In the wake of one of the most extreme (although characteristic of a capitalist system) economic crisis in American history many pundits, angry Right-wing bloggers, and coffee shop liberals are dropping the "S" bomb more than usual. One cannot turn on the news or open up a newspaper without someone crying "socialist" in regards to the Wall Street bailout or the Obama campaign. In reality, giving extremely wealthy CEOs several billions of dollars (over 700 billion to be exact) of working class tax payer money for their screw ups in a wildly fluctuating capitalist market is the furthest from socialism that one could get. This sort of bourgeois fear-baiting misinformation is frustrating to say the least for sincere, honest, and true Marxist-Leninists who are out in the fold fighting for working class power and socialism. Even more upsetting is the claims of certain self-proclaimed "socialists" that this bailout is a great idea. I have had enough with the blatant lies, so I will set the record straight on exactly what socialism is and isn't from a Marxist-Leninist perspective.
In essence, socialism is a transitional stage of human development between capitalism and communism. In the current capitalist stage of development, the means of production (land, factories, machines, capital, etc.) are privately owned by a very small number of individuals who extract profit from the unpaid labor of their workers. The workers make up the class of what Marx called the proletariat who own no real wealth, property, or capital. The only thing they have of worth is the labor they sell to the capitalist. Capitalism itself has become increasingly imperialistic over it's development, as Lenin pointed out. This is due to the inherent contradictions of the capitalist mode of production, the anarchy of market forces, and competition between private firms leading to domination by a few cartels. As these contradictions become more acute, the working class (the creators of the very germ of all value and subsequently wealth) becomes more exploited and seeks to eradicate capitalism by means of revolution. What capitalism is replaced with is socialism, a system in which the means of production come under common ownership by the proletariat. The proletariat then reorganizes and assumes control of the state itself, making it a uniquely working class power mechanism fighting solely for its interests against that of the toppled bourgeois (and their ideology). During the socialist stage of development, state owned enterprises are used to redistribute wealth equally among the working class regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religious preference. Out of such a relation, private profit at the expense of the working class is impossible. After the old capitalist ruling class, their bourgeois ideology, mode and relations of production are destroyed and replaced by working class rule, exploitative class relations would also have been rendered an anachronism. Only then would society have reached a communist stage of development free of classes, exploitation, and poverty.
I know what you're asking: "Well you said socialists nationalize enterprises and that's just what this bailout is doing. How can this not be socialist?" Well, mere nationalization is not socialism, it is just nationalization. Socialist governments may nationalize certain enterprises to fight exploitative capitalist practices, neo-colonialism, and class domination. Nationalization in this sense is done with the ultimate aim of building socialism and redistributing wealth among the working class (I cannot stress this enough, as I bold the hell out of these statements). Nationalization of private debts and/or enterprises set in place by state monopoly capitalist societies such as our own, however, do so only temporarily for the sole purpose of saving capitalism from itself and subsequent destruction. In the former example of nationalization, the working class is the ultimate benefactor. In the latter, however, big capitalists are protected at the cost of already struggling working class families. This is not socialism in any way, shape, or form. What we have here with the Wall Street bailout is and example the bourgeois government utilizing state power to defend the ruling class status and wealth at the expense of the proletariat. This, my friends, is the ugly face of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
H.G. Wells, a famous socialist English author, interviewed Stalin in the wake of the Great Depression and following New Deal Era. These were extremely trying times for the working class of the United States. Capitalism was floundering and the free market was accountable for such a fall. In order to prevent the ultimate collapse of the market system, many government regulations were being implemented. Much like today, these regulation policies were being dubbed socialist. Wells brought up the developments in the United States and incorrectly stated that the American capitalists were striving to become socialist. Stalin responded by saying:
" The aim which the Americans are pursuing, arose out of the economic troubles, out of the economic crisis. The Americans want to rid themselves of the crisis on the basis of private capitalist activity, without changing the economic basis. They are trying to reduce to a minimum the ruin, the losses caused by the existing economic system. Here, however, as you know, in place of the old, destroyed economic basis, an entirely different, a new economic basis has been created. Even if the Americans you mention partly achieve their aim, i.e., reduce these losses to a minimum, they will not destroy the roots of the anarchy which is inherent in the existing capitalist system. They are preserving the economic system which must inevitably lead, and cannot but lead, to anarchy in production. Thus, at best, it will be a matter, not of the reorganisation of society, not of abolishing the old social system which gives rise to anarchy and crises, but of restricting certain of its excesses. Subjectively, perhaps, these Americans think they are reorganising society; objectively, however, they are preserving the present basis of society. " (Marxism Versus Liberalism, J.V. Stalin, 1934).
Stalin was very correct in his assessment of government regulation of the market economy.
There was, as is the same for today's situation, no intention of reorganizing society along a working class line. This state monopoly tactic was devised only as a way to preserve the power and dictatorship of the capitalist, the absolute ruler of our era.
I find the claims of the Right calling presidential candidate Barack Obama a Marxist less than amusing. These jackasseries are a mere part of the fear-baiting campaign that the McCain camp has used in the most horrid means imaginable. One thing should be clear, Obama is no socialist. His interests are clearly bourgeois as he supports the imperialist war on terror to the fullest extent. Obama has defamed the Cuban revolution and defended the privilege of the capitalist ruling class on national T.V. Barack's economic policies are in lock-step with the typical regulated market capitalist line of the Democratic Party. It is simply a case of misrepresentation, Obama is not radical or as Left as he is portrayed. Anyone who does not believe this simple fact should visit projectvotesmart.com and check his voting record and speeches for yourselves, you will not find him quoting Marx, Engels, or Lenin.
With that said, one can only conclude that this Wall Street bailout plan and Obama's campaign are about as socialist as Ronald Reagan's greasy f**ked up hair-do. When you are faced with such lies as these, just disregard them as quickly as you would yesterday's trash. Those who own the means of production also own the means in which information is conveyed, fight their lies with truth and reason. Socialism is for the working class and against Wall Street tyranny.