by Alena Pavlik
Is socialism really so bad? That was a question from my hairdresser, when I told her after last election that Obama would change the USA and we would slowly become a socialist republic.
And I said “YES“, because I know – I grew up in a socialist country, the former Czechoslovakia. After the government nationalizes everything, there is no private business left. You work for the government, your children go to government schools, you shop in government stores (you hardly find there what you need – shortages of everything all the time). You can only visit a doctor allocated to you, and the government controls where you travel (you’re not allowed to leave the country without a special permit). And you listen only to radio stations owned by the government and see only TV programs approved by the government.
Some people here just don’t get it and think that this cannot happen here. The first communist president in former Czechoslovakia, where I grew up, was elected in a free election. He promised to “spread the wealth by taking it from the rich and giving it to the poor”. Soon after that, everybody was poor; only the politician were rich (they had access to specials stores where they could get everything they wanted).
Also rich were the people who run the government stores. The customers had to bribe them to get, say, a bike for kids for Christmas, because there were not enough of them manufactured or imported.
We were never hungry and always had some food at home. Only after we defected did I realize that we had been poor. But because all our neighbors and kids in school had not had much more, it did not matter so much then. We were fed the idea that capitalism is very bad for people, that we have to be patient and one day we will live in a society where everybody will get everything according to their needs. For that reason, we were asked to tighten our belts.
I compare it to a ZOO where there is a fence so you cannot leave; but you won’t die of hunger.
We were brainwashed in schools from an early age. In each classroom, next to the blackboard there were pictures of Lenin, Stalin and our current president. We had to march on May 1st (Labor Day) in parades celebrating our workers, waving flags and placards with communist slogans. One of them was “Move FORWARD left foot, right foot, NOT one step BACK“. Sound familiar?
I could not believe the hundreds of signs I saw at the DNC Charlotte convention. FORWARD/NOT BACK. How about Michelle Obama asking all to keep on sacrificing for our own kids and grandkids (while she enjoys luxury vacations traveling in the large private jet paid for by us taxpayers)?
The socialist government I knew was even unable to manage factories and produce enough food for people, so it eventually collapsed.. Socialism does not work and will never work.
Alena Pavlik grew up in the former Czechoslovakia. She currently resides in Southern Florida.
Image: Unidentified location in Czechoslovakia of the second half of the 20th century; courtesy of Fredy.00 family archive; Bohumil Jirout (author), Fredy.00 (uploader), Juandev (crop, rotation)