“Socialism never took root in America because the poor there see themselves not as exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” John Steinbeck.
John Steinbeck and his work are not strangers to me. His ability to walk through your mind and embrace and captivate you are unparalleled. When he takes you by your mental hand and walk with him, you gain knowledge, and insight plus something very real happens to your spirit.
I read the quote about Socialism four years ago, to be exact. I had no idea what he was referring to. I understood at the time that his words meant more than he was saying. Patience is the road to all forms of enlightments. When a master of thought and words speaks and you don’t understand it is imperative to revisit this source of new knowledge constantly until you see what you are expected to see. Just like this it happened to me with Steinbeck’s assessment of how Americans see themselves in reference to Socialism.
Many people have suffered great injustices over the ignorance and misused of the this one word. Down to basics Socialism is the economic system linked and engaged with a political system and/or structure. The bottom line is Democratic Socialism as implemented in the the United States versus Communist Socialism as implemented in The Republic of Cuba. Same word, two entirely different meanings.
It is my personal opinion that many American politicians have used and misused the Communist Socialism term to shame, humiliate and ultimately steal from us. Pooling our funds for redistribution in a Democratic Socialism enables Social Security as just one example. While you are employed part of your income is deducted and placed into the Social Security Fund to be returned when you reach a certain age or suffer a disability. Your employer pays a percentage towards this same fund. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your employer is seriously matching your investment. The part your employer pays has already been estimated in your employment worth. They just want to keep their hands in the cookie jar.
Unemployment fund and Food Stamps are programs to help and bridge people during hard times. Everyone earning $7.50 per hour has hard times because they are working more than one job and still not making livable wages. These same people are shamed into thinking they are “living off the government and are lazy losers”. We are the government. The money the government has is our money and we can and should redistribute these funds as we see fit and as they are needed.
A group of politicians have made a living convincing us, very effectively, that our money is theirs and that any form of social assistance is shameful, a disgrace. Here is were Steinbeck’s wise vision of how Americans see themselves is a profound bullseye.
Contrary to Democratic Socialism when you refer to Communist Socialism you will find that all property belongs to the State. Assets are to be redistributed equally to be poor. Based on Karl Marx’s vision, the rich would not exist. The used and abused laborer, the proletariat, would at last leave the life of servitude and live and work a good and peaceful life which benefits all of their society.
My personal opinion about Communism is that the concept is a work of art. In spite of it’s perfect beauty and good wishes for humanity it was destined to failure because it did not factor in one key element: human greed. Castro and his family socialized all the property of wealthy Cuba, kicked out or murdered the rich, kept the country under lockdown for decades and stole billions of dollars from everyone.
Let’s be clear, once and for all, American Socialism in never in any way related to Communist Socialism. Don’t buy the lie. Thank you Mr. Steinbeck for a lesson well taught. Sure took me long enough but it was worth the time well spent. Godspeed.