To read our Open Letter to Socialists, click here.
To read about the problem with Marxism, click here.
Socialism is not a very well-defined idea. To the extent that it is defined by the large political parties that call themselves "socialist" and that occasionally win elections and control national governments (in places like France and Greece, for example), it is the idea that the government, as opposed to private individuals, should own the means of production in at least certain key industries of the nation, and the workers in these industries should be employees of the state.
Some individuals and small organizations that call themselves "socialist" might define the word differently.
For example, there are people who use the word "socialism" to mean simply "what I like"; whenever they don't like what's happening in a country that has a government that calls itself socialist they say, "That's not really socialism," and when they see a country they like with a government that doesn't call itself socialist they say, "That's really what socialism is."
Although we are not aware of any organization that calls itself "socialist" and advocates egalitarianism as we define it here, there may be organizations that call themselves "libertarian socialist" and advocate pretty much the same thing as what we call "egalitarianism"; "libertarian socialism" has been used as a synonym for "anarchism" and we discuss anarchism here.
In either event, since the word "socialism" is known to most people in the world to mean what the large self-described socialist parties that sometimes control national governments mean by the word, and because what they do in the name of "socialism" stinks*, we have decided to let these large socialist parties own and define the word "socialism." This is the socialism that we oppose, for reasons discussed below.
Because socialism is not a well-defined idea, it can only be judged by looking at what governments that claim to be socialist actually do. France and Greece, for example, have had governments controlled by Socialist parties on and off during the 20th and 21st centuries. When Socialists come to power, class inequality continues just as before. Capitalists remain a wealthy and powerful class just as before. Workers' strikes are repressed just as before. Society remains as unequal as before.*
Most ordinary people who say they are against socialism say that because they are FOR genuine democracy and no-rich-and-no-poor equality, and believe (with very good reason!) that socialism--meaning what exists under governments run by socialist parties like in France and Greece on occasion, or under Communist governments such as in the former Soviet Union and the Eastern European Communist nations, or in China today--is NOT about genuine democracy and no-rich-and-no-poor equality. Far from telling people, "Oh, you're wrong; you don't know the real meaning of socialism" (there is no real meaning!), an egalitarian revolutionary movement needs to tell people, "You're right!" when they oppose socialism for such good reasons.
Because "socialism" has no well-defined meaning, it has become useful for some politicians to use that word merely to get working class votes with a vague promise of "socialism" (or "democratic socialism," etc.) to imply that they will "make things better for workers."
Some Communists call themselves Socialists in order to avoid the stigma of Communism's ugly anti-democratic nature that so many people are aware of. Communists are welcome to have the word if they want it. We don't.
Click here for an article about the anti-democratic nature of Socialism and the reason WHY it is so anti-democratic.
The socialist president of France banned demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians. And the French socialists in parliament voted for a bill that would let the government tap phones and emails without even having to get any judicial permission. People in France are outraged, and opponents of the bill "launched a last ditch campaign against it under the banner: '24 hours before 1984.'" In July of 2016 the working class rose up against anti-worker reforms to French labor law demanded by the socialist government.
The socialist prime minister of Greece in 2009 (Georgios Papandreou, who was the president of the Socialist International since January 2006) insisted banks must be repaid their debts and he therefore promoted austerity measures to do this, thus (understandably!) infuriating the Greek population and causing three quarters of it to demand his resignation.
The gaggle of political parties associated with the word "socialist" include, for example the Greek party, named Syriza, which was "originally founded in 2004 as a coalition of left-wing and radical left parties." Syriza gained enormous support by 2015 because it promised to oppose the draconian austerity that the European banks were insisting the Greek people had to endure. Syriza became the largest party in the Greek parliament and its leader became--and remains as of May 22, 2016--the prime minister.
Then what? The May 22, 2016 Guardian newspaper reports, under the headline, "Greece pushes fresh austerity drive through parliament," that:
The Greek parliament has approved a fresh round of austerity incorporating €1.8bn in tax increases – and widely regarded as the most punitive yet – amid hopes the move will lead to much-needed debt relief when eurozone finance ministers meet next week.
Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, mustered the support of 152 of his 153 deputies on Sunday to vote through policies that many have previously rejected.
Addressing the 300-seat house during the heated three-day debate that preceded the ballot, Giorgos Dimaras, an MP in Tsipras’ leftwing party, said he was appalled at being forced to support measures he had spent a lifetime opposing.
“I am in mourning,” he said. “This is what can only be called wretchedness.”
A more recent (July 8, 2019) report shows how utterly awful the Tsipras "socialism" became:
"But nothing was predestined about the eviction of struggling families and the foreclosure of their homes. Nothing was predestined about the auction of vast tracts of land and sea to fossil fuel corporations such as ExxonMobil. Nothing was predestined about the severe overcrowding, sexual violence, and shortages of “doctors, medicine, food and drinking water” in Greece’s migrant camps. And nothing was predestined about the sale of arms to Mohammed bin Salman, the smiles of support for Benjamin Netanyahu and the purchase of fighter jets from Donald Trump.
In short, Tspiras did not simply capitulate to the troika, or swap his radical ideals for hard-nosed realism. He actively refashioned his government as a rightwing force on the world stage."
Socialist parties don't call for removing the rich from power and having no rich and no poor. This is what most people really want. And this is the only way to prevent the rich from continuing to have the real power in society. It is the only way to get off the treadmill of defeat in which people are forever forced to fight the rich for every single crumb we are able to get.
Socialist parties, when they control the government, boss people around in the name of the working class, and people don't like it.
Whatever benefits people have in nations ruled by socialist parties is obtained IN SPITE of the fact that a socialist party is in power, not because of it; these benefits are obtained by people fighting for them and often they have to fight the socialist parties to do so.