An Introduction to Socialism

hey everybody my name is Kevin and welcome to my youtube channel I you might see that the majority of mine are little travel videos maybe a little flying and some Kerbal space program videos but I hope to do more of what this next video is which is a lecture that I do every year or a couple of times a year for my high school class about socialism I know that's a big scary word but I am a longtime believer in the ideas of Marx and Marxism all that good stuff and I hope that this is the first introduction in a way that its introduction to high school class it's try to be easy and understandable so hopefully you'll enjoy it and if you like it let me know if you don't let me know and we'll go from there but without further ado here's the lecture on intro to socialism this is one of the best classes I have ever had kg hmm all right we'll see please let's go all right well how many people are on the other side like the side of the room that the laptop or whatever isn't facing is there a is there a lot of people on alright that's fine so okay well I don't know how much of an introduction Walters gave about me I guess you got the little sheet in front of you or you had but real sort of quick my name's Kevin and I went to OHS in 2000 I graduated in 2004 I went to undergrad at MSU in Mankato I studied political science and philosophy I got a a BS in political science and philosophy which you guys can laugh at that that that's it's funny right right alright well loosen up a little bit so um I graduated from college when the economy tanked in 2008 so it was very very difficult to find a job so I went back to I went back to college got a masters of Public Administration which is basically like a business degree but for the government I moved to Florida couldn't find a job ended up getting a job at a paralegal as a paralegal for a law firm that was helping people going through foreclosure during the foreclosure crisis so you know when you buy a house you get a loan from the bank so the bank basically owns your house cuz if you don't pay your mortgage the bank forecloses on the mortgage and takes your house away so I was helping people who were being treated unfairly by the big banks who got billions of our dollars so that's kind of how I got into the law stuff I ended up working the factory a little bit when I came back to Minnesota and worked at some law firms realized that it was gonna be anything but a paralegal if I didn't go to law school so I went to law school I'm here in DC I just finished law school like this semester so just a few weeks ago submitted my last finals so right now I'm studying for the bar exam that'll be I'll take in DC and I'm working at a at a local law firm here so you guys do have any questions about law stuff I guess I can answer that too but but brief background as to how I I'm here to talk about sort of introduction to Marxism and socialism and stuff so I kind of think it's important to tell you how sort of I got here so I was 16 in at OHS and I was in our English class I we had to do like an Oxford style debate and Walters will tell you that I was a very perhaps overconfident young man and so I wanted to yeah sure and I thought that I could probably beat anybody with the power of my words so I thought that I would take on something that I knew I would lose excuse me so I thought well I learned in my history classes that Nazism communism socialism terrorism anarchism it's all the same right it's all anti-american anti-capitalist bad lots of death kind of stuff so let's let's argue for for something like that and I thought arguing for Hitler is a little distasteful so let's argue for communism so then I had to actually read things like the Communist Manifesto and actually read about the ideas behind communism and what I realized and what I will tell you is everything that you've learned about it is likely wrong there's a there's a lot of reasons why there's a big campaign that's waged in the school of propaganda against this idea because it challenges the status quo that we sort of live under and so there's a big disinformation campaign about what these ideas really represent and so I actually realized that that was the case I gave the I did the debate and it's Oxford style so at the beginning everyone votes who's in favor who's against so everyone was against you know the United States adopting a communist form of government I think was the was the was the motion and then did the did the debate and I actually sort of believed that it was actually a good thing we actually should do that and so I ended up convincing the entire class so everyone opposed at the beginning everyone in favor at the end so I thought oh there's something to this so then I was in Walters economics class and I was very annoyed that he didn't talk about socialism because it was all just capitalism stock market money was kind of nonsense and so I thought we should talk about socialism so he told me that I should give the lecture I gave the lecture to my own class when I was a senior in high school and then he asked me to come back and do another one and thirteen years later Here I am so yeah I have been involved in this for awhile I've been involved in a lot of different socialist organizations communist organizations and you know have tried to help people who are the victims of this economic system and so I guess at minimum hopefully I don't seem like some crazy weirdo who's got some far-out ideas that are reasonable or anything like that so hopefully I get a little bit of credit I don't know we'll see you guys you guys let me know if that convinces you or not but just before I start I guess um what do you guys think about when you hear the word socialism if somebody tells you hey I'm a socialist what do you think about that person what what what is it what does it make you think about anybody I want it to be interactive so if you have a question just answer just ask it but you know I don't care interrupt me I'm not some lecture so you go right ahead and if I can't hear you we'll have to have somebody parrot you know do you trust that person do you think that person is a good person is a bad person there's somebody to be afraid of someone need to be what do you think about what they think or D are you I mean but okay let's do this raise your hand if you think that if somebody says I'm a socialist they're a good person how many of you would be worried about that person would thing – that person is dangerous well my job is done you guys are all you guys are like ready to join the revolution it's great so how many people I mean I imagine you guys have learned about the Soviet Union and about the gulags and the massive oppress that in the Soviet Union and in in China the oppression that happens there and a lot of those those kind of experiences which are pretty pretty terrible terrible experience is that you guys raise your hand if you've heard about those stories about those experiences otherwise okay right on so the I I guess I want to start out by saying that a lot of those things are not recognizable in the Marxist tradition as something that you could call socialist it's really I mean people have this idea of socialism is where the government runs everything there's no freedom the government decides what you do when you do it how you do it and that everyone's paid equally except for there's a group of people who are extremely wealthy and and get get more perks than everybody else does that sound familiar to everybody corrupt societies where there's bread lines and all that kind of stuff right all right well that's not what it is that's what Stalin said that socialism was and Stalin was wrong and we've all been parroting what Joseph Stalin has told us was what socialism is and Joseph Stalin was not a socialist at least in terms of what system he presided over he was an authority arian thug and i think that that's an important thing to say right away that i am in no way advocating for what happened in the Saudi Union what happened in the Soviet Union and in China and in Cuba and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which is the which is North Korea are can be understood through a certain framework of understanding the world and that framework is Marxism that that it's a that I think an important thing to understand is that the ideas of Marx and Marxism are not dogma they're not it's not the Bible it's not Marx said we have to do X therefore we have to do X you might think that given what a lot of people who are in favor of Stalinism would think but really it's a framework to understand how what's going on in the world and how you can understand the importance of history in terms of understanding the present so I don't know if you guys have the little outline in front of you but I wanted to sort of start out by just introducing a basic idea which is that Marxism is a scientific framework for understanding excuse me history ok meaning it's a way to see how history's developed so that we can understand what's going on and because one important thing that mark said was that all the philosophers before him and before at that time had sought to interpret the world but the point is to change it so your interpretation is all well and good but if it doesn't give you the framework to make the world better and it's not really that valuable and so Marx is important that he's not just giving a framework to understand he's also giving a framework to critique and to go beyond which is very important it's not just a critical thing it's not just complaining it's also trying to understand what we can do about the things that we see that are wrong so what what's really important about what Marx said is that is that we have to understand that that what's really important are the material kinds of people's lives what they think is is important and and will be determined in a lot