Socialism | Wikipedia audio article

Socialism | Wikipedia audio article

Socialism is a range of economic and social
systems characterised by social ownership and workers’ self-management of the means
of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. There
are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all
of them, though social rather than individual ownership is the common element shared by
its various forms. “Social ownership” may refer to several different forms:
State ownership, where the government owns all means of production
Cooperative ownership, which might take the form of a employee stock ownership plan in
a market economy, a worker’s cooperative (where employees own and self-manage the organization),
consumers’ co-operative, housing cooperative (owned by the residents), etc.
Common ownership, where the entire society shares things
Citizen ownership of equity, where the government or employee pension organizations own the
stock of corporations in a market socialist economyVarieties of socialism can be categorized
in a variety of ways: Reformism versus revolutionary socialism – whether
a socialist economy should be obtained through changes made by existing governmental systems
or whether a revolution should overthrow the existing government
State socialism versus libertarian socialism – whether economic control and ownership
should be centralized (such as with a command economy or state capitalism where government-owned
corporations dominate a market economy) or decentralized among small collectively owned
organizations or industrial guilds Democratic socialism (advocating worker’s
self-management and workplace democracy within a market socialist, participatory or decentralized
planned economy) versus authoritarian socialism as seen in Marxist-Leninist countries such
as the Soviet Union Market socialism vs. non-market socialism
– whether goods, services, and factors of production can be traded in a market using
currency and pricesNon-market socialism involves the substitution of factor markets and money
with engineering and technical criteria based on calculation performed in-kind, thereby
producing an economic mechanism that functions according to different economic laws from
those of capitalism. Non-market socialism aims to circumvent the inefficiencies and
crises traditionally associated with capital accumulation and the profit system. By contrast,
market socialism retains the use of monetary prices, factor markets and in some cases the
profit motive, with respect to the operation of socially owned enterprises and the allocation
of capital goods between them. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly
by the workforce of each firm, or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend.
The socialist calculation debate discusses the feasibility and methods of resource allocation
for a socialist system. Socialist politics has been both internationalist
and nationalist in orientation; organised through political parties and opposed to party
politics; at times overlapping with trade unions, and at other times independent and
critical of unions; and present in both industrialised and developing countries. Originating within
the socialist movement, social democracy has embraced a mixed economy with a market that
includes substantial state intervention in the form of income redistribution, regulation,
and a welfare state. Economic democracy proposes a sort of market socialism where there is
more decentralized control of companies, currencies, investments, natural resources.
The socialist political movement includes a set of political philosophies that originated
in the revolutionary movements of the mid-to-late 18th century and out of concern for the social
problems that were associated with capitalism. By the late 19th century, after the work of
Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, socialism had come to signify opposition to
capitalism and advocacy for a post-capitalist system based on some form of social ownership
of the means of production. By the 1920s, social democracy and communism had become
the two dominant political tendencies within the international socialist movement. By this
time, socialism emerged as “the most influential secular movement of the twentieth century,
worldwide. It is a political ideology (or world view), a wide and divided political
movement” and while the emergence of the Soviet Union as the world’s first nominally socialist
state led to socialism’s widespread association with the Soviet economic model, some economists
and intellectuals argued that in practice the model functioned as a form of state capitalism
or a non-planned administrative or command economy. Socialist parties and ideas remain
a political force with varying degrees of power and influence on all continents, heading
national governments in many countries around the world. Today, some socialists have also
adopted the causes of other social movements, such as environmentalism, feminism and progressivism.==Etymology==For Andrew Vincent, “[t]he word ‘socialism’
finds its root in the Latin sociare, which means to combine or to share. The related,
more technical term in Roman and then medieval law was societas. This latter word could mean
companionship and fellowship as well as the more legalistic idea of a consensual contract
between freemen”.The term “socialism” was created by Henri de Saint-Simon, one of the
founders of what would later be labelled “utopian socialism”. Simon coined the term as a contrast
to the liberal doctrine of “individualism”, which stressed that people act or should act
as if they are in isolation from one another. The original “utopian” socialists condemned
liberal individualism for failing to address social concerns during the industrial revolution,
including poverty, social oppression and gross inequalities in wealth, thus viewing liberal
individualism as degenerating society into supporting selfish egoism that harmed community
life through promoting a society based on competition. They presented socialism as an
alternative to liberal individualism based on the shared ownership of resources, although
their proposals for socialism differed significantly. Saint-Simon proposed economic planning, scientific
administration and the application of modern scientific advancements to the organisation
of society. By contrast, Robert Owen proposed the organisation of production and ownership
in cooperatives.The term “socialism” is also attributed to Pierre Leroux and to Marie Roch
Louis Reybaud in France; and in Britain to Robert Owen in 1827, father of the cooperative
movement.The modern definition and usage of “socialism” settled by the 1860s, becoming
the predominant term among the group of words “co-operative”, “mutualist” and “associationist”,
which had previously been used as synonyms. The term “communism” also fell out of use
during this period, despite earlier distinctions between socialism and communism from the 1840s.
