Richard Wolff: Difference between socialism & communism and what they both missed


But with the Russian Revolution a great
change happened. The Russians, through a revolution in 1917, took over, closed the
stock market, made industries the property of the government to be run on
behalf of all the people, and instituted a planning system to distribute things,
and subordinated the market. They never got rid of the markets but the markets
were less important than the government planning apparatus. And in a way this was
a key moment, a kind of epiphany for socialists. For the first time they had
power in a country. They had the power of the government in a country called
Russia. And the whole socialist movement then was forced into a kind of a choice:
is socialism what is going on in Russia? After 1917 every socialist had to ask.
And basically the socialist movement split. One part of it said “Yes. The future
of socialism is in Russia because that’s where the socialists won. They must have
been doing something right. They won. They took power. That’s the future”. But there
were other socialists who weren’t happy with what was happening in Russia, who
didn’t like Lenin and the leaders of the Russian Revolution, who were skeptical, who
didn’t want to do that takeover of industries the way the Russians were
doing it. who didn’t want to suppress markets in favor of planning, the way the
Russians did it. So this split happened, it was really over the Russian
Revolution and what it meant, and those who supported the Russian Revolution
said “We want to take a different name”. So they were socialists but they wanted to
call what they did something else, so they took the name “communists”. That’s
where it happened. It all happened in the night early 1920s. Those who were
skeptical when in a different direction, held on to the name “socialists”. Later on
they changed it and called what they were “Social Democrats”. They called what
they were pushing for social democracy, and here’s what it meant. You see it in
countries like in Scandinavia, you see it in countries today, for
example, in the Netherlands, or you see it in Portugal. It’s when Socialists take
over in a society, usually by elections, and what they do is they regulate the
economy. They let private capitalists still own and run the businesses. They
let private capitalists hire workers They let the market basically distribute
things but with a heavy dose of government regulation to make it all
work out less unequally, to make it work out less unfairly. Social democracy.
Meanwhile the other kind of socialism, which took the name communism, went
further. The government didn’t allow private capitalists to continue. It
pushed them out. The government took over the ownership and operation of
businesses and had planted distributions and didn’t leave very much to the market.
Okay, that’s what socialism was in the
20th century. But here was the problem. If you give socialist
governments the kind of power that you gave in Russia and China, and if you give
them the kind of power in Scandinavia and elsewhere to regulate, you create
tensions. In the communist world the tension was the government had so much
power the danger was it would use it for political ends
that were not socialist. And that indeed often happened. In Scandinavian type
social democracies the government’s attempt to regulate was undone by the
pushback of the private capitalists who didn’t want their profits limited. And so
over time there was a reaction in the communist countries against the
political problems of a powerful state, and there was the undoing of social
democracy by the resistance of capitalists. So that by the end of the
20th century social democracies were in retreat, the Soviet Union had collapsed,
and China had changed. Everyone saw all of this,
including the socialists and so they asked themselves that following key
questions; what went wrong? What is it that made the communist countries
collapse? What is it that made social democracies begin to go into retreat?
What was missing from the old socialism that a new socialism has to learn from
and fix? And here it is. The problem that Socialists discovered was that the
changes made at the level of who owns the means of production, and at the level
of market versus planning in distribution, left unchanged something
that should never have been left unchanged.
What was it? It was the organization of the enterprise, the place where most
people spend their working lives: in the office, in the store, in the factory. In
those places the Socialists had not transformed what had been left to them
by capitalism. You still had an employer, a very small number of people, and the
employees, a very large one. The employer still told the employees what to do. That’s not socialism, that’s not what Marx the great theorist of socialism had
to say. It didn’t revolutionize the basis of society: every workplace. And what
would that mean? And the answer that socialists are emerging with now, and why
socialism is changing, is that the problem was, and is, that if you want the
socialism that has always been the idea (of an equalized society, an egalitarian
society, a society of liberty, equality, fraternity, and democracy, the great goals
alike of capitalism and socialism), you have to begin by democratizing the base
of society and that’s the workplace.