of ways by what their society is like so really what you have to do if you want to understand how history's developed and how people have come to where we are today you have to understand what their societies were like on the ground who produced what who owned what who was able to distribute goods and services because that's what really determines the majority of people's lives it isn't whether you think that this is true or that is true or believed in a god or don't or anything like that that none of that is really all that important in understanding how history has developed so when you look at history you can look at it through a certain you can look at it through a different framework an idealistic framework which is where Marx sort of gets his basic ideas from a philosopher called hegel hegel came up with this idea of dialectical idealism and dialectical idealism is that ideas major ideas like like freedom and religion community rights all of these ideas are guide history and they come out because of competitions between different ideas and that competition is done in a dialectical form that just means there's a thing then there's its opposite its antithesis so a thesis and antithesis and they will because they're opposites inevitably collide with one another and and some of the contradictions in each will fall away and it will produce a new synthesis that's the sort of way to think about it the easiest way that I know to explain it is is evolution so evolution by natural selection is about the genetic the sort of way we pass down genes being in sort of encountering changes in the environment that then change that cause a response that creates a genetic mutation that then responds to the change and it continues on in that dialectical way there's a there's a thing there's its reaction it produces a new thing which has its own reaction and so forth so Marx took that idea and said yeah that dialectical method makes sense that is how things sort of work there's a give-and-take on everything when when you make someone mad they tend to make someone else mad or they come back at you in the same way there's a lot of those kind of interactions that are how things actually sort of work but what Hegel said is that they do that in the form of ideas in sort of people's minds so there are times in history when a new idea comes out like constitutional democracy where all of a sudden it changes everything because it counteracts with the old ideas and sort of supersedes them and Mark said no no no that's not it what it is it's the material conditions of people's lives it's not idealism its materialism so it's dialectical materialism so what that sort of means is that when you look through history what you find is that there are different periods of history in terms of human organization based on different modes of production so in you know the sort of two hundred fifty thousand to say twelve thousand years ago we were basically small groups of hunter-gatherers in Africa mostly in Africa we kind of spread out a little bit but small groups and what Marx called and there's a little different terms in anthropology now but but basically a sort of communal or primitive communist kind of organization where you hunted you gathered and then in order to keep everybody alive you had to give food otherwise you couldn't hoard food you couldn't sell it it wasn't really money or anything like that you got the stuff and you distributed it in a way that was helpful at least to the continuation of the little group but then we developed agriculture around 12,000 years ago and we developed different forms of production and so you had sort of slave based productions where one group would enslave the other own own the sort of land and tie them to the land which then developed into a feudal arrangement where he had knights and kings and Lords who oversaw serfs and peasants who were tied to land who would Perdue the production but didn't own anything and then that's that developed into a capitalist system where instead of having feudal lords and serfs you had employers and employees where one group owns and controls and the other one essentially instead of being like a slave to somebody or somebody who is continuously indebted to somebody you then rent out yourself to another person so they develop in these different sort of periods of time and what you really have to understand and why the the beginning of the Communist Manifesto says the history all of the hitherto history of the other world is the history of class struggle because what you have to understand is that the mode of production always produces classes of society so a lot of us here today when we think about class we have no idea what we're talking about like if I advised you how many of you guys are working-class people raise your hand if you're working class who's who's middle-class all right and who's who's rich yeah so so I'm guessing everyone doesn't is neither not is not middle class not rich or not poor um how many of you guys think that you're sort of in the middle you're not rich you're not poor okay that's the idea the idea is that there's this great middle class of people who aren't poor and art rich the thing is a class is not how much money you make it's not how comfortable you are in society what a class is is what is your relationship to how things are done so here's here's a better question how many of you own your own business raise your hand if you own your own business all right how many of you guys have a job raise your hand if you have a job you guys work at your job right you don't own the you don't own your business so your working class because your relationship to production is that you work at it you don't own it so I know that in America no one wants to think that they're poor and working-class has this connotation of being poor but LeBron James is a working-class guy he's got a lot of money but he's not he's not in he's not in the owning class he doesn't own his team he just works for them and he gets paid a lot but the owner gets paid a lot more so it's important to understand what class really is what class really is is who's got who's got what relationship to production so in slave societies you have slaves who are the workers and you've got Nobles who don't work and they own and they use that position to enslave other people same thing in the South when we had slavery here and now we have a situation where you have an owner owners class who employs people and that is the system that bites them that's class distinction in okay so the question is I guess where you guys is if we think about socialism as a as a contradiction as the sort of antithesis to capitalism what do you guys think capitalism is and what do you think is if there is anything that's wrong with it you guys give me some what what do you think of when you think if somebody says what is the capitalist system how would you answer crickets okay you have to work yet so that you get paid a wage all right so it's wage labor so I mean capitalism really means private ownership of the means of production and what it now what does that mean the means of production are everything it takes to make stuff or to do a service so it's the how the building that the business is in it's the the people who are it's the machines that that make make the stuff or it's the computer that you use to do your job that's the means of production and in capitalism those are owned by individuals usually they're owned by people who do so not because they work they're by and large but because they have money to be able to purchase it they have capital the capital is the business mmm tons of money anything that you can use to make or own a productive enterprise that's why it's called capitalism it's about using and making more capital so anybody you think that there any that there are any problems with capitalism anybody see any issues with the economic the way the economics works in our country and around the world everybody's great everybody loves it no problems for your job just the like a lot of people that are rich compared to or how well right right one of the major issues that's pretty evident in capitalism is that it's a very unequal system that in that sense it's not fair that there are a lot of people who have nothing and there are very few amount of people who have a lot let me let me tell you a statistic that might blow your mind something like 80 people 80 individuals so about three or four of the your classroom size have more wealth than the bottom half of the world's population so five billion people have 80 people 80 individuals have less than 5 billion people in terms of wealth that's how bad the system is in terms of the inequality you guys you know it's it's been almost 10 years so I guess you guys were pretty young but 2008 was a big economic crisis in the country the second biggest that the country has ever gone through millions of people millions of people I saw them every day lost their home were kicked out of their houses lost their job lost their pension lost their retirement were made poor overnight through no fault of their own they had done everything that they had been told to do that's also something that happens in capitalism about every 15 years there's a major major crisis now you guys might have learned it in school as the quote-unquote business cycle so there's a boom and then there's a bust and a boom and a bust that's not a stable economic system if your if your roommate or let's say your parents were as emotionally unstable as capitalism is you'd want to move out because a system that goes through huge booms and huge busts is not a sustainable system and every time there's a bust people die the death toll from the 2008 economic crisis can't be totally known but anytime there is an economic crisis suicide rates go up poverty rates go up food insecurity goes up you