Five Definitions

[The following is an analysis by Peter Maurin of definitions given by John Strachey (Communist), Lawrence Dennis (Fascist), Norman Thomas (Socialist) and Stanley High (Democrat) of their respective beliefs. (February, 1935)]

What Communists Say They Believe

Communists believe
that the capitalist system
has reached the point
where it does no longer work.
Communists believe
that when the workers
come to the realization
of the downfall of capitalism
they will no longer tolerate it.
Communists believe
that the capitalist class
will resort to all means
that may be in its power
to maintain its existence.
Communists believe
that the Communist Party
knows how to assure
the production and distribution
in an orderly manner
according to a predesigned plan.

What Fascists Say They Believe

Fascists believe
in a national economy
for the protection
of national and private interests.
Fascists believe
in the regulation of industries
so as to assure
a wage for the worker
and a dividend for the investor.
Fascists believe
in class collaboration
under State supervision.
Fascists believe
in the co-operation
of employers’ unions
and workers’ unions.

What Socialists Say They Believe

Socialists believe
in a gradual realization
of a classless society.
Socialists believe
in the social ownership
of natural resources
and the means of production
and distribution.
Socialists believe
in a transition period
under democratic management
between two economic systems,
the system of production for use
and the one of production for profits.
Socialists believe
in freedom of the press,
freedom of assemblage,
freedom of worship.

What Democrats Say They Believe

Democrats believe
in universal suffrage,
universal education,
freedom of opportunity.
Democrats believe
in the right of the rich
to become richer
and of the poor
to try to become rich.
Democrats believe
in labor unions
and financial corporations.
Democrats believe
in the law of supply and demand.

What the Catholic Worker Believes

The Catholic Worker believes
in the gentle personalism
of traditional Catholicism.
The Catholic Worker believes
in the personal obligation
of looking after
the needs of our brother.
The Catholic Worker believes
in the daily practice
of the Works of Mercy.
The Catholic Worker believes
in Houses of Hospitality
for the immediate relief
of those who are in need.
The Catholic Worker believes
in the establishment
of Farming Communes
where each one works
according to his ability
and gets
according to his need.
The Catholic Worker believes
in creating a new society
within the shell of the old
with the philosophy of the new,
which is not a new philosophy
but a very old philosophy,
a philosophy so old
that it looks like new.