I was a teenage socialist. In 1972 The Vietnam war was still going strong. Many Vets came home with Post Traumatic Stress and other problems. No doubt Vietnam was a criminal war. Agent Orange was effecting our young soldiers and Vietnamese and still haunts them today.
My Father spoke of Socialism frequently. In Europe they used Socialist ideas. I came from a working class family and my father was a teamster my mother was in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Both low payed we always struggled. There where also health care issues and even back then families where forced into poverty and bankruptcy.
I had found the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. It seemed like a good organization, but working with in the Democrats didn’t appeal to me. The Democrats are a sell out party and we needed
a real Democratic Socialist Party.
I met Michael Harrington a few times and was impressed with him at the time. I went to see him at the Town Hall in New York City. He spoke, but he came off like a intellectual puffer. I also met Caesar Chavez, I thought he was pretty cool and better a leader than Harrington. When one listened to Harrington, he would boast of his pals like William Wimpensinger, Olaf Palme, etc.
I left the DSA and found the Socialist Party USA.
I was also involved with a few socialist groups and found them to be lead by controlling ego centric individuals. People are into Socialism 10 minutes, witchcraft the next, stone painting afterward.
I liked reading about Eugene V Debs and discovered he was quite a political genius and thought he was a shining star of Socialist philosophy.
“When we are in partnership and have stopped clutching each other’s throats, when we have stopped enslaving each other, we will stand together, hands clasped, and be friends. we will be comrades, we will be brothers, and we will begin the march to the grandest civilization the human race has ever known.” Debs
This was hopeful, but I fell into disfavor with the Socialist Party USA because for the price of membership, they where not very interactive nor informative.
I rejoined in 1995, ran for office on many tickets, Congress, Governor,State Assembly., etc.
If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.-Frank Loyd Wright.
As a teen, my best friend was a Communist. We would paint socialist slogans on the side of train bridges and one day, we wore Red Stars on our caps at school. The teacher, Mr. Greff was upset and scolded, don’t you now that is the symbol of the enemy? Actually Greff, Capitalism is the enemy.
Looking back at the years I hoped people would wake up to socialism and do not obey other socialists. I found my fellow socialist sometime fails to respect opposing points of view, thinks their kings of the Revolution, and are nothing more than dreamers who cannot face reality. It has been a lifetime experience to see many socialists have no strategy, no idea how to move forward.
The Occupied Movement is a step in the right direction and brings hope. It is just beginning and beginnings are never smooth. I hope we do not trade off a Socialist 1% for The Capitalist 1%.
I seen a sign saying “The Beginning Is Near.” I hope so, but not a Socialism we do not need. D T Suzuki said, what we need is a rational reasonable socialism. I hope so, because some of my fellow socialist scare me.
In the Bible, Moses spoke to an old man and asked how he felt about there new freedom of the Jews. The Old man said, I am too old to appreciate it, but at least I have lived to see the day. I hope my Socialist day starts as soon as possible.
Wherever it occurs, poverty is a significant contributor to social disharmony, ill health, suffering and armed conflict. If we continue along our present path, the situation could become irreparable. This constantly increasing gap between the ˜haves’ and˜have-not’ creates suffering for everyone. Concerned not only for ourselves, our families, our community and country, we must also feel a responsibility for the individuals, communities and peoples who make up the human family as a whole. We require not only compassion for those who suffer, but also a commitment to ensuring social justice.
This has been my struggle since I was a teenager.