Mainstream media make it their task to keep Americans ignorant about socialism. Because American mass media are under the control of capitalists, mainstream media do not allow what they see as inconvenient facts competing with leftist economic systems to reach the masses.
The reason for this is simple. An educated public would overwhelmingly choose socialism.
Unlike capitalism, socialism is a system which benefits everyone, including the poor and working class. Capitalism benefits those with the capital at the expense of everyone else. When the masses understand how it works, they overwhelmingly choose socialism. It’s been demonstrated that ignorant people are easier to control.
Owing to this ignorance, Federal Reserve data show that the poorest 50% of Americans own merely 2.6% of the wealth. And as billionaire Leona Helmsley put it, “Only the little people pay taxes” to boot.
American socialists have long wanted more equality, with a living wage replacing the minimum wage. This doesn’t mean that everyone makes the same salary. It merely means that one may not sink below a certain economic level.
Nobody wants to spend their day cleaning toilets, but those who do free up workers to do other work. Socialists believe all people deserve a living wage and should not have to go hungry and homeless because of the perceived status of their job.
Socialists believe that everything shouldn’t go to a few at the top as with today’s cutthroat capitalism, with its record number of billionaires and record number of poor (for a major industrialized nation). The USA leads the major industrialized world in hunger, particularly child hunger. We lead all of the industrialized world in people without health care. We lead all nations in prison population, both in total numbers and percentage of the population, because of the way American capitalism works.
Under American socialism, there would be no medical bankruptcy—you wouldn’t lose your house because you got injured or sick. Everyone would be covered by quality government health care, including dental care and treatment for mental illness.
Under American socialism, it would be the responsibility of government to make sure that everyone who needs one may find a job. Those losing jobs because they are no longer needed by society, would be trained for a job that is needed, at government expense.
Under American socialism, children would be provided quality day care for free. This includes a nutritious breakfast and lunch. Today many parents make less in income than the cost of day care for their children.
Under American socialism college would be paid for including books, tuition, room and board. This would be at state colleges and universities. Socialism encourages an educated public.
Every citizen would be provided with a living wage under American socialism. No longer would people work eight hour jobs only to return to a homeless shelter.
I have presented a different view of socialism from that described in the deceptive capitalist media, that most American socialists would agree to get behind. It is not a panacea, and would be completely paid for.
How would we pay for it?
Rather than fight wars every decade or so as modern capitalism requires, under American socialism diplomacy would be adequately funded in the State Department and every effort would be made to co-exist with others. Rather than send weapons abroad, we would send food and medical supplies in winning over populations, rather than authoritarian governments that support transnational capitalism.
This would eat at stress that leads to war, so that we could cut that which euphemistically passes for “defense” spending by ninety percent over time. Ten percent of the current “defense” budget is a massive amount of money, more than enough to defend the homeland.
All foreign U.S. military bases would be closed in time, saving hundreds of billions of dollars.
The Treasury Department would be responsible for confiscating all of the money from citizens who hide their wealth offshore to avoid paying taxes. At least $11.3 trillion is kept in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes on it.
Under American socialism, all wealthy individuals would pay a minimum tax that cannot be “written off.” All transnational corporations operating in the USA would also pay a minimum tax. Today many wealthy people and corporations pay no taxes, but often take money from the government, thereby doubly draining the treasury.
Summary and conclusion
There are several socialist political parties at war with one another preventing the unity required to begin a mass movement. These are likely infiltrated by capitalist government intelligence agents to create distrust and mayhem. CIA Analyst Philip Agee, in his Inside the Company: CIA Diary, explains that the CIA has people inside of every labor union and college in the Americas—North, South, Central and the Caribbean.
And, of course, the capitalist media do not allow socialist views in a context which leads to understanding, so that it is difficult to get a movement foothold.
But even environmentalist Greta Thunberg says “It’s time to transform the West’s oppressive and racist capitalist system.”
Wherever in the world socialism begins to make gains, capitalist media spread lies about it and capitalist militaries force it to spend on defense rather than the needs of the people.
Capitalism is based on hatred, greed and delusion as it is practiced today. These, the historical Buddha said, make a hell of our world, but our world could be a heaven if only we produced the opposite values.
And that would be through a loving socialism—inspiring compassion, sharing and understanding with which to overwhelm the hatred, greed and delusion
Jack Balkwill has been published from the little read Rectangle, magazine of the English Honor Society, to the (then) millions of readers USA Today and many progressive publications/web sites such as Z Magazine, In These Times, Counterpunch, This Can’t Be Happening, Intrepid Report, and Dissident Voice. He is author of “An Attack on the National Security State,” about peace activists in prison.