100 thoughts on “Richard Wolff: Difference between socialism & communism and what they both missed”

  1. Town and small city is going ghost
    Migrating to big cities.
    Communism provide them jobs in home town.
    Central Asia. Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan. Turkmenistan. Uzbekistan
    Before have jobs in home town home cities now going for jobs to Moscow.
    Eastern European countries before have jobs in home town home cities now migrating to London for jobs.

  2. Capitalism has destroyed the ecosystem so badly that none of this will matter shortly. We had dreams. I'm a John Lennon "Imagine" kind of guy. We missed our chance. The inherent greed and tribalism and lust for power of humanity won out. We will ALL soon become extinct. I don't say this lightly. I have children who will also suffer and die. Richard is correct and awesome at what he does, but it's for naught. I'm not sure why he doesn't see it. Maybe he doesn't have a garden or go camping or read the IPCC news. We are screwed, amigos, and there is no longer a chance to fix it.

  3. Hahahaha everyone here praising communism and socialism… isn't it ironic that you are doing it on youtube, probably on your iphone or your android, sipping your nice cup of starbucks coffee. Communism sounds nice… in theory, doesn't really seem to work in observable reality. Capitalism sounds mean, but actually is nice once you get to know it.

    Love, from your friendly Capitalist
    Typing this post from South Korea – thanking my luck that I was not born in North Korea

  4. It seems that armed revolution just leads to authoritarianism. Whatever it is that you want or start with, war brings the autocrats.

  5. Soooo basically Mao & Lenin got it wrong either because neither went far enough in their convictions or because they both misunderstood Marx?

  6. Is this supposed to be a political history lession for dummies, i.e for brainwashed muricans? Prof. Wolff is talking absolute nonesense and making historical revisionism

  7. 4:51 thank you professor Wolff, that's the key point. We should never forget that "[e]conomic relations are relations between people: who tells whom what to do and how to do it. Property relations are relations between people and things: who owns what; land, factories, mines, ships, etc.". Thus we should always fight "the false thesis that state ownership of property equals workers' state" (both quotes from Facing reality, by C.L.R. James and Grace Lee Boggs)

    Socialism is supposed to be about autonomy, empowerment, direct democracy, self-management and self-organization, from the work place, to your neighborhood and beyond. Anything different will probably degenerate into a bureaucratic nightmare

  8. It's interesting but he's painting it with a light touch and suggesting that a lot of these players intended well. What happened in the USSR was power being built up by self-interested elite for illegitimate reasons, not just another attempt at egalitarian growth – no matter what lies they told themselves. Plenty of authentic socialists called them on it at the time. I think Wolff is pretty optimistic and sees the value in talking about it in those terms. I just think we should be honest about the darkness. Killing millions in a totalitarian state isn't just another attempt at socialism.

    It's important to tell if politicians are really what they call themselves – what's behind the rhetoric, what their actual motives are, who they serve. It's not a purity test, it's clarifying where we stand and what we face.

  9. Co-ops are not democracy. They are slavery. The individual is forbidden from investing or owning their own labor. This goes against natural law and autonomy. The group is elevated above the individual. Things that go against natural law can only be sustained with Force.

  10. Most of the people who say they hold democracy most dear spend 8 hours a day in a totalitarian regime – work – without blinking an eye.

  11. No socialism in America except for the rich. But what Marx missed was the human factor. Laziness. It's a feature of nature; all living things want to preserve energy. That's why lions lie down and sleep after they engorged themselves and get busy only when they get hungry, bears hibernate, plants lose their leaves in autumn and "go to sleep", etc. Man has the same inclination; they work only to survive and avoid work if possible. Especially physical work, it's hard, dangerous, dirty and doesn't pay well. That's why "you gotta have a college education!" You got the idea?

