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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 29, 2010 7:30 AM

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Wrong perceptions of socialism

I read in The Daily Iowan’s April 22 issue about an economist who “warns against socialism.”

It seems to me that it’s the dangers of capitalism that we need to be concerned about. We live in a world of poverty, war, and environmental devastation. A world in which living standards for working people plummet, while an elite few enjoy lives of unbelievable wealth and power.

Something different — an alternative to capitalism — is desperately needed.

The aforementioned economist, Yuri Maltsev, claims to have been forced to graduate from the “University of Marxism.” But what he learned was more likely a gross distortion of Marxism completely at odds with the ideas and actions of its founders. The Soviet Union had nothing to do with socialism. It was a state capitalist regime that exploited and oppressed its own workers.

Many mistakenly equate socialism with state control of the economy. But the real question is who owns the state. It makes no sense to speak of growing state control while ignoring the increasing power that corporations exert over our lives.

The socialist movement grew out of the struggles for basic democratic rights, such as the right to vote, free speech, and freedom to assemble. But socialists don’t stop there; we are for a much deeper form of democracy — economic, as well as political, democracy.

Socialism is about creating a society built from the bottom up through the struggles of ordinary people against exploitation, oppression, and injustice — one in which people come before profit. A society based on the principles of equality, democracy, and freedom.

People who want to hear the other side of the argument and find out what socialism is really about are invited to attend a forum titled “The Case for Socialism” at 7 p.m. May 6 in 346 IMU.

Michael Rack
Iowa City resident

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