An early distinction between socialism and communism was that the former aimed to only
socialise production while the latter aimed to socialise both production and consumption
(in the form of free access to final goods). However, Marxists employed the term “socialism”
in place of “communism” by 1888, which had come to be considered an old-fashion synonym
for socialism. It was not until 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution that “socialism”
came to refer to a distinct stage between capitalism and communism, introduced by Vladimir
Lenin as a means to defend the Bolshevik seizure of power against traditional Marxist criticisms
that Russia’s productive forces were not sufficiently developed for socialist revolution.A distinction
between “communist” and “socialist” as descriptors of political ideologies arose in 1918 after
the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party renamed itself to the All-Russian Communist
Party, where communist came to specifically mean socialists who supported the politics
and theories of Leninism, Bolshevism and later Marxism–Leninism, although communist parties
continued to describe themselves as socialists dedicated to socialism.The words “socialism”
and “communism” eventually accorded with the adherents’ and opponents’ cultural attitude
towards religion. In Christian Europe, communism was believed to be the atheist way of life.
In Protestant England, the word “communism” was too culturally and aurally close to the
Roman Catholic communion rite, hence English atheists denoted themselves socialists. Friedrich
Engels argued that in 1848, at the time when The Communist Manifesto was published, that
“socialism was respectable on the continent, while communism was not”. The Owenites in
England and the Fourierists in France were considered “respectable” socialists, while
working-class movements that “proclaimed the necessity of total social change” denoted
themselves communists. This latter branch of socialism produced the communist work of
Étienne Cabet in France and Wilhelm Weitling in Germany. The British moral philosopher
John Stuart Mill also came to advocate a form of economic socialism within a liberal context.
In later editions of his Principles of Political Economy (1848), Mill would argue that “as
far as economic theory was concerned, there is nothing in principle in economic theory
that precludes an economic order based on socialist policies”. While democrats looked
to the Revolutions of 1848 as a democratic revolution, which in the long run ensured
liberty, equality and fraternity, Marxists denounced 1848 as a betrayal of working-class
ideals by a bourgeoisie indifferent to the legitimate demands of the proletariat.==History=====Early socialism===Socialist models and ideas espousing common
or public ownership have existed since antiquity. It has been claimed—though controversially—that
there were elements of socialist thought in the politics of classical Greek philosophers
Plato and Aristotle. Mazdak the Younger (died c. 524 or 528 CE), a Persian communal proto-socialist,
instituted communal possessions and advocated the public good. Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī,
a Companion of Prophet Muhammad, is credited by many as a principal antecedent of Islamic
socialism. The teachings of Jesus the messiah of the Christian religion are frequently highlighted
as socialist in nature. . Christian socialism was one of the founding threads of the UK
Labour Party and is said to be a tradition going back 600 years to the uprising of Wat
Tyler and John Ball. In the period right after the French Revolution, activists and theorists
like François-Noël Babeuf, Étienne-Gabriel Morelly, Philippe Buonarroti and Auguste Blanqui
influenced the early French labour and socialist movements. In Britain, Thomas Paine proposed
a detailed plan to tax property owners to pay for the needs of the poor in Agrarian
Justice while Charles Hall wrote The Effects of Civilization on the People in European
States, denouncing capitalism’s effects on the poor of his time which influenced the
utopian schemes of Thomas Spence.The first “self-conscious socialist movements developed
in the 1820s and 1830s. The Owenites, Saint-Simonians and Fourierists provided a series of coherent
analyses and interpretations of society. They also, especially in the case of the Owenites,
overlapped with a number of other working-class movements like the Chartists in the United
Kingdom”. The Chartists gathered significant numbers around the People’s Charter of 1838,
which demanded the extension of suffrage to all male adults. Leaders in the movement also
called for a more equitable distribution of income and better living conditions for the
working classes. The very first trade unions and consumers’ cooperative societies also
emerged in the hinterland of the Chartist movement as a way of bolstering the fight
for these demands. A later important socialist thinker in France was Pierre-Joseph Proudhon,
who proposed his philosophy of mutualism in which “everyone had an equal claim, either
alone or as part of a small cooperative, to possess and use land and other resources as
needed to make a living”. There were also currents inspired by dissident Christianity
of Christian socialism “often in Britain and then usually coming out of left liberal politics
and a romantic anti-industrialism” which produced theorists such as Edward Bellamy, Frederick
Denison Maurice and Charles Kingsley.The first advocates of socialism favoured social levelling
in order to create a meritocratic or technocratic society based on individual talent. Count
Henri de Saint-Simon is regarded as the first individual to coin the term “socialism”. Saint-Simon
was fascinated by the enormous potential of science and technology and advocated a socialist
society that would eliminate the disorderly aspects of capitalism and would be based on
equal opportunities. He advocated the creation of a society in which each person was ranked
according to his or her capacities and rewarded according to his or her work. The key focus
of Saint-Simon’s socialism was on administrative efficiency and industrialism and a belief
that science was the key to progress. This was accompanied by a desire to implement a
rationally organised economy based on planning and geared towards large-scale scientific
and material progress, thus embodied a desire for a more directed or planned economy. Other
early socialist thinkers, such as Thomas Hodgkin and Charles Hall, based their ideas on David
Ricardo’s economic theories. They reasoned that the equilibrium value of commodities
approximated prices charged by the producer when those commodities were in elastic supply
and that these producer prices corresponded to the embodied labour—the cost of the labour
(essentially the wages paid) that was required to produce the commodities. The Ricardian