    So Socialism is where you work according to your capability and receive "the goods" based on what you produced. Fair enough. But in communism you work according to your ability and receive the goods based on your need. And who decides what your ability is and what your need is? Let's say you are a skilled hard worker and you managed to have a house, two cars, eat steak and lobster once a week, go on vacations but your neighbor is lazy, has no skills, only works 3 days a week, sleeps a couple of hours on the job but wants to have the same things because that's his "ability" and "need". It's a utopia!
    So there is the difference and that's what Marx missed. Determining the ability and need is impossible and the system would collapse in a hurry.

  12. The socialism of Germany during Hitler's era what's a monopolistic economy where the political system granted power to the corporate office to have a monopoly over the economy. Hands Volkswagen who made a custom made Cabriolet convertible for Hitler as well as being give another resources in exchange for preferential treatment in the markets, Audi BMW we're also giving preferential treatment but they were given permission by government to use human slaves without pay I'm barely any food. Nestle very famous company also lobbied government for the ability to use slaves oh, I'm just was considered a modern civilization in that era. Please consult with the misery index and how that is achieved you may also want to peruse the slavery index as well as your portion of the national debt taken out on to your name without your permission at an interest rate by which you will never be able to pay but will be forced to pay with your labor, history repeating? PS most of that that taken out on the your name came about as a form of bailouts for the big corporations courtesy of the bureaucrats. We see this collusion going back to Thousand Years, every boom-bust cycle was created for the benefit of the power Elites at the expense of the majority and all initiated by government policy which intervened in the markets to create every boom-bust cycle since 200 BC and ended with the impoverishment starvation and death of Millions upon Millions. Pretty sad human history

  13. Are these true.
    Marxism is more of a critique of capitalism than a system of governance and almost a study on human behavior.
    Pure socialism is the same as communism but they decided to change the name in Russia?
    No one really wants pure socialism even though if you believe in a social democracy you will be told that's what you want by the rich and their sheeple?

  14. He stops right where I feel the details needed to be laid out on how to democratize the workplace. By labor-unionization or co-ops perhaps and if so explain the mechanisms to get to these, I guess we have to be creative and figure that out

  15. Who cares.. Its 2020 pretty much. Not time for bs monarchies.. Eurasian mobs..etc. Antidepressants Can Interfere With Pain Relief Of Common Opioids https://n.pr/2WKkrU6 or perdu pharmas of the world.. Faith based socialism is no socialism at all.. Or bs macho crap

  16. You've got to distinguish between large employers and small employers. Whenever a small employer hears this stuff, their first thought is oh God I can't compete if I have new regulations placed on me. Please explain very plainly how the idea is to replace some of the monopolies with regulated utilities, and others with real market place competition. The idea is to encourage a vast diversity of small businesses and rein in the giants, while having certain industries, which have never been the domain of small business, such as energy, internet and medical care for example become well regulated utilities forced to serve the public rather than gouge them. It needs to be emphasized very clearly that democratic socialism is the friend of small business, and that unfettered capitalism has been the ruin of every mom n pop operation in the USA, not democratic socialism. Instead of Walmart we could have a grocer, a Baker, and butcher again. We could be lifelong acquaintances with our barber again. We could aspire to have our own little businesses and work for ourselves, not enslaved to a deadend job for health insurance, because we wouldn't need health insurance.

  17. What Wolff fails to address is that all socialist states, from Cuba to the Soviet Union, emerged into a hostile world dominated by hostile capitalist states bent on the destruction of any competing system of politics or economy. All of them faced war, sabotage, and various other attempts by capitalist states to destroy them. The USSR lost 28 million people to the Nazi invasion in WW2. Under such conditions, survival is the main concern. What he describes as lack of democracy, was actually the product of the siege conditions socialist states found and continue to find themselves under in a world dominated by a reactionary and brutally aggressive American Empire that is willing to use any and all means to crush progressive movements and countries.

  18. @democracy at work, you explained the difference in set up, worker run is better-but what about markets vs planning?
    Should worker owned firms plan, together with elected representatives, communities, and consumers? Or should it mostly be left to the market?

