There’s ironic pleasure watching Republicans as they fight among themselves to see who’s more right-wing. Thanks to pressure from the Tea Party faction, the PC Disease that supposedly was the affliction of the Left has now infected them. Too bad they didn’t learn from our history. For 150 years, those who called themselves socialists have argued over the “correct” interpretation of the Sacred Texts and over who was entitled to mark the “true path” to socialism. The resulting factionalism fractured the movement as a whole. More disastrously, Stalin and Mao set themselves up as the ultimate totalitarian arbiters of these issues in their countries and imprisoned or killed off the opposition.
Given that history, I am certainly reluctant to set up any concrete definitions or establish ideological litmus tests. However, I would like to give you an opportunity to define yourselves. So here are three propositions about economics and politics that I believe can help do this. (I welcome additional suggestions, but I think these are a good start.)
(1) In the long run and as a whole, the economic and political interests of the “1%” and those who work with or identify with them are inherently opposed to those of the rest of us. They gain, we lose. We gain, they lose.
(2) In the long run, organizing the economy of society primarily around the pursuit of profit is destructive of the well-being of humanity and the Earth we live on.
(3) A different world is possible and desirable–together we can make it happen.
For each question, if you answer “Yes”, give yourself two points. If you answer “Maybe” or “Don’t Know”, give yourself one point. If you answer No”, give yourself zero points.
Add it up. If you scored zero, you are most certainly not a socialist. Six points–Welcome to the club! In between–well, that depends on how you answered each question and why. For example, “yes” on the first two and “no” on the last (you might be an anarchist–or a survivalist) is different from three “maybes” (you might be a liberal). And among us six-pointers, there are undoubtedly strong differences on some of the details–especially over specific solutions and how to achieve them. Perhaps continuing to read this blog may help clarify things, especially if you answered “don’t know” three times. I encourage you, regardless of your score, to do so, and weigh in with your own point of view.