have people who are dying on the streets literally in the richest country in the world because of this massive inequality so where does that come from most times what you'll learn especially in your economics classes is that what's the motivation for doing business in capital why does anyone go into business is it because they want to provide a valuable service to people no it's because they want to make money they want to make a profit they want to make lots of money they want to become Bill Gates or Warren Buffett but how do they do that how does somebody create profit they sell something for a higher price than it costs to produce well what is what's part of the cost to produce something it's the building that you produce that you produce it in it's the machine that you use to produce it it's the labor that it takes to actually produce the thing and the raw material to be able to actually do it building machine labor raw material that'll get you an end product that you can that you can then make a profit from but who makes who creates the value that you assign then to the to the commodity that you produce when you put it on the market who makes the commodity is it the person who owns the business no it's the worker it's the person who got paid to do the business so if they're selling the commodity for a higher price than they paid the person who actually created the value what are they doing pulling from them the owners of business in a capitalist society exploit their laborers what does it mean to exploit it it's a charged word I know but most times what exploitation merely means is to take advantage of something who has an inability to stop you basically is to use something else for your own benefit based on the fact that they really can't stop you so in you know we exploit the resources of the earth because it can't stop us from putting a dynamite stick in the ground now our cutting down the tree and we also encapsulate some exploit human beings because what we do is make human beings a commodity to where they have to sell themselves for a certain price what we call a wage and that price is less than the amount of value that they create when they're doing their work so that surplus value then is taken by the boss merely by the fact that they own it by them saying I own this therefore I'm gonna take money from your pocket because I can now there's lots of arguments about the investment that it takes to create businesses and the amount of work that's going that goes into it and shouldn't people be paid because they do that work of course everyone should be paid fairly for the work that they produce the thing is that in this system what you have is a return on investment I'm sure you've heard that term ROI so that doesn't mean that doesn't mean that I invest something and I expect to be paid for my work and repaid for my investment it means that once I'm repaid for my investment I should no longer have to work and I should still reap the rewards why because I own it I started it there and I own it I don't have to work here I owned it I started it it's mine and I and that gives me the right to exploit you and if you don't like it find another job problem is every single job is like this there's no way that we can that any working person can escape that system of exploitation the system itself is based on it and the problem with that is is that what you're doing is not paying people enough to buy the products because you see you're selling the product at a higher price then then you're paying the people to produce it so what happens eventually people aren't gonna buy everything that you produce and so as the Communist Manifesto says capitalism is amazing because it isn't a system that deals with scarcity that's not the issue in capitalism there's not people don't die of hunger because there's not enough food we're post scarcity on food it's because it's not profitable to feed everyone in the world so but what happens is is that what we have so much productive capacity that we produce so much and we don't have enough people to buy it and so people so there's a crisis oh I have I have too much stuff I need to make a profit I'm gonna dump it and sell it for cheap that's gonna make a crisis in the system and our system is so interconnected that as soon as one domino falls there goes the rest and that's what you had in 2008 we sold too many mortgages than people could pay for because people are poor here's the thing that that should should make you very angry you guys would be paid less than people who are working at easier jobs in 1970 that the real wage for people is lower today than it was in 1970 the United States of America used to be the place where the working class was growing and was able to you know you could you could send your kid to college on one income and and one family member could stay at home and take care of kids can't do that anymore why because we haven't had a raise in 40 years while the profits of the richest the profits have never been higher in real dollars so wages haven't grown in 40 years and profits have never been higher that's because we are being massively exploited if you ever want to know how much we're being exploited there's there's they track it the Department of Labor tracks it it's called productivity the economic indicator called productivity is how much work we do for how little were paid so you want to look at that rate it's outrageous and it's been growing it's been nothing but growing for the past 40 years so our exploitation rates have not been this high at least since 1970 and we're approaching a time when it hasn't been hasn't been even close to that since the time when Marx was writing so this is a very serious time when you guys are going to be dealing with two major problems you're not going to be paid enough to make what you would to be buy the products that you need to live you're gonna have massive debt when you come out of college which is going to in debt make you have to find the first job that you can find and you're going to have a system where there's going to be a major crisis or two that are gonna gonna seriously destroy your job prospects and you're gonna have to compete with robots which you're all never gonna be able to do so take this warning that I'm giving you that you guys are gonna have to do something to change this system otherwise it's going to take advantage of you where you are going to be poorer than your parents and that's against the American dream so capitalism is and I will say this against what the American Dream is all about doing better than we did before because capitalism can't survive like this it's showing itself to be a very directive system and I'll here's the thing to give you an idea you know you know in the United Sates of America in the law you might want to write this down you have a fiduciary duty to other people now if fiduciary duty means that you have the responsibility to some other person to make them as much money as you possibly can and you have a legal obligation you can be sued for not making people as much money as you could have so let's put this in real concrete terms let's say there's a board of directors who runs a chemical factory on a river and they say look we can pollute the river or we can put them in oil drums and send them off to somewhere the polluting the river is a lot less expensive so it's gonna we're gonna have a higher profit and they say you know what it's not the right idea to pollute the river so we're gonna do the more expensive option a shareholder of that company gets pissed says I just lost money because you didn't you didn't increase the profits you have a fiduciary duty to make me as much money as I can I'm gonna sue you and they get sued and they lose a lot of their money so the next time that decision comes around what do they do they say hmm I'm just gonna pollute the river because I don't want to get sued and what you see what you have is the creation of what they call externalities things outside of my business that I can't control like global climate change I can't I'm not I'm not solely responsible for that even though I'm the sea I'm you know the the board of directors of ExxonMobil I'm not responsible for that I have to look at my shareholders and how much money they're gonna make and I have to make them the most money so that means drilling down in the deepwater horizon and causing a massive oil spill fine that's what it takes that's the kind of system that we live in that those are the kind of decisions that we make and we have a government not of by and for the people let me tell you that we have a government of by and for the rich because we have a single-party state in this country a one-party state the Republicans and Democrats are two factions of the capitalist party the closest thing you have to anything contesting it is Bernie Sanders and we all I hope you all saw what happened to Bernie Sanders that he was the subject of a number of smear campaigns and a significant I would say racketeering esque conspiracy to ensure that he was not given a fair presentation to the American people so that's there's some problems and these problems are not new they've been going on for a long time Marx talked about these issues in the 1850s 60s 70s and 80s and there's been some changes our systems have gone through some massive instances but the results of capitalism are pretty clear massive inequality massive poverty massive death and war remember World War two comes at the heels of a of the worst economic crisis capitalism has ever gone through so this is a system that cannot long survive will not long survive and is in the process potentially destroying the ability for us to even have what Noam Chomsky would say organized life on this planet so it's a serious challenge and it's not something that we should that we should take lightly so what's the solution the