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May 04

Louisville Socialists at the Free Market

Louisville Socialists at the Free Market

Mary Sullivan

louisville socialists boothOn a warm sunny Saturday afternoon, the people of Louisville Kentucky gather to enjoy the Flea Off Market, a cornucopia of precious treasures just ripe for the picking. Amongst the food trucks, beer stands, and stalls selling cute clothes, precious looking jewelry, adorable puppies, and unusual art pieces, humans and dogs stroll through the flotsam and jetsam of society in search of a diamond hidden in the rough.

Amongst the purveyors of peculiarities from yesteryear, there are countless curios, neat knickknacks, and a bounty of baubles for sale. While almost every stall in the Portobello Road of Louisville had its fair share of eccentricity, one stall stood out for being far stranger than the rest. Next to the chicken shit bingo, an odd stall with no items for sale, no customers, and only one table with a money jar upon it was manned by a collection of comrades. A simple banner above their tent proclaimed “Louisville Socialists.”

The Louisville Socialists had nothing for sale at the market; instead, they were asking people to give them money to spread socialism in Kentucky. A donation would help them to achieve success in one of their two projects, “helping a transgender man sue his employer and aiding people to find free stuff in Louisville.” By making a donation, a person could be a member of their little club. Do not worry if you are not a socialist, they are a broad-minded group, allowing communists to join as well.

The response of most pedestrians to their tent was bewildered surprise that anyone would even support socialism after the epic failure of the Soviet Union, but as the Louisville Socialists demonstrated on a very sunny Saturday, socialists are slow learners and not very observant. All around the Louisville Socialists booth at the Flea Market was the free market system succeeding. It boggles the mind how they failed to grasp the irony of their booth.

These socialists were in the middle of a free market. All of the booths around them were supplying people with goods in exchange for money. Their table in contrast was not selling any goods. In fact, they were doing the exact opposite. The Louisville Socialists were asking people who had earned their money through toil and labor to hand over their money to others who have done nothing to earn it. Their booth was a perfect metaphor for socialism and capitalism. In capitalism, people are able to freely exchange for mutual benefit the goods and services they have produced with others who have produced their own goods and services. In Socialism, wealth is taken from the producers and redistributed to others, leaving the producers with nothing for their efforts.

If one compared a market in the former communist Soviet Union with the Flea Off Market’s food trucks alone, one can clearly see which system is superior. At the Flea Off Market, they had a wide variety of food items that would have been unheard of in the former Soviet Union: Caribbean jerk meats, Mexican dishes, barbeque ribs, Japanese Sushi, Cuban coffee, and beers from five different microbreweries. In contrast, this video clip of a market in the U.S.S.R. shows how there are shortages, little to no variety, and rotting food for sale.

Socialism has repeatedly failed, because the government cannot centrally plan the lives of all of its citizens. Bureaucrats in Moscow were unable to predict what a person needed in Kiev in the 1980s, just like bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are clueless about what is needed in Louisville Kentucky today.

The Flea Off Market was a success, because people were allowed to freely assemble and sell their goods to others without any government involvement. Those who are successful return with similarly useful items, while those who offer undesirable items do not. I anticipate the Louisville Socialists booth to be in the latter.

 

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