  19. Stalin had much more to do with shaping what we now know as Soviet communism than Lenin did. Lenin was a social Democrat and he held together a wide coalition of workers and present groups. Lenin was a staunch believer in democracy. If the majority disagreed with him, he would do what the majority wanted. It all went wrong when Lenin died. Stalin seized power claiming to be Lenin's successor and exiled his real successor, Leon Trotsky. Stalin had all the revolution leaders who agreed with Lenin killed. He then proceeded to bastardize Lenin's Marxist rhetoric to serve his own fascist- socialist combo we know as communism. The majority of the people that Stalin murdered were Democratic socialists and social democrats who were loyal to Lenin and opposed him including his own wife and son. The boshlevik revolution is really a sad story of a well intended revolution hijacked by a brilliant and evil man.

  20. Socialism & communism means capital leaves and moves to China – America goes broke in a year – this guy is a moron

  21. Socialism and communism are theories and no county ever really was ever .
    China and the USSR were dictatorships.

  22. "government is there to make it less unequally" yet it never fixes that inequality and it always make people even more poor…. good job. Latin America has been trying democratic socialism for over 40 years…. never works.

  23. I believe that Dr. Wolff is incorrect here. Marx was quite clear in his goal of complete and total seizure of all forms of private property, not just the democratization of large companies. Lenin is also quoted as saying, "the goal of socialism is communism". Both of these individuals were unapologetic communists.

  24. Notice that Dr. Wolff has an EU coffee mug in plain sight. I think that the coffee mug is a secret signal to Communists, much like Michelle Obama's red dress.

  25. There is no democracy in the work place because the one person that owns the business is in charge and makes all the final decisions. Right or wrong everybody is depedant on that one person decision.

  26. Great summary as ever from the redoubtable professor Wolff. A convincing argument could be made that the very criticisms of the Soviet model he correctly points out to be largely the consensus among present-day socialists are not new and have been strenuously & consistently set forth by the worker's opposition, left communists, council communists, anarcho-syndicalists and others on the 'libertarian' and 'class struggle anarchist' left since the February & October days and beyond… A great primer, though. It's what he does best.

  27. communism?….Russia ? nah , proff,. dictatorship… china? dictatorship….

    why do newsies ~ commentators ~ proffs ~ journalists ~ pols etc insist on calling Russia or china communist ?

  28. Prof. Wolff, thank you again for educating the left. Many of us don't know this history. Going forward us socialist–all of us–need to be working together to create what I call the New New Left. We are the children of the American and French revolutionaries, the labor and human rights activist of the 20th century, and the children of the peace and love hippies. Now is the time we take all of that history as one to create a new vision of the left. One of human advancement, technology, peace, and sustainability. We will be that generation to meet that commitment, and you will go down as one of the fathers of that new movement. Thank you!

  29. You must be simplifying on purpose. Lenin considered himself a social-democrat prior to the outbreak of WWI, he belonged to the majorityist (bolshevic) wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, they didn't change to Communist Party until 1917, (April Theses, I believe).

  30. Empower labor unions. We need a worker's bill of rights. Before any business is sold, the employees must get first opportunity to form a cooperative. End vulture capitalism. End leveraged buy-outs and stock buy backs. Stocks should be based on real productivity, not manipulation. End the unemployment statistic, as it is just propaganda. Use only adult labor participation.

  31. It was called the USSR and one of those "S's" meant "soviet." The theory of the soviet was workplace democracy, But as soon as the USSR was created, the Communist Party took over and prevented the soviets from having any actual democratic power, and the Communist Party then sent in people to tell the soviets what to do and control them instead of the soviets using workplace democracy to tell the government what to do. So the word "Soviet" in the title of the USSR became meaningless and unrealized. That is, the theory of the soviet was supposed to be a revolution in the organization of the enterprise, but THE PARTY prevented that revolution from happening and instead used THE PARTY to control the organization of the enterprise as a new state capitalism model instead of a private capitalism model.

  32. this isnt accurate, you can disagree that the soviet union was even socialist but still agree with what they did, like me. I like what they did but I dont believe it was socialism.

