A follow-up on why I became a socialist

Of the responses to my recent essay, “Why I Became a Socialist,” I received this one negative reaction.  I believe my reply to Mr. Wynman will help clarify the questions.  I believe we need a revolution, hopefully a peaceable one.  Unfortunately, those in control, when they feel threatened, will cause the violence when people get upset enough to protest and even act with civil disobedience.  I believe it has to eventually come to save our democracy from far right fascism.

J. Glenn Evans

16JUL14—Bob Wyman

With J. Glenn Evans’ 21 July, 2014

I doubt that whoever wrote this piece of junk was ever a capitalist or ever understood the free market.  (S)he claims:  “Then when I considered the injustice of the gross and growing inequality among people that is wrought by pure unregulated capitalism,”.  We’ve never had “pure unregulated capitalism”. 

Bob, I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my essay, “Why I Became a Socialist.”  There was a time in my life when I would have reacted with the same venom you have when you call my writing a piece of junk.  This was the time when I spent over 20 years as a stockbroker and investment banker raising capital for small companies and making markets in their stock.  During this time I served as a vice president of two brokerage firms and president of two others, first starting my own firm with $5,000 worth of junk securities and maybe a couple of thousand in cash shooting for ten million, reached three million in ten years, before I went bust from greed, over-expansion, too much success on a manual bookkeeping system and had my fill of bureaucrats so decided to go back to my earliest ambition to become a writer and publisher.  Also during this brokerage time I operated an exploratory mining company and a movie company that financed and co-produced a full-length movie co-starring Slim Pickens with a five star rating.  So I am hardly a wild-eyed idealist; I’ve had good grounding in the business world.

You are right; we have probably never had a totally unregulated capitalistic system.  Main Street Capitalism when there was true competition, the customer’s freedom to choose with whom they would do business served as a check on the unscrupulous.  On the state and national level when we had regulators who regulated for the best interest of the public, we prospered and the opportunity for folks to start a business and grow still had a chance.  When I referred to unregulated capitalists, I was referring to what we have today, where the  “supposedly regulated” are now with big money in control of Congress and the lobbyists for big uncontrollable corporations now write the laws for their benefit and playing musical chairs between government and business they have a tremendous effect on the regulators, and who and who not to go after.  How many Banksters have gone to jail?  So regulation is now reserved for the small exploratory mining company and a movie company that financed and co-produced a full-length movie co-starring Slim Pickens with a five star rating.

The USA has always been a mixed economy, part capitalist & part socialist & the socialist part has increased over the last 200 years as more & more “capitalists” climb into bed with the State bureaucrats and become part of the fascist State/corporate partnership that’s destroying our civilization.

I couldn’t agree with you more; we have become a fascist state, at least by Mussolini definition that Fascism is a marriage between business and government

The article doesn’t get any better; it’s filled with misrepresentations, untruths utter BS, such as “As a result of global capitalism and corruption, the socialist systems in Russia and China evolved into state capitalism with ruling coming from the top down”.  “State Capitalism” is an oxymoronic label for fascism, with nothing in common with free market or capitalism.

Bob, I would recommend that you read John Perkins’s Confessions of An Economic Hit Man.  He was on the inside and well aware of what our CIA and National Security outfit have been doing in the world, taking leaders out who do not take their bribes and do their will, how the World Bank, so set up to help third world countries has been used as a vehicle to get countries overextended debt-wise, doing projects that little benefit the people.  When they cannot pay, then putting the squeeze on and having our corporations take control of their resources and impoverishing their citizens to pay back the interest and principal of a debt, they little benefited from.  Only a few rich sycophants made out.

What started out as intended as Democratic Socialism, from the people up, in Russia and China, was taken over by bureaucracies ruled from the top down, with little input from the people for whom the productive resources were supposed to be owned.  Since the state owned the productive assets or capital, I don’t know what you would call it other than State Capitalism.  Fascism is a partnership between private business corporations and the government.

I don’t know of any free markets unless they are the local farmer’s markets.  Above that it is a myth put out by subsidized special interests.

