Q: What is capitalism?
A: The control of commodities (goods and services) through corporations that produce only to make profits for their shareholders (the capitalist class). In contrast, socialism is the control of commodities through a government that produces only to serve people (the working class).
Q: Rich people deserve to be rich because they work harder. Why should they give up their money?
A: Capitalists gain their wealth from the labor of others–not from their own work. The workers who actually create the wealth-by picking the crops or assembling the engines, for example-should get a fair share of the wealth they create. Why should someone be a millionaire, with three houses, a private plane, and the like when other folks can’t even afford enough to eat?
Q: Aren’t people greedy by nature?
A: No. For example, in capitalist countries, little children quickly learn to share and cooperate, but they are later taught to take more than they need compete viciously in “the real world.”
Socialism and Communism
Q: How can communism be achieved in the US?
A: Unity of the working class will be needed. Workers will have to realize that capitalism cannot solve the problems it creates and that it is only beneficial to the few who own the factories, mines, press and government. Hopefully, we will achieve this in the voting booth; but if the capitalists attack, we will defend ourselves and our system.
Q: Can people decide what job they want in communist countries?
A: Yes, and better than under capitalism. Now, you get a job based on the education you receive, and the people you know: poor education + bad connections = a poor job, generally. Communism will allow people who have aptitudes for certain work the education–for free–to learn the skills it takes to do that work.
Q: Why would anyone be motivated to work hard under communism? If you work harder, shouldn’t you get more?
A: People can learn to be motivated by working for the common good. If we help each other, we both gain. Capitalism encourages us to fight against each other for crumbs, while the very few stuff themselves on the pie.
Q: Why don’t you like democracy, why is communism better?
A: Democracy and communism are not opposites. Communists believe in TRUE democracy, as opposed to our “bourgeois democracy.” What that means is when you only get to choose between millionaires running for election, working class people (the vast majority of society) aren’t really represented. Elections in a capitalist system are almost always decided by who can get the most corporate money. True democracy will be realized under communism because everyone will have an equal say in society.
Q: The world has never been fair, so how can the communists make it fair?
A: Fairness is a function of how wealth is distributed. Under capitalism, workers receive only a small percentage of the wealth that they create. Under socialism, workers receive a larger share. Under communism, workers (all people) will receive everything.
Q: What is the difference between communism and socialism?
A: The short answer is socialism is “from each according to their ability and to each according to their DEEDS,” and communism is “from each according to their ability and to each according to their NEEDS.” The longer answer is socialism is the step between capitalism and communism. Socialism still has people working for wages, therefore monetary equality has not be reached. Socialism is the society that will pave the way for a communist society by setting a foundation of co-operation and sharing of all things in common. Communism is the realization of these goals.
Q: What would be the benefits of socialism in the US?
A: Just to name a few there would be jobs for all at living wages, full equality and an end to racism, sexism and homophobia, health care for all, a right to a clean healthy environment, equal rights for immigrant workers, free public education form nursery to university, peace and solidarity.
Q: Is socialism inevitable?
A: If the human race is to survive–yes, it is. Capitalism cannot solve the problems it creates. For example, the capitalists want to pay workers less and less so they can have more and more for themselves. But when the workers have less, they can buy less, which means the capitalist end up with less as a result. It’s a vicious circle that has no solution under capitalism.
Q: Does socialism automatically end exploitation, racism, sexism and homophobia?
A: No. These societal ills are products of capitalism, but they will not vanish immediately with socialism. They have been around for centuries, and will take generations of the humanistic system of socialism and a constant struggle to cure. But, socialism will make ending these problems possible, while capitalism encourages them. At the same time, we can’t wait until “after the revolution” to fight these ills. The fight against exploitation, racism, sexism and homophobia is a crucial part of the struggle for socialism.
Q: How can you have communism and still have individual freedom?
A: By limiting bureaucracy, establishing human-rights laws (the CPUSA and YCL have always advocated bill-of-rights socialism), and reminding all workers that they need to remain involved in union and civic activities.
Q: How free are the people in communist countries? What kind of rights do they have? Can they think for themselves and make their own choices?
A: These things vary according to each socialist country. Generally, no one has the right to become wealthy or spread capitalistic propaganda. In capitalist countries, we have only illusions of freedom and democracy because the media is owned by only a few corporations and the political campaigns are financed by the billionaires.
Q: Are there taxes in communist countries?
A: Generally no. However some socialist countries levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.
Q: How can people get ahead in a communist country?
