What is capitalism? What is socialism? How do they relate?

Capitalism is a political and economic system in which a small, privileged few — the ruling class — control the world and its resources (which they consider to be their “private property”) and exploit the majority of humanity.

That majority forms the working class, who own little-to-no property and must sell our labor to the ruling class to sustain ourselves and our loved ones.

Everyone’s collaborative labor creates new value and wealth. The ruling class pays the working class wages, which only capture a tiny fraction of the value we create: as little as the ruling class can get away with paying us for what we contributed to the process. Most of the value of our work is captured by the ruling class, who hoard a disproportionate amount of the wealth we all create. They call this wealth they retain their “profits.” This is what socialists mean when we say: “Profits are the unpaid wages of the working class.”

Socialism is the idea that resources shouldn’t be owned by a ruling class as private property but instead be shared by everyone as public assets. In a socialist society, ordinary people decide democratically how to manage the environment and its resources in direct relation to their own needs, such as production of goods and essential services.

Instead of corporations commanding labor on behalf of the ruling class for profit, workers would plan and operate their labor cooperatively within their workplaces and communities, to be sustainable and mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

These cooperative enterprises would rarely, if ever, damage their own homes and environment such that they would be unlivable. Nor would they just shut down abruptly with people ending their own jobs and/or essential services because they weren’t “profitable” enough, or because the jobs would be more “profitable” somewhere else.

A driving concept of socialism being “People over Profit.”

Within socialism, development focused on mutual benefit instead of profit would mean more invested on healthcare, education, infrastructure, sustainability, research. Capitalists invest in these things too of course, but only as much as they must to continue profiting off our labor.

Today our well-being is far less prioritized than the exploitive and extractive means of capitalist growth: warfare and imperialism to acquire property abroad, militarized policing (and the modern slavery of mass incarceration) to enforce property relations at home, and of course the plunder of our environment.

Many of humanity’s differences: race, gender, religion, sexuality, disability, nationality, ethnicity, age, etc. have long been manipulated by the ruling class to keep us divided.

They exploit different people separately, in different ways, extents and contexts to extract from everyone as efficiently as possible. Capitalism promotes competition and conflict between individuals and larger social groups, leading to hierarchies of oppression and dehumanization.

Counter to this, the most core principle of socialism is Solidarity: that all human beings (especially the majority who are exploited, not exploiters) should understand and embrace our differences and work together to address our common struggles and interests.

We have a rich, diverse history of countless brave, brilliant people from around the world over the past centuries who believed in these ideals and participated in crucial struggles for rights, equality, and liberation. Countless ordinary, mostly unknown people have fought and contributed in ways great and small to our common progress. Among them, we also have great figures in history such as Helen Keller, WEB DuBois, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and many more (from within our own culture and around the world) who most of us have never been told were socialists.

"The most core principle of socialism is Solidarity: that all human beings (especially the majority who are exploited, not exploiters) should understand and embrace our differences and work together to address our common struggles and interests."

Our goal is to struggle for a better world. To transition to something better after and beyond capitalism, instead of continuing to allow capitalism’s decay into a world of increasing destruction and oppression.

Join us. The class struggle is happening regardless, but the more of us are conscious, active participants, the stronger and better positioned we will all be.

We must all take action: educate ourselves and others, organize, work, and even fight to change our future.

As 20th Century revolutionary Fred Hampton said, “Socialism is the people. If you’re afraid of socialism, you’re afraid of yourself.”

That’s socialism.