There has been a historic resurgence of support for socialism in the United States in the past several years. Thirteen million people voted for democratic socialist Bernie Sanders for president in 2016.

Democratic socialists Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York City, and Rashida Tlaib, of Detroit, were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Other leftist candidates have been elected to state legislatures and city councils in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.

Communists, revolutionary socialists, and other anti-capitalists are prominent in the struggles against fascists in the streets of Charlottesville, Portland, Berkeley and other cities. They also play an important role in the movements to end the detention and deportation of migrants, police brutality and mass incarceration, the assault on women’s rights, and the exploitation of workers.

Different kinds of left organizations are growing throughout the country. A Harris Poll in March indicated that half the population 40 and younger would prefer to live in a socialist country.

This renewal of socialist aspirations is hardly surprising. Tens of millions of young people have been shaped by the grave economic crisis of 2008-09 and the Occupy movement against economic inequality in 2011. To many of them, the future appears grim because good jobs, affordable housing and health care, and pensions are increasingly out of reach.

The Trump Republicans’ brazen white supremacy, sexism and authoritarianism have driven vast numbers to embrace left-wing politics. And many have been alienated by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s insistence that “We’re capitalist, and that’s the way it is.”

Today’s revival of socialism doesn’t approach the zenith of leftist politics in the early 20th century, but this level of public discussion on the meaning and merits of socialism hasn’t been seen since the 1960s.

To be sure, many of those who express support for socialism today equate it with universal health care, free higher education, and other social benefits which can be found in liberal, social democratic and socialist societies. But many others are indeed genuine socialists who recognize that the abolition of capitalism is necessary to save the planet and meet the needs of the vast majority of humanity.

The politics of democratic socialist politicians like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Tlaib, and many of their followers, is actually a mix of New Deal liberalism and social democracy, combining limited regulation of markets and social protections with some public control over private capital.

In contrast, communists, revolutionary socialists, and many other anti-capitalists support socialist transformation — the creation of a new workers government, public ownership and control of most economic enterprises, democratic economic planning, an end to imperialist wars, and sweeping measures to abolish national oppression, racism and sexism.

Most young people fighting for revolutionary change today appreciate the achievements of 20th century socialism while acknowledging the mistakes and problems that are part of that history.

They’re committed to this emancipatory project because they refuse to accept the endless holocausts, atrocities, and degradations produced by U.S. and global capitalism, and they understand that another world is possible.

David Michael Smith, Ph.D., is a former professor of government at College of the Mainland.


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(17) comments

Carlos Ponce

Remember David Michael is a Marxist who adores Chairman Mao and terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and detests America's ally Israel. Read his previous columns and this will be confirmed. The youth are being misled by the likes of David Michael who pose as educators in universities but who are really promoting Communism and Socialism in their college classrooms. But this is nothing new. The same thing happened in this country in the 1930s and early 1940s before we learned the perils of national socialists in Germany (NAZIS) and later in Stalinist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). While I do support David Michael's right to express his extreme Leftist views I am glad he is out of the classroom. But there are others like him in today's universities. Instead of educated youth we have indoctrinated youth.

Randy Chapman

"Different kinds of left organizations are growing throughout the country. A Harris Poll in March indicated that half the population 40 and younger would prefer to live in a socialist country."

Nothing is preventing anyone that is too lazy to work from moving to a socialist country.

Chris Harrison

So the executive summary is: the government will own everything and distribute it all us!?! No free will, the government decides most everything for you, such as whether or not you are smart enough to go to college. And let's not have the top 10% of earners pay the majority of the tax burden...let's spread that around. Do people really believe that Communism or Socialism will be better this time around?

Paul Hyatt

If socialism is such a great thing I do wonder why the author and the others who support this stupidity, do not go and live in Venezuela and see how well socialism really works.... He is right on one thing and that is everyone that is not part of the ruling class will be on the same level as the government steals everything for itself. Venezuela used to be one of the richest countries in S. America and had one of the best economies in the world. Now look at it. Smith used to be a professor our at COM, and I for one am thankful that he is no longer infecting the minds of the younger generation, because Colleges have become indoctrination centers for the leftists like him....

Bailey Jones

lol. It's like when I was a kid walking down the alleys on my way home from school, and the neighborhood dogs would go crazy - yelping and chasing up and down the fences.

I'd pay real money for a substantive discussion of policy.

Dave Andrisek

Tilman Fertitta just said it the other day...."I fear socialism. It is the worst thing that could ever happen in America, capitalism is what makes this work."

Charlotte O'rourke

Pure Socialism or pure capitalism is a con.

Both theories are best left on paper as they try to persuade rational people to stop logical thinking to reach some Utopian paradise that doesn’t exist.

Capitalism must be balanced with some governmental controls, and while I think America is the greatest country, it still needs policies that help bridge the income inequalities and educational and opportunity disparities that exist in the real capitalist world.

