The Principles of Socialism

Photo Source Corey Torpie | CC BY 2.0

With the emergence on the U.S. political scene of self-proclaimed socialists like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, and with membership in the Democratic Socialists of America skyrocketing, socialism appears to be making a comeback in the United States.  Inasmuch as I was active in the Democratic Socialists of America in the 1980s, and I have lived in Cuba since 2011, I find this to be very good news.  However, I am concerned that the word socialism perhaps is being bantered about without a very thorough understanding of its meaning or its history.

Socialism has been forged in theory and practice by intellectuals and leaders of great historic importance: Marx, Lenin, Mao, Ho, and Fidel, among others. Moreover, socialism has experienced a politically significant revival in Latin America: the Chavist Revolution in Venezuela; the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua; the Movement for Socialism led by Evo Morales in Bolivia; and the Citizen Revolution led by Rafael Correa in Ecuador.  In U.S. history, the analyses of James P. Cannon, one of the founders of the Socialist Workers Party; and the African-American movement, especially the speeches and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, are important for our understanding.  I would submit that all who proclaim themselves socialist ought to have at least a basic understanding of these historical and contemporary movements and exceptional leaders.  They…

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