solution is socialism now socialism is not what happened in the Soviet Union well let me let me stop before I go down there does anybody have any questions I've been talking for a while questions a little a little timeframe frenzy your small Etana 2004-2006 frame do you think had to go back to live with my dad well I every single every single one of my friends from high school and a majority of my friends from college who didn't have a long-term partner I had to move back home at least for some time it's hard maybe for you guys to understand but like we were told that you go to high school you graduate high school you go to college you it won't be too expensive you'll get out you'll get a job so we all did that and when we got out of college we didn't have a job we didn't get a job and what jobs we got we got them at Starbucks and Jimmy John's and Taco John's and places like that places that were well below the education that we have gotten and there's a lot of people that are thinking right now and many of my friends said this isn't worth it I'm gonna go incredible amounts into debt I mean I am hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt because I went to law school so you know I this is a it's a serious economic problem that in other industrialized countries like Germany it's free to go to college you don't pay for it and we're the richest country in the world so why can't we pay for it it's because we have a government that's not run in the interests of normal people it's a government run in the interest of the rich and we could easily have our arse a military spending and that would be able to pay for people to go to school but but we in the United States have a government that chooses to spend more money on bombs and a dozen books and that's partly because of the entanglement of very powerful economic companies who have a tie into the into the Defense Department of our country who are able to make a lot of money because the things that they make blow up so you have to make more of them like when you like making a bomb is the best thing that a person can make because the bomb blows up and you need another bomb so it's not it's a there's a lot of reasons why our government is the way that it is but underlying the whole thing is our economic structure and so that that needs to change any other questions okay so what happened in Russia right that's a terrible story Karl Marx said that basically if you understand how to history develops all of the new systems so like any of the progressive systems that do that are they're sort of new development in history come from the most advanced versions of the ones that existed before so capitalism develops where feudalism had really fully developed so in Britain in in Germany in France this is where the Industrial Revolution comes out and the capitalism that comes with it and so if you what he said was socialism is gonna have to take that same course it's gonna have to exist where capitalism really shows all of its contradictions goes into these crises and develops a strong working class of people that can that run that know how to run those big industries and know how to do them so that they could be done instead of for profit they could be done for the general welfare of people to be able to sure that everybody has everything they need so he if you looked at at the time he was writing Russia was the Somalia of the world in some ways with an authoritarian regime it was very backwards very undeveloped a majority they didn't have an industrial working class most of the people were peasants living on farms working on these big land holdings where they would produce agricultural crops so he said the last place that socialism is ever gonna be of successful is Russia but history being what it was for a lot of different reasons it's the place where it happened and the I think you have to understand that what they tried to do was jump over an entire period of history where things develop in a sort of capitalist mode of production where you have things like a republic so we don't have a democracy in America but we do elect people that represent us so there's some ability to control your government that never happened in Russia they went right from an authoritarian Tsar to a very authoritarian state they were also this is important to remember after 1917 they were invaded by ten different countries including our own let me I mean make let me say it again in 1917 after the October Revolution the United States joined along with a number of other nations including the United Kingdom to invade Russia to help people against the revolution conquer it so you know the Russian never invaded the United States but we invaded them when they had their revolution so take that into account and they engaged in a four year long civil war which decimated the country this was on the heels of losing millions of people in World War one so they come out of that an agrarian society that's been destroyed by war and despite their not being able to do it they have this theory that they would be able to develop in industry and create their their working class so they developed what what becomes essentially state capitalism and that's now actually the system that exists everywhere in the world you'll hear a lot of people call it crony capitalism you guys ever heard that term I don't have a problem with capitalism I just don't like crony capitalism what they mean by crony capitalism is state capitalism where the state either owns or has a significant involvement in the economy so what they did is they developed a very successful but very destructive and deadly state capitalist system so that they developed incredible industrial capacity remember the Soviet Union was the backwater of the world when the revolution happened and within 40 years had put a satellite into orbit and a human being into orbit that's an incredible accomplishment but it cost a serious price and that serious price came in human lives and the destruction of war and famine so I'm not in any way defending what happened there but it was not the place in which it would have been successful to happen the same is the same is with China when they had it in in the 40s another agrarian society didn't have an industrial working class who developed that industrial working class through the state but who did so at massive costs but they are not a communist country the Soviet Union was not a communist country they are state capitalist countries because what is socialism socialism is the working is working people's control over the means of production it's communal control over the means of production so whereas you have individuals owning it in capitalism in communism or socialism you have the people who work at those enterprises owning it the abolition of what Marx called private property now private property isn't your pencil your shirt your car not even your house it's factories and stuff like that no individual ownership of those it should be owned and controlled by the people who work there that's all that it means so what that means is that socialism is democracy which means that socialism is not anti-american it's very American it's as American as apple pie because when you when you live in the world today you expect to live in a democracy except when you go to work then you live in an authoritarian dictatorship just like they did in the Soviet Union you don't get to decide what you do when you do it how you do it and what's done with the profits somebody else does and they do so simply because they claim ownership of it so socialism is really just working control of working people's control of the means of production so did that is that what existed in the Soviet Union absolutely not does that what exists in China or North Korea or Cuba no Cuba in some ways there's a little bit there's some but not much so but really there are examples of this existing in the world today worker owned businesses so hyvee in town is an employee owned business now it's not employee controlled the employees don't get to decide when they work how they work what to do with the profits or anything like that but if you're a full time employee you can get some of the benefits if Ivy does well that's pretty good but it's still a dictatorship it's not quite perfect but their company is you know Mondragon is a company in Spain fifth biggest somebody that fourth or fifth biggest corporation in Spain and it's an employee owned an employee run business so these are there's a there's a if you guys want to read about something very interesting Marina later is in Spain it's a little uh little town in Spain where it's a communist town communist how everybody works low-rent very little money exchange it's a little communist utopia in the middle of Andalusia in Spain so there are examples of this being possible and it's the the issue is is that every time it's been attempted its encountered violent opposition just like if you look at the history of the labor Labor's genius of this country what you realize is that the history is incredibly violent we haven't any time that the workers have attempted to take back what they feel is taken from them by their owners the National Guard comes in or the police come in and break them up and have in many times killed or murdered them so here's a little tangent but we celebrate Labor Day in in September right nobody else in the world does Labor Day is May Day it's on May 1st so we in DC had a big march on May day to celebrate International Workers day why do we celebrate it on May 1st because in Chicago in the 1880s 1886 I believe it was they were striking for the eight-hour day remember before then you worked 12 13 14 16 hour days it was when workers got together and said we're not gonna work this long eight hours of work eight hours of sleep eight hours do what you want that was out of a workers struggle and