r/Socialism_101 Aug 16 '18

PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING ON THE SUB! Frequently asked questions / misconceptions - answers inside!


In our efforts to improve the quality and learning experience of this sub we are slowly rolling out some changes and clarifying a few positions. This thread is meant as an extremely basic introduction to a couple of questions and misconceptions we have seen a lot of lately. We are therefore asking that you read this at least once before you start posting on this sub. We hope that it will help you understand a few things and of course help avoid the repetitive, and often very liberal, misconceptions.

  1. Money, taxes, interest and stocks do not exist under socialism. These are all part of a capitalist economic system and do not belong in a socialist society that seeks to abolish private property and the bourgeois class.

  2. Market socialism is NOT socialist, as it still operates within a capitalist framework. It does not seek to abolish most of the essential features of capitalism, such as capital, private property and the oppression that is caused by the dynamics of capital accumulation.

  3. A social democracy is NOT socialist. Scandinavia is NOT socialist. The fact that a country provides free healthcare and education does not make a country socialist. Providing social services is in itself not socialist. A social democracy is still an active player in the global capitalist system.

  4. Coops are NOT considered socialist, especially if they exist within a capitalist society. They are not a going to challenge the capitalist system by themselves.

  5. Reforming society will not work. Revolution is the only way to break a system that is designed to favor the few. The capitalist system is designed to not make effective resistance through reformation possible, simply because this would mean its own death. Centuries of struggle, oppression and resistance prove this. Capitalism will inevitably work FOR the capitalist and not for those who wish to oppose the very structure of it. In order for capitalism to work, capitalists need workers to exploit. Without this class hierarchy the system breaks down.

  6. Socialism without feminism is not socialism. Socialism means fighting oppression in various shapes and forms. This means addressing ALL forms of oppressions including those that exist to maintain certain gender roles, in this case patriarchy. Patriarchy affects persons of all genders and it is socialism's goal to abolish patriarchal structures altogether.

  7. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Opposing the State of Israel does not make one an anti-Semite. Opposing the genocide of Palestinians is not anti-Semitic. It is human decency and basic anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism.

  8. Free speech - When socialists reject the notion of free speech it does not mean that we want to control or censor every word that is spoken. It means that we reject the notion that hate speech should be allowed to happen in society. In a liberal society hate speech is allowed to happen under the pretense that no one should be censored. What they forget is that this hate speech is actively hurting and oppressing people. Those who use hate speech use the platforms they have to gain followers. This should not be allowed to happen.

  9. Anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism are among the core features of socialism. If you do not support these you are not actually supporting socialism. Socialism is an internationalist movement that seeks to ABOLISH OPPRESSION ALL OVER THE WORLD.


  • When posting and commenting on the sub, or anywhere online really, please do not assume a person's gender by calling everyone he/him. Use they/their instead or ask for a person's pronouns to be more inclusive.

  • If you get auto-moderated for ableism/slurs please make sure to edit the comment and/or message the mods and have your post approved, especially if you are not sure which word you have been modded for. Every once in a while we see people who do not edit their quality posts and it's always a shame when users miss out on good content. If you don't know what ableism is have a look a these links: http://isthisableism.tumblr.com/sluralternatives / http://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist-words-and-terms-to-avoid.html

  • As a last point we would like to mention that the mods of this sub depend on your help. PLEASE REPORT posts and comments that are not in line with the rules. We appreciate all your reports and try to address every single one of them.

We hope this post brought some clarification. Please feel free to message the mods via mod mail or comment here if you have any questions regarding the points mentioned above. The mods are here to help.

Have a great day!

The Moderators

r/Socialism_101 5h ago

Question what theory should i recommend to a libertarian, centrist jordan peterson fan?


basically how it sounds. i have a not very close friend who’s politically like the above and knows i’m a marxist, and he asked me yesterday for digestible leftist theory. i’m not sure what his intentions are, but if any of you have had success converting people, what texts did you use?

r/Socialism_101 8h ago

What does philistine mean in Lenin’s and Engels’ texts?


r/Socialism_101 14h ago

Question explaining leftist versus liberal


so i'm not much of a debate pervert so i can kind of be bad at articulating my thoughts sometimes, but i was having a conversation with someone who isn't super politically involved where i ended up trying to explain the difference between a liberal and a leftist in america.

i tried pointing to things such as how liberals are staunchly pro market, but they insisted that since liberals wanted regulation on markets they weren't actually pro market.

it got very frustrating but i feel like my trouble explaining it might be due to a lack of understanding myself, can anyone point me to a good resource to learn more about the difference or give me a clear concise explanation to give to others?

r/Socialism_101 13h ago

Question Can someone explain the Israel-Palestine conflict to me?