socialists viewed profit, interest and rent as deductions from this exchange-value.West
European social critics, including Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon,
Louis Blanc, Charles Hall, and Saint-Simon were the first modern socialists who criticised
the excessive poverty and inequality of the Industrial Revolution. They advocated reform,
with some such as Robert Owen advocating the transformation of society to small communities
without private property. Robert Owen’s contribution to modern socialism was his understanding
that actions and characteristics of individuals were largely determined by the social environment
they were raised in and exposed to. On the other hand, Charles Fourier advocated phalansteres
which were communities that respected individual desires (including sexual preferences), affinities
and creativity and saw that work has to be made enjoyable for people. The ideas of Owen
and Fourier were tried in practice in numerous intentional communities around Europe and
the American continent in the mid-19th century.====Paris Commune====The Paris Commune was a government that briefly
ruled Paris from 18 March (more formally, from 28 March) to 28 May 1871. The Commune
was the result of an uprising in Paris after France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian
War. The Commune elections held on 26 March elected a Commune council of 92 members, one
member for each 20,000 residents. Despite internal differences, the council began to
organise the public services essential for a city of two million residents. It also reached
a consensus on certain policies that tended towards a progressive, secular and highly-democratic
social democracy. Because the Commune was only able to meet
on fewer than 60 days in all, only a few decrees were actually implemented. These included
the separation of church and state; the remission of rents owed for the entire period of the
siege (during which payment had been suspended); the abolition of night work in the hundreds
of Paris bakeries; the granting of pensions to the unmarried companions and children of
National Guards killed on active service; and the free return, by the city pawnshops,
of all workmen’s tools and household items valued up to 20 francs, pledged during the
siege. The Commune was concerned that skilled workers had been forced to pawn their tools
during the war; the postponement of commercial debt obligations and the abolition of interest
on the debts; and the right of employees to take over and run an enterprise if it were
deserted by its owner. The Commune nonetheless recognised the previous owner’s right to compensation.===First International===The International Workingmen’s Association
(IWA), often called the First International, was founded in London in 1864. The International
Workingmen’s Association united diverse revolutionary currents including French followers of Proudhon,
Blanquists, Philadelphes, English trade unionists, socialists and social democrats. The IWA held
a preliminary conference in 1865 and had its first congress at Geneva in 1866. Due to the
wide variety of philosophies present in the First International, there was conflict from
the start. The first objections to Marx came from the mutualists who opposed communism
and statism. However, shortly after Mikhail Bakunin and his followers (called collectivists
while in the International) joined in 1868, the First International became polarised into
two camps headed by Marx and Bakunin respectively. The clearest differences between the groups
emerged over their proposed strategies for achieving their visions of socialism. The
First International became the first major international forum for the promulgation of
socialist ideas. The followers of Bakunin were called collectivist
anarchists and sought to collectivise ownership of the means of production while retaining
payment proportional to the amount and kind of labour of each individual. Like Proudhonists,
they asserted the right of each individual to the product of his labour and to be remunerated
for their particular contribution to production. By contrast, anarcho-communists sought collective
ownership of both the means and the products of labour. Errico Malatesta put it: “[I]nstead
of running the risk of making a confusion in trying to distinguish what you and I each
do, let us all work and put everything in common. In this way each will give to society
all that his strength permits until enough is produced for every one; and each will take
all that he needs, limiting his needs only in those things of which there is not yet
plenty for every one”. Anarcho-communism as a coherent, modern economic-political philosophy
was first formulated in the Italian section of the First International by Carlo Cafiero,
Emilio Covelli, Errico Malatesta, Andrea Costa and other ex Mazzinian republicans. Out of
respect for Mikhail Bakunin, they did not make their differences with collectivist anarchism
explicit until after Bakunin’s death.Syndicalism emerged in France inspired in part by the
ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and later by Fernand Pelloutier and Georges Sorel. It
developed at the end of the 19th century out of the French trade-union movement (syndicat
is the French word for trade union). It was a significant force in Italy and Spain in
the early 20th century until it was crushed by the fascist regimes in those countries.
In the United States, syndicalism appeared in the guise of the Industrial Workers of
the World, or “Wobblies”, founded in 1905. Syndicalism is an economic system where industries
are organised into confederations (syndicates) and the economy is managed by negotiation
between specialists and worker representatives of each field, comprising multiple non-competitive
categorised units. Syndicalism is thus a form of communism and economic corporatism, but
also refers to the political movement and tactics used to bring about this type of system.
An influential anarchist movement based on syndicalist ideas is anarcho-syndicalism.
The International Workers Association is an international anarcho-syndicalist federation
of various labour unions from different countries. The Fabian Society is a British socialist
organisation which was established with the purpose of advancing the principles of socialism
via gradualist and reformist means. The society laid many of the foundations of the Labour
Party and subsequently affected the policies of states emerging from the decolonisation
of the British Empire, most notably India and Singapore. Originally, the Fabian Society
was committed to the establishment of a socialist economy, alongside a commitment to British
imperialism as a progressive and modernising force. Today, the society functions primarily
as a think tank and is one of fifteen socialist societies affiliated with the Labour Party.