  33. This is interesting and quite a bit different than what I've been hearing from so many others who identify as Socialist or Communist.

    My current model of capitalism vs socialism vs communism (not exhaustive) is all about where capital lies. Individual citizens in capitalism, the state in socialism, and the workers in communism.

    This is a somewhat superficial view as the state is necessarily the ultimate holder of capital (though I don't often hear people acknowledge this), but it basically comes down to the behavior of the state with respect to capital.

  34. The relations between master-slave, lord/lady-serf and employer-employee, but in a accelerationist post-capitalist economy, white-market white-collar job's/careers/professions/occupations/ranks/positions/fields/role (s)-and-responsibilities would have to become worker co-operatives to avoid-and-avert, or at least, deter-and-defer automation

  35. I wish people give up their prejudice about socialist countries and consider them friends instead of enemies, which will be more conducive for world peace, like President Trumps peace initiative with N. Korea, last year dissolving 70 years old hatred without further bloodshed. Now borders between North and South Korea are opened and they have started visiting each other and hopefully there will reunification, like east and west Germany some years down the line benefitting both countries.

    Wise leaders of of China have adopted/altered their economic and social policies best suited for welfare of their population from the efficient utilisation of the available resources helped more by shedding their earlier prejudice about capitalism and west.

    In 30 years since shedding the cobwebs of '' isms '' China has surpassed economic growth of many countries and has become one of the most advanced nation with more engineers, doctors, scientists doing astronomical research and advances in science and technology, because China invested its vast resources for development of human capital instead of war machines. It is now helping other poor countries of Asia and Africa for infrastructure and humane development with the surplus resources at its command ! These efforts should be appreciated instead of seen with suspicion. If recipients don't like their help, they can always terminate agreements entered peacefully as provided by exit clauses, as some countries have already done so, due to change of their economic plans or priorities.

    The honourable solution would be to withdraw the unjustified sanctions, which are the root cause of misery in Venezuela and and elsewhere. Sanctions, like used condoms should be flushed away after expatiation, by kiss and makeup peace efforts, rather rubbing salt in the wounds of a violated body. For as you rightly said we can't bestow ( i say thrust down the throats) democracy by sadist interventions.

    And if Russia does not learn from Afghan debacle, its their loss ! Americans should not fear their assistance to socialist governments worldwide, rather welcome it and give their undivided attention to make America great again rather Venezuela. Let other socialist governments look after their own. And if recipient countries find their help obnoxious/nefarious/exploitative they will get booted out, as in Afghanistan/Balkans, for no nation can be subjugated against its will. Tyranny fails of its own inconsistencies.
    For all American nations were once colonies of European nations (including USA), and when locals/immigrants from same race as colonialists found their rule tyrannical, they were overthrown.

    My late learned father gave me a valuable piece of wisdom, ''help a friend in need, if you have sufficient resources after meeting needs of your family, because family comes first, but never borrow to help anybody, because you will be pledging a part of your income over which your family has first priority ! ''
    Is Venezuela a friend of America ? No.
    Does America have sufficient resources after meeting needs of its citizens ? No.
    Does it need to borrow to help anybody ? Yes.
    Decide yourself !

    Is it a crime to choose a socialistic pattern of development ? Does American model of capitalistic development of economy ensure fair/just/equitable distribution of resources to the needy ? Are American people satisfied by subsistence wages/welfare cheques ? Can they afford decent houses/spouses ? Higher education ? Healthcare ? MV insurance and service overheads ? Why do so many working Americans live in cars/vans/campers barely surviving day to day while rich folks spend millions of dollars for relaxation on the golf courses ?

    Does American industry discharge its obligations to the nation in return of good infrastructure, law & order frameworks, lower taxation, easy banking finance and 'laissez faire' policies of government ? No way sir, in the everlasting greed to maximise profits and cannibalistic growth ambitions they employ robots, spend billions on automation to cut down wage bills, and move jobs that can't avoid human labour oversees to the low wage countries abroad, while salting away astronomical profits in tax heavens abroad, all the times.