A middle class life is getting harder and harder to achieve while ever increasing taxes and government spending is taking away our future.

Bailey Jones


Gary Miller

Recent reports show that Americas Middle class is the fastest growing segment of our economy. Minorities are benefiting from more jobs earning more wages. Smith won't move to Venesuela because he know too much about socialism.

Charlotte O'rourke

I guess it depends on where data comes from and terminology used and time periods. But the point is, there is a growing income gap.

I can’t imagine living in a country where the government owns everything or quells all free speech, and I appreciate the personal experience post from Mr. Boix.

The truth is America currently redistributes wealth in a variety of ways - some I agree with and others I don’t. That is a different debate. I can’t think of a pure capitalist country.

Can anyone else?

Cary Semar

History has shown that the worst political outcome for any nation is that one side or the other should achieve total victory. That has been known for a long time. They knew it way back in 1787.

Charles Douglas

Say what you will or may, people like this professor, is a danger to this country's economical security, as well as our ability to exist in peace. People like him are trying to destroy the economical superiority of America by creating a vacuum to be filled by the likes of China, or Russia through military aggression and every lowdown and low-life action they can come up with! Look at Hong Kong now, and look at what happened to Crimea. China has a plan right now to replace America as the top economical, strongest, country on the face of the earth, and Russia dreams of revitalizing the Old Solivet Union! Yes, and we have people like the author of this Op-ed, Democrats like those running for President doing everything in their power to facilitate those countries' wishes coming true! They want to lessen out military to become one of the pack and less effective by cutting fundings. They want to answer to a czar like they do in the European Union. Mr. PONCE made a great point when he countered that America's youth are now being less EDUCATED and more INDOCTRINATED! Amen! This author got with this agenda early as My Hyatt alluded to in his post. I think that was one of the reasons for his dismissal from COM. He was one of the reasons I chose to attend community college in Galveston. Doctor MLK once said, "Don't ever underestimate the urgency of now!" He went on to say it would be fatal for this nation to overlook the urgency of the moment! It was a call to action which could not be ignored then, and it most certainly cannot be ignored now, by those who love, and respect what this country, it's creed, and it's flag stands for! Dr. King cried out for Justice, equality and prosperity for all! Those elements tastes good to the taste buds, but he also cried out for hard work, and being the best, as well as preparing for competitions of life,...which are essential, but obviously less tasteful to individuals who likes everything "FREE." Don't sit around thinking someone else will do the heavy work, people like this author, have already mobilized years ago while conservatives and rational thinkers sat around thinking they could never succeed! They had a spiritual plan! Go after the young! Change their environment, which will eventually change their thinking! Proverbs 23:7 "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he! See thousands of individuals who think like the author of this article, flooded the areas where the youth of this country abides, ..inside schools and colleges. They began great mind manipulations and started perfecting, and refining their socialist agendas inside those institutions. Take a good look at our school and university systems in this country and you would have to be blind not to see what I'm talking about! One of the worst academic school districts and the largest in Texas, just recently approve 1.2 million dollars of taxpay funds meant to educate students, but they forked it over to change the names of multiple schools who had names of individuals who some thought was ofensive! People like Stonewall Jackson who who is in a grave somewhere minding his business! The question left to answer, is what are those who support a sound, successful, America are going to do? The ball is in our court now, but might not be there long! This is the undercurrent of what this author is bragging about here. His braggadocious comments are scandalous!

Charlotte O'rourke

I agree. Quelling peaceful dissent is not a good thing.

Jose' Boix

As a Cuban born American Citizen, I will repeat what I have found: The most ardent and vocal supporters of the socialist and/or communist doctrines tend to live in a society much like what we have in this great Country - the USA. Is here where they can have freedoms, can work, have pensions, bank accounts, homes, cars, private enterprise, etc., etc. I can attest to the effect of the shift in Cuba by losing the family home, farm, business and freedom. Just some things to consider.

Paul Hyatt

For the ones who "think" and I use that term loosely that socialism is a great thing, I challenge you to go and live in Venezuela, Cuba, China and other dictatorship countries and see how well you fare compared to the way that you live in this nation. Only fools think that you can get something for free, because someone had to pay for it somewhere. If you detest the rich why don't you do what they have done and invest your money in a business and YOU take the risks that they did while they built there business up. Most of you whine and moan and groan about what others have when you do not have a clue what they have been through to accumulate their wealth. Instead of being jealous of them get off of your duff and build something!

Gary Miller

The concept of FREE is poorly taught. Anything free you get from government had to be created by someone working, if you get it government took it from the real owners. You may think you want a government that takes from others to give you something free. Until it takes from you to give to someone else. There is always more who expect free handouts than those who made it.

Paul Sivon

The lesson of Venezuela you refer to is just part 2. Part 1 is how corruption leading to immense wealth for a few and poverty for most, allowed extreme socialists to take control.

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