Similar societies exist in Australia (the Australian Fabian Society), in Canada (the
Douglas-Coldwell Foundation and the now disbanded League for Social Reconstruction) and in New
Zealand. Guild socialism is a political movement advocating
workers’ control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds “in an implied contractual
relationship with the public”. It originated in the United Kingdom and was at its most
influential in the first quarter of the 20th century. Inspired by medieval guilds, theorists
such as Samuel G. Hobson and G. D. H. Cole advocated the public ownership of industries
and their organisation into guilds, each of which would be under the democratic control
of its trade union. Guild socialists were less inclined than Fabians to invest power
in a state. At some point, like the American Knights of Labor, guild socialism wanted to
abolish the wage system.===Second International===
As the ideas of Marx and Engels took on flesh, particularly in central Europe, socialists
sought to unite in an international organisation. In 1889 (the centennial of the French Revolution
of 1789), the Second International was founded, with 384 delegates from twenty countries representing
about 300 labour and socialist organisations. It was termed the Socialist International
and Engels was elected honorary president at the third congress in 1893. Anarchists
were ejected and not allowed in, mainly due to pressure from Marxists. It has been argued
that at some point the Second International turned “into a battleground over the issue
of libertarian versus authoritarian socialism. Not only did they effectively present themselves
as champions of minority rights; they also provoked the German Marxists into demonstrating
a dictatorial intolerance which was a factor in preventing the British labor movement from
following the Marxist direction indicated by such leaders as H. M. Hyndman”.Reformism
arose as an alternative to revolution. Eduard Bernstein was a leading social democrat in
Germany who proposed the concept of evolutionary socialism. Revolutionary socialists quickly
targeted reformism: Rosa Luxemburg condemned Bernstein’s Evolutionary Socialism in her
1900 essay Social Reform or Revolution?. Revolutionary socialism encompasses multiple social and
political movements that may define “revolution” differently from one another. The Social Democratic
Party (SPD) in Germany became the largest and most powerful socialist party in Europe,
despite working illegally until the anti-socialist laws were dropped in 1890. In the 1893 elections,
it gained 1,787,000 votes, a quarter of the total votes cast, according to Engels. In
1895, the year of his death, Engels emphasised the Communist Manifesto’s emphasis on winning,
as a first step, the “battle of democracy”.===Early 20th century===In Argentina the Socialist Party of Argentina
was established in the 1890s led by, among others, Juan B. Justo and Nicolás Repetto,
thus becoming the first mass party in the country and in Latin America. The party affiliated
itself with the Second International. Between 1924 and 1940 it was a member of the Labour
and Socialist International. In 1904, Australians elected Chris Watson as the first Australian
Labor Party Prime Minister, becoming the first democratically elected social democrat. In
1909, the first Kibbutz was established in Palestine by Russian Jewish Immigrants. The
Kibbutz Movement would then expand through the 20th century following a doctrine of Zionist
socialism. The British Labour Party first won seats in the House of Commons in 1902.
The International Socialist Commission (ISC, also known as Berne International) was formed
in February 1919 at a meeting in Bern by parties that wanted to resurrect the Second International.By
1917, the patriotism of World War I changed into political radicalism in most of Europe,
the United States and Australia. Other socialist parties from around the world who were beginning
to gain importance in their national politics in the early 20th century included the Italian
Socialist Party, the French Section of the Workers’ International, the Spanish Socialist
Workers’ Party, the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the Russian Social Democratic Labour
Party, the Socialist Party of America in the United States, the Argentinian Socialist Party
and the Chilean Partido Obrero Socialista.====Russian Revolution====In February 1917, revolution exploded in Russia.
Workers, soldiers and peasants established soviets (councils), the monarchy fell and
a provisional government convoked pending the election of a constituent assembly. In
April of that year, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik faction of socialists in
Russia and known for his profound and controversial expansions of Marxism, was allowed to cross
Germany to return to his country from exile in Switzerland.
Lenin had published essays on his analysis of imperialism, the monopoly and globalisation
phase of capitalism as predicted by Marx, as well as analyses on the social conditions
of his contemporary time. He observed that as capitalism had further developed in Europe
and America, the workers remained unable to gain class consciousness so long as they were
too busy working and concerning with how to make ends meet. He therefore proposed that
the social revolution would require the leadership of a vanguard party of class-conscious revolutionaries
from the educated and politically active part of the population.Upon arriving in Petrograd,
Lenin declared that the revolution in Russia was not over, but had only begun and that
the next step was for the workers’ soviets to take full state authority. He issued a
thesis outlining the Bolshevik’s party programme, including rejection of any legitimacy in the
provisional government and advocacy for state power to be given to the peasant and working
class through the soviets. The Bolsheviks became the most influential force in the soviets
and on 7 November the capitol of the provisional government was stormed by Bolshevik Red Guards
in what afterwards known as the “Great October Socialist Revolution”. The rule of the provisional
government was ended and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic—the world’s first
constitutionally socialist state—was established. On 25 January 1918 at the Petrograd Soviet,
Lenin declared “Long live the world socialist revolution!” and proposed an immediate armistice
on all fronts and transferred the land of the landed proprietors, the crown and the
monasteries to the peasant committees without compensation.The day after assuming executive
power on 25 January, Lenin wrote Draft Regulations on Workers’ Control, which granted workers
control of businesses with more than five workers and office employees and access to
all books, documents and stocks and whose decisions were to be “binding upon the owners
of the enterprises”. Governing through the elected soviets and in alliance with the peasant-based
Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Bolshevik government began nationalising banks and industry;
and disavowed the national debts of the deposed Romanov royal régime. It sued for peace,
withdrawing from World War I and convoked a Constituent Assembly in which the peasant
Socialist-Revolutionary Party (SR) won a majority.The Constituent Assembly elected Socialist-Revolutionary
leader Victor Chernov President of a Russian republic, but rejected the Bolshevik proposal
that it endorse the Soviet decrees on land, peace and workers’ control and acknowledge
the power of the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. The next day, the
Bolsheviks declared that the assembly was elected on outdated party lists and the All-Russian
Central Executive Committee of the Soviets dissolved it. In March 1919, world communist
parties formed Comintern (also known as the Third International) at a meeting in Moscow.====International Working Union of Socialist
Parties====Parties which did not want to be a part of
the resurrected Second International (ISC) or Comintern formed the International Working
Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP, also known as Vienna International/Vienna Union/Two-and-a-Half
International) on 27 February 1921 at a conference in Vienna. The ISC and the IWUSP joined to
form the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) in May 1923 at a meeting in Hamburg
Left-wing groups which did not agree to the centralisation and abandonment of the soviets
by the Bolshevik Party led left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks—such groups included
Socialist Revolutionaries, Left Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and anarchists.Within
this left-wing discontent, the most large-scale events were the worker’s Kronstadt rebellion
and the anarchist led Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine uprising which controlled
an area known as the Free Territory.====Third International====The Bolshevik Russian Revolution of January
1918 engendered communist parties worldwide and their concomitant revolutions of 1917–1923.