    Mahatma Gandhi said that industry should hold in trust the supernormal profits on behalf of nation, for the welfare of society ! Sadly, we see billions of dollars in Annual bonuses to the industry executives/promoters, bountiful stock options, buybacks to share holders, luxurious private jets and vacations for top brass, eating away the capital reserves.

    American Government spends trillions of dollars to maintain '' white elephants '' large ACC, nuclear submarines, stealth aircrafts, missile systems on defence, while a pack of ''dobermans'' would have been sufficient, squandering scarce borrowed resources raised through fed/taxes/import credits.

    In my view Venezuela, Iran , Syria and Turkey should file class action suits in US courts as well as with ICJ at Hague on behalf of their citizens in a trillion dollar law suit for imposing unjustified sanctions against them causing wipeouts of their savings through hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicines, otherwise this madness won't stop. Politicians should be held accountable for effects of their mindless fiats sometime very soon.

    Extremely unwise policies from a nation that claims to be a role model for the free world !!

  36. This is literally untrue. In the time of Marx it was the higher and lower stages of communism/socialism with both words meaning largely the same thing. Post Russian revolution, the term socialism became the word that meant "lower stage" and communism meant "higher stage".

    Also, the social Democrats are not socialists, they are capitalists. This is bafflingly wrong.

  37. Q: "What caused social democracies to going into retreat"
    A: the collapse of the USSR which represented the strongest alternative for workers and a path towards revolution.

  38. Marx lays out the lower stages of socialism in multiple texts and it isnt what this utopian liberal pretends it is. He represents a failed school of utopian socialists that was mocked and viewed as useless even by Marx and engels

  39. Thanks Richard extremely interesting vid I am and have always been a socialist not communist which is as bad as capalitism

  40. NO MORE ISMS! We have already run out of ideas and we are drop dead. This perhaps is the real end of history. It is the time for AI to take over completely.

  41. There is an emerging problem looming that will render this question and answer moot, A.I.s and robotics is and will continue to completely displace the current work force leaving humans with no job.

  42. Fun fact:China, during the later period of culture revolution, had a semi-democratic worker-leader relationship established in some region. It is called Angang Constitution, which party officials and workers making decisions together, and it becomes a movement, had it's peak around 1972. Unfortunately, the leadership of Culture revolution was entirely burdened on Mao himself, and he is nearly 80, unable to make any revolutionary decisions. After his death, his opponents execute a coup d'état, took out his followers, and killed the culture revolution, as part of the movement, Angang Constitution did not reach its maturity.

  43. Many believe socialism is the government control of production. Wrong. It's the public control of production. The reason socialist reforms come about in capitalist economies through the government, is because it is the only means of meaningful reform. For socialism to exist, both the government and wider economy have to be controlled by the grass roots, via the de-centralisation of private and governmental power.

  44. New thumb nails, have him write down all his theories/stories. (Him being Richard Wolff). This channel seems like a liberal Radio Head talk show with visuals. This structure is similar to a Fox News/Rush Limbaugh/Alex Jones kind of production style. All u need is the logos, podcast mic, & a sponsor. But I believe in the conversation of all views, just need it to be more accessible & deeper content in the form of events with talks & lectures or history animations which runs with current news & other. it's a lot of work but it might be the right way to go at this point…I'm so tired of hearing Richards Wolffs voice drowning away with opinion points – with slippery language that seems abigious and presupposes the audience knows a certain amount of things

  45. The Danish Social Democrats, formed in 1871 after the 1st International, already were named so in 1878, and got voted into the Danish parliament in 1884. Your history lesson is dumbing people down -_-

  46. Mao developed socialism at chinese factory during the Culture revolution, by democratizing workplace by "两参一改三结合", "四大自由"

  47. Has any country implemented a working system whereby private ownership has been replaced by some or complete worker-ownership in a smooth transition (i.e. no bloodshed/rebellion etc.) Did that happen in England with the National Coal Board (E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful)?

