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The Mechanics
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Social Issues Fri May 29 2009

Leftists To Gather, Dialectics Likely

Much has been made of the Rasmussen Poll indicating that among young people especially, socialism and capitalism enjoy about equal popularity. If this poll is to be trusted, something like 110,000,000 adult Americans would prefer something else--for about 40,000,000 of them, socialism--to capitalism.

This may disappoint some of my socialist friends, but I honestly think that those results reflect the tendency of conservatives to call every public activity not performed for the purpose of further enriching the wealthy "socialism"; to call all social or public activity "socialism" and to decry all secularist tendencies as "socialist"; to call raising the top marginal tax rate on the plutocrats by 3% "socialism"; to refer to efforts to cut defense spending "socialism"; to make Medicare available to all "socialism"; to give workers the right to organize a union without fear "socialism", etc. As a result, I think, people, particularly younger people who have no real world experience with socialism, think "socialism" just means a mixed economy.

If you're one of the 47% of Americans who are seeking an alternative to capitalism, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) will be holding its annual conference here from June 18th to 21st (and in San Francisco from July 2nd to 5th; just like a buncha socialists to ignore the 4th of July!). You can register to attend and be dialectic-ed into believing that social relations structure all human institutions and that the contradictions of capitalism are inherent and will necessarily lead to its destruction. Also, refreshments.

Socialism2009's slogan is "Building a New Left for a New Era". Speakers will include Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Sportswriter Dave Zirin of The Nation, and journalist Jeremy Scahill, among others. Seeing Goodman and Zirin speak is worth the price of admission. Also, Heather Rogers (author of Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage) will be giving a talk on the difficulties of having a truly green economy in a capitalist system that will be interesting for those of you who not only have socialist tendencies, but also may be hippies.

*Drab clothing, pince-nez glasses not required; monocles, top hats discouraged.

 
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ivan / May 29, 2009 10:25 PM

it's not the question of ideology, common people are looking for better (in their opinion) life-styles. thus, like kids, they very often take to trying something new of which they may not be quite aware of. they experiment- they have the right to, hoping to resolve the problems they have better.

Good Luck / May 31, 2009 8:57 AM

Maybe they can show some photos of how socialism is implemented:

http://www.therealcuba.com/page5.htm


Ramsin / May 31, 2009 2:06 PM

Yikes. Horrifying. My guess is they probably won't include that link.

Comrade / June 1, 2009 1:04 AM

Fortunately, we don't think Cuba represents socialism...

Sam / June 1, 2009 1:26 AM

Yeah, Che and Castro shot a soldier for raping and looting, and executed Batista police and military officers who tortured and killed thousands of Cuban men, women and children. I feel really sorry for them!

Good Luck / June 1, 2009 9:59 AM

"To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary ... these procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail..."

Che Guevara - (who summarily executed homosexuals, for those who are interested in gay rights)

Of course you don't believe Cuba represents socialism. Its hard to sell ideology to someone (even impressionable youths) when the real world results are wretched poverty, institutionalized corruption and racism, and despair. Even Castro's own daughter fled the island.

However, Socialism Today seems to think Cuba represents socialism: http://www.socialismtoday.org/104/cuba.html

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