Few communists doubted that the Russian success of socialism depended on successful, working-class
socialist revolutions in developed capitalist countries. In 1919, Lenin and Trotsky organised
the world’s communist parties into a new international association of workers—the Communist International
(Comintern), also called the Third International. The Russian Revolution also influenced uprisings
in other countries around this time. The German Revolution of 1918–1919 resulted in the
replacing Germany’s imperial government with a republic. The revolutionary period lasted
from November 1918 until the formal establishment of the Weimar Republic in August 1919 and
included an episode known as the Bavarian Soviet Republic and the Spartacist uprising.
In Italy, the events known as the Biennio Rosso were characterised by mass strikes,
worker manifestations and self-management experiments through land and factory occupations.
In Turin and Milan, workers’ councils were formed and many factory occupations took place
led by anarcho-syndicalists organised around the Unione Sindacale Italiana.By 1920, the
Red Army under its commander Trotsky had largely defeated the royalist White Armies. In 1921,
War Communism was ended and under the New Economic Policy (NEP) private ownership was
allowed for small and medium peasant enterprises. While industry remained largely state-controlled,
Lenin acknowledged that the NEP was a necessary capitalist measure for a country unripe for
socialism. Profiteering returned in the form of “NEP men” and rich peasants (kulaks) gained
power in the countryside. Nevertheless, the role of Trotsky in this episode has been questioned
by other socialists, including ex Trotskyists. In the United States, Dwight Macdonald broke
with Trotsky and left the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party by raising the question of the
Kronstadt rebellion, which Trotsky as leader of the Soviet Red Army and the other Bolsheviks
had brutally repressed. He then moved towards democratic socialism. and anarchism.A similar
critique of Trotsky’s role on the events around the Kronstadt rebellion was raised by the
American anarchist Emma Goldman. In her essay “Trotsky Protests Too Much”, she says: “I
admit, the dictatorship under Stalin’s rule has become monstrous. That does not, however,
lessen the guilt of Leon Trotsky as one of the actors in the revolutionary drama of which
Kronstadt was one of the bloodiest scenes”.====Fourth congress====
In 1922, the fourth congress of the Communist International took up the policy of the United
Front, urging communists to work with rank and file Social Democrats while remaining
critical of their leaders, whom they criticised for betraying the working class by supporting
the war efforts of their respective capitalist classes. For their part, the social democrats
pointed to the dislocation caused by revolution and later the growing authoritarianism of
the communist parties. When the Communist Party of Great Britain applied to affiliate
to the Labour Party in 1920, it was turned down.
On seeing the Soviet State’s growing coercive power in 1923, a dying Lenin said Russia had
reverted to “a bourgeois tsarist machine… barely varnished with socialism”. After Lenin’s
death in January 1924, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union—then increasingly under
the control of Joseph Stalin—rejected the theory that socialism could not be built solely
in the Soviet Union in favour of the concept of “socialism in one country”. Despite the
marginalised Left Opposition’s demand for the restoration of Soviet democracy, Stalin
developed a bureaucratic, authoritarian government that was condemned by democratic socialists,
anarchists and Trotskyists for undermining the initial socialist ideals of the Bolshevik
Russian Revolution.In 1924, the Mongolian People’s Republic was established and was
ruled by the Mongolian People’s Party. The Russian Revolution and the appearance of the
Soviet State motivated a worldwide current of national communist parties which ended
having varying levels of political and social influence. Among these there appeared the
Communist Party of France, the Communist Party USA, the Italian Communist Party, the Chinese
Communist Party, the Mexican Communist Party, the Brazilian Communist Party, the Chilean
Communist Party and the Communist Party of Indonesia.====Spanish Civil War====In Spain in 1936, the national anarcho-syndicalist
trade union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) initially refused to join a popular
front electoral alliance and abstention by CNT supporters led to a right-wing election
victory. In 1936, the CNT changed its policy and anarchist votes helped bring the popular
front back to power. Months later, the former ruling class responded with an attempted coup,
sparking the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939).In response to the army rebellion, an anarchist-inspired
movement of peasants and workers, supported by armed militias, took control of Barcelona
and of large areas of rural Spain where they collectivised the land. The events known as
the Spanish Revolution was a workers’ social revolution that began during the outbreak
of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and resulted in the widespread implementation of anarchist
and more broadly libertarian socialist organisational principles throughout various portions of
the country for two to three years, primarily Catalonia, Aragon, Andalusia and parts of
Levante. Much of Spain’s economy was put under worker
control and in anarchist strongholds like Catalonia the figure was as high as 75%, but
lower in areas with heavy Communist Party of Spain influence, as the Soviet-allied party
actively resisted attempts at collectivisation enactment. Factories were run through worker
committees, agrarian areas became collectivised and run as libertarian communes. Anarchist
historian Sam Dolgoff estimated that about eight million people participated directly
or indirectly in the Spanish Revolution.===Mid-20th century=======Post-World War II====
Leon Trotsky’s Fourth International was established in France in 1938 when Trotskyists argued
that the Comintern or Third International had become irretrievably “lost to Stalinism”
and thus incapable of leading the international working class to political power. The rise
of Nazism and the start of World War II led to the dissolution of the LSI in 1940. After
the War, the Socialist International was formed in Frankfurt in July 1951 as a successor to
the LSI.After World War II, social democratic governments introduced social reform and wealth
redistribution via state welfare and taxation. Social democratic parties dominated post-war
politics in countries such as France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Norway. At one
point, France claimed to be the world’s most state-controlled capitalist country. The nationalised
public utilities included Charbonnages de France (CDF), Electricité de France (EDF),
Gaz de France (GDF), Air France, Banque de France and Régie Nationale des Usines Renault.In
1945, the British Labour Party led by Clement Attlee was elected to office based on a radical
socialist programme. The Labour government nationalised major public utilities such as
mines, gas, coal, electricity, rail, iron, steel and the Bank of England. British Petroleum
was officially nationalised in 1951. Anthony Crosland said that in 1956 25% of British
industry was nationalised and that public employees, including those in nationalised
industries, constituted a similar proportion of the country’s total employed population.