  48. The bottom line is that under our current systems of law and taxation the corporate form of ownership has come to dominate almost all sectors of the economy. Disinterested shareholders have even stopped caring whether they received dividends. The stock market is nothing more than a giant gambling casino. Getting our elected legislators to even consider amending the law affecting corporate interests is not likely to happen given the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that corporations are persons. The best we could hope for is to push for tax reform that favors cooperatives, partnerships and sole proprietorships.

    One way to move in this direction is to push for the exemption of business revenue from taxation up to some limit (e.g., the median revenue. Say this came to $5 million. All revenue up to $5 million for any company would be exempt from inclusion in taxable income. All deductions for business expenses would be eliminated. Revenue above $5 million would be subject to an increasing rate of taxation on higher ranges of income.

  49. Except they were never communist. Soviet Union wasn’t even socialist and just a red bureaucracy that acted as the state capitalist.
    The state owning the MOP isn’t socialism. They whipped the people in the direction they wanted to.

    You forgot about anarchists. We don’t agree with vanguardism or a state.

  50. Within China, with its partial state owned companies, people see the NATION, which defines the common interest, as their employer. They realize that low wages are in the interest of the community and accept harsh conditions of work and live. The Chinese worker has no need for a democratic workplace, has trust in the rationality of the economic reality. This is why the Chinese system must be defined as NATIONAL COMMUNIST……… Within socialist nations in the West wealth has spread and the workers accept their social acceptable wages. They also do not want a democratic workplace………

  51. why is there debates about a non-issue? market-based economies are the ONLY solution. whether its state controlled market economies like china or viet nam or social democracies or pure libertarianism. they have to have market economies. that wolff chose to educate himself on a failed system from 1840's is his problem. democratization of the workplace? c'mon richard…the game is over. go golfing in boca..your entire educational pursuit has been meaningless—you should have studied astrology.

  52. LOL This guys ideas are bullshit. He's trying to brand countries like Sweden as an offspring spawn of Marxist. Sweden was a welfare state and now its economic focus is pretty much neoliberal orientated. Just because it has increased taxes to fund stuff like free education and health care doesn't mean it's a socialist country. Also, the system Wolf is trying to argue wouldn't work in an economy bigger than a country like Sweden, not to mention Sweden's economy, though healthy, is not rapidly growing.

    Marxism is a product of its time and has no place in the modern world.

  53. Seems to me that the current 'conservative' groups could better be referred to as 'reactionary' political parties. What do you think Professor Wolff?

  54. This is an incredibly important, helpful, and accurate introduction to a very long and complicated history, and I applaud Dr. Wolff for telling it so concisely!

    I urge everyone to spread this video to all the misinformed people in the US who don’t know anything about the history or socialism and would just as quickly fear that mildly social-democratic politicians like AOC and Bernie Sanders are going to “turn the US into Venezuela” and/or do not understand the difference between the attempts at “socialism” being carried out Venezuela, or in the Scandinavian model, and the attempts at “socialism” historically carried out in the USSR.

    However, while I fully agree that the bureaucracy of the Soviet model was a failure as are the attempts of “social democratic” parties to simply regulate market capitalism, I think we must take seriously the written theory of socialist revolutionaries in the 20th century. I would seriously recommend Rosa Luxembourg’s “Reform or Revolution”, and V.I. Lenin’s “State and Revolution”, and the writings of Ana Louise Strong and Angela Davis as well have been a great inspiration to me. Furthermore I am still actively seeking literature from the many other Marxists outside of Europe who have contributed much but all too often go completely unrecognized by Marxists in the West.

    Even as their model for socialism was rife with internal contradictions and besieged by outside threats, the most difficult struggle of socialists has always been to actually take power, or simply to defend it from the capitalist class if you believe we can achieve socialism without seizing control over the state, and it is here I believe that all of us, including Dr. Richard Wolff and the wonderful contributions “Democracy at Work” have made to the development of this new hopeful socialist movement in the US today, still have a lot more to learn.

