PSL presidential candidate Peta Lindsay: Why socialism polls well among young people and African Americans

Statement by Party for Socialism and Liberation presidential candidate Peta Lindsay:

Recently the Pew Center for research published a poll in which they found that 49 percent of young people in the U.S. have a favorable view of socialism, while only 43 percent reported viewing it unfavorably. The report also revealed that African Americans have a favorable view of socialism at a rate of 55 percent to 36 percent.

This news seems to have taken some in the capitalist media by surprise—but should it? Our experiences and our conditions shape our consciousness. And in our relatively short lifetimes, the experiences of my generation have certainly run contrary to the myth that the capitalist free market is a force for “peace,” “freedom” and “prosperity.”

In the last 10 years, we have seen endless wars that were premised on lies and driven by profit. Weapons contractors, financiers, oil executives and the politicians and generals who sit on the boards of these major corporations have literally made a killing through record profits from the death and destruction that they have been allowed to wreak abroad.

Millions of people across the country, the majority of them young, have marched against these wars and if we lived in a true democracy, if the decision to pursue these wars had ever been brought before the people, there is no doubt that our brothers and sisters in uniform would already be home.

The cost of these wars is rarely discussed in the mainstream media, but we feel it every day when we look for government services that we need and find that they have been cut for lack of funds.

Many of us are surprised to find ourselves in need of government assistance at all. We all grew up hearing that if we studied hard and worked hard we would succeed. So those of us who could went to college despite rising education costs, shouldering crippling loans for the promise of a good job and a foundation for a good life. After graduating, we found that the market had no intention of keeping that promise.

Employment opportunities are declining, unemployment in this country is officially at 8.6 percent but in reality far higher. And there are fewer jobs today than there were two years ago. It is not just the unemployed who are suffering. Many of us are underemployed—meaning we work but we do not earn enough to survive. Many of us take temporary work or work part time, taking jobs with no benefits or internships with no pay, because the “job creators” have eliminated decent-paying positions knowing that they can squeeze more labor and more profit from the “standing army of the unemployed.”

Our wages are going down while the cost of living goes up. The explosive growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement forced the mainstream media to acknowledge this truth. Young people have been sold out by this system, and we are becoming more and more willing to fight back. We want peace, we want equality, we want jobs, and we want the wealth that our labor creates to be used to provide the things that our people need. We want socialism.

Obama cannot resolve the crisis of capitalism

Many people thought that the election of an African American president would result in better lives for African Americans in the U.S. But Obama’s election coincided with a crisis of capitalism that no capitalist leader, not even Obama, can resolve. The official unemployment rate for Black youth is at 41.3 percent. (americanprogress.org, July 2011)

Predatory lending and the housing crisis led to high rates of foreclosure for many families in the U.S., but the rates for African Americans were astronomical. Home ownership has always been important in our community, because it is something that has historically been denied to us by legal and extralegal means. While the segregationist laws that kept home ownership out of our reach for so long have been overturned, the laws of the free market allow the banks to kick us out of the homes that we have purchased.

Historically, economic and social gains made by African Americans were never a natural by-product of the free market but always the result of a struggle that forced reforms and government intervention in the market. We have struggled for centuries to bring ourselves closer to equality. There will never be full equality under capitalism, a system that must keep workers divided, that must keep some super exploited in order to drive everyone’s wages down so the capitalists can profit.

Conservatives are afraid that ‘capitalism’ has become a dirty word

They are right to be afraid, though it is certainly not just an issue of semantics. We have seen the devastation wrought by capitalism, and we are no longer accepting that this is the way it has to be. This past year, we have also seen our sisters and brothers in Tunisia and in Egypt fight and win. In the Occupy movement and beyond, we are developing strategies and tactics for our struggle right here. It is a new year and we will fight for a new system. One that offers us true equality, decent-paying jobs, education, housing, health care, all those things our class needs and deserves. Join us in the fight for socialism.

16 thoughts on “PSL presidential candidate Peta Lindsay: Why socialism polls well among young people and African Americans

  1. Translations previous ............ Lake

    wanna clear a room fast ????????????

    [a] yell ‘fire’!

    [b] yell Commie Pinkos!

  2. Gene Berkman

    The Party of Socialism & Liberation ran an editorial on their website about the tragic death of Kim Jong Il and how sad the Korean people are at the loss of their “dear leader.”