The Labour Governments of 1964–1970 and 1974–1979 intervened further. It re-nationalised
steel (1967, British Steel) after the Conservatives had denationalised it and nationalised car
production (1976, British Leyland). The National Health Service provided taxpayer-funded health
care to everyone, free at the point of service. Working-class housing was provided in council
housing estates and university education became available via a school grant system.====Nordic model====The Nordic model is the economic and social
models of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland). During most of
the post-war era, Sweden was governed by the Swedish Social Democratic Party largely in
cooperation with trade unions and industry. In Sweden, the Social Democratic Party held
power from 1936 to 1976, 1982 to 1991, 1994 to 2006 and 2014 to present. Tage Erlander
was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and led the government from 1946 to
1969, an uninterrupted tenure of twenty-three years, one of the longest in any democracy.
From 1945 to 1962, the Norwegian Labour Party held an absolute majority in the parliament
led by Einar Gerhardsen who was Prime Minister with seventeen years in office. This particular
adaptation of the mixed market economy is characterised by more generous welfare states
(relative to other developed countries), which are aimed specifically at enhancing individual
autonomy, ensuring the universal provision of basic human rights and stabilising the
economy. It is distinguished from other welfare states with similar goals by its emphasis
on maximising labour force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and
extensive benefit levels, large magnitude of redistribution and expansionary fiscal
policy.====Soviet Union and Eastern Europe====The Soviet Union played a decisive role in
the Allied victory in World War II. After the war, the Soviet Union became a recognised
superpower. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements
of the 20th century, including the world’s first spacecraft and the first astronaut.
The Soviet economy was the modern world’s first centrally planned economy. It was based
on a system of state ownership of industry managed through Gosplan (the State Planning
Commission), Gosbank (the State Bank) and the Gossnab (State Commission for Materials
and Equipment Supply). Economic planning was conducted through a
series of Five-Year Plans. The emphasis was on fast development of heavy industry and
the nation became one of the world’s top manufacturers of a large number of basic and heavy industrial
products, but it lagged in light industrial production and consumer durables.The Eastern
Bloc was the group of former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, generally the
Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact which included the People’s Republic
of Poland, the German Democratic Republic, the People’s Republic of Hungary, the People’s
Republic of Bulgaria, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Socialist Republic of Romania,
the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of
the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10
November 1956. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of the excesses of Stalin’s regime
during the Twentieth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on 1956
as well as the revolt in Hungary, produced ideological fractures and disagreements within
the communist and socialist parties of Western Europe.====Third World====
In the post-war years, socialism became increasingly influential throughout the so-called Third
World. Embracing a new Third World socialism, countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America
often nationalised industries held by foreign owners. The Chinese Kuomintang Party, the
previous ruling party in Taiwan, was referred to as having a socialist ideology since Kuomintang’s
revolutionary ideology in the 1920s incorporated unique Chinese socialism as part of its ideology.
The Soviet Union trained Kuomintang revolutionaries in the Moscow Sun Yat-sen University. Movie
theatres in the Soviet Union showed newsreels and clips of Chiang at Moscow Sun Yat-sen
University portraits of Chiang were hung on the walls and in the Soviet May Day parades
that year Chiang’s portrait was to be carried along with the portraits of Marx, Lenin, Stalin
and other socialist leaders.The Chinese Revolution was the second stage in the Chinese Civil
War which ended in the establishment of the People’s Republic of China led by the Chinese
Communist Party. The term “Third World” was coined by French demographer Alfred Sauvy
in 1952 on the model of the Third Estate, which according to the Abbé Sieyès represented
everything, but was nothing “because at the end this ignored, exploited, scorned Third
World like the Third Estate, wants to become something too”.
