Mark Tapson is the Shillman Fellow on Popular Culture for the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Recent polls have revealed that a growing majority of young Americans view socialism (or at least, their rose-colored conception of it) favorably and capitalism unfavorably. We assume that these young people must be brainwashed Democrats, star-struck by celebrity activists like anthem protester Colin Kaepernick and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – and the great majority are. But shockingly, a new Axios/Momentive poll shows that, even among Republicans, the number of 18- to 34-year-olds who hold a positive view of capitalism has plummeted from 81% in 2019 to 66% today.
How did America get to the point where a passion for socialist revolution is spreading like wildfire among our youth? A brand new documentary addresses this disturbing trend and makes an airtight case that socialism inevitably (and swiftly) leads to widespread economic misery and loss of personal freedoms, while the free market leads inevitably to widespread prosperity. Surviving Socialism, produced by the Tea Party Patriot Foundation and Ground Floor Video, directed by Luke Livingston, and written by Jake Tower, premieres at the Anthem Film Festival in Rapid City, South Dakota on Friday, July 23. It will be shown alongside such projects as the Shelby Steele film What Killed Michael Brown?, the documentary Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World, and a sneak-peek presentation of the long-awaited Ronald Reagan biopic starring Dennis Quaid.
The poster for the film was designed by the anti-Progressive gadfly Sabo, the conservative street artist behind such brilliant campaigns as mock advertisements skewering race hoaxer Jussie Smollett, and billboards slamming Hollywood for shielding pedophiles within its ranks:
The 62-minute Surviving Socialism largely features attractive and articulate young patriots like Morgan Zegers, founder and CEO of Young Americans Against Socialism; star commentator Candace Owens; and Scott Presler, the gay conservative activist who took the initiative to lead volunteer cleanups in Democrat-led urban centers across America, to the tune of over 105 tons of trash. The documentary also features distinguished thinkers and courageous journalists like Antifa target Andy Ngo, as well as actual survivors of socialism who can attest from grim personal experience that socialism does not alleviate suffering but imposes it.
Zegers points out that left-wing young people today are fond of using distortions of the language, like the pleasant-sounding term “democratic socialism,” to convince themselves and others that their brand of communism-lite is not like the kind that has left as many as 100 million dead and countless more in utter misery, just in the last century. Idealistic young people who are attracted to the idea of creating a utopian society (and to the idea of lots of free stuff magically provided by a caring, beneficent government) think that this time socialism will lead to a world of perfect harmony and freedom from want.
In fact, as one victim of the failed socialist state of Venezuela puts it in the film, “We were promised the fair and just distribution of wealth, but at the end of the day what we got was the fair and just distribution of poverty.” As two other socialism survivors point out later in the film, socialism always ends the same way: in misery, food lines, and concentration camps.
“Democratic socialism views the wealthy and corporations as evil because they prey on the rest of the country… and the solution is higher taxes, higher regulations, and a bigger welfare state,” Prof. David Azerrod from Hillsdale College says in the film. Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs adds that young people too often don’t realize that “when you start talking about socialism, it’s regulation of virtually every aspect of every human life. That’s an authoritarian government.”
Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, notes that under socialism, “There is no private sector, no private property… no place for the free market.” He also explains, in response to the frequent argument that true democratic socialism has never really been tried, that it “has been tried, in three quite different democracies”: in the kibbutzes of Israel, in newly-independent India under Nehru, and in Labor Party rule in the United Kingdom after World War II. At the end of thirty years of collectivism, Israel abandoned the experiment and had to borrow $1.5 billion from the U.S. to pay its debt. At the end of its three-decade embrace of socialism in India, half the population was living in poverty. After thirty years of socialist policies in the UK, Britain had earned a dubious reputation as “the sick man of Europe.” But in a mere five years after conservative Margaret Thatcher took power there and privatized industry, Britain was one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Surviving Socialism addresses how the left indoctrinates schoolchildren with a sense of fear and urgency about saving the planet from evil capitalism, and exploits kids to agitate for socialist change. Candace Owens, mincing no words, calls this tactic “pedo-politics.” But under actual socialism, kids aren’t saving the world, but are reduced – as was Mike Gonzalez, Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who grew up in Communist Cuba – to serving as lookouts while their parents illegally exchange goods on the black market. “Everyone in a Communist regime understands they’re being oppressed,” Gonzalez states in the documentary.
The film then shifts to a discussion of how the left uses identity politics to divide and conquer, creating social tensions that lead to increased demands for the redistribution of wealth – like the racial agitation of the Marxist revolutionaries of Black Lives Matter. Journalists such as FrontPage Mag contributor Matthew Vadum and Andy Ngo appear in the film to discuss how the street thuggery of Antifa functions in this attempt to overthrow capitalism. And Prof. Azerrod identifies the intellectual influence of cultural Marxist Herbert Marcuse, whose 1965 essay on “repressive tolerance” provides today’s left with a justification for censorship of, and political violence against, the right.
Particularly powerful testimony against socialism is presented in the film by ex-Venezuelan Oskar Arreaza and his wife, who describe poignantly how swiftly their prosperous country collapsed under the late authoritarian monster Hugo Chavez – and how Americans shouldn’t think it could never happen here. “You realize that your country, your democracy, is starting to disappear, because you don’t have any right to fight for your freedom, for your values,” Mrs. Arreaza says. The couple fled to America while they still could. When people like this warn Americans about our future if the radicalism of leaders like Ocasio-Cortez and lifelong communist Bernie Sanders isn’t curbed, we need to sit up and take careful note — and action.
Packed with dynamic footage of America under siege by socialist revolutionaries, Surviving Socialism delivers an alarming message, but the film does end on an inspirational note, with footage of its young conservative commentators inspiring crowds about how the American Dream still lives for all who are willing to work hard for it, and for all who cherish their freedom. Activists like Zeger, Owens, and Presler, and films like this one, send young Americans the hopeful message they won’t hear anywhere else in our Progressive-dominated culture: that socialism is a corrosive lie, that free markets and private property are essential to personal freedom and prosperity, and that America is still the true land of opportunity.
Check out the film’s trailer below: