By Gary Shaw
Editor's Note: In 2009, Patrick Wilson, a reporter for the Virginian Pilot, contacted several SP-CVA members for interviews, etc. This was Mr. Shaw's response to Mr. Wilson (Wilson's resulting article being "Socialists Say Their True Beliefs Are Being Misconstrued"). The title, "The Bird May Die," was gleaned by myself from the body of Mr. Shaw's article, as it had none.
Author's Note: This was the original write-up for the Virginian Pilot article. It must have been too much truth for them, or, if published as is, Frank Batten would have battened down their hatches.
After looking up the true meaning of the word "socialist," I went on to research what the ideological, or world, view differences really were. "It's all about the money," so they say: who gets it, who deserves it. But a nagging question was "the massive debt." If our country is trillions of dollars in debt, then who exactly is in debt to whom... and why? I am a member of the Socialist Party USA, and have served as a seated delegate at the Party's National Convention; but like many members, have primary concerns. Mine is political economy.
The common people believe anything you tell them; the politicians play the term for advantage. If a socialist ever makes it into office, he is labeled an "Independent." This is the way we are told there is no alternative but the lesser of two evils.
Obama, a socialist? Certainly not. The "moderate" line has been drifting right for decades. The public is swayed by what they are going to get in the short term. We are racing into a brick wall. The question now is how hard does it have to be? Climate change, continued division of the rich and poor, exhaustion of natural resources: these are real. What in politics do we have now?
Two wings of the same bird, yet the bird cannot fly,
I call you to reason to ask yourself why?
They call the bird an Eagle, supposed to soar in the sky,
Yet there'll be a season the bird may well die.
Today we hear the word more, probably as a result of desperately grasping Republicans, warning the people that we are headed (with Obama) down the slippery slope towards - what amounts to - the "failed Soviet system." Rubbish.
Socialism is not an easy subject to understand, otherwise we would all be socialists. I wish we had more time to discuss what you actually need to spread "our gospel."
There must be a distinction between the neo-liberal agenda and that of Capitalism as a system. There are those who believe that the neo-liberal model needs adjustment; however, the basic adherence to Capitalism as an economic base must be addressed as well. Our president, as a Democrat (and not a socialist), believes our solution to the current economic conundrum is to work within the system of so-called "free enterprise" and world trade. Unfortunately, these lie at the core of the problem. To satisfy those who are in control of the current system (i.e. the major stakeholders- shareholders [Wall St.], the military-industrial complex, the media [Murdock, Turner, et al.], and others) only limited reforms within their worldview are authorized. Socialists are committed to an overhaul of the current system so that people's lives are under their own control, and they are the owners of the means of production, rather than just participants under "representation" (which we all know is not real). We believe in full-employment for those who are willing to work, not a mass of available workers in a reserve army pool of labor. Obama believes that we can tinker with a system which still favors the rights of the employer over the employed. The employed, although at the bottom of the Ponzi scheme structure of the economy, are still the entire support structure of all money-makers above them. The workers are not capitalists. To be a capitalist requires reaping the benefits of those workers who "work for you," so to speak.
The term "socialist" has become an epitaph, a term to be used among the dead. In light of the fallen Soviet Union, a bad taste has been left in the mouth of post-Cold War warriors: "Socialism [sic] has failed, and there is no alternative to the capitalist system which has triumphed [also sic]." Too many times our natural progression (invention is the mother of necessity) towards socialism, has been characterized in light of earlier experimental failures. Let it be known that there are so-called "mixed economies" (e.g. Scandinavia) which in part incorporate both economic systems. However, they are not socialist. The fact that they do succeed as Western European economies does not mean that they have incorporated that which is necessary to ensure full equality and services to their citizens. It may be instructive to look to the new South American Model (read ALBA [Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean]) to understand the possible future of other developing countries.