starting in the United States and when they had a strike when the bosses wouldn't wouldn't agree to the eight-hour day they went on strike and on May Day that in the Haymarket area of Chicago during the rally a bomb went off and in the course of that they took they arrested a few anarchist and socialists and hung them and so they became the Haymarket martyrs and they were hot that was on May 1st in 1880 six or seven and so around the world we celebrate the power of the International working class on May 1st except in the United States and why is that because not only do we have a history of oppression of labor movements in this country but we have a history of oppression against people like me I want you to understand that people like me have in this country been jailed deported murdered and repressed by the United States government you can just look up the Red Scare the Mitchell raids the like Sacco and Vanzetti I don't know if you heard about them and then McCarthyism and also I'll give you an example Fred Hampton was a member of the Black Panthers in Chicago and was murdered in his bed by the FBI if Eugene debb's was also was a three-time presidential candidate and the time and I think it was 1916 I think it was the election maybe late yes 1916 he was in jail having spoken out against the war in during World War one if you spoke out against the war you were jailed because there was no free speech during that time and so Eugene Debs it spoke out against the war ran as a socialist and got over a million votes but was in jail actually prisoners weeped when he left jail because he was so popular there so the history has a long history of labor movement saga in Minneapolis in 1935 was one of the most important strikes that the country's ever endured and I bet you'd never heard of it because they don't teach you this kind of stuff because they taught you the impressive and interesting history of this country you might actually want to get involved and that's scary because there's a lot to lose by a few number of people and they'll they'll use any means they have if you write write down this COINTELPRO counterintelligence program I'm sure you've never heard of it this was a 40 year campaign by the eff the Federal Bureau of Investigation to repress and destroy left and radical groups including the FBI sorry the the Black Panthers the Communist Party the Socialist Party and it's partly the reason why you haven't heard about a lot of this because they have been erased from American history even the fact that you only work 8 hours a day is because of them the fact that you have a weekend that you don't work during the weekend is because of this movement and Americans doing this and it's been erased from history because that doesn't serve the interests of the people who run the show so when it comes to the experiences before when someone tells you that communism kills know capitalism kills whether that be the state capitalism of the Soviet Union killing millions of people or the millions of people tens of millions of people who die every year in this world because of malnutrition curable diseases and conflicts that are because of the extractive resources that are making so much money oil diamonds and things like that these are causing the deaths of millions of people every year it's a deadly system it's an immoral system and it does so while still robbing you of the money that you work hard to earn by somebody whose entire job is to walk to the mailbox every three months and get their dividend check so what I'm guess I'm trying to say is that this is a serious issue and this is something not to just take lightly if you care about issues of say racism or sexism or homophobia or any of those ideas understand that those are all going to going to be exacerbated by capitalism why because that's a way of tearing and tearing a working class apart because if the working class is united it's easy to take oh there's way more of that us than there are of them but if they're divided by race or class or gender that's a great way to keep them divided it's also a way to specifically pit people against each other so that you can exploit one over the other and therefore bring down everyone's wage so why haven't we gotten a wage rage in you know 40 years because jobs have moved over to places where labor is cheaper where people are willing to work for less so they can they make us compete against each other and they also make us hate each other which is where you have issues of say anti-immigrant anger it's because there's a real economic reason for it but it's there they're scape coming they need to be focused on the people who are really stealing from them which are the rich so if you want to fight racism sexism homophobia or any other those kinds of things what you really need to recognize is their material Haitian ship to the economics that are that are going on how they interact with those and if you really want to fight them join up with the Socialists so I guess with that I'm willing and able and hopefully you know going to answer some of your questions so if you guys have any questions or comments or if something I said pissed you off please let me know some your working conditions yeah I think that if there's if there's no difference it's because you don't control the business so while you might get some of the benefits if they do well how they're doing it who's doing what how they're doing what what to do with the profits isn't really up to the workers and that's why it's important to recognize that socialism this idea of socialism is not just getting the money in a capitalist enterprise it's changing the relationship that we have to our jobs because we don't want our jobs to be authoritarian we're Democrats small D Democrats not Democratic Party those guys are a joke but small D Democrats we believe that democracy should be you guys as students should run your school the student council at the school should not be a organization which it is it's a joke I was in the student council in 2004 you know that little sign you walk under when you go to the football games oh isn't that nice we didn't do what we could have done is we could have done amazing things about changing some of the curriculum or doing more student engagement with with society instead of making a stupid having some useless dances that people you know just heightened their sexual tension we don't need any of that what we need is real democracy and our were at our workplaces in our communities and in our schools and the things that we do are things that we should control and the fact that we don't is antithetical to what I thought I was raised with which is freedom democracy Liberty you know Brotherhood let's get together and let's not compete with one another and divide each other up so I can understand why the thing is high V is not is not that much different than any other enterprise because you don't get to control anything but imagine if you guys had a council which is a clue you into something you know a Soviet Union the word Soviet means council its workers council that really meant was it was a sort of council Union and what they did was they had they had Soviets workers and soldiers Soviets who would bring different workers from different factories together and help them coordinate with each other so they could more efficiently do their kind of production imagine if you had that at high V and you were able to say you know what that we're gonna we're gonna make everybody everyone's gonna get paid the same but we're gonna work 35 hours a week so more people can work but we're all but you know we don't have to work so much for so little you would probably do that answer your question in one second imagine if you the different this difference we're the Board of Directors and a company is gonna we can move to China and where they're gonna make $1 a day in these Americans who have where the company is they want to make like $25 an hour we're gonna move to China cuz we're gonna make a hell of a lot more money if you're the Board of Directors and you have that fiduciary duty what do you do you're gonna move that Factory you don't care about the workers you don't have to you got to make the company money but let's say the owners worked at that Factory and they said guy you know guys in China could do this and we the the profit of the company would be outrageous and they'd all go yeah but we'd all lose our freakin jobs so they'd never move so all of this movement of jobs overseas and things like that if workers controlled it they wouldn't do that that wouldn't have happened so it's important to understand that it's just not getting the benefits of the business through some kind of you know Chobani style stock employee stock option program but it's about being able to control what's going on in your life and so again I just bring it back to democracy I mean socialism is democracy and palm that in your head if there's anything there anybody talking about authoritarian socialism you know that person doesn't know what they're talking about all right what's your question so there's a big debate about that within the sort of community there's a question of reform or revolution so can you do maybe what Bernie Sanders is talking about and sort of institute reforms that would eventually be able to legislate socialism and there was a big party Germany they're still around the s paid a the the the Socialist Party of Germany and they were the biggest for a while and and they had a quit they almost had a revolution in nineteen nineteen another thing that that we don't learn that you know if it happened if it would have happened in Germany it would have spread around the world and you guys would not we would be living in a very different world if that had been successful and it was drowned in blood by what eventually would become Hitler's army so it's an if you