Why does Colorado Springs need socialism? To many, Colorado Springs seems like a quiet city with few troubles. It is the sort of city where one comes to settle into a career with a family and grow old, while taking in the beauty of the state. Upon closer examination, however, one sees finds that Colorado Springs suffers from a host of problems stemming from the capitalist mode of production, issues that must be remedied to preserve the foundation of our city.
In the Springs, years of budget cuts to public education have negatively impacted teachers, students, and the city as a whole. This underfunding is a result of capitalist state legally being able to pay school districts less than their annual calculation for how much money each district should receive. With each year, the list of services for students and pay cuts for teachers grows, creating an enormous gap between what schools are capable of and what they can actually offer. Effects of such severe budget cuts include the closure of many public schools in the city, a drastic increase in class sizes, cuts for supplies and repairs, slashing of tutoring and summer programs, and pay freezes and reduction of column movements for teachers, amongst an ever-growing list of problems. Teachers are forced to do more work, work more hours, and are expected to receive lower pay. The inability of unions to do anything more than slow this gradual decline is evidence that the capitalist system has failed the working class.
A shortage of beds available by local homeless shelters, combined with an ever-growing homeless population, means that more homeless people are forced to live on the streets or in makeshift camps every year. These are people who have fallen on hard financial times and who have run out of options, a reality only possible under capitalism. A percentage of these individuals suffer from some form of mental illness that prevents them from being accepted by society, but would otherwise be manageable with treatment. Local shelters are pushed to their limits with limited resources, space, and funding, and still cannot meet the need. The absurdity of the situation is highlighted by the amount of vacant or foreclosed homes and storefronts that can be seen littering our city. Take a drive down Academy Boulevard and you will see countless empty buildings that could easily be converted to homes and shelters. Providing everybody with a bed, a roof, and three meals a day is by no means impossible under socialism nor capitalism.
The symptoms outlined above are but a snapshot of ills that Colorado Springs faces under capitalism. Countless people are being let down by a society which deems the poor and disenfranchised as “useless,” and which grotesquely exploits the working class. Obviously, these problems cannot be remedied so long as a few very wealthy individuals wield political and economic power. They will only operate in a manner that will allow them to increase their profits, and thus, their power over others. As power increases within the upper class, exploitation must increase amongst the working class, a reality that Springs citizens must face in a capitalist society.
What is the solution to this systemic imbalance? The answer lies in reorganizing society so that we are able to cooperate and provide one another with the necessities of life, as a basic human right. Socialism will allow us to take power and money out of the hands of corrupt business owners and politicians and distribute it evenly amongst all people. No longer will decisions that influence our lives be made by the greedy for profit, instead they will be made by all of society for the general good of that society.
Under socialism, teachers would control their work hours, working conditions, and pay as well as have a considerable say in the amount of funding their schools receive, based on what they need and what they wish to provide. Class sizes would shrink, and schools would be opened to serve more neighborhoods. Resources for students with additional needs, as well as supplemental educational activities for all students, would be bolstered by the support of the community at large. Homelessness would be eradicated in socialist Colorado Springs. Together, we would be able to guide the production of food, clothing, and shelter with the purpose of providing for every citizen, instead of allowing them to go hungry. Resources to help the mentally ill, the addicted, and the generally disenfranchised could be provided at no cost to the recipient, and homelessness could be turned into a distant memory. Capitalism has been unable to fix the problems it has created in our city, so it is time for us to move forward. Socialism will pave the road towards a brighter future for Colorado Springs. It is the solution; there is much to be done.