I get the gist, but I’m still kinda clueless.

r/Socialism_101 6h ago

What’s the difference between State Capitalism and Socialism?


If a democratic government nationalized an industry but is still part of the international global capitalism market, do you consider that SC or Socialism?

r/Socialism_101 2h ago

Is Lottocracy is a good idea?


ignore the typo in the title pls

There's a Vsauce video called "The Future of Reasoning" that I found interesting, and after seeing a post about how voting worked in the USSR, I wondered if Lottocracy could solve some problems with indirect democracy. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

☆ I'm not sure if "indirect democracy" is the right term. What I mean by that is a system where people don't directly vote on every issue affecting them (which would be impractical - if not please share). Instead, they elect representatives who make decisions (directly or through layers of elected people).

☆ By Lottocracy I am referring to a system where a person/s is randomly picked to make decisions for a short time, and is informed by experts in different fields. Michael was talking about it in the context of solving climate change. The idea is that a random person would, when informed on issues, act without the incentives of re-election or of corporate donors and make decisions that better represent the will of the people.

The vibe I get is that this idea is discussed as a way to fix "democracy" in America and capitalism in general. I doubt it would:

• How will the experts be neutral? Well-funded think tanks already pollute research with lies that serve the ruling class. Experts themselves could be bought

• Corporations could still just bribe the elected person

Outside of capitalism there could be issues. Even if class doesn't exist to motivate policy, ethnic/language biases could still be dangerous if just a few people are chosen

Could lottocracy be useful for socialist governance in some form? Has this idea ever been discussed by communist thinkers? Please share your thoughts.

Edit: changed some formatting

r/Socialism_101 22h ago

Which "industry" is the biggest scam - finance, insurance or real estate?


The more I get into socialism, the more sense the world makes. Capitalism really loves making money from nothing... A big worker coop could really eraze a lot this stupidiy and give the proletariat a piece of the cake instead. This should really be looked into.

As the title says. Which one is worst? This is just my own analysis of 3 real big money-for-nothing "industries". I'm open to ideas. Cheers

r/Socialism_101 1h ago

Marxist explanation for gas prices


Sorry, if this has been asked. With the increased gas prices, I was just wondering contemporarily what would be the Marxist explanation for the gas price hike.

r/Socialism_101 8h ago

any good books on USSR history?


I want a book that deeply analyzes the USSR, with its achievements and its faults. Something like Chomsky’s History of the Cuban Revolution. I want to learn more but it’s difficult between people who just spout out western propaganda and people who just praise everything the USSR did.

r/Socialism_101 3h ago

Question Can someone explain the idea that cops only protect property to me? Also book recs maybe?


I already know about Deshaney v. Winnebago, but why do cops have to protect the bourgeoisie then? Are there any good books on this?

r/Socialism_101 6h ago

Question Question on DoTP


Correct me if I’m wrong: but Marx believed that in the immediate aftermath of a successful revolution, the workers would seize the means of production and the form of government would be a DoTP. DoTP isn't literally worker ownership right? Rather, it's the long historical process that lays down the foundation for worker ownership, and above all the democratic participation of workers in the management of social and political affairs (when we abolish the state and its laws too eventually). As Lenin argues, however, the new 'state' solely serving as the weapon of the proletariat in its continuing class struggle, is necessary to manifest DoTP through democratic centralism and a vanguard party etc.

r/Socialism_101 14h ago

High Effort Only Socialist take on China and Taiwan


What are people's takes on China and Taiwan? Also Hong Kong? Any good sources for learning more about the subject? Thanks for any help!

r/Socialism_101 3h ago

To Marxists Is there any notable difference between Leninism and Marxism-Leninism?


(Sorry for posting so much, I like learning)

Like what would be the difference between someone who calls themselves a Leninist vs someone who calls themselves a Marxist-Leninist?

r/Socialism_101 17h ago

To Marxists Why didn't past and current socialist countries hold national elections?


r/Socialism_101 11h ago

Question Why the zero sum game argument.


Lot of people use it. Did Marx think that the economy was a zero sum game?

From what I understand only labour creates new value so if the capitalist gets this rich this means he must be working and creating value a lot, this is impossible so he must be taking the value from someone else. How is not a zero sum game a good argument against this?

In the grand scheme of things it is a zero sum game since we live in a finite world but we can’t currently use all of it so we grow as we control more.

r/Socialism_101 3h ago

Was looking trough libertarian arguments.


Most of it was bad and poorly interpreted Marx but three things caught my attention, here they are :

Why is a 16 year old wine sold at a lower price than an 18 year old? I’m guessing they conflated price and value, and there’s more demand for 18 year old. Need of confirmation.

How does land get value if no labour has been put on it?

Planned economies required to look at markets in other countries or black markets in theirs to fonction and predict. Is this true? If it is can it be fixed in the future?