No one who ever understood the free market could ever write:  “We also need progressive taxation and inheritance taxes above a certain level to prevent excessive inequality. ”.  In a free society, we all have equal opportunity to become as unequal as we are capable of becoming.

Unfortunately the statement, “In a free society, we are all have equal opportunity to become as unequal as we are capable of becoming,” is also a myth.  What if you are born black or poor and in a slum or handicapped or happen to be a woman?  When I went to college, my semester tuition was $45.  All I had to worry about was buying my books and earning food and shelter.  By working summers and after school I was able to work and earn some more money.  When I got out of college I did not own a big debt that our young folks are loaded up with today and most likely will be enslaved by such a debt for years.  Some of our greatest people came from the working class.  Look at Lincoln; look at Ben Franklin and thousands of others.  Would we deny these people an opportunity to serve their community by cutting them short on an education, while rich people waste money on the likes of George Bush and with their money put him in high places where such people can do so much damage.  Ask Iraq and Afghanistan what they think.

When I left the game of greed and took up my earlier ambition to be a poet and writer, where I have spent over 30 years and came to associate with people more concerned about the well being of their fellow citizens and others in the world in achieving economic, social and political justice for all, rather than gaining a lot of wealth and self-aggrandizement, I came to realize that resources of this world are here for all life, not for a few grabbers.  Why should one person accumulate enough for a thousand lifetimes and a thousand family go hungry and unsheltered?  Anyone earning over a million dollars a year does not earn it.  It is made from speculation or exploiting money from those who work for them.  In a world of diminishing resources hogged up by mega corporations owned by the 1%, progressive taxations and inheritance taxes are the main tools for maintaining an equitable balance.  

We have all seen how great wealth in the hands of the few has destroyed our democracy in their takeover of our government.  Without inheritance taxes what are we trying to do build up another aristocracy, with the Earls, Dukes and Barons just changing their names to Banksters, CEOs and Lobbyists?  Capitalism has had its day of inequality and constant wars just like the feudal system and it is time for change.  We must devise a new system of cooperate and share rather than compete and beat.  Socialism may not have all the answers, but they are in the forefront of human rights issues and standing up for economic and political justice and it works.  Look at the Scandinavian countries.  We better do something quickly; otherwise in time we are headed toward another French like Revolution

I quit reading at the point the big lie was repeated:  “There are certain functions too big for small companies, including transportation, public utilities and some industrial undertakings that would better serve the public by being community-owned.  Banking, insurance, health care and education can better serve the citizens by being community-owned rather than filling the pockets of private capitalists that seem to turn into monopolies.” … and should have quit reading much sooner.

–bob

Hardly a big lie when you see big pharmaceutical monopolies feasting on the sick, health care and assisted living corporations bankrupting our citizens, our industrial corporations shipping our vital industries to other nations with the decimation of our own local communities, financial and banksters sucking money out of the nation for their speculations and cannibalizing and plundering their competition.

 

Why I became a Socialist

I spent most of my life a devout capitalist and over 20 years as stockbroker and investment banker. Today I am a Socialist. As the years went by, I observed the amoral practices of capitalism that rigged the system in the absence of regulation. The system forced otherwise good people into that mold because they could not compete unless they played the same game.

The very word, Socialism, has been so demonized in the U.S. and compared to Stalin’s so-called communism, that I did not even consider such a system as being socially and economically just. Then when I considered the injustice of the gross and growing inequality among people that is wrought by pure unregulated capitalism, I decided to look into this so-called demon, the Socialistic system.

My first introduction to and respect for Socialism came after reading the life of Eugene Debs in Irving Stone’s book, Adversary in the House. Debs was incarcerated by Wilson’s administration for speaking out against World War I. That and other wars inspired General Smedly Butler to write War Is A Racket. Debs ran for president as a Socialist three times. The last time he ran while he was still in prison and he still won around a million votes. Wow! What a man and true lover of humanity. Then I was pleasantly surprised at the reputation and caliber of people who were professed Socialists. Some of my real heroes were Socialists, people like Jack London, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, and George Bernard Shaw. There had to be something good about such a system if these esteemed people considered themselves Socialists.

