of social democracy found in Europe, which were introduced following WWII to appease the widespread popularity of true socialism, is being dismantled due to the competition from transnational corporations that take advantage of global operations.

People who are true revolutionaries do not mix up these concepts, but people who have pursued careers in politics (Sanders) and in academia (Wolff) do often mix them up. They do this because their careers demand it, or to put it another way, the capitalist overseers of their careers demand it. It is the only way they can express opinions that are favorable to socialism and maintain their careers.