I am sick and tired of reading ignorant people who’ve never read anything Marx or Engels wrote (except possibly the Communist Manifesto) baselessly claim that ‘socialism doesn’t work’.
My simple response to people who spout this empty rhetoric is to ask: how do you know?
Ever since the West witnessed the horror that was the Soviet Union and red China, the dream of socialism has been inexorably married in our literature, politics, rhetoric and culture to these perverse manifestations of totalitarianism. The impact of these horrors has struck all sides of the political spectrum from the left to the right. On left, we have seen them seemingly no longer willing to call themselves ‘socialists’ so they go by monkiers like “anarco-socialists” which, at least under the original definition of the term, is as redundant a phrase as PIN number, ATM machine, or NDP party.
On the other end of the spectrum, when he really wants to insult the New Democrats, Conservative cabinet Minister Monte Solberg calls them ‘socialists’. In the US, when a word dirtier than the ‘n’ word or the ‘c’ word is needed, usually ‘socialist’ suffices.
The problem with all of this verbosity on both the left and the right, of course, is that what happened in the Soviet Union, China and elsewhere bears little if any resemblance to anything that was ever uttered by either Marx or Engels. To say that these countries were socialist is a bit akin to taking a beautifully romantic ballad and then, having never witnessed romantic intercourse, witnessing a horrible rape and claiming that one naturally derives from the other.
In short, the Soviet Union was not the failure of socialism so much as it was the rape of humanity and of socialism itself in equal measure.
So, to those of you on the right wing: okay, fine, keep hating socialism, that’s alright. But if you’re going to be honest and actually read what Marx wrote and then read any history of the Soviet Union, you should all realize that we cannot know that socialism doesn’t work since it’s never been tried in the industrialized world.
And to those of you on the left wing: quit being such cowards and reclaim something that once stood for something just and bold and pure and quit thinking that socialism is a dirty word!