Many things have happened in the past couple of years that have made me question the role of socialism in modern society, prominently the election and re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party and Senator Bernie Sanders’ respectable success in the Democrat’s leadership race. Both Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn were initially placed in their consecutive leadership races as ideological sideshows to the likes of more status quo candidates. The unexpected rise of respectable, self-proclaimed socialists in important positions of power seem to be inconsistent with just about every trend in recent world politics – the rise of the ‘alt-right’, the rise of nationalism and quasi-fascism – so why is this the case?
A statistic that I’ve seen in many articles is “46% of American millennials would vote for a socialist!” – a frightening revelation for the likes of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News, who, after reporting this went on a rampage explaining how the American youth “know nothing about socialism” and how Stalin killed millions of people. What surprised me most about this figure was it concerned American millennials (people reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century) – only a few years ago being called socialist in American politics was seen as an insult. I think there are quantative reasons as to why millennials have made a sudden shift towards socialism, because they have seen the destructive, exploitative failures of capitalism in all its glory. Global warming is seen to be a result of failed profiteering and exploitation of the natural world through animal agriculture and pollution, in recent times, every year has become the new “warmest year on record”. Millennials have seen the worst economic inequality in history – with currently the richest ten men on Earth owning more than the poorest half. There are many other circumstances such as never-ending war, extreme poverty and the economic collapse of 2007, that have been forced upon millennials that have made them not only the most mentally ill generation of modern times but have also forced them to think outside the capitalist paradigm.
Millennials have felt the spawn of inequality very personally, having seen billions of pounds fed to corporations and banks during the bailout following the economic crash of 2007, whilst poverty levels in Britain are nearly at an all time high. Millennials face crushing amounts of debt, joblessness and no hope of owning a home – causing co-habitation of university graduates with their parents to become inevitable and expected, whilst corporate leaders and bankers gain more and more. By the lunchtime of the 4th of January 2017, the UK’s top bosses had made more than the average UK worker earns in a year. The millennial generation has been nicknamed “generation snowflake” in the media due to our ‘overly sensitive’ nature and adversity to hate mongering – I don’t believe this is the case. I think millennials are simply optimistic – socialism was designed for such people.
Image Credits: http://www.newsmax.com/JonahGoldberg/Hayek-Sanders-Socialism-Millennials/2016/05/13/id/728666/