Why do "working class" Americans block out all views on socialism and communism?
Socialism is an economic and political theory based on public ownership or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources. As an economic system, socialism is an organization in which production is carried out by a public association of producers to directly maximize use-values, rather than exchange-values (see: commodity production), by rationalizing economic activity through conscious economic planning in investment decisions, distribution of surplus and in coordinating the use of the means of production. Specifically, socialism is a set of social and economic arrangements based on a post-monetary system of calculation, usually implying calculation based on some physical magnitude, such as labor time or energy units.
Socialists advocate a method of compensation based on individual merit or the amount of labor one contributes to society.
Marxist and non-Marxist social theorists agree that socialism developed in reaction to modern industrial capitalism, but disagree on the nature of their relationship. In this context, socialism has been used to refer to a political movement, a political philosophy and a hypothetical form of society these movements aim to achieve. As a result, in a political context socialism has come to refer to the strategy (for achieving a socialist society) or policies promoted by socialist organizations and socialist political parties. Examples include characterizing socialist movements by the class struggle or revolutionary activity, or associating socialism with trade-union organization and various forms of social activism, all of which have no connection to socialism as a socioeconomic system or mode of production.
In the most influential of all socialist theories, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels believed the consciousness of those who earn a wage or salary (the "working class" in the broadest Marxist sense) would be molded by their "conditions" of "wage-slavery", leading to a tendency to seek their freedom or "emancipation" by throwing off the capitalist ownership of society. For Marx and Engels, conditions determine consciousness and ending the role of the capitalist class leads eventually to a classless society in which the state would wither away. Marx wrote: "It is not the consciousness of [people] that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."
Reformists, such as classical social democrats, believe that a socialist system can be achieved by reforming capitalism. Socialism, in their view, can be reached through the existing political system by reforming private enterprise. Revolutionaries, such as Marxists and Anarchists, believe such methods will fail because the state ultimately acts in the interests of capitalist business interests. They believe that revolution is the only means to establish a new socio-economic system. They do not necessarily define revolution as a violent insurrection, but instead as a thorough and rapid change!
Simply put, socialism and communism are based on philosophies that require everyone to work toward the "betterment" of the whole as opposed to the typical American ideal of self-reliance and independence.
Where socialism and communism reward everyone, not just those who work hard, many oppose it because it rewards the lazy and indigent with the same things as those who labor.
Unfortunately, those societies that choose to follow doctrines of communism are often fragile because greed and corruption negate any benefits those societies might gain. And socialism is often fraught with abuses by those who choose to use the system without paying into it.
answered Jun 19 '10 at 16:35
Socialism just doesn't work on a large scale, way to many people abuse the system. If I knew everyone would work their share I would be all for it. But people are still stupid.
answered Jun 19 '10 at 16:49
The question isn't why socialism / communism will / won't work, but why the public is almost universally against any notion of socialism or communism. I myself am a socialist, in a certain sense, but I don't care to go into that.
The primary reason that I think most people are so against socialism is the idea that other "lazy" people are benefiting from their "hard" work. Not to say that there are not lazy individuals, and not hard working individuals, but many people take an extremely biased view of those who are poor, and label them lazy instantly. And in that regard, I'd reccomend reading Barbarah Ehrenreich's book "Nickel and Dimed, on Not getting by in America." It does a fantastic job of illuminating the situations of many poor individuals, and dispels the myth that all poor can fix their problems magically by "just getting a job."
Back on topic, I again think that the main thing driving most away from socialism is the idea that they're helping the "lazy" people of society, and they largely ignore the benefits that they themselves will be getting, as well as those who cannot succeed, no matter how hard they work.
Edit : Yeah, this is just about the most rambling and incoherent thing I've ever written. Blech.