Socialism has been tried? Aw, Gawd, here we go again!!

Sent to the local Shields Gazette

My anonymous detractor, A. Patriot (Gazette 5th April), perhaps thinks he is being unique in his criticism. In truth he regurgitates the hackneyed old anti-socialst sentiments I've been countering in this paper for over 15 years.

He, like countless others, points his all-knowing finger to China and Cuba as 'proof' that socialism has failed. But nowhere have I ever claimed, or will claim, that these countries were socialist. Indeed, I'll gladly give anyone £1000 who can prove to me that socialism has existed anywhere. All I am ever offerred are examples of state capitalism (China, Cuba, the Soviet Union etc etc - all of which had a wages system, commodity production and every other trait we associate with capitalism).

My critic suggests that for socialism to be impemented would require "the coercion of everyone who disagrees with it and the death of democracy", which is the exact opposite of everything I have always argued.

I have always maintained that socialism will only come when a majority of the world's people understand what socialism means (and, no it has nothing to do with Lenin, or Mao or Castro), want it and are prepared to organise for it peacefully and democratically, without leaders and in their own interests."

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