I am a socialist because I believe it is evident that capitalism, and its emphasis on the ‘race to the bottom’, brings out the worst in human beings. Pushing wages to the ground so that most workers of the world lose any chance of a dignified life just asks for unrest, individualism, and the crime and violence that follow.
Whether we look at the vast slums present in most large cities of the world, the children begging on streets, or the people pushing and pulling their fellow workers in order to get a place on public transport, it is all too apparent that capitalism favours those who are already rich (thanks to exploitation of workers – both paid and unpaid – that colonial powers took advantage of for many centuries) or the tiny minority who are lucky enough to find themselves in the right place, with the right skills at the right time.
Many communist systems of the world, both past and present, were indeed often taken over (or sabotaged) by bureaucratic elites that tried to consolidate their own power by limiting certain freedoms. However, even then they usually managed to ensure employment, housing, education, healthcare, and culture for their citizens. The financial elites of the world would love us to believe that the fall of the Soviet Union proved these things are unattainable.
However, imagine we had a democratic system, where human dignity was the priority. Imagine if the people, and not a small elite of wealthy politicians, united to govern together in the best interests of the whole of society. That doesn’t sound at all unattainable. We have seen humans join together in the past, and some scientists even believe that sympathy is our strongest instincts, and one of those that has made our species so successful. In short, we don’t have to be the primitive, selfish animals that the defendants of capitalism say that we are. It may even go against human nature to behave as the capitalist system prescribes.
We need to accept that the capitalist system ruling the world today is putrid, and only works for a tiny minority of people while the rest are exploited.
We need to accept that it is only a matter of time before the world can no longer sustain the greed at the heart of that system.
We need to accept that there is an alternative and start discussing howwe want to build it and what we want it to look like.