[To read "Great Ideas That Were Around Long Before Karl Marx" click here.]
[To read "From Marx to Lenin," which discusses how Lenin solved one problem in Marxism but not its main problem, click here.]
AN OPEN LETTER TO SOCIALISTS
If, as is very likely, you agree with PDR--Boston's egalitarian revolutionary aims, you may wonder how come PDR--Boston says "NO to Socialism." There are two main reasons. You may think it is for a third reason that is discussed below, but it is not.
The main reason we say No to Socialism is because, for most people in the world, the meaning of the word "socialism" is the meaning that the large socialist parties give to the word by the policies they enact when (as happens now and then) they gain control of a national government. These socialist parties do terrible things. We are about telling people who don't like the things that socialist parties do when in power that we agree with them that these things are terrible. We are NOT about telling people that they don't know what socialism "really" means (as if anybody does.)
Socialist parties give socialism the bad reputation that it now deservedly has.
The socialist prime minister of Greece in 2009 (Georgios Papandreou, who was the president of the Socialist International since January 2006) insisted banks must be repaid their debts and he therefore promoted austerity measures to do this, thus (understandably!) infuriating the Greek population and causing three quarters of it to demand his resignation.
PDR--Boston also disagrees with some important things that practically every person who calls him or herself a socialist agrees with. For example, practically everybody who calls him or herself a socialist believes that the huge numbers of people who oppose same-sex marriage do so because of bigoted ("homophobic") and anti-equality ("reactionary" as some socialists would say) thinking. We believe, on the contrary, that for many people their opposition to same-sex marriage stems from a very reasonable concern for children. Specifically they believe that social laws should promote the opportunity for a child to know and be known by its biological mother and its biological father. They believe that, since a marriage certificate confers formal social approval for a couple to make a child of their own, that therefore making same-sex marriage legal gives formal social approval to same-sex couples to make a child of their own, but the only way such a couple can do that is by third party gamete donation, which means the child will be denied the opportunity to know and be known by its biological father (or mother as the case may be) in a genuine parent/child relationship if-- as is legal today and as is typcially the case--the gamete donor remains anonymous. We call for a mutually respectable discussion of this question among egalitarians, and promote that discussion here, where we propose making same-sex marriage legal only when anonymous gamete donation is illegal and anybody who deliberately conceives a child with their gamete must, by law, at the time of conception genuinely intend to be fully in the life of the child as its co-primary (with the other biological parent) parent, regardless of any marriage or non-marriage status.
PDR--Boston believes that very good and well-intentioned people who are genuine egalitarians can disagree about whether the psychological harm to a child caused by being deprived of knowing and being known by its biological father (or mother) is sufficiently harmful to be a reason to ban same-sex marriage. Before penicillin was available to cure syphilis, most people, because of a concern for the child such a marriage might produce, agreed that being infected with syphilis was a reason to make it illegal for a person to marry, which is why most states used to require a blood test to get a marriage certificate. Virtually everybody agrees that siblings should not be allowed to marry because of the potential harm to the children such a couple might produce. Nobody says this former ban on syphilis-infected marriage or the ban on sibling marriage stems from bigotry against people infected with syphilis, or bigotry ("sibling-phobia"?) against siblings, or opposition to equality. Likewise, it does not follow that concern for a child's right not to be deliberately denied the opportunity to know and be known by its biological mother and father stems from bigotry or opposition to equality.
The fact that a very large proportion of people who call themselves socialists view huge numbers of good and decent people as awful people simply because these good and decent people have a genuine concern for the welfare of children and believe that the welfare of children trumps the desires of adults--well, this makes us want to distance ourselves from the word "socialism."
Another topic on which PDR--Boston disagrees with an opinion held by very many people in the "socialist camp" is this. We think that racial discrimination against blacks and Hispanics is a) rampant (socialists would agree here) and b) NOT a benefit to those ("white") working class people who are not discriminated against. The "socialist camp" disagrees. It refers to racial discrimination against blacks and Hispanics as "white privilege," which means something that benefits whites (the word "privilege" means a benefit.) We on the contrary say that "An Injury to One is an Injury to All" as discussed here.
Reason #3 is NOT why we don't call ourselves socialists.
The reason we do not call ourselves socialists is NOT that we believe some things that socialists stand for but we are reluctant or afraid to say so openly. The most radical things that some socialists (you, perhaps?) stand for are the very things that we say most prominently and clearly to the public. We are for revolution. We are for having no rich and no poor. We are for abolishing the system of wage slavery and class inequality altogether. We are for a society based not on money with its buying and selling but rather based on sharing according to need among those who contribute reasonably according to ability (Note that we disagree with Karl Marx on this point. Marx argued that society could NOT be based on "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" until "a higher phase of communism" is reached when "all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly," in other words far FAR in the future. We say it can be done now, and in fact was done in 1936-9 in about half of Spain to a very large degree (when peasants and workers acted on the basis of revolutionary non-Marxist ideas and the economy's level of productivity was quite primitive compared to today.)
We stronly encourage you to think about the very serious problems that come from calling oneself a socialist.
Unless you go around telling everybody, "No, socialism doesn't mean what you and millions of others think it means" and people believe you (not always the case!), then you are pretty much guaranteeing that most people will believe that you support terrible, in fact oppressive, governments as long as they have a socialist president or prime minister. Calling yourself a socialist amounts to telling huge numbers of good and decent people that you think they are nothing but a bunch of homophobic anti-equality bigots. It amounts to telling white working class people that racism benefits them and (as they naturally infer) that "anti-racism" is code for "anti-white." (The ruling class is delighted that socialists do this, as discussed here and here.)
If you are for egalitarianism, you belong in PDR--Boston!
This article may be copied and posted on other websites. Please include all hyperlinks.