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Opinions of Sunday, 14 May 2017

Columnist: Andrews Krow

Are you a socialist?

I see socialism as the most divine ideology which demands strong convictions to practice.

Since the 19th century, the hard-left brand of socialism has advocated radical societal reforms that would redistribute power and wealth along more equitable lines.

Some pastors and Imams have become conduits used by the capitalists in their wealth accumulation agenda which contradicts the basic tenets of their religions.

Socialism was propounded based on Christian and Islamic values. Those who advocated for reforms (socialists) were aligned with Christian movements in the early 20th century.

Their demand for regulations mandating workplace safety, minimum wages, pension schemes, social insurance, universal healthcare and other welfare policies which are generally funded by relatively high taxes were in line with policies and positions expressed by the Christian and Islamic movements across the world.

Islamic socialism, for example, centers on Zakat, the requirement that holy Muslims give sway a portion of their accumulated wealth.

We have no version of socialism that preaches poverty.

Socialism or socialists can be pro or anti market but the ultimate goal of practioners is the abolition of social classes. Most capitalist’s governments and parties have adopted many of the socialist policies including social security, public education and arguably universal suffrage.

People confuse themselves with the Communist Manifesto when discussing socialism. One fact people may not know is that socialism predates the Communist Manifesto.

Before Marx and Engels propounded the theory, great minds like Henri de Saint Simon, Robert Owen, Pierre Joseph Proudhon etc had written thesis about socialism and Pierre for instance described “property as theft".

In the 20th century, socialism emerged as the most influential secular movement worldwide and the Soviet Union at a point led the ideology's crusade. African leaders or states adopted the ideology and it became the guiding document and ideology for most of the liberation forces.

After independence most African leaders adopted the ideology but branded it to suit their homegrown philosophies. Nyerere adopted the Fabian socialist ideas to support his rural development agenda, Kaunda, Jomo Kenyatta and others went same direction. Nkrumah who was the most powerful force and the most influential personality when it comes to the practice of socialism in Africa, also created his brand of socialism to suit his "One Africa and believe in your African personality" agenda.

We have nothing like appearing poor or dwelling comfortably in poverty in the socialist manifesto. Communism advances the idea of workers taking control of the means of production, government fades away, as workers build a classless society to establish an economy based on common ownership. The ultimate target of the communists is production and consumption reaching an equilibrium. I don't think this represents wishing for poverty to bath you.

The NDC a centre - left party which is a fusion of aspects of pro capitalist and pro socialist ideas a common ideological philosophy being practiced by most leftist elements across the globe. Africans per our original traditional system are socialist inclined.

We farm together, harvest the products together, supported each other, uncles paid for education of their sisters who were financially weak, fathers extended their support to their families, aunties picked wards of their family members and catered for them, we ate from the same bowl, fathers married ten wives but their children and wives lived together, ate together, farmed together etc.

These were the original values and doctrine, our biblical and old Islamic father practiced. Westernisation and capitalism have come to bury all these wonderful values creating unnecessary competition in our communities and at the governmental level leading to corruption, suspicion, hate and all the ills in our society.

You cannot convince me that you are a socialist when you place all your hopes on your political organisation as your source of progress and survival, it is sinful to pose a socialist when you struggling to build ten houses, ten companies at the expense of the struggling masses, you cannot tell me you are a socialist when you preach tribalism and survive on tribal permutations and you cannot convince me you are a socialist when you succumb to wicked policies of a regime for fear of victimization and persecution.

Socialism unlike capitalism is another form of religion or religious faith, Christ preached about it, the case of Annais and Sapphira fresh in our minds, Christ visit to the temple to challenge the establishment there to guide us and Prophet Muhammed's stance against the "cheats" is another clearest example.

Socialist inclined parties who abandoned the system for neo- liberal agenda are all going back to their old philosophy example is the ANC. China has not abandoned its communist ideology rather, it has fused it with aspects of pro liberal policies. In Vietnam though the authority of state remains unchallenged, private ownership of farms, factories etc is being encouraged.

Nkrumah was never against private businesses. Contrary to lies his opponents peddle around, Nkrumah is the only President in the annuals of our post-independence political history who consciously fashioned out a programme to create powerful Ghanaian business magnates to support his developmental agenda. He sent some of them to Nigeria India etc. to learn trade and others to Yugoslavia, Hungary, US, Russia etc. to learn their technology to support our industries.

Welfarism is building schools in the deprived areas, hospitals for the rural poor who have been denied such facilities for decades, implement prudent tax system which would roll in the business class who make huge capital, who exploit the poor and take advantage of facilities provided by the state such as ports, water, electricity, roads, security etc.