Socialism and Education

By Alyssa Petrella
USW Communications Assistant

“Why should we elect a socialist for president?”

This question seems to be asked most often in derisive tones about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders by FOX News pundits.

To these folks, Bernie’s “pie in the sky” plan to offer free college tuition is some crazy socialist dream that will cost millions, if not billions, of taxpayer dollars.  They refuse to see one of the best possible outcomes of this “crazy” dream: It is one way to help close the wealth gap between whites and blacks in America.

A recent study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce showed that more than 17 percent of African-American students are in the lowest-earning majors such as human services, social work and teaching.

Many factors influence this statistic, one being affordable access to education. And not just any education, but a good one.

In 2008, the average African-American earnings were just $18,054. The average white person earned $28,502.

Limited family wealth severely inhibits the ability of blacks to attend top-ranked colleges known for specializing in high-wage majors such as engineering or pharmacy -- or any college for that matter.

In 21st century America, this should not be happening. So when a “crazy socialist” comes along and offers a plan to make college affordable—nay, free—that sounds pretty good to people who believe in America’s promise of equal opportunity.

Is this really crazy?

If college were free, everyone, no matter what color, would have a chance for higher education or technical training and the resulting fair shot at obtaining a high-paying job. The economy would flourish with people spending more money, thus limiting poverty in America.

Democratic socialist countries like German and The Netherlands offer higher education that is free or almost free, so it’s not a financial impossibility for a nation. And the United States led the way long ago with the democratic socialist principal of free education for elementary and high school. It seems conceivable for the richest country in the world to extend that to college and technical schools.

This is a simple flow chart to see, but too many people are blinded by their own false images of an old codger with unruly hair offering nothing but “empty promises.”.

Free education isn’t an empty promise. It is a necessity.


To submit a blog to Union Matters, e-mail it to Keep it to 250 words or fewer. You MUST include your full name, hometown, and state. You may attach a photograph of yourself. Please include a phone number. This WILL NOT be published. Posting any given blog is within the discretion of the USW. No blog using foul language (this is a family site), false information (we don’t want to get sued), or unnecessary personal attacks (again, we don’t want to get sued) will be used. Wait a reasonable period of time, then blog again!