Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Classism Time - Yeah I'm Probably A Socialist

I may have a few friends and family members who, from time to time, have wondered to themselves, "is Lindsey a socialist?"

If you're not from the US, I should point out to you that here, calling someone a socialist is similar to calling them a Satanist or a fascist or, in some circles, a baby-eater. Anyway.

The answer is maybe. I haven't learned enough about socialism to really declare myself one, but I sure as hell am not a capitalist.

The truth is that I think socialists are right when they say that capitalism is inherently immoral. Capitalism requires that some people have shitty, low-paying jobs, jobs that are dangerous, jobs that leave them with pain and stress and illness without paying them enough to compensate for this. We justify this by saying that those people deserve those jobs. They are somehow lower than us, less than us, less intelligent or educated or lazier, so it's okay that they have to live in a lower class. And hey, if they work harder, maybe someday they can be the ones who are rich and shitting on the people who have to serve them and clean up after them.

Capitalism says that your worth is tied to how much you contribute to the economy. So if you're disabled and can't work, you're worthless. Why do you think people on welfare are often referred to as leeches? Because capitalism says that's what they are. If they're not putting money into the system, they're worse than useless, even if they physically can't. How fucked up is that?

"But Lindsey, socialism doesn't work!" you say.

Um, is capitalism working? Because the US empire seems to be collapsing in on itself, income inequality has reached obscene levels, there are literally millions of starving people in the US, and the world is currently plunging toward climate catastrophe, or at the very least brutal wars over water. WATER.

And the more socialist countries are the ones with the happiest people and the best economies.

"But capitalism promotes innovation!"

Really? Because at the end of an eight hour day helping someone else make money so that I can be paid barely enough to make rent in a small one-bedroom apartment I share with my boyfriend, I'm not feeling real innovative.

"But socialism promotes corruption!"

Did you not hear the part about obscene income inequality and people starving?

"But socialism will make people lazy! They'll work less or not at all and everything will be ruined!"

Did you know that in the 1970's, Canada ran a social experiment called "Mincome," short for minimum income, wherein every household received a yearly salary from the government no matter what they did? Would you like to know the results?

The only groups that worked less were new mothers and teenagers. Why? Because they didn't have to in order to support their families. They could focus on important things like RAISING THEIR CHILDREN and ACTUALLY GRADUATING. Pretty much everyone else kept working. People generally don't like doing nothing. It bums them out. Do you know what did change, though? They were more able to seek out jobs that they would actually enjoy. Workplace injury dropped. Hospital visits overall dropped 8.5%, especially from car accidents and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Mental illness was reduced as well, with psychiatric hospital visits dropping off. Makes sense, right?

Healthier people. Happier people. Better educated people. You really think this wouldn't end up being a good thing?

People are afraid of socialism because they feel like something will be taken away from them. Giving more to the poor means higher taxes, right? Which means middle class people will be able to afford less, right?

You seem to be forgetting that there are people who make more money in a minute than you do in a day. The most modest increase in taxes on the rich could completely fund social security. You're so afraid of higher taxes when the people advocating for them aren't advocating for higher taxes on the middle class. They want to tax the millionaires and billionaires. Why be afraid? Because you hope to be like them someday? Why? What in the hell do you need all that money for? Why do you deserve that more than children deserve to not starve?

The moral of the story is that while you're all giving me weird looks for acting like a socialist, I secretly think you're weird for not wanting socialism. Real-world evidence suggests that more socialism = better. Maybe you should ask yourself why you're clinging to capitalism.


Katie_Allison said...

At its very core, capitalism is a system wherein rewards, prosperity, hell, access to basic needs are determined by things completely separate from being a decent human. Shouldn't that be enough to make more people at least question it? It is a system wherein a person can work hard their whole life, do things "right," care for others, stand up for justice, make the world a better place for having been in it... and live and die in abject poverty while predatory bankers buy their 14th houses. HOW CAN THAT BE OKAY?

Lindsey Weedston said...

Well said.

Mellesse said...

Yay I love you Lindsey! I'm kind of a socialist too, but I don't like saying it because it has such a bad connotation attached to it. Thank you for providing me with extra fodder to feed those who argue against it. I love that you feel the same way as I do too. I'm sharing this!

Lindsey Weedston said...

Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. It's so true, you can't even say the word out loud in public even around Seattle, it's so weird.