guys want to learn about something very interesting to know more about German history look up the German revolution of 1919 what you'll find there is that one of the leaders of it was a woman amazing woman named Rosa Luxemburg and what and she wrote a whole pamphlet about this idea of reform or revolution and she had it exactly right what she said his reforms are good you know we want to increase people's conditions at the time but if you reform things if you only do it through the kind of legislature or Congress or something like that there's two problems one you're not addressing the fundamental problem of capitalism the fundamental exploitation and the accumulation of the capital that comes from it and the power that you're able to get because of your accumulated capital so it doesn't address any of those it's just trying to piecemeal deal with some of the issues so Marx and and Rosa Luxemburg were revolutionary in the sense that what you really do need is a revolution against these systems because what Marx saw is that anytime you had a change from say ancient communism to slave from slave to feudal or feudal capitalists they came with revolutions so the American Revolution is a what Marshall called bourgeois revolution booze Hwa meaning cat like owner class is the booze huazi it's a French word but the American America our revolution was a booze wat revolution against feudalism the you know the king and for capitalism sort of running things on your own and the French Revolution was another booze wah revolution the Egyptian revolution in 2011 was in many ways of a bourgeois revolution because there sometimes has to just be a break with the they will try anything to stay in power for as long as they possibly can and eventually you just need a break and it's been the unfortunate you know thing in history that where revolutions are usually very violent I will say that the some of the least violent revolutions have been socialist revolutions usually the violence that comes out of socialist revolutions are afterwards so if you think about the dialectic you have the revolution and you have its antithesis the counter revolution and they come together in a big conflagration usually a war so in in you know in in Cuba they walked peacefully into Havana when they won their revolution there was not a shot fired in October technically in November but in the October Revolution in in Russia they didn't fire a shot so these are very but there was a war afterwards that cost a lot of people's lives because of a counter revolutionary force same with with with Egypt nonviolent in terms of the revolutionary but there's a counter revolution that becomes very violent so if you're worried about the violence of in the idea of a revolutionary movement understand that we want a revolution in the sense that merely changing the class structure of our society to get rid of that class antagonism because Marxist hole of the history of you know all history is the history of class struggle we want to end that because class struggle is very destructive it it's very not helpful for us and it's it's it's helped us create things like capitalism which has industry and automation all kind of stuff but it ultimately kills a lot of people and could potentially destroy the ability for human life on the planet so we we need a serious kind of break with it and so my idea my idea would be you have a party who has the designation that they want to take over the instruments of the state because the state is what enforces your property right if you want to do you want to sue somebody for going onto your land you go to the court and if you really want them to get off your land you call the cops because the state has the monopoly of violence that violence is usually used to protect property remember the cops it doesn't say to serve and protect people remember it just says to serve and protect and the police are there to serve and protect property and people and usually in that order so the state is there to protect people's property interests so what you do is you have to take over the state either by an ally or by some kind of revolutionary coup type of thing and what you would do then is Institute a legal structure that would then what we call expropriate the ownership status of the businesses we will say you are not no longer allowed to singly own a business if you work at that business that business is active enterprise that you then by virtue of being able to work there also own it I think that if you do that you change a lot of the way that people relate to a lot of different things and you do a lot of changes that would be much deeper than merely getting rid of ownership rights like changing people's relationship to money where you'd be using money less as a means to exchange things normally because I have the idea of adopting this a universal basic income as part of this too so there's a way to make sure that everybody has everything they need you give everybody two grand a month and then they can work beyond that and gain beyond that and get rewarded for their work but at least everybody has a house and some food and the ability to decide for themselves what kind of house they want to live in what kind of food so they're not in a welfare system they're in a egalitarian system where you're given two grand that's the minimum everybody get that and they were so I think that those are the kind of ideas that would institute would be instituted in a socialist because socialism is a transitionary period between capitalism private ownership in the means of production or state ownership in the means production and a sort of the beginnings of a worker owned means of production and then that transitions into a communist state where you've now have perfect sort of a complete work of control the means of production and you have the disintegration of different divisions like state you know there's no real reason that boundaries between States because it's not necessary money becomes less important because what is the use of money when we're freely exchanging our labor to get everything that we need in a way that our economy is designed to fulfill needs not just give people to be selfish and pursue their profits and so what you're doing is creating a system that isn't based on greed and selfishness which is what ours is which makes us believe that our human nature is somehow greedy and selfish but it creates a society where you're it's weird to be greedy and selfish that you're sort of like why are you such an asshole you know like why don't you just be nice and just work hard and you're given everything that you need and you're given status when you do something great so just be happy with what you have which is much different than the situation right now which is struggled I find whatever you can if you can't you're gonna go on welfare you're gonna go on the street and if you can't cut it you die and so I think that that's so I think you need a revolutionary change but I think that the revolutionary change has to be guided by a set of principles that respects the human being respects our human rights and and does so in a way that promotes them and doesn't doesn't discourage them I think that a 21st century revolution against what we what a lot of people are calling late-stage capitalism would have to be one that that is as peaceful as possible and as and as harmless as possible the problem is is that the people who own things have been have shown themselves to be those who are going to protect their interests at all costs including murder and so that's that's an important thing to remember but socialists are very rarely on the offensive against things they're usually defensive and so if our revolution does not encounter serious violence no serious violence will result because people want freedom I think the Scandinavian models represent the the highest stage of what of welfare state isn't so welfare state is a state that that says that on that here is the bar and under this bar no one will fall and that is a good thing I mean it's a it's it's helpful in order to make sure that there is not I mean you all just need to come to Washington DC to realize you're in the capital of the richest country in the world and there are poor people everywhere the the city is segregated and divided in a way that it's very obvious who's rich and who's poor and it's usually because of the color of their skin so there's a lot of problems with our quote unquote welfare state and there's does a lot better they have less people but they also have less money but the problem with those is that they don't fix the fundamental contradiction this is what you know it's what Rosa Luxemburg said about reforms that you can Institute thing that are good for people and we should support them I mean it's good good for people but you're not fixing the fundamental contradiction of capitalism so even if you have a good welfare state it goes into crisis there's a time when you're gonna have something over produced and you're gonna have a crisis in the economy and it's going to reverberate and and and destroy a lot of in a lot of ways the ability for your welfare state to continue to operate so Scandinavia is a good place people are happy there but they'd be a lot happier if they'd have some control over their workplaces and if you look at IKEA or you look at Nokia these are not good places to work they're there that people are not happy in Finland when they're at work they're happy when they're hanging out drinking or enjoying the snow or whatever they do in Finland so I think so it's one of those things where like the hyvee situation there are things that we can do that make our lives a little bit better but until we address the fundamental problems of our society nothing's ever going to change so I implore you to really think about and and try to get involved in it doesn't have