The Peace and Freedom Party, born from the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism, racial equality, and internationalism.

The opening sentence of the Party platform has provoked questions such as, “Why are you for socialism?” or “What is socialism?” The answer is not simple, because the Peace and Freedom Party is a ‘multi-tendency’ party.” People from different organizations, as well as those without other affiliation, can be members of the Peace and Freedom Party. 

We asked members of the PFP to provide their definition of socialism, both to answer the question and to illustrate the range of opinions within the party and the Socialist movement in general. Below runs the third brief essay in our continuing series, “What is Socialism?”

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For me, socialism is when the working class has control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. It’s when we decide how to organize society to benefit the many, not to work for profits for the (very) few. It means we will determine what is made, grown, taught.

Reorganizing society under socialism is going to be a struggle. The capitalist class isn’t going to give up its ill-gotten gains without a fight. We need to be prepared for that fight. Socialism is not inevitable. If the working class fails to take up its historic imperative to overthrow capitalism and build socialism, human society will fall into barbarism or fascism. We must be willing to wage the class war against the capitalist class in order to save not only the human race, but all the other species of our planet. Capitalists won’t do this, because there’s no profit for them.

A socialist society is not a “free ride.” It’s going to be hard work! But it’s work we already do – we just don’t realize it yet.

–written by Mary McIlroy