The emergence of this new political entity in the frame of the Cold War was complex and
painful. Several tentatives were made to organise newly independent states in order to oppose
a common front towards both the United States’ and the Soviet Union’s influence on them,
with the consequences of the Sino-Soviet split already at works. The Non-Aligned Movement
constituted itself around the main figures of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India,
President Sukarno of Indonesia, leader Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia and Gamal Abdel Nasser
of Egypt who successfully opposed the French and British imperial powers during the 1956
Suez crisis. After the 1954 Geneva Conference which ended the French war against Ho Chi
Minh in Vietnam, the 1955 Bandung Conference gathered Nasser, Nehru, Tito, Sukarno and
Zhou Enlai, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.
As many African countries gained independence during the 1960s, some of them rejected capitalism
in favour of a more afrocentric economic model. The main architects of African socialism were
Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Léopold Senghor of Senegal, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Sékou
Touré of Guinea.The Cuban Revolution (1953–1959) was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro’s
26th of July Movement and its allies against the government of Cuban President Fulgencio
Batista. The revolution began in July 1953 and finally ousted Batista on 1 January 1959,
replacing his government with Castro’s revolutionary state. Castro’s government later reformed
along communist lines, becoming the Communist Party of Cuba in October 1965.In Indonesia,
a right-wing military regime led by Suharto killed between 500,000 and one million people
in 1965 and 1966, mainly to crush the growing influence of the Communist Party of Indonesia
and other leftist sectors, with support from the United States government, which provided
kill lists containing thousands of names of suspected high-ranking Communists.====New Left====The New Left was a term used mainly in the
United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others
in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms on issues such as
gay rights, abortion, gender roles and drugs in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist
movements that had taken a more vanguardist approach to social justice and focused mostly
on labour unionisation and questions of social class. The New Left rejected involvement with
the labour movement and Marxism’s historical theory of class struggle.In the United States,
the New Left was associated with the Hippie movement and anti-war college campus protest
movements as well as the black liberation movements such as the Black Panther Party.
While initially formed in opposition to the “Old Left” Democratic Party, groups composing
the New Left gradually became central players in the Democratic coalition.====Protests of 1968====The protests of 1968 represented a worldwide
escalation of social conflicts, predominantly characterised by popular rebellions against
military, capitalist and bureaucratic elites who responded with an escalation of political
repression. These protests marked a turning point for the civil rights movement in the
United States, which produced revolutionary movements like the Black Panther Party; the
prominent civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. organised the “Poor People’s Campaign”
to address issues of economic justice, while personally showing sympathy with democratic
socialism. In reaction to the Tet Offensive, protests also sparked a broad movement in
opposition to the Vietnam War all over the United States and even into London, Paris,
Berlin and Rome. In 1968 in Carrara, Italy, the International of Anarchist Federations
was founded during an international anarchist conference held there by the three existing
European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well
as the Bulgarian federation in French exile. Mass socialist or communist movements grew
not only in the United States, but also in most European countries. The most spectacular
manifestation of this were the May 1968 protests in France in which students linked up with
strikes of up to ten million workers and for a few days the movement seemed capable of
overthrowing the government.In many other capitalist countries, struggles against dictatorships,
state repression and colonisation were also marked by protests in 1968, such as the beginning
of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City and the escalation
of guerrilla warfare against the military dictatorship in Brazil. Countries governed
by communist parties had protests against bureaucratic and military elites. In Eastern
Europe there were widespread protests that escalated particularly in the Prague Spring
in Czechoslovakia. In response, Soviet Union occupied Czechoslovakia, but the occupation
was denounced by the Italian and French communist parties and the Communist Party of Finland.
Few western European political leaders defended the occupation, among them the Portuguese
communist secretary-general Álvaro Cunhal. along with the Luxembourg party and conservative
factions of the Communist Party of Greece.In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a social-political
youth movement mobilised against “bourgeois” elements which were seen to be infiltrating
the government and society at large, aiming to restore capitalism. This movement motivated
Maoism-inspired movements around the world in the context of the Sino-Soviet split.===Late 20th century===In Latin America in the 1960s, a socialist
tendency within the catholic church appeared which was called liberation theology which
motivated even the Colombian priest Camilo Torres to enter the ELN guerrilla. In Chile,
Salvador Allende, a physician and candidate for the Socialist Party of Chile, was elected
president through democratic elections in 1970. In 1973, his government was ousted by
the United States-backed military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which lasted until the
late 1980s. Pinochet’s regime was a leader of Operation Condor, a U.S.-backed campaign
of repression and state terrorism carried out by the intelligence services of the Southern
Cone countries of Latin America to eliminate suspected Communist subversion. In Jamaica,
the democratic socialist Michael Manley served as the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica from
1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992. According to opinion polls, he remains one of Jamaica’s
most popular Prime Ministers since independence. The Nicaraguan Revolution encompassed the
rising opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, the campaign led by
the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to violently oust the dictatorship in 1978–1979,
the subsequent efforts of the FSLN to govern Nicaragua from 1979 until 1990 and the socialist
measures which included widescale agrarian reform and educational programs. The People’s
Revolutionary Government was proclaimed on 13 March 1979 in Grenada which was overthrown
by armed forces of the United States in 1983. The Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992) was
a conflict between the military-led government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National
Liberation Front (FMLN), a coalition or umbrella organisation of five socialist guerrilla groups.
