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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

What Exactly is the Alternative?

Recently an activist group by the name The Socialist Alternative (SA) has been passing out literature on campus and recruiting new members. Their innocuous ads promise ‘money for school not war’ while their platform seems to be based on criticism of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq. But what else does this group stand for and what is the nature of the alternative they offer to the present system?

The SA is the American affiliate of the Committee for a Worker’s International, (CWI) an international organization that promotes a radical agenda across the globe and has offices in 35 countries. According to their website (www.worldsocialist-cwi.org), their agenda is “the struggle to overthrow the rule of big business and global capitalism” which includes placing thousands of businesses in the developed world “under democratic public ownership”. Essentially the CWI wants to place most of the companies of the developed world under the control of their home nation’s government or some kind of international body.

The CWI estimates that this process would require placing at least 37,000 companies in various nations under the control of some sort of government body. This much, they admit, is just a start to “the creation of a socialist society” Although some free nations have nationalized large industries (such as steel or coal) in the past, mass nationalization on this scale would dwarf even that practiced by the worst authoritarian regimes and communist nations. Under this scenario property rights and economic freedom would be all but obliterated. The CWI promises to be “working to help hasten this development and play their part in the creation of a socialist world.”

The agenda of the SA is available on their website at www.socialistalternative.org. What they propose goes beyond simply challenging the present leadership or offering democratic alternatives to the status quo. In fact, the SA’s agenda is as radical as it is scary. In some of their proposals the SA seems deliberately vague. Personally I would like to know exactly what this alternative is before I jump on board. Despite this I have been able to pull out some of their main proposals and provide analysis.

The SA proposes to ‘bring the troops home’ from their mission in Iraq. Without offering any solutions, the SA simply wants American troops to up and leave Iraq in a state of anarchy without a government or military apparatus and under attack by radicals of the toppled Baathist regime. Whatever your opinion on the decision to attack Iraq, the suggestion that all troops should immediately leave is certainly a dangerous one. We should also take into consideration what the Iraqis want. The first ever public poll in Iraq and reported on by CBS news shows a large majority, 67% of Iraqis, favor American presence in Iraq until the country can get back on it’s feet.

The SA demands “an end to the rule of profit”, but what exactly will replace it? In their platform we get a sneak-peek of what’s to come under this alternative. The SA includes as one of its primary goals establishing “laborcommunity committees to control all aspects of public safety.” This would put the role of the police in the hands of a small minority who represent the ‘laborcommunity’ and put an end to the rule of law. To me this sounds frighteningly similar to the role of police forces in authoritarian nations whose responsibilities were more political than they were in the interest of public safety. Whatever the purpose of these committees is to be, the very idea of their existence is very disconcerting. Law enforcement should serve everyone and not be controlled by a political party or influenced by its agenda.

Probably the most frightening of their proposals, however, is the nationalization of “the top 500 American corporations, banks and finance houses”. As I mentioned previously, nationalization on this scale is practiced only by authoritarian or communist countries. Furthermore, it would lead to the liquidation of the assets of millions of American families and the destruction of property rights in the process. This proposal would lead to the demise of individual rights and signal an end to the protections we have against the whims of government or the political parties that control it. Beware when you are told its all for ‘the common good.’

If there is still any doubt in your mind that the CWI and SA are simply advancing a dangerous and failed ideology of the past reheated and marketed under a different name, check out the publications section of their websites. Here they showcase literature which celebrates Marxists like the brutal executioner and high ranking government official in the repressive Castro regime, Che Guevara. Also featured are Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union and killer of millions of Russians and even Karl Marx himself, a man who advocated class-based violence.

So before you sign up to forward the agenda of a group who claims to just want ‘freedom’ or ‘social justice’ it’s best to ask questions and research the real agenda behind the rhetoric. If the choice is either to ask questions or be complicit, always search for more answers-by exposing groups like these we may just be saving freedom from those who evoke it’s essence for agendas so diametrically opposed to it.

Keith Mower College of Management