[Marxism] Considerations of 21st Century Socialism | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 31 07:48:07 MST 2020

Fifty years ago, Peter Camejo ran for Senator from Massachusetts against 
Ted Kennedy. He didn’t win but did manage to recruit many young people 
to socialism through a stump speech filled with jokes. One of them had 
to do with life under socialism. There would be such an abundance of 
goods that money would no longer be necessary. He’d say something like 
this: “You go to a grocery store and there is filet mignon. Nothing 
would prevent you from sticking a dozen under your jacket and sneaking 
out. But instead of being arrested for shoplifting, you’d be referred to 
a psychotherapist for doing something so crazy. All you can eat is one, 

Today, it would be difficult to make such a speech since we are far too 
aware of the costs to the planet from cattle ranching. Most socialists 
are speaking about the need to prevent the Amazon rainforest from being 
leveled to the ground. Do we accelerate global warming to supply beef to 
fast-food restaurants? If Peter were alive today, he’d be among the 
loudest voices against Bolsonaro.

In his 1970 campaign, Peter was trying to popularize the ideas found in 
Leon Trotsky’s 1934 article “If American Goes Communist.”  Trotsky’s 
words sound somewhat crass as if he were making a sales pitch to men in 
the admittedly backward but wealthy country: “The average man doesn’t 
like systems or generalities either. It is the task of your communist 
statesmen to make the system deliver the concrete goods that the average 
man desires: his food, cigars, amusements, his freedom to choose his own 
neckties, his own house and his own automobile. It will be easy to give 
him these comforts in Soviet America.”


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