Socialism is defined as ‘ a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.’
Socialism simply means that wealth is created by the masses but enjoyed by a few. It is also defined as state capitalism where the machines of production are controlled by an elite group that manages the state.
The communist revolution in Russia turned out to be the biggest setback in the social and economic history of mankind. When the poor took up arms against the State and the ruling class, it was never aimed at restructuring the society to provide equal opportunity to all but to suppress the ambitious and give way to a parasitic elite class to live in luxury. The current state of Venezuela is testimony to this social reality!
One individual who had been vociferously spouting his socialist ideology made a U-turn when he secured a post at the university. He remained quiet, not taking any chance to rock the state boat. When questioned about his lack of participation in the struggle his response was “I am on probation and as soon as I amconfirmed I would be ready to take up the mantle of leadership.” Sadly, that day never reached! The individual went on to take up a lucrative posting in the US, the heart of capitalism and that was the last I heard of him.
The coming to power of Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom in the mid- 1970s was a nightmare to the Labour Party, the trade unions and other leftist bodies in the UK. Thatcher-the grocer’s daughter- came from a background where work was cherished and handouts were shunned. As a young woman, she assisted in her family business and diligently pursued her studies. Her father also served as an alderman in the local government body and was known for his conservative values.
Where is the production from the two-acre of land leased to ex-Caroni workers? Why couldn’t the ex-workers be guided to form cooperatives to increase production at a lower cost and enjoy larger market shares? One would have expected the All Trinidad Union to share with them this vision to bring them together to increase their wealth?
Nevertheless, despite the numerous challenges our farmers continue to produce food that feeds this nation but still remain poor. More upsetting is the failure of our educated professionals, though coming from a farming background with parents and siblings still engaged in farming, to develop a vibrant agricultural lobby.
The culture of handouts continues with the PNM government’s passion to develop a national cultural identity. Steelpan, kaiso, Carnival and soca, all wearing the labels of national culture, are provided preferential funding by the State annually. This wanton waste of state resources has created a culture of putting fete before work!
But more than building cultural pride was the government’s hidden agenda to strengthen its electoral base. The PNM that governed the country for 75% of the time since 1956, is always scared of a repeat of the 1970 Black Power Uprising. To ally that fear and to pacify the masses, the PNM nationalized a number of foreign companies such as Texaco. New companies were created such as Workers’ Bank. The result was all-around failure!
Dr. Eric Williams was an admirer of Prime Minister Nehru of India and must have copied many of his socialist policies that kept the Indian masses in penury. Never enjoying the support of the majority Hindu community, Nehru pandered to the minorities and the poorer Hindus identifying them as ‘backward classes’ and ‘scheduled tribes,’ granting them reservation quotas in the civil service and universities, all aimed at building a vote bank.
Now that Prime Minister Modi has embarked on a more open market economy acknowledging the private sector as a major creator of wealth, his detractors have joined hands with foreign enemies to label his government fascist. Not deterred by criticisms, Prime Minister Modi continues to reach out to the needs of the poorest sections of the society across communal lines. Only this week some districts in rural Haryana got pipe-borne water for the first time in 73 years after independence!
The BJP open market economy is the dagger at the hearts of the communists. Kerala, the last bastion of socialism in India, is going to fall as the BJP closes in to win the upcoming State Assembly elections. Slaughtering cows on the streets and eating beef biryani is not going to stop the Modi electoral wave!
Socialism must be denounced to bring about a culture of hard work which is the sole vaccine for the eradication of poverty that is plaguing our families, communities and nations.