Metro on Socialism: Thanks, But No Thanks

The August 12 edition of Metro, the mostly vacuous free daily newssheet that’s alarmingly popular among commuters in big cities around the world, made a major intervention in the national controversy over whether or not the Obama administration’s health care reform effort is “socialist,” as so many of the Town Hall crazies have claimed. No, it’s not socialism, they reassure their readers. But according to the Marx scholars at Metro, that’s because the only examples of socialist healthcare systems in the world are Cuba, Russia, and – quel horreur! – Sweden. It’s also worth noting that the header for the article includes a large silhouette of Fidel Castro standing at a podium, placed next to a headline that reads, “Socialism: You Have No Idea.” I don’t think I need to comment on how hilariously ironic this is.

The editors also took care to include a handy map that purports to highlight “the policies of the world’s countries most rooted in socialism.” And which countries comprise this honor roll? That would be China, Cuba, Vietnam, and yes, North Korea. Further enlightenment is provided by the reprinting of the “real” definition of socialism, lifted directly from that seminal text in the history of socialist thought, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. We should all be thankful that Metro has done us all the service of letting our fellow citizens know that we advocate the creation of “a system in which there is no private property; a system in which the means of production are controlled by the state” and “a stage of society distinguished by unequal distribution and goods and pay according to work done.” I’m glad that’s been cleared up. DSA’s membership rolls should be swelling as we speak!

If there’s any glimmer of hope in this article, it’s in the response of the man (and woman) on the street to the question “What’s your definition of socialism?” These responses were generally positive and thoughtful (insofar as a sound bite can be thoughtful), though it should be noted that most of the respondents were younger, creative types living in New York. I’d like to see the responses in a (nonexistent) Lebanon, PA edition of Metro. I’m sure they would be less encouraging.

So Metro, thanks for taking on the notion that the Obama health reform effort is a form of socialism. But before you go besmirching the good name of socialism again by equating it with one-party rule and prison camps, give us a call, won’t you? We'd be glad to talk. You can reach us at 212-727-8610. Ask for Erik or Frank.


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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)