A coup on 15 October 1979 led to the killings of anti-coup protesters by the government
as well as anti-disorder protesters by the guerillas, and is widely seen as the tipping
point towards the civil war.In Italy, Autonomia Operaia was a leftist movement particularly
active from 1976 to 1978. It took an important role in the autonomist movement in the 1970s,
aside earlier organisations such as Potere Operaio (created after May 1968) and Lotta
Continua. This experience prompted the contemporary socialist radical movement autonomism. In
1982, the newly elected French socialist government of François Mitterrand made nationalisations
in a few key industries, including banks and insurance companies. Eurocommunism was a trend
in the 1970s and 1980s in various Western European communist parties to develop a theory
and practice of social transformation that was more relevant for a Western European country
and less aligned to the influence or control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Outside Western Europe, it is sometimes called neocommunism. Some communist parties with
strong popular support, notably the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the Communist Party
of Spain (PCE) adopted Eurocommunism most enthusiastically and the Communist Party of
Finland was dominated by Eurocommunists. The French Communist Party (PCF) and many smaller
parties strongly opposed Eurocommunism and stayed aligned with the Communist Party of
the Soviet Union until the end of the Soviet Union.
In the late 1970s and in the 1980s, the Socialist International (SI) had extensive contacts
and discussion with the two powers of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet
Union, about East-West relations and arms control. Since then, the SI has admitted as
member parties the Nicaraguan FSLN, the left-wing Puerto Rican Independence Party, as well as
former communist parties such as the Democratic Party of the Left of Italy and the Front for
the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO). The SI aided social democratic parties in re-establishing
themselves when dictatorship gave way to democracy in Portugal (1974) and Spain (1975). Until
its 1976 Geneva Congress, the SI had few members outside Europe and no formal involvement with
Latin America. After Mao’s death in 1976 and the arrest of
the faction known as the Gang of Four, who were blamed for the excesses of the Cultural
Revolution, Deng Xiaoping took power and led the People’s Republic of China to significant
economic reforms. The Communist Party of China loosened governmental control over citizens’
personal lives and the communes were disbanded in favour of private land leases, thus China’s
transition from a planned economy to a mixed economy named as “socialism with Chinese characteristics”
which maintained state ownership rights over land, state or cooperative ownership of much
of the heavy industrial and manufacturing sectors and state influence in the banking
and financial sectors. China adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982. President
Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji led the nation in the 1990s. Under their administration,
China’s economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty and sustained
an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 11.2%. At the Sixth National Congress
of the Communist Party of Vietnam in December 1986, reformist politicians replaced the “old
guard” government with new leadership. The reformers were led by 71-year-old Nguyen Van
Linh, who became the party’s new general secretary. Linh and the reformers implemented a series
of free market reforms—known as Đổi Mới (“Renovation”)—which carefully managed the
transition from a planned economy to a “socialist-oriented market economy”. Mikhail Gorbachev wished
to move the Soviet Union towards of Nordic-style social democracy, calling it “a socialist
beacon for all mankind”. Prior to its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet Union had the second largest
economy in the world after the United States. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the
economic integration of the Soviet republics was dissolved and overall industrial activity
declined substantially. A lasting legacy remains in the physical infrastructure created during
decades of combined industrial production practices, and widespread environmental destruction.
The transition to capitalism in the former Eastern bloc was accompanied by a steep fall
in the standard of living; poverty and inequality rose sharply which was accompanied by the
entrenchment of a newly established business oligarchy.
Many social democratic parties, particularly after the Cold War, adopted neoliberal market
policies including privatisation, deregulation and financialisation. They abandoned their
pursuit of moderate socialism in favour of market liberalism. By the 1980s, with the
rise of conservative neoliberal politicians such as Ronald Reagan in the United States,
Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Brian Mulroney in Canada and Augusto Pinochet in Chile, the
Western welfare state was attacked from within, but state support for the corporate sector
was maintained. Monetarists and neoliberals attacked social welfare systems as impediments
to private entrepreneurship. In the United Kingdom, Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock
made a public attack against the entryist group Militant at the 1985 Labour Party conference.
The Labour Party ruled that Militant was ineligible for affiliation with the Labour Party, and
the party gradually expelled Militant supporters. The Kinnock leadership had refused to support
the 1984–1985 miner’s strike over pit closures, a decision that the party’s left wing and
the National Union of Mineworkers blamed for the strike’s eventual defeat. In 1989 at Stockholm,
the 18th Congress of the Socialist International adopted a new Declaration of Principles, saying:
Democratic socialism is an international movement for freedom, social justice, and solidarity.
Its goal is to achieve a peaceful world where these basic values can be enhanced and where
each individual can live a meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality
and talents, and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a democratic framework
of society. In the 1990s, the British Labour Party under
Tony Blair enacted policies based on the free market economy to deliver public services
via the private finance initiative. Influential in these policies was the idea of a “Third
Way” which called for a re-evalutation of welfare state policies. In 1995, the Labour
Party re-defined its stance on socialism by re-wording Clause IV of its constitution,
effectively rejecting socialism by removing all references to public, direct worker or
municipal ownership of the means of production. The Labour Party stated: “The Labour Party
is a democratic socialist party. It believes that, by the strength of our common endeavour
we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create, for each of us, the means to
realise our true potential, and, for all of us, a community in which power, wealth, and
opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few”.Kristen R. Ghodsee, Professor
of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, posits that the
triumphalist attitudes of Western powers at the end of the Cold War, and the fixation
with linking all leftist and socialist ideals with the excesses of Stalinism, allowed neoliberalism
to fill the void, which undermined democratic institutions and reforms, leaving a trail
of economic misery, unemployment, hopelessness and rising economic inequality throughout
the former Eastern