What the F#*k is Socialism? A Conversation with and about the Party for Socialism and Liberation

We were joined for this edition of iMiXWHATiLiKE by Brian Becker and Eugene Puryear* of The Party for Socialism and Liberation for a conversation about their political organization and more broadly the ideas of socialism, communism and revolutionary political struggle.  Some of the questions addressed in this conversation include:

  1. What is socialism, communism and historical or dialectical materialism?
  2. Is socialism eurocentric?

  3. Beyond Marx and Lenin where do the ideas of Kwame Nkrumah, Kwame Ture or Frantz Fanon fit in to the analyses of the PSL and others?

  4. Can the vote be used as part of revolutionary activity?

*Brian Becker is the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition and is a founder of and a central organizer for the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Eugene Puryear is a founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and is on the editorial board of Liberation News.


  1. They’ll let the oppressed have socialism when the environment is ruined & the natural resources have been fully depleted from Afrika & when the european elite have evacuated the planet, colonizing outer space.

  2. I think its important to mention about that debate between Molefi Asante and Kwame Toure, Kwame Toure’s aka Stokely Carmichael philosophy was Nkrumahism-Toureism based on the thought of African leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sekou Toure. He wasn’t a vanilla socialist. Nkrumahism-Toureism is clearly Afrocentric, clearly for Africans and Africa.

  3. This was an amazing interview that answers a lot of misconceptions about socialism and those who fight for it. Really well produce and I hope a lot of folks get to hear this around the country. Thanks for the great content.

  4. Socialism is an economic system, why does the form described in this conversation and typical of many others have a perquisite of accepting all european social ills?

    1. @David

      If Capitalism is created by Europeans, what makes you think Socialism/Communism, also created by Europeans, will not have similar strengths, weaknesses, and social ills?

      Your question is like, “Jazz is an musical art form, why does Jazz have to be a representation of Blackness?”

      Ideas originate from a culture, culture originates from a people. Ethnicity and Race is important.

      Of course socialism/communism has been taken and deconstructed and then reconstructed to suit races/ethnicities. Think of Maoism (Chinese), Juche(North Korean), and Ho Chi Minhism (Vietnamese). People of African descent will have to do the same. Vanilla Socialism/Communism in my opinion, is very Eurocentric and would have to be deconstructed and reconstructed to suit African needs.

      Capitalism was a revolution, capitalism was about replacing nobles and feudalism. Marx himself supported capitalism until he realized the social and economic relations in capitalism was very similar to feudalism. Thus his system of socialism and communism was supposed to be a revolution, toppling capitalists in favor of laborers.

      Socialism and Communism is very Eurocentric. It’s about Eurocentric social and economic relations. It has the Eurocentric ideal of progress all over it. Each epoch is supposed to be better than the next.

      Socialism/Communism also requires a build up of capital. Socialism/Communism requires capitalism. All so called communist/socialist regimes enter a period of capitalism. Look at China and their horrendous corruption and sweatshop labor. Look at the history of the USSR and how now, since Russia has turned away from socialism/communism it’s a kleptocracy. Vietnam right now has market socialism.

      We seen socialism/communism in action, it is just as corrupt or even more because of the transition period which requires capitalism and the control the politicians have due to the single party system of socialist/communist nation-states.

      The real question is, are the social ills that come out of a political and economic system have particular racial/ethnic characteristics due to the originator of the political/economic system or is it universal human nature?

      1. I won’t really argue with most of what you said because the begging is a presumption that turned into a straw man argument I didn’t make. I’ll speak to the tail-end of perceived universalism and refocus my question on what I’m trying to convey. First I should start off by saying the core of my question is better understood with an example, so I’ll give one… E.X. Person A says to person B that person C supports socialism, person B then ask person C if they support birdwatching? Person C says no then person B walks away and tells person A that because Person C doesn’t support an unrelated category of an economic philosophy they are not for socialism. That example was what I was trying to say about some of the ideas in this conversation. Systems come out of cultures, I agree but the non-essential cultural baggage is being hoisted to the forefront as if it’s a must for all people (uni-versalism). So when someone says birdwatching is part of socialism or communism ect… it’s a non-sequitur that colors far to many conversations about an economic philosophy with personal non-factor agendas.

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