What is socialism, anyway?

Bernie Sanders is not a socialist. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not a socialist. Venezuela isn’t even a socialist country, and I’ll tell you why.

Socialism is viewed as dirty and taboo. Each time a political figure or pundit advocates for social programs — Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance and so on — and seeks to create a community of healthy and protected individuals, they are called a socialist.

We’re approaching the Red Scare 2.0.

The negative connotation of socialism is tied to the Cold War, a time where “communists” were blacklisted, ostracized and punished. I believe we are so programmed by capitalism that anything that appears to be a threat to it instills fear, and this fear morphs into hatred and anger.

Capitalism rules the world economy through globalization, and it’s not very easy to just break away from that.

Beyond that, a core idea within the theories of socialism and communism is one of anarchy, per se. These ideologies are defined by a lack of power, or rather, the power lies within the people. Socialism is a stepping stone to communism, which is the almighty Karl Marx’s Nirvana.

The kicker is, no one is willing to give up power. If a socialist project goes as planned, over time there will be a transition where the government and controlling powers begin to dissolve. This has never been done. Venezuela has a president, Nicolas Maduro, who takes advantage of and neglects to take care of his people.

Rather than placing the power in the peoples’ hands, which would be done if Venezuela were a successful socialist project, Maduro dangles the rights of his people in front of them like a carrot while making a profit.

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are a completely different portion of the conversation. In a strong, capitalist society such as that in the United States, it is a part of the culture. Capitalism is in our veins. Our foundations are capitalistic, the American dream is capitalistic, everything in this country is capitalistic.

When that is threatened, people tend to lash out at these threatening individuals. While Ocasio-Cortez is a self-described socialist and Bernie has stated that he is a “democratic socialist,” this does not mean they have the power or desire to dismantle North American capitalism, let alone global capitalism. As long as this country stands, capitalism will run through Lady Liberty’s veins.

There are proposals which people call socialist, such as the Green New Deal. This usage of the term is the very reason I’m writing this. Just because a politician wants good lives for the people of this country and prospering communities meanwhile improving our environment, does not mean they are a socialist or a threat to this country.

Additionally, one declaring they are a socialist has no real implication beyond personal ideology. Socialists and communists are not seeping into our government with the intention of ripping it apart from the inside out. Again, it’s never going to happen. These politicians simply write leftist policy which can sometimes reflect a socialist ideology and suddenly become threatening.

Our economic system will never be in danger no matter how many Bernies there may be.

True socialism has become unattainable as capitalism has spread throughout the world, but of course, the ideology still stands. And in my eyes, this truly is not a bad thing. It allows politicians such as Ocasio-Cortez to write sympathetic and thoughtful policy with the American people in mind.

What’s so threatening about that?