Starting Businesses on Socialist Principles

BY: Bea Lumpkin| August 16, 2016
QWhy can't workers just pool their money and start businesses built on socialist principles? On your web page Bill of Rights Socialism it says “In a socialist economy, things get turned right side up. The ownership and control of the means of production would be in the hands of those who do the work.” The USA communist party can start doing this now. All they need to do is have socialist/communist workers voluntarily pool their money together and start there own businesses based on socialist principles and prove theirs is a better way. Once people see how much better off they are working for businesses run by socialists more and more businesses will be started by socialists and socialism will take over more and more of the economy naturally. So why don't socialist/communist workers voluntarily pool their money together and start there own businesses based on socialist principles and prove theirs is a better way ? Thank You, Michael
AThanks for your question Michael. Your idea, of  "workers voluntarily pool their money together and start their own businesses" has been tried and is often successful in specialized, small scale businesses usually known as cooperatives. However, as a way of transforming the capitalist system that puts profit first and people last, it's our opinion that the key, massive sectors of the economy must be publicly owned. Examples of key sectors are railroads, auto plants, steel mills, power plants, communications networks, banks. These are beyond the ability of workers to buy with the money "they pool together."

Comments (6)

Sandie | September 20, 2016 at 8:43 PM

If a business is public does it means that the people own it?

What I am saying is that suppose a city park is public that means I can go there anytime I want, but there are limitations, for example, the use of the gazebo I have to request permission from the city and pay a fee. How can they say it’s public and can’t use it for free.

Another example: national parks, some are closed to the public. Lands that Bureau of Land Management claims that it is public but farmers or ranchers cannot use it unless they pay a fee yearly.

If public land or business means it belongs to the people but with restrictions of paying a fee and asking permission this means that the.government owns them.

How is communism different when they say public property? Isn’t controlled and owned by the few in the government?

    Scott Hiley | September 29, 2016 at 9:08 PM

    Great question! It gets at what Lenin meant when he said that the only path to socialism is through democracy. If supposedly public resources are operated for the benefit of a privileged few–whether in government or in the private sector–then you’re right that they’re public in name only. For example, our government grants cheap leases on public land (supposedly owned by the people!) to fossil fuel and mining companies, who then make massive profits, destroy the lands, and stick residents with the fallout and taxpayers with the clean-up bill.

    True public control of resources means that their use has to generate a collective benefit. It may be that users of the land are charged a fee, but the revenue from those fees has to used in a way that puts “people and nature before profits” (as the slogan goes). The only way to make sure that happens is to have a truly democratic decision-making process, which includes delegates or representatives elected in free, fair elections with special attention given to those most closely impacted. Contrast that kind of democracy with the disregard for Native people’s rights shown in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and you’ll have some idea of the difference between socialist and capitalist notions of public property.

      David Barr | May 22, 2017 at 11:14 PM

      Lenin didn’t have a democratic policy. He had a dictatorship in which the government made decisions from top down. Under his structure implanted by him and Stalin millions of Russians peasants starved to death. Lenin was no great leader. He ultimately did what people do when they get power. They use that power to benefit themselves and to hell with anyone else. That’s why Communism and Socialism will always fail. You cannot regulate human nature. It is human nature to look out for one’s famil first and foremost. There is no way that you’ll ever get anyone to take from their children and give away to folks that they have no commitment to.that’s why Captalisman is superior it doesn’t try and reprogram human nature but takes advantage of it. Is it perfect? No. But it is far superior in terms of successful implementation than Socialism and Communism. | February 05, 2018 at 10:10 PM

        Denmark has socialism and they are higher than the us in education, healthcare, and economy. Exploiting human nature leads to climate change which will kill us all. And Trump is just going to do what’s best for himself. I fail to see how Monsanto is better for the agriculture industry than “we the proletariat”

Ron McMullen | September 14, 2016 at 2:14 AM

In the long run, it may not be true that a Socialist enterprise requires its members to work. That is because eventually machines will do most of the work. But if the machines are too expensive for ordinary people to own, then we should pool our resources to produce what we need.

Benjamin | September 13, 2016 at 8:43 AM

I’m an American (and a member of CPUSA) with an English teaching business, much like a private practice at the moment, in Slovakia. I’ve really tried to float around the idea of a cooperative to other teachers (mostly Americans, Canadians and Brits) but the concept is hard for others to grasp. The main difficulty is taking a group of people who grew up and were educated in a capitalist system to invest in a business in which they will essentially still need to work. As one friend of mine says, his goal is to create a business which he could live on without working…sickening, I know, but all too common in the mindset of capitalists. Of course trying to educate them on the matter is of prime importance. However, many factors about the economy we live in, the competition from wealthier classes, and the psychological impact all of this has on the average worker makes it rather difficult to set up a cooperative. In revolutionary theory, we’d be able to set up such a system to ween humanity off of the greed instilled in us by capitalism. But at any rate, we need more communists in the world and maybe we can get this done.

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