The great radical historian Howard Zinn once told me, half in jest, that one of the
greatest disasters to befall socialism was when the Soviet Union put it in the official
name of the country: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I asked him to explain
and he said, The USSR, which had little to do with socialism, it was an authoritarian
state, wanted to capitalize on the almost universal good name that socialism had.
And the capitalist countries played along by smearing socialism and conflating it
with the USSR. If you expressed interest in socialism the response would be: “Why
don’t you move to a gulag in Siberia? Today, because of growing wealth and income
inequality and the Bernie Sanders campaign, he got more than 13 million votes,
there is a resurgence of interest in socialism. Many young people are fed up with
predatory capitalism and are looking for alternatives. Worker-owned and operated
coops are springing up. These initiatives can proliferate and grow. And as Howard
Zinn always said, authentic socialism must be small “d” democratic.
Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts
in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. The
New York Times calls him “America’s most prominent Marxist economist.” He is the
author of numerous books including Democracy at Work and Occupy the Economy with David Barsamian.
Program #WOLR013. Recorded in New York, NY on August 09, 2017