    Really not sure why anything from PSL is posted here – they don’t have ongoing party status in any state, and their presidential ticket received just over 7000 votes in 2008. I don’t think there are enough people interested in their version of socialism to matter.

  3. paulie Post author

    The Party of Socialism & Liberation ran an editorial on their website about the tragic death of Kim Jong Il and how sad the Korean people are at the loss of their “dear leader.”

    Thanks for reminding me. I’ll try to remember to post something about that here next time I do a socialist parties story for balance.

    Really not sure why anything from PSL is posted here – they don’t have ongoing party status in any state, and their presidential ticket received just over 7000 votes in 2008. I don’t think there are enough people interested in their version of socialism to matter.

    They provide more ready copy than the other socialist parties we link to. And we cover parties that are even smaller than that.

  4. Krieger

    PSL’s presidential ticket got more votes in 2008 than the SPUSA’s did. The PSL is definitely a notable party. Regarding their solidarity with the DPRK (North Korea) — all Marxist-Leninist parties have the same position, including the Chinese Communist Party, which is the planet’s largest political party.

  5. Anonymous

    Good point, Krieger.

    Also, Gene, who are you to say that people weren’t genuinely mourning? Koreans have different style of mourning in general, and many academics have noted the regime’s Confucian elements related to the great “father figure” in which society is projected as an extension of the family. In other words, you can be sharply critical of North Korea, you can hate the government, but the PSL’s point — that the mainstream media coverage of the mourning, assuming it was illegitimate, was chauvinistic — is one well worth considering.

    To turn the question around, this country also reveres and constantly invokes the name of ex-presidents who had slaves, launched illegal wars, and were responsible for enormous human suffering. Will IPR run a scandalous story about the next Republican or Democrat who evokes that unrepentant slaveholder who lived high on the hog while his people suffered, George Washington? Will IPR run a scandalous story about the next GOP candidate to compare themselves to Ronald Reagan, who financed covert wars with paramilitary narco-traffickers that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans?

    Some things to consider before we turn up our noses at political ideas we consider “beyond the pale.”

  6. paulie Post author

    Who says the other story is scandalous? I pointed out that, in my judgment, PSL was praising Kim and mourning his death. What you think of that is up to you. I did not say what I thought of the PSL’s stance on that in the story, although you think I did by the way I phrased the headline.

  7. Brian Holtz

    What “scandalous story”? It was straight-up reporting of facts. PSL had published a paean to the Kim Jong Il regime and its predecessor, and so the headline aptly said PSL “mourned”. It also said that “most American, western and world observers called North Korean leader Kim Jong Il a dictator and said that mourning for his death was coerced in NK”.

    If the facts reported by the story constitute a “scandal”, then that’s a (correct) judgement that you reached all by yourself.

  8. paulie Post author

    Exactly.

    Saying what most American, western and world observers think does not mean I necessarily agree with them (although I do), nor that you have to agree with them. It is just pointing out a fact.

    That the PSL was mourning Kim was in my view an accurate characterization of what they said. It does not say whether you should or should not mourn for Kim. That’s up to you and while I am happy to express my opinion on it in comments, I did not do so in the story.

  9. Pingback: Introducing Peta Lindsay, Your Young, Black, Female Presidential Candidate | We are brothers

  10. Anonymous

    come off it. The PSL’s article said “North Korean mourn death of leader Kim Jong-Il,” you changed it to “PSL mourns death…”

    Mourning means “a manifestation of sorrow,” a lamentation, etc. Where does the PSL article, which is really about the Western media’s presentation of North Korea, as well as some history, express sorrow. The quote you provide to prove this “mourning” is the PSL’s suggestion that the mourning *in North Korea* is real. This is not splitting hairs.

    Even if this were a “paean” — which it’s not (again, no quote showing “joyful praise” of Kim Jong-Il) — this still would not constitute mourning.

    What makes the headline scandalous is that its intent is to ridicule the position before readers can see it, by associating the PSL with the images of wailing Koreans in Pyongyang. By the way, the PSL as an organization does publish obituaries and statements expressing condolences, sorrow, etc. at the passing of different political figures. This was no such article.

  11. Starchild

    @16 – And why would the Party for Socialism and Liberation (sic) report on its website about North Koreans mourning the death of the dictator who led the regime that kept them poor and effectively enslaved, unless you want to give the impression that North Koreans were really okay with that dictatorship? Why not instead talk about North Korean dissidents and people who value freedom welcoming the death of the tyrant?

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