By Torin Record-Sand, Editor-in-Chief

Look around you. Are things working?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably stuck in a four-year degree program, with absolutely no clue of your future. Your future employment prospects are deeply uncertain, and your chances of owning a house feel slimmer every day. You live in an era where inequality has skyrocketed to the highest degree in 50 years, and wages have been stagnant since the 1970s. And don’t forget: you live in an era where the completely fair and totally equal distribution of wealth has left white families far richer than any minority in America.  Clearly, we are all taking part in the incredible prosperity and equality which unbridled capitalism has left us.

Well, what about the liberty? We all know we have the freest markets in the world; the freer the markets, the freer the people, right? Well then, the 15,000 lobbyists in Washington must be working very hard to ensure that we have a fair democracy completely unencumbered by corporate influence. Or, you know, the tireless efforts of the Supreme Court — such as their 2010 decision that the First Amendment protects corporate funding of political campaigns — “free speech” has never looked freer.  Surely, no system of government could be more just; because capitalism benefits everyone, we all have enough money to get our voices heard, right?

None of this is enough to speak of the grossly unethical actions in the name of the almighty dollar. Private prisons rampant with abuse, the extraction of local water supplies by corporations such as Nestle, the continual decimation of the environment both by literal destruction (see: logging companies and industrial agriculture in Brazil destroying the Amazon) and the continually rising carbon dioxide levels world-wide (see: the entire petro-chemical industry). I insist, you really must agree with me that capitalism has ensured the best, most fair, and most just world to ever exist.

And after all this, that isn’t to say anything about your day-to-day life. Surely, the mass increase in mental illness and general malaise couldn’t possibly be attributed to the fact that you are treated at work and school as little more than a product to be sold for the right price, and in your free time treated as nothing more than a cash dispenser for whomever would like you to buy their products. These things clearly have nothing to do with capitalism at all.

But sure, capitalism works. In the immortal words of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, “there is no alternative.”

Except that this is the lie which we tell ourselves every day. It has been said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. But this is not true. The persistent nihilism that this, here and now, is the only state of things for all eternity is the lie which prevents us from realizing a better world.

Ask yourself: Who does the economy work for? It certainly doesn’t protect the most vulnerable in America. The persistent trend we have seen in the past century has been dedicated to extending the rights and protection of private property, extraction from the environment, and personal wealth. Every year, the United States cuts taxes for the rich, allows the continual destruction of the environment, and upholds the rights of corporations over those of citizens. Who can believe this system protects people like you and me?

It’s important to realize that, unlike is often claimed, none of this came from thin air. Capitalism is, after all, a relatively recent invention in history. People and markets do not magically result in capitalism. It is the result of hundreds of years of conscious political action which led to where we are now. And we also have the power to change it.

And so why not socialism? Such a concept has never been more prescient. Socialism is, broadly defined, a system which would ensure work from each according to their ability, and the distribution of goods to each according to their needs. It advocates for workers to own the means of production and their own profits, rather than sacrifice them to a nameless CEO in a gaudy office who does little more than send emails. It advocates for an economy which produces goods for everyone, and systems that distribute those goods to those most in need of it. It works in the interest of the common person, not for the handful of billionaires comprising our top 1%. And this is precisely the sort of system we need for the 21st century.

The crises of the 21st century are not caused by corruption. They are not caused by political parties. What is the root cause of the climate crisis, the decay of democracy, the growth of inequality, the persistence of racial inequality which allows for the school-to-prison pipeline and unpaid prison labor? Plain and simple, it is the unencumbered greed of capitalism, which seeks to extract as much profit in every domain that it can, and turn every part of the world and every person into an item to be purchased and used. These same processes have been taking place since the advent of capitalism in the 17th century, and they will continue to take place until it ends.  Socialism is the movement to disestablish the present state of things; and the present state of things is unencumbered capitalism. And few things need to go more than capitalism in the 21st century, if we hope to move towards a sustainable future in which the common person is treated as more valuable than the almighty dollar.

These things are well within our reach. We have seen increasingly loud demands across the nation for increased workers rights and union rights, rent control, affordable health care, the removal of money from politics, and progressive taxes on the oligarchy of corporations which run the country. These are stepping stones towards the ultimate goal of socialism, and I hope in reading this publication, you might be willing to reconsider your own views and join us in establishing a society which works for all rather than the select and elite few. There is a bright future ahead for all of us, one free of the weight of the past three hundred years of environmental destruction, unencumbered greed, and the slow erosion of human rights in the name of profit.