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8
Setting the record straight

Myths About Socialism


—and Their Answers
1 Myth: Socialists want to
take away your property

This my th confuses private propert y


2 Myth: Socialists are against
democracy and for dictatorship

The t wo-pa r t y “democrat ic” system


3 Myth: Under socialism, there is
no incentive to work
4 Myth: Socialism is against
human nature

Human “nature” changes depending


with personal property. When socialists under capitalism is in fact a dictatorship on the type of society you are living in.
talk about the abolition of private prop- of the rich. Under it, working people cre- Marx explained that the ruling ideas and
erty, they are referring to the socializa- ate all the wealth, but capitalists—who behaviors of a society are those of its rul-
tion of the means of production—the own the corporations and banks—have ing class. We are taught to believe that
resources and equipment that create all the economic power and use it to humans are naturally violent, exploit-
wealth. Working people do not own this control politics. That fact never changes, at ive a nd sel f ish because t hose a re
type of property—which is why we have even if we have the right to vote. We get the principles on which our society is
to work to survive. to vote on who will oppress us next, while built. Looking through human history,
all the important decisions are made in including thousands of years of commu-
When socialists talk about executive boardrooms.
Und e r s o c i a l i s m , s o c ie t y ’s v a s t
nal, class-less societies, we can see that
another “nature” exists. Even in our pres-
abolishing private property, resources cannot be privately hoarded.
Capitalism rewards the lazy.
ent society, we can see in our daily lives
we don’t mean your home They are used and distributed accord-
ing to a plan that the working class and Socia lism rewa rds ha rd work, whi le
tremendous examples of shared sacrifice
and solidarity—even if those don’t make
or personal items. its organizations decide. Because wealth under capita lism t he richest people the evening news.
will not be concentrated in the hands of a are the ones who do no work at all. In a
Right now, the wealth of the 1,000 bil- tiny elite, it creates the basis for genuine socialist society, the working class con-
lionaires is equal to that of the 3.5 billion democracy -- real “rule of the people” -- trols the means of production and the
poorest people on the planet. In order to for the first time. fruits of its own labor and therefore has
provide everyone with more, that wealth Historically, there have been various a real stake in the realization of its full
must be commonly owned, and not the political forms to defend the rule of the capacity to produce. The main incentive
property of those few capitalists. working class. In U.S. schools, they teach to work under capitalism is the threat of
Socialists have no interest in taking us t hat t he Sov iet Union, China a nd being fired and starvation.
away one’s home, car or individual items Cuba are evil dictatorships because of Under socialism, a person is paid
intended for personal use. In reality, as their single-party systems. But we never according to the work they do. Under
the foreclosure crisis has shown, under learn that they developed such govern- capitalism, the least productive members
capitalism the banks own most of this ments to prevent counter-revolutions of society—the bankers and CEOs—grow
property as well—and will take it away that would have brought back the dicta- obscenely wealthy while working class
as they please. torship of the rich. people live paycheck to paycheck.

5 Myth: Socialists don't respect


freedom of religion
6 Myth: Socialists only care about
class—not other oppressions

PSL members are tireless fighters against


7 Myth: Socialism collapsed
with the Soviet Union

Socialism as a concept is not dependent on


8 Myth: Socialism has no
roots in the United States

all forms of oppression. We believe that any single state. It will exist as long as the
racism, sexism, anti-immigrant bigotry, exploitative system of capitalism exists. It
homophobia and all other kinds of dis- existed before the Soviet Union and there-
crimination divide poor and working peo- fore exists after it. It is a theory of how to
ple and must be fought if we ever want to organize society to eliminate scarcity and
move forward. put the producers in control.
We put ourselves in that revolution- A few governments do exist that are
ary tradition of socialists who take up trying to build socialism. Cuba, a country
the banners of Black liberation, women’s that had been impoverished by colonial-
liberation and LGBT liberation. ism, is an example of what can be accom-
plished when the resources of society are
used to meet the needs of the people, as
Socia lists consider religion a private opposed to enriching the capitalist class.
matter, and actively fight against dis- The Soviet Union was the first experi-
crimination on the basis of religion. ment of poor and working people taking Socialists have been consistent and dedi-
Marx never called for the banning of power. Despite its own contradictions, it cated participants in all the major strug-
religion. He pointed out how historically provided universal health care, free edu- gles the U.S. working class has engaged
religious institutions have discouraged cation, the right to a job, free childcare, as in. Some of the main socialist holidays—
people from fighting against oppression. well as guaranteed maternity leave and International Worker’s Day and Interna-
They instruct poor and working people to vacation days for all workers. After the tional Women’s Day—began in the United
wait instead for a better after-life. Soviet Union, life expectancy and living States. The first unions were established
There are many examples, however, of conditions have plummeted in Russia. by radicals who wanted to abolish capi-
movements that have used religious ide- The Soviet Union also developed a talism. During the Great Depression,
ology while struggling for a better world. privileged leadership that departed from socialists were leaders in the labor move-
While many socialists are atheists, the revolutionary socialism. But it must be ment and organized the unemployed. In
PSL whole-heartedly welcomes people of remembered that the country inherited the 1960s, leading figures of the struggles
all faith backgrounds that want to fight to a legacy of underdevelopment. For its against racism, war and sexism recog-
make that world a reality. entire existence, the world’s most power- nized that only socialism could put a final
ful countries worked to overthrow it. end to these injustices.