In April, an Ipsos Global Advisor survey was carried out looking at people’s attitudes towards “socialist ideals in the 21st century”. More than 20,000 people across 28 countries were interviewed.
While some of the questions in the survey were clearly loaded, the poll nevertheless showed some interesting trends. In short, as capitalism continues to disappoint, support for socialism is rising.
Fully half of the people around the world think that socialist ideals are of great value for societal progress. In addition, eight in ten people think that the rich should be taxed more to support the poor.
Almost seven in ten people think that everyone should have the right to an unconditional basic income, while nine in ten people support the idea of education being free, and free healthcare being a human right.
No doubt there is still confusion about exactly what socialism means. In one question Ipsos asked people if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “Socialism is a system of political oppression, mass surveillance and state terror.” Half of all people agreed.
Genuine democratic socialism would be none of these things. Rather it would be a system based on public ownership of big industry, democratic control and management and a sustainable plan of production. Oppression and exploitation would be things of the past and the state would be used to advance the interests of the majority.
Interestingly, of those surveyed in Australia 49% thought socialist ideals were of great value and 76% thought the rich should be taxed more to support the poor. 88% supported education being free, and 89% supported free healthcare as a human right. At the same time 79% thought every resident should have the right to unconditional basic income.
Giving us an insight into how people view the major capitalist parties and the current political set up, only 35% of people in Australia thought that “the working classes are well represented in our political system”. This is another indication that the conditions are being created for the development of a new working class party and a system that really represents working class interests.
While struggle in Australia is still at low levels compared to other countries around the world, a definite politicisation is already taking place. When the working class does regain its confidence, and moves to struggle for a bigger share of the wealth, they will be much more open to challenging the system as a whole.
By Socialist Party reporters