Then I discovered that Socialists were always in the forefront of standing up for both political and economic justice for all, same as me. When injustices and abuses occurred in our present capitalistic system, Socialists always took the stand for people and true justice. Socialists take a strong position for true democracy and demand that all citizens have an unhampered right to vote [U.S. Constitutional Amendment XV states: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be abridged by race, color, or previous condition of servitude. In practice this has become fiction]. It is the vote that gives the citizen the right to respond to unfair laws and in effect gives them a say in such laws. In true Socialism all positions are subject to recall and replacement by those who elected them if they are dissatisfied with their actions and votes. As a result of global capitalism and corruption, the socialist systems in Russia and China evolved into state capitalism with ruling coming from the top down instead of from the people up.

We must remember that all resources of this earth are here for all life, not reserved just for a few rich grabbers. Certain characteristics of Main Street Capitalism have proven to be good for the community, with individual services to their fellow citizens and personal initiative in creating goods and services and filling needs. Yet even at this level you need regulations and rules to play by to keep the unscrupulous in line. We also need progressive taxation and inheritance taxes above a certain level to prevent excessive inequality. There are certain functions too big for small companies, including transportation, public utilities and some industrial undertakings that would better serve the public by being community-owned. Banking, insurance, health care and education can better serve the citizens by being community-owned rather than filling the pockets of private capitalists that seem to turn into monopolies.

Unregulated Corporate Capitalism, industrial and financial, leads to control by political oligarchies and economic monopolies. Capitalism like Feudalism has had its day and we need to move on and design a new system to replace it.

Some may call this a rant, but it is an honest statement of why I am enraged at the abuses of capitalism and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see my fellow citizens paid poverty wages and forced to pay excessive unregulated rents, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see the obscene and extravagant increases of as much as 140% paid in compensation to CEOs while their employees are lucky to get even 3%, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist. [Wendell Potter, Center for Public Integrity]

When I see my fellow citizens sleeping on the cold, dangerous streets and under bridges when there are empty buildings and vast wealth hogged by the few, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see our young people burdened with unpardonable debts to get an education when earlier, less prosperous generations were provided almost free education through college, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see people having to declare bankruptcy because of health care problems when most other advanced societies take care of these needs, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see our prisons being turned into private moneymaking ventures to profit from the misery of people incarcerated when they are not a real danger to society, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see unfortunate poor and black people in jail for nonviolent crimes while banksters and corporate executives commit wholesale crimes and even murder and get off free or with a slap on the wrist or a fine, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see predatory corporations and banksters robbing other countries of their resources and using our military to protect their interests, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see the 1 percent’s toadies in Congress create a security state that has trashed our Constitution by the passage of laws, including the Homeland Security Act, Patriots Act, Military Commissions Act, and the recently renewed NDAA that allows the president to maintain a kill list that even includes American citizens without their day in court, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When I see the corrupt Supreme Court declare that corporations have the same rights as flesh and blood citizens who die for their country and not declare such laws as those mentioned above that have trashed our Constitution as unconstitutional, I am enraged and think it smart to be a Socialist.

When in the hell are we all going to get enraged and quit supporting these predatory corporations, international banksters, manufacturers of killing machines and quit voting for the corporate toadies in the Democratic and Republican parties?

Copyleft 2014 J. Glenn Evans

(Feel free to copy and distribute to others)
J. Glenn Evans

Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma, founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show. Evans, an award-wining poet, is author of a book of poetry, Window in the Sky and three chapbooks, Buffalo Tracks, Deadly Mistress and Seattle Poems. He is author of three novels, Broker Jim, Zeke’s Revenge and Wayfarers, is a former stockbroker-investment banker. Evans has lived in Seattle since 1960, worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller, co-starring Slim Pickens. Evans, in addition to poetry and novels has written numerous political essays and is the author several local community histories including a history of Seattle’s Pike Place Market and has been published in many literary Journals.