Essay about Socialism and Audre Lorde

Submitted By tomm508
Words: 2584
Pages: 11

The Socialist Views of Helen Keller and Audre Lorde
In Georgina Kleege’s Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller and Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Keller and Lorde’s socialist ideologies and progressive ideas towards social classes cause each of them trouble in their own ways. In the times each of them lived, socialism was extremely radical and very negatively received. This is still relatively true in the United States, although the political arena is more accepting of beliefs that in those times were thought too extreme. “The essence of socialism is this: All the means of production are in the exclusive control of the organized community.” (Mises 211). The idea is that the people would be more equal, as the “equality” capitalism entails is not adequate. Helen Keller, a female considered by society to be extremely handicapped, and Audre Lorde, a black, gay female born in the 1930’s, knew what true inequality was due to these aspects of them that placed them in outcast social groups. Socialism asserts that everyone deserves to be treated equally, and is therefore, in theory, the only true way to address civil rights. In time, socialism will prevail, and with it progress of civil rights.
To understand why socialism is more acceptable than capitalism, we must first explore the fundamental flaws of capitalism. Capitalism is based on a competitive, free-for-all mindset. Everyone deserves what he or she works for. If you are hard working and smart, you will succeed, and if not, tough luck, it’s your own fault. At the surface, this seems fair. You get what you work for, and those who don’t work hard deserve whatever comes their way. However, for this system to be truly equal, it implies that everyone was born and raised with the same privileges. Certain privileges allow people to have advantages that give them a greater chance of succeeding under a capitalist economy. Adversely, the less privileged will be at a disadvantage. For instance, Audre Lorde addresses the socio-economic issues of black communities, which although have improved somewhat since her time, are still quite the same. A black man raised in the projects of Baltimore by parents who dropped out of school (a generalization, yes, but it is common) and are unemployed will likely fall into a similar trap. He will not have been pushed to go to school because his parents will not instill the value of education in him, and furthermore the schools in his district are extremely inadequate and under-funded. He will be very poor, not very healthy, and may even turn to crime because it may be the only way he can earn a living since he has no education (This is an example of the economic theory of the poverty cycle, which can also be applied to socio-economic groups as a whole). On the other hand, a person of high socio-economic status will likely be encouraged by his parents to earn good grades, maybe even go to private school, and therefore go to a great college in which he attains an extreme advantage in landing a great job. There are definitely occurrences, however, in which people from the projects rise up and become hard-working wealthy people, and also instances in which upper-class citizens do not work hard at all. Those who disagree with socialist tendencies often use these rare occurrences as arguments, but these by no means justify capitalism. In a recent argument I had with a friend of mine, my friend argued that because this person he had known came from the projects but was financially successful and hardworking, everyone else from a similar background had the potential to do the same. Just because it is possible, however, does not make it probable. Consider this analogy: A farmer grows an equal amount of seeds of the same crop in two separate areas. He decides that he will sell each individual plant that reaches three feet, and reuse the rest as soil. In the first group, he uses plenty of water and the soil is of much better quality. In the second