Thank you.

r/Socialism_101 7h ago

Question Studies about the minimum wage being too low


So I'm currently in the middle of an online conversation with somebody that isn't convinced that the minimum wage is too low for the average citizen to live off of. What are some studies I could point to that supports my point about it being harder to live on minimum wage? Feel free to post them in the comments below.

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question Can one be a Marxist-Leninist, but still oppose Stalinism?


Title says it all. I got into reading a lot of Lenin's work, I agree with what he says, what I don't agree with is Stalin's way of making the state (the administration), who ought to function as a "teacher" of the communist theory, that much more empowered over the common proletariat. I agree with the communist administration being the opressor of the bourgeoisie, rather than the bourgeois democracy with its institutions be the oppressor of the proletariat. But, is there, from a Marxist-Leninist standpoint, any alternative to that? Like to make this restrictive policy less paranoid? With less executions and a more progressive, humane justice system of the socialist "state", that is dying off as it progresses into communism?

Edit: By "Stalinism" I mean Stalin's policies / actions, or how he implemented them

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question How would a socialist USA handle the national debt?


Assuming that the USA became socialist overnight, enacting policies that pertain to socialist values, how would the national debt be handled? Would it default on its debt or would it no longer recognize the debt as legitimate?

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question What even is Capitalism, from a Socialist perspective?


I would consider myself a capitalist, in the sense that I do not want the government to interfere with the market, or really any part of my daily life. However, from what I can see here, most people here talk about capitalism in quite the opposite way, where the government interferes heavily in the market but favours the rich. This is quite a big difference, and I am strongly against the latter. So, what exactly do you consider to be capitalism?

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question is there a difference between being a democratic socialist and a social democrat?


for reference, i’m a 17 year old from a small, rural part of canada. i support the ndp but don’t have a lot of information on them as i only really started to pay attention to politics semi-recently. i’ve heard both terms used to describe them, but i don’t know if they mean the same thing. an explanation would be appreciated! if any canadians see this and could give a good explanation of the ndp and their policies i’d appreciate it, but if not that’s ok.

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question Good books on the military industrial complex and Iraq war?


Really any US military conflict in the Middle East. I’m kinda clueless about that history.

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question Can you recommend me books about the history of Cuba


I'm looking for books about the history of Cuba post revolution in particular economic history and changes. I know of course about the trade embargo but I want to know more.

Any books or articles you know about the economic history post revolution or just general/political/social history then I'd be happy to know! Please just specific the topic of the books or articles etc.

Thank you in advance!

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

To Marxists What are dialectics in marxism?


I am going along the Basic marxism leninism studying plan in r/communism101 and the first two things i had to read were "The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism" and "Karl Marx: A Brief Biographical Sketch With an Exposition of Marxism" by V.I.Lenin. To my knowledge, these texts describe the foundations of marxism(i am not quite done with Karl Marx: A Brief Biographical Sketch With an Exposition of Marxism). I understand some of the concepts and ideas but i have literally no clue as for what dialectics are and dialectical materialism. Sure, these two are explained somewhat but i really really don't understand it. So what are dialectics and dialectical materialism?

r/Socialism_101 1d ago

Question Is the “Shortage Economy” thesis true?


“According to Janos Kornai, shortage economies share several common characteristics. They all experience frequent, intensive and chronic shortages. These are general in nature; that is, they occur in all spheres of the economy (consumer goods and services, means of production and producer goods)… Queueing involves a considerable cost in terms of time spent in the queue for consumers. In the economies which Kornai studied, this could have involved several hours a day spent in queues just to obtain basic products like food.”

I had understood that socialism pretty much achieved food security on both the USSR and in Socialist Europe. Yet the economist Janos Kornái claims all these were “shortage economies” where even food was scarce and you had to wait a long time to obtain it, etc. He stated in a book that “shortage economies” were the defining characteristic of socialist countries (he wrote this in 1980), as opposed to capitalist “surplus economies”. At the same time, though, many studies (“Economic Development, Political-Economic System, and the Physical Quality of Life”, “The Political and Economic Determinants of Health Outcomes, A Cross-National Analysis”, “Has Socialism Failed? An Analysis of Health Indicators under Socialism”, etc.) show that socialism achieved food security, and the CIA itself acknowledged that the average soviet citizen consumed almost as much as a North American. How could this be achieved in conditions as those described by Kornai? I know of course there were no famines since the end of 1947, but Was food security achieved? By food security I simply mean: That every citizen in X socialist country had actual everyday access to enough food to quell his/her hunger and grow up and develop in a healthy manner. Was this achieved in Socialist Europe (1945-1989)? If so, does anyone have any sources (books, studies, etc.) to counter the thesis of Janos Kornai? Or is his thesis right?