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The growth in acceptance of socialism among younger Americans is undeniable. In 2020, according to data from the organization Victims of Communism, there was “an increase in the favorable opinion of the term ‘socialism’ (49 %) among generation Z, compared to 2019 (40 %)”. Besides, 35 % of millennials and 31 % of Generation Z support the idea of eliminating the capitalist system in favor of a socialist model. This reality prompted the founding of initiatives such as Young Americans Against Socialism, led and founded by Morgan Zegers, who spoke with Anna Paulina Luna, chief correspondent of El American.
Why are young people in the United States attracted to Marxist ideas? There are many reasons, but Morgan Zegers argues that there are two in particular and both are related to a lack of knowledge of the realities of life in countries ruled by communist or socialist regimes.
Morgan Zegers: “Young people vote for socialists because we have never felt the real threat of a socialist system”
The founder of Young Americans Against Socialism explains that one of the organization’s most important jobs is to interview people who were victims of communist or socialist regimes and who came to the United States seeking the freedom, prosperity, and happiness promised by the American system.
Zegers says the main reasons why socialist ideas take root in the minds of young Americans are:
- They do not know the reality of countries that suffered from communism or socialism.
- They are in a kind of comfort zone and convenience that prevents them from visualizing beyond the goodness of the capitalist system in the United States.
That is why Young Americans Against Socialism interviews those who have suffered under totalitarian socialist systems, such as the Castro regime in Cuba, to give Americans a closer look at the dangers of living under socialist tyranny.
Ray Armas, a Cuban-born American soldier
One such life story was that of Ray Armas, told by Morgan Zegers herself in conversation with Luna: “He basically windsurfed across the ocean from Cuba to the Florida Keys. He would surf 90 miles for 10 hours, made it to the shores of America, was picked up by the Coast Guard, and was brought back to the shores of Cuba. He was then harassed and beaten by police in Cuba for years as he tried to file for actual refugee status to make it back to America. Finally gets to the shores of America, becomes an American refugee and joins the US military, and has served in Afghanistan multiple times. It’s a fantastic story.”
Zegers commented that Ray Armas said on camera that he joined the U.S. Army in a form of gratitude for the country that gave him back his freedom.
Venezuelan Olympic shooter Gaby Franco
Another story mentioned by Morgan Zegers was that of Gaby Franco, a Venezuelan Olympic shooter who fled to America on the advice of her Cuban coach.
“She tells the story of her Olympic shooting coach, who is from Cuba. He came from Cuba, escaped communism under Castro, escaped to Venezuela. Bad decision in the long run, but he started warning people as Chavez was coming to power, he started saying: “his promises sound a lot like the promises of Castro.” He sounded and was using the same language and same promises as the communists of Cuba. Everybody, I kid you not, would tell this guy that he was crazy. And the reply that they would have for him is that “oh, we’re not like Cuba. We’re not an island like Cuba. We have a very strong economy here in Venezuela. We have nothing to worry about. We’re a democracy.” Well, what happened? Gaby was one of the only people to listen to him and escape to America.” Zegers explained.
Gaby Franco “left her family there. Now they’re still stuck there. And she can’t believe that she’s in America now telling the same thing to young Americans and they’re giving her the same replies of “it couldn’t possibly happen here. It couldn’t happen in America. We’re different. We’re unique”.”