Why am I a left winger (and so are you)

Magda Sadlo
May 19 · 5 min read
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Since the undisputed failure of communism in many countries socialism is still a dirty word and declaring yourself a socialist or a leftist exposes you to certain level of ridicule and condescending. A left-wing supporter is seen as a dreamer who does not understand where the money comes from. While arguing the merits of socialist economics requires a long discussion in its own, I would like to concentrate on convincing you why left wing agenda is the one that benefits you more than you think.

Me, the salary employee

Most people earn their living through by getting paid a salary. Whether it is a gig, part-time or full-time job, many of us get paid by someone for the service that we provide to them. We depend on somebody giving us a fair share of whatever profit they make selling their goods or services. When we rely solely on the “invisible hand” of the market and good will of our bosses, it is very likely that they will prioritise their own profit over our comfort — it is even more true for publicly traded companies who need to make not only their bosses happy but also their share holders and “the markets” happy (and we all know how moody those guys can be).

As evidence, it is enough to look at the extremely profitable businesses such as Amazon and Walmart, where the employees barely struggle to survive. As a side note, it is worth noting that as it stands now, the government does not simply leave companies alone and let them do business — they get subsidised in a form of tax breaks and any benefits that their underpaid employees need to get from the government (e.g. food stamps). This kind of “visible hand” of the government not only hurts tax payers, but reduces potential competitiveness of small businesses that cannot count on such help.

As a salary employee, every right you have is negotiated. We need both laws that protect us when we are vulnerable and collective bargaining power that employee unions give us — those are policies that left wingers stand for. We need protection when we get pregnant, we need protection when we get sick, we need protection when we have two years until retirement and if we get fired and nobody will hire us. Unless you are a CEO or one of the share holders, there is no reason to be against comprehensive regulations protecting people in their work environment — from the perspective of a company, no matter how nice your boss might be, you are still an expense that needs to be minimised.

Me, the public services user

If you are not ultra rich, chances are that you rely on public services. Hospitals, schools, transportation and post are often regarded as inefficient because they are public and hence for conservative governments they are great candidates for cutting funding and privatising. While it is true that they often struggle and never seem to have enough money, we need to remember the reason for this — public services, unlike private companies, do not operate exclusively in the spaces that are profitable. By definition, their role is to provide a reasonably priced or free service by distributing the costs of otherwise expensive goods evenly through society.

Public transportation is meant to provide ways to get around even in small villages where maybe only a couple of older people use them. While private bus operator might be cheaper and make more money, he will most likely cut all connections that are making losses — this is simply what reasonable companies do!

Public hospitals can provide expensive medical procedures for free because all the healthy people are chipping in. While it might be cheaper for most of us not to pay for medical insurance in the good times, it will most certainly break our budget every time we break a leg and cause us an unnecessary stress in times we are most vulnerable. When you get cancer, you should not have to think if you can afford treatment!

While providing affordable education might not seem as equally critical, it is one of the best investments the governments can do to assure future growth and progress. If only rich people get educated, the disconnect between elites and the rest becomes stronger. The best way of elevating people from poverty is to give them tools that will let them participate in the job market, and high quality education is one of such tools.

If you believe that health and education should be accessible for as big majority of people as possible, you should support politicians that believe it too.

Me, the excluded one

Next point that I would like to make is probably the most obvious one — if you are part of any of the groups that is not the beneficiary of the current imbalance of power, you would undoubtedly benefit from a more egalitarian and inclusive society where we are all equals regardless of our family background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, race and age. Those should not be preconditions that determine your destiny, but merely parts of who you are.

Me, the one without a bunker

Temperatures on Earth are rising. For years scientists kept on warning us that we are heading for a climate disaster. We are losing biodiversity faster than ever. And yet we (and by we, I mean them) are still prioritising profit over collective benefits of clean air and a habitable and balanced planet that we still call our home. Corporations might not be evil, but they do need to protect their interests — and they are doing it by lobbying and preventing politicians from taking any real action. I don’t know if billionaires don’t believe in climate change, or they simply plan to fuck off to the moon when it all collapses. One thing is sure — most of us neither owns a bunker, nor is capable to build a space ship. We rely on (currently) the only known liveable planet — we want to breathe clean air and walk plastic-free beaches. We need a political system that supports those needs, a system that respects people more than it strives towards perpetual growth.

Powerful people want to keep their power, and they profit from politics that allow people with money to make even more money. This is why they put a lot of effort to convince you that you can also join the club and profit from its vague rules. They have media and governments that play along, as they all have interest in sustaining the status quo.

Most of us are not people with money and never will be — most of us spend our lives working hard to make ends meet. We deserve to have politicians that understand that and prioritises well being of the majority over the interests of the few.