1. Personally I’m a Social Democrat and I believe in a fairer and more equal society. But right now we’ve got to pay off our debts and balance the books. Then once we’ve got the country back on its feet we can worry about those other things.
So, deep down in the cockles of your heart, you have some left-wing inclination and you think that means you’re on the same page as us.
But if your Socialist heart has absolutely no influence on issues like austerity, the markets and the eurozone crisis; if reality and your “Socialism” exist in separate universes; if the “national interest” comes before the interests of the majority of the people in the nation (and in every other nation), then why should anyone care about what you believe in “personally”?
2. The ideas of Marx are out of date- we now enjoy much better living conditions than people did in the 19th century.
Who’s “we”? Practically all the clothes you and me are wearing were made by underpaid, exploited, non-unionized workers living in dictatorships.
Even in the more “developed” countries, a tiny minority controls most of the wealth (the Capitalist Class) while the vast majority does all the real work to create that wealth (the Working Class).
Huge numbers of people live in poverty and misery, and most of us have no real say in politics. With the terrible price of this crisis of capitalism being forced onto our shoulders, we have nothing to look forward to but our jobs disappearing, pay and welfare being cut, our towns and neighbourhoods falling apart and the cost of study soaring way out of reach.
3. It’s better to reform society slowly than to risk revolution.
You can’t reform society slowly- you can’t defeat your enemy then leave him armed and at large. If you do, he’s going to come back with a vengeance.
We campaign for every reform within the capitalist system to make life better for ordinary people- but these battles are only to embolden and organize the working class to fight for a final break with Capitalism.
4. It’s best to control and regulate capitalism, not get rid of it.
The right-wing fearmongers have a point. If you keep the power of the capitalists intact while hedging them around with regulations, they WILL stop investing.
If you try to make them behave reasonably, while at the same time leaving all the wealth and power in their hands, they will use that wealth and power to sabotage the country in every way they can, from a strike of investment to a military coup.
5. Are you in favour of violent revolution?
Throughout history the capitalist class have used violence to defend their unjust privilege, even bringing to power Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet and a host of other fascists and mass-murderers just to prevent revolution.
If it’s necessary to suffer or inflict violence to end the permanent violence of exploitation and oppression, then we are prepared to do so.
6. Rich people aren’t all evil oppressive exploiters.
If a capitalist is not prepared to oppress and exploit, his business is far less likely to survive. It’s not a question of personal morals but of what this sick system forces people to do.
The logic of capitalism means that the worst exploiters, scam artists and crooks are rewarded not punished. Studies have found that there’s more psychopaths in high positions in business and finance than any other part of society apart from prison.
7. I’m a Socialist personally but you shouldn’t talk about Socialism because it puts people off.
We’re revolutionaries not advertising executives. Our job is to challenge and to change the way people are thinking, not to patronize people, underestimate people’s understanding or pander to the lowest common denominator.
8. If working-class people are so brilliant, why do they vote for right-wing and far-right parties?
Mostly because the Social Democratic and Labour parties around the world have totally stopped representing working class people and on economic matters become nearly identical to Conservative and Liberal parties.
Where class issues are thrust into the background, all that flag-waving crap takes centre stage.
9. You’re right, austerity alone isn’t working. We need a stimulus package and growth clauses and a financial transactions tax. But Socialism and revolution, that’s going a bit far!
How the hell can you have austerity and stimulus at the same time? That’s like donating blood to someone while leaving their wound gaping open.
And most “stimulus” measures so far have been just huge handouts to banks.
We need to scrap the debt. We can’t do this without practically destroying the international financial system. We can’t stop austerity without seriously pissing off the gamblers in the financial markets. We can’t invest wealth in society unless we get it from somewhere.
In short, we can’t solve this crisis without starting a huge struggle against the markets, the banks and big business- a class struggle for the ownership of wealth in society.
Stay tuned for Arguing About Socialism, Part Three: The Hippy, coming soon