to be with socialists and communists I mean we love that there is a summer camp for socialist alternative that's gonna be at Pillsbury in next weekend my wife will be there and I'll be in town a little bit so the there's ways to connect yourself if you're at all interested and even if you don't do it necessarily with an anti-capitalist organization remember the connection that capitalism has to all this if you get rid of capitalism you're not necessarily gonna get rid of racism but you're well on your way because racism is a capitalist invention let me let me make that say that again and try to burn it into your brains racism is not inherent to human beings tribalism is for sure but not racism not divisions between races that's something that was very beneficial for the development of capitalism and it's been very helpful in the maintenance of capitalism so if you want to fight racism you have to fight capitalism because those two things are intertwined sexism is exactly the same to many ways women were more respected than men in a lot of different periods of modes of production but not in capitalism not at all the role of women in capitalist societies was for a long time to reproduce the working-class that would then be exploited and now they're asked to do that as well as work as well as beef the part of the exploited working class so you can see how these things in turn with one another and being able to connect those dots is very important in terms of your further development and your ability to unlearn what you have learned in the in the you know words of Yoda because it it's important to be able to do that you have to be able to see things for what they really are and not for what people want you to see and so there's a lot of propaganda around and a lot of you know I don't want to say fake news because that's too much like Trump but you guys are seeing what's happening with Trump there's there's likely going to be an impeachment of the president United States this is a time to be aware of what's going on in in politics but to remember that there are a lot of other things going on like the loss of your ability to have a free and fair internet that's all being happened while this impeachment is going on there are thousands of people dying every day in Yemen with us bombs with bombs that say made in the US on them there are there is massive oppression in many places in the world and so while you should I hope be galvanized politically by this current time in our nation's turbulent and very sad history don't forget the long picture the other people in the world and the root cause of all of this which is our economy our economy is unfair its unfree and its anti-american and so I think you know we got we owe it to ourselves as Americans to be against this system and to be in favor of a system that really abides by the ideas of Thomas Jefferson where people are really free and equal and endowed with rights that include not just life that life liberty happiness remember yeah life liberty and property is what they're supposed to be Thomas Jefferson was smart and didn't do property it said happiness because I think he recognized that sometimes property gets in the way of happiness so this is a very American ideal and I want you to try to take from this at least the idea that socialists are not scary people by and large they're some of the nicest people I've ever met they don't want to kill you they don't want to hurt you they just want you to be free and they want you to be fairly paid because in this system those who are paid a lot don't usually deserve it and those who are paid a little usually do all the work and I think that if you guys think about that for any more than 30 seconds it should make you irate because it's unfair and it goes against our basic human decency to dehumanizing system and we shouldn't allow it to continue it's a very long-winded answer to the question what's another question anybody what time are we done 3:30 how many minutes oh all right all right all right well come on I got another question anybody like ready to join the revolution or anybody like seriously doubt what I'm saying is the truth I mean I'm down for anything we need to pledge our lives and our fortunes to get this government started I think that if if Thomas Jefferson had been Thomas Jefferson a hundred years after he lived he would have been on the barricades fighting for the for the revolutionary the revolutionary socialist cause he was a product of his time and that's another thing that Marxism is helpful with him you got to remember people I have to understand people in their time and I think that Thomas Jefferson thought that we shouldn't be an industrial society so in that sense he's not very socialistic that we should be agrarian and so but the ideals that he expressed are ideals that that when manifested in their true form in an industrial society that I mean he lost the debate with Hamilton about what kind of society the United States would be it's an industrial society and if you take the ideals of Thomas Jefferson and plug them into an industrial society what you should have is is a socialist paradise but the thing is I mean the Senate of the United States of America of Congress the Senate is there to protect the rich Madison said that the House of Representatives represents the rabble masses all of all of us that that our founding fathers didn't remember our founding fathers were elitist not Democrats did not believe in democracy believed in Republic good governance elite control and that's the system we have today so it's got elements of democracy there's a House of Representatives but that house is not the upper house it's the smaller one it's the low it's the lower house is the House of Representatives the one that represents the rabble and the privileged elite one is the one that represents the owners so even in our own country we there are our country was revolutionary at its time it's amazing that we had a religious division it took us a little while to get something like the 14th amendment so that the laws were actually applied equally but we do have it it's important to note and I imagine you guys don't know this but we're the only country in the world that's that where our Constitution is the oldest Constitution in the world it's the only one that hasn't been updated or revised or you know completely readjust it and it came out of an attempt they can see you Elka but you guys totally missed it because you weren't paying attention but yes but so there are there are ideas that are important Thomas Jefferson and some of the founding fathers but they are at a certain time in history and that time in history was not one that was popular in socialist mind so those ideas were around but it had to go through a phrase of Industrial Development and we're past that freight and pace down and we're at the point where I mean robots are gonna take you guys as jobs honestly so you've got to recognize what we're gonna do about that because it because in the words of Rosa Luxemburg let me put it this way it's either socialism or barbarism and what I mean by that is either we have to we have to adjust it so that we can use the machines to really benefit everybody or we're gonna be at each other's throats and we're gonna be in constant war because we're gonna be constantly poor well you know it's like I don't know if you guys saw that movie Elysium where all the rich people live on this thing that orbits the earth and all the poor people have to stay down on earth that's the society that we're going to the Hunger Games stuff like that if we don't make significant changes those are not going to be dystopian futures they'll be our reality and so it's important to recognize that and to know what to do to fight it which is to understand that capitalism is the root cause and to figure out the ways to fight it and there's lots of the ways to fight it I won't tell you how but getting involved in a socialist organization in in the in the in Minneapolis the in workers of the world their idea being we just need one big union not a bunch of different unions that negotiate contracts but one union where if somebody gets mistreated at work everybody goes on strike so that pertinent ill that person gets their job back that's the kind of idea Industrial Workers of the world they have a huge branch up in Minneapolis if you're all interested in getting you know and getting involved with them call up the IWW they'll love to have you guys and it's up to you guys you guys are much younger than me and it's up to you guys I mean I know what the recent polls suggest that people your age are at least not opposed to socialism and sometimes they like it more than capitalism so I think if we make sure that we understand what those words really mean and use them correctly you guys are all you guys all have the advantage because very few people know what these words mean when they're when they're used and most people use them incorrectly so now when you hear somebody say that socialism is Stalinism you'll know that that person is well I'll say like huh I'll use one of my favorite quotes from Hitchens Christopher Hitchens you should check that guy out if you feel like it too but if you gave the if you gave a lot of people an enema they would fit into a matchbook means they're full of a lot of people don't know what they're talking about and if they're tell if they tell you that socialism means authoritarianism or dictatorship they're full of it and you can tell them because now you know more about what it is yeah all right yeah and like I said if anybody has any questions or wants to get more involved or anything like that you want to talk to me more or yell at me or anything like that feel free Walters has my information I obviously can do Skype and stuff so yeah don't be a stranger love your brother or vlog all right bye-bye

