The Jaded Prole

A Progressive Worker's Perspective on the political and cultural events of our time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Capitalism's Failure & the Potential for Progress

The failure of capitalism is becoming so unmistakeably apparent that a new poll shows it running neck, if not behind Socialism in popular support.

A year ago, a Rasmussen poll found similar reactions. Then, only 53% of Americans described capitalism as “superior” to socialism.

Meanwhile, 29% in the Pew poll describe “socialism” as positive. This positive percent soars much higher when you look at key sub-groups, as discussed shortly. A 2010 Gallup poll found 37% of all Americans preferring socialism as “superior” to capitalism.

Keep in mind these findings reflect an overview of the public mind when Right wing views seem at a high point – with the Tea Party often cast as a barometer of American public opinion. The polls in this era do not suggest a socialist country, but not a capitalist-loving one either. This is not a “Center-Right” America but a populace where almost 50% are deeply ambivalent or clearly opposed to capitalism. Republicans and the Tea Party would likely call that a Communist country.

The story gets more interesting when you look at two vital sub-groups. One is young people, the “millennial generation” currently between 18 and 30. In the Pew poll, just 43% of Americans under 30 describe “capitalism” as positive. Even more striking, the same percentage, 43%, describes “socialism” as positive. In other words, the new generation is equally divided between capitalism and socialism.

The Pew, Gallup and Rasmussen polls come to the same conclusion. Young people cannot be characterized as a capitalist generation. They are half capitalist and half socialist. Since the socialist leaning keeps rising among the young, it suggests—depending on how you interpret “socialism”—that we are moving toward an America that is either Center-Left or actually majoritarian socialist.

We need to take advantage of the moment to reach out and build a class-conscious perspective, expose the reality of corporate rule and organize and build a movement to defeat this deadly system once and for all. The people are increasingly looking for that leadership and we must provide it. I know that in my area there is more organization and struggle on a higher level than ever before as coalitions are built and a worker school is coming together and I live in a notoriously conservative area!