Disclaimer: The opinions expressed belong to our diverse range of talented writers, and don’t represent the views of Wessex Scene as a whole.
Socialism.What kind of things spring to mind when you hear that word? Impossible? An unattainable utopia? Weird men with beards talking about ‘the means of production’?
Socialism is a broad term, but at its core it is the belief that society can and should be run for the social good, not for making profit. People first, not profit.
How can we achieve that?
With politics becoming ever more confusing and wacky with Trump, Brexit, Corbynism, austerity and financial crashes, it’s hard to keep up. What even is politics? Where does it happen? Who does it?
Thinking about this topic just springs up more questions than answers. I’ll give you a little tip: Politics is people. Society is made up of human beings. Most of us want to have food, shelter, love, and security in our lives. Most of us want to go to work at a job that benefits us and the people around us. Most of us want to relax, have a glass of wine or a pint of beer with friends at the end of the day and wait for it all to blow over. That’s okay. You are allowed to want these things.
So, why do we settle for less than that?
Basically, those with wealth and influence (think Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg) don’t want to give it up, and who would? If I had billions I would be living it up in Hawaii eating sushi, but I can only dream. I’m hundreds of pounds into my overdraft, and even thinking about looking at my bank account ages me by about 10 years.
I believe that the wealthy have a vested interest in maintaining society just the way it is. Since the financial crisis, they have pocketed themselves a nice chunk of cash through clever investments and a seeming lack of basic empathy for poor people. Meanwhile, us plebs squabble over low paying jobs and poor housing, dreaming that one day we can become rich just like Bill Gates if we just work hard enough.
We fought and died to give ourselves the weekend, the NHS, council housing, the welfare state, nationalised industries, the 8 hour shift, the right to strike, to unionise, to vote for who sits on a bench in Westminster and jeer at the other people on the benches opposite to them.
In my view, all of these things can be loosely labelled as ‘socialist’. I don’t like labels though. Labels are only good for giving a quick understanding of something, as saying ‘I believe society should be a little bit less awful’ is a tad long-winded.
What socialism boils down to is convincing the masses that we have the power to run society ourselves. We don’t have to put up with a Vice Chancellor who gets paid £450,000 while severely cutting lecturing staff. We don’t have to put up with slum landlords. We don’t have to put up with £9,000 tuition fees. We can ask for more. We can fight for more.
It doesn’t matter what social class you are from. Your race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, whether you are able-bodied or not, whether you suffer from a mental health disorder, whether you vote Tory or Labour or, God forbid, Lib Dem. Whether you are dropping out of uni or getting a First Class degree with honours. Whether you read the Daily Mail or not (if you read the Daily Mail I doubt you even got this far). These things don’t make us different, but unique. We are all capable of being Socialists, even if we don’t like the label. We stand together against racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, and all the shit things that divide and conquer us.
We are human beings and we deserve to be treated as such, and we will fight for the right to live great and fulfilled lives, free from the oppressive system of Capitalism.
If you feel enthused by this article, and want to help make a positive change here at our uni, head over to 6/1083 (Nuffield Theatre) every Monday at 7pm. Attend a Socialist Students meeting and find out what it’s all about.
See you there, Comrade (the best gender-neutral pronoun).