23 thoughts on “An Introduction to Socialism

  • I came for the KSP, but I stayed for the socialism. Viva la revolucion, my kommunist komrade!
    But seriously, my mind is blown that these kids got to hear this. That's a good teacher you had. I didn't learn any of this stuff until well after high school. Oh, and someone has been listening to Richard Wolff, haven't they? 😄
    I knew I wasn't weird for streaming "Kommunist Space Program" on twitch. lmao

  • I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about. You have no clue what really happened in history and that's because of your Godless world view. America was founded because people wanted to WORSHIP GOD freely. Economics had very little to do with it. We are no longer a Capitalist nation either. We have already become partly Socialist. You spew your crap but have NO proof to back up what you say. Just because you say it, and you believe it, doesn't make it true. You are correct about one thing, it takes a revolution to change things. I for one would be one of the first to take up arms AGAINST you and fight the Civil War to remove your Godless preaching from our society! The high school teacher that allowed your to speak to the class should be TERMINATED! I'd pull my kid out of his class in a flash.

  • All I want is socialized medicine in my country. It's implemented in almost all other western democracies. Why is it so hard for people who are constantly fear mongering about socialism (I mean, there certainly have been countries where it's implementation has been a disaster) to understand that it's not a slippery slope to get rid of private health, or at least offer a public option simultaneously?

  • Sad you did not research Scandinavian, and Modern Germany culture and systems better. You should have researched 'western' history a little better as well. good luck

  • Tip, if possible edit the video with your feed the main picture frame and the classroom in the corner. switch when questions are asked.

  • If you are going to be rational and evidence based you must at least try to understand why 9 out of 10 socialist countries have either collapsed or committed genocide. You are correct when you say the reason is not socialism. The reason is HUMANS are implementing socialism, and that is why it always fails. And as long as humans are the ones implementing it, it will always fail. Philosophically it sounds like the height of fairness, but in reality it is always perverted to do more good for those in key positions and less good for those working hardest. You must wonder why so many people who fled from socialist countries are begging you to reconsider.

    Socialism does not take place in a vacuum. There are outside (human) influences that will always make it unfair again. We must instead find a system that produces the most good for the most amount of people, and to give motivation to do more. Its called capitalism, and it ain't perfect, but everywhere it is nurtured the populace does better. (although the gaps between the classes widen, AS A WHOLE each class is better off than in a redistribution scheme).

    Also you may be interested to know that every European country you think has a successful socialist economy in fact is MORE privatized than the United States. You would do better to actually research this instead of listening to talking points from people who believe it would work no matter what.

    Your KSP videos are awesome.

  • I still feel pretty proud to live in a socialist country(Vietnam),simply because it's peaceful and you don't have to worry much about security

  • About socialism, I wanna say that we should try giving the actual socialist ideology another name than "Socialism" because it is alwys going to be stigmatized as stalinism and the way authoritarian world leaders interpreted the word Socialism. We could do away with this by inventing another word for the same ideology so that the people can appreciate Socialism for what it actually says and means and not the stereotypes that we all know about.

  • Hi Kevin, I'm going to keep the sub because of the superb KSP historical recreations that you do but this gets on my nerves some. I grew up in the socialist state, Poland namely. I remember only the end of it as a kid.
    The system fell in 1989 fell and what is most disturbing that it never really left. You have studied political science and philosophy. Fair and good. If you have the opportunity try to get closer to reality of how socialism works and what damage it does to any society it is inflicted upon. Try talking to some Russians, Polish, Czech. As with the Chinese immigrants. Whomever. Talk to the people older than you.
    There will be some that will regale you with tales of oppression, doors being bashed down at 5am by the secret police, wire taps and the like. Tales of no food in the shops, crude bs propaganda on the tv that only has two channels. Do not say to these students that there is no democracy in the US. This is just being spoiled by the lack of perspective. But as I said I was a kid then and nobody was bashing down my door.
    But what I'm getting at is that the tales of the people that remember the socialism with nostalgia are more disturbing. You would have to milk them, wait for them to open up a bit. Then you would hear what they liked best about socialism. No need to think and to work. Only to pay the lip service to the ideology. The extreme ease with which you can bring down your hard working neighbour through anonymous tip to the police. The corruption of the non-functioning state in which you could have anything if your bribery / blackmailing skills were subtle enough. Sure, they would use other worlds, try to make it seem less ugly than it was.
    There is no post socialism / communism country that has fully gotten over it yet. The population it produces is rotten to the core by envy, lack of work ethics and propensity to bring the few industrious down. It is a bag of resentful, lazy parasites that creeps inevitably towards some blame-finding ideology. Racism, chiefly. Have a look what is going on in Eastern Europe these days.
    Your teaching and activism would would get better and more useful to others if you stepped out from the ideal world and looked at what we have to work with. Hard working people lacking absolutely any ambition are what you need to build socialism. This mix of traits is more rare than hen's teeth. Much more common are hard working, ambitious people. Unfortunately the most numerous group seems to be lazy people which need encouragement and a carrot to get up in the morning. Socialism does not provide that.
    Apologies for the wall of text.

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