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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman December 18, 2018

No, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not repeat a quote that disparages socialism

Since hitting the national stage this year, liberal Democrat and incoming U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gotten plenty of attention.

Sometimes deservedly so. Sometimes not.

A viral meme mocks the new representative for New York’s 14th District for a statement about capitalism and socialism that she never made.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The graphic being shared displays an image of Ocasio-Cortez with the quote "Under capitalism, man oppresses man. Under socialism, it’s the other way around."

The only problem is – she never said it.

Let’s take a look.

Featured Fact-check

Where the quote comes from

We couldn’t find any instances when Ocasio-Cortez ever said that particular quote. And it would be strange if she did. Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a democratic socialist and supports more socialist-style changes, including universal health care, tuition-free public college and establishing housing as a human right.

The quote comes in varying versions, with some words replacing others. It has been long attributed to economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who passed away in April 2006. It has also more recently been connected to another economist, Russell Roberts, who has used it during events and also in his book.

The original version of the phrase: "Under capitalism man exploits man. Under socialism it’s just the opposite." In some cases, the word socialism is swapped for communism, mostly when Galbraith is cited as the speaker.

It has also been described as an "old Soviet joke," here, and according to Snopes, was listed as a "wry Russian joke" in Jules Archer’s 1977 book Police State: Could It Happen Here?

The book was published 12 years before Ocasio-Cortez was born.

Our ruling

A viral graphic being spread on social media claims that Ocasio-Cortez said "under capitalism, man oppresses man. Under socialism, it’s the other way around."

The phrase itself is a version of an old quote that is meant to disparage socialism or communism. Ocasio-Cortez, who calls herself a democratic socialist, never said those words.

We rate it Pants on Fire!

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Quotes incoming U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as saying "under capitalism, man oppresses man. Under socialism, it’s the other way around."
In a Facebook post
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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No, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not repeat a quote that disparages socialism

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