SCSU views: What is socialism?
Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter
With the next presidential election only about a year away, a generation of millennials coming of age to vote, it comes around that students are finding their political niche.
While there are many potentials for candidacy in the Republican Party (15 candidates), and while less a fair amount for the Democratic Party (six candidates) there is one who is garnering much attention from college students is Democratic Candidate Bernie Sanders; who is also a self-named Socialist.
Now for many, the word socialist or socialism brings with it the connotation of the governments of countries such as Russia and England. Connotations of which vary between very positive and very negative regarding who you ask. With all this in mind, how do students at Southern feel not only about how they feel regarding Socialism as a political form, but also why the growing craze for candidate Bernie Sanders?
Before going into details it helps to define exactly what socialism and what a socialist government means.
Graduate student Benjamin Conroy was able to give a clear definition of what each topic meant.
“In short what a socialist government does is attempt to make everything equal for the citizens,” said Conroy. “The government’s job is directed by the populace to help the people. There are of course, things such as universal health care seen in countries like Britain, so taxes are also much higher for the social works the government does. Socialism as a practice is very college student friendly because of things like Sanders is doing trying to make public universities tuition free. The focus on social issues to help the common people is really what makes it favorable”
When it comes to the efficiency of such political structures there is no better testament than personal experience.
Ivan Meyerovich, senior, and former resident of the socialist nation of Russia, gave context about how exactly a socialist government runs.
“First off, many people mistake socialism for communism,” said Meyerovich. “They’re close in the way that there is the idea of collective ownership as opposed to private ownership. Does it work? On its own, no, in most cases it is generally ineffective. That’s partially because quite a few politicians are opposed to making things equal and tougher on the rich.”
In regards to American politics, and more importantly the “socialist” Bernie Sanders, both Conroy and Meyerovich defined him not as a socialist, but as a socialist democrat.
“Bernie Sanders isn’t a complete socialist. He’s what we’d call a socialist democrat,” said Conroy. “He has progressive ideas and really reaches out to help the common people, but he also aligns in different aspects to mainstream democratic ideals. Its why many college students like myself like him. He is different than what we’ve known in our time and he really wants to help college students out.”
Meyerovich echoed these ideas as he said, “Most of his ideas are libertarian. He’s actually a second amendment advocate. The thing is though, it’s why most people like him. His range of supporters ranges from the majority of us college students to even hardline republicans because he is realistic unlike candidates like Trump who are ridiculous.”
In the minds of many college students, here on Southern’s campus or across the nation there are often comments about how he is the people’s candidate. The average student though, such as Junior Jenny Stosh, describe the collective feeling regarding Bernie Sanders and the potential for a socialistic candidate in the White House.
“Bernie is quite indifferent to the corporatism that American Politics is becoming. It’s pretty easy to understand why college students like him though. For a very long time college students have gotten the short end of the stick in regards to politics. What Sanders wants to do is something new, something different and away from the stupid red tape of politics in our country. I think people like him because all of us, especially in college, want a new change in our politics.”
Photo Credit: Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter
* PHOTO: Jenny Stosh, junior and exercise science major