A: Ahead of whom? Under capitalism, people get ahead of other people. Many poor and working class people in this country consider putting food on the table being ahead of the game. Under socialism, and eventually communism, all people get ahead together with basic necessities and luxuries.
Organizing, communists, and the YCL
Q: I support what the YCL stands for, but why use the name communist?
A: By calling ourselves communists, we acknowledge certain aspects of our lives and work like the need to build working class unity and struggle for immediate needs like health care, jobs at a living wage, affirmative action, social welfare programs and much more. The fact that all of these daily stuggles fit in the overall fight for Socialism, USA makes us young communists.
Q: Why is unity so important?
A: It’s the best tool the working class has, we have strength in numbers. We are the majority in this country and world wide.Without unity, we fight each other for the crumbs while the capitalist takes the majority of the pie. With communism we each get an equal share of that pie.
Q: Do communists believe in god? Do they outlaw religion?
A: Some communists believe in god, some don’t. Gus Hall, the former chair of the CPUSA says, “Our fight is not with God, but with capitalists.” Freedom of religion would continue under communism–as long as the organized religion does not seek to destroy the system and replace it with capitalism or any other earlier system (such as slavery or feudalism).
Q: What has the YCL ever done to improve this country?
A: It has always worked to help raise class consciousness in the working class, and organize the unorganized. Along with our fraternal organization, the CPUSA, and organized labor, we have been leaders in the fights for the right to organize, unemployment insurance, social security, affirmative action, and civil rights, as well as the fights against english-only laws, immigrant bashing, hate crimes, and the like.
Q: Why do people join the YCL?
A: They see the present conditions that have been wrought by capitalism. They want to fight against racism, sexism, exploitation, homophobia, and immigrant-bashing. They want to make the US and the world a better place by fighting for jobs, justice, education and equality.
Q: Do people treat you differently if you are a communist?
A: Yes. Even those who disagree with our politics respect our work and commitment to the class struggle. Many bless us, a few curse us, but no one ignores us.
Q: Why is the working class so important?
A: We are the majority class. It is our work which creates the wealth which allows a very few people to live in obscene luxury. Because we are the majority class, we have the real power to transform society.
Q: What kind of people are in the YCL?
A: Those want to change the world into a much better place. Young people of all races, genders, religions, sexual orientations, and nationalities are in the YCL. Many types of working class youth, students and young workers of many interests like music, theater, sports, dance, visual arts and more…
Q: Do I have to be a communist to join the YCL?
A: No. If you are sincere about fighting the effects of capitalism, like racism, sexism, exploitation, lousy schools, unemployment, homelessness, and so on, you should join the YCL right away, whether you are a communist or not.
Q: Has there ever been a communist society that succeeded?
A: Technically, there never has been a communist society. Some socialist societies, such as China, Vietnam, and Cuba are succeeding. Communism is the long term goal; just as the world has evolved from feudalism to capitalism, so it will evolve from capitalism, first through socialism (in which the working class is dominant), then eventually to communism (in which there are no classes). Our job is to hasten that evolution.
Q: What communist countries still exist?
A: China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cuba are socialist states.
Q: Was the Soviet Union a real communist country?
A: No. It was a socialist.
Q: Why did communism fail in the Soviet Union?
A: There are many reasons why socialism fell in the Soviet Union. One reason was because of the Cold War. Capitalist countries were able to spend more on the cold war and the Soviet Union tried too hard to compete. For example, Reagan was able to build a greater military force by obscenely increasing our national debt. Overall it is very hard for a socialist country to survive with imperial powers breathing down their necks. There were both errors that the Communist officials made within the country and forces from outside that tainted the gains of the revolution.
Q: Why do so many people want to leave Cuba?
A: Relatively few want to leave. They have all suffered due to our 40-year blockade, but most do not believe that they can become wealthy capitalists by leaving Cuba.
Q: Is Cuba a dictatorship?
A: No. Although the Cuban people have a strong central government, they are very active in local and national democratic elections, especially through their union activities.
- KKE GS Koutsoumbas: “The 21st century will bring the definite overthrow of Capitalism”
- European Communist Initiative- Statement for the 99th Anniversary of the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution
- 100 years since the Great October Socialist Revolution- European Communist Meeting to be held in Brussels on January 23
- Communist Youths in Thessaloniki: “Solidarity with the refugees. Our enemy is capitalism”
- Open Letter of the KKE to the Communist and Workers’ Parties on the Anti-Communist Activity of Die Linke in the EU Parliament