Opinion: The election’s over, stop misusing the word ‘socialism’

Austin Mann

Anne Buie

Austin MannIf there is one thing that really annoys me, it is a straw man.

Straw men have plagued this election, perhaps more than any other. If there is one straw man that makes me cringe, it’s the American public’s misunderstanding of the word “socialism.”

It seems that all of President Barack Obama’s detractors agree about one thing; that he will implement evil “socialism” in America and take away all of our freedom.

It annoys me to no end when people use labels without knowing their true meaning.
Let me tell you what socialism is not.

It is not the forced redistribution of wealth, it is not an evil authoritarian government telling you what to do and it is not the few controlling the many.

Socialism is workers democratically owning the means of production. It is the factory workers electing their managers and democratically setting their wages. It means supporting workers around the world, regardless of their nationality.

Plain and simple, it is the introduction of democracy into the workplace.

Socialism stands in opposition to capitalism, where the means of production are privately owned by individuals in an exploitative fashion.

Obama has done absolutely nothing that would qualify him as socialist. In fact, he has actually acted in one of the most capitalist manners possible, by giving breaks and bailouts to big capitalists while also using the State Department and United States military to suppress workers overseas – again for the benefit of capitalists.

And to Obama followers who support European “socialism,” here’s a surprise: Most European countries are social democracies. Social democracies are capitalist in nature and are not socialist in any way.

They involve private control of the means of production, a mode of production for profit and the same tendencies as normal capitalism with a slightly larger focus on increasing the budget for social programs to offset the exploitation.

Yes, Obama is our president. But no, he is not a socialist.

It’s time Americans learn to not throw this term silly straw men term around

Mann, a freshman computer science major from Raleigh, is an opinion writer.