    I am incredibly skeptical based on what I know of the history of socialism in the US, that the US economy of private capitalist ownership can be massively transformed into a system based on cooperation and worker-ownership without facing both repression and co-optation by the capitalist class and the capitalist state in order to preserve the status quo. I don’t think anyone has the answers as to how we prepare to respond and defend our vision but I am confident it will take tens of millions of leading activists who are capable of thinking for themselves and utilizing lessons from the robust history of socialism and Marxism to aid in our project.

  55. If Lenin and the rest of the socialist revolutionaries called themselves communists and that's where "it hapenned" then what is up with Marx/Engles book the communist manifesto? I am legitimately confused, what did the term mean to Marx?

  56. there's so many layers of the system in terms of people, the ones who are doing well and the ones who think they are doing well will always defend the current system, even if they know it's at the detriment of many others.

    I'm quite anti capitalist in ways, but in other ways quite pro capitalism, i just think it needs more government regulation.

    also, let's have Plato's Philosopher King as president or prime minister and it may become more egalitarian, moral, ethical, just generally more humanitarian instead of primal drives, tribalism and economics over ethics.

    I think we need to become a multi-planetary species and this could potentially solve a lot of issues.

  57. What have all socialist government in common? Disaster, mass murder and famine……. It´s just an intolerant and unnatural ideology which forgets what the human being is, it´s where it goes wrong…… Simple

  58. This is historically incorrect. Please read about Marx and Engels to understand where the origin of communism is from, and what part Marx, Engels or Russia played in keying the term. Marx and Engels simply wrote the manifest to build a consensus regarding the term, the term is however older then these two individuals, and defiantly older then what was going on during the 1920…

  59. So I am just curious, is professor Wolff a democratic socialist? Or a different brand of socialism? I know he isn’t a ML or MLM.

  60. People have to unite and respect each other! You can take an example from the success of the ORGANIZED crime 😉

  61. You get rewarded in the work place for how hard you work, but most importantly, the value you bring to the work place. Probably the most unfair thing you could do is redistribute wealth in the working environment so that everyone is making the same amount of money- one person may have more knowledge and overall value- so they help make the company more money than other employees. In return, that person should absolutely be paid more than his/her colleagues. What about for those damn employers? They take on the most responsibility in the work place, and help make sure that the place keeps on running in the first place, so they too should be paid more than their employees. Start making yourself more valuable.

  62. Maybe we workers need to unionize in order to have a voice in our jobs. We are the ones doing all the work. The money trickles up not down.

  63. Centralized power is all you get from socialism. You have to give up much of you liberty in order to obtain this so called utopia. The state sets rules and if not followed then we know what happens next. We all understand why socialism or communism turns into a dictatorships because its right infront of our faces. Some just choose to not open their minds to it. Capitalism really means the free exchange of money and yes it isnt perfect it is without a doubt the best way to disperse power. Too much power and corruption follows and government left to its devices only has one option to make individuals fall in line and that is coercive action and typically violence. Even if a truly socialist government acted in the way that the majority decides it is the best way to show what tyranny of the majority looks like and is exactly what the founders fought and prevailed against. A mixed economy leaning toward a more capitalist(free exchange)is always and will always be the best way to move forward no matter what this angry twit says.

  64. Millions of people in the US need to see this. There is so much brainwashing about what "Socialism" and Communism means. Many in Washington and Wall St. want to equate Socialism with Communism, when the two are very different. What most people fail to realize is that things like unemployment compensation, Medicaid, Medicare, Police & Fire protection, and public schools (good and bad) are all apart of socialism. We could greatly benefit from doing things the way western Europe does things, like free health care and free college. This is one of the best explanations I've ever seen of socialism and communism. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

  65. I disagree with last statement, the basis of democratizing the workplace.

    It should go deeper than that, as how the Chinese CCP have found. Get into the private family unit and change that, and also including basic educating starting from the first day into school, that will fundamentally change subsequent interactions of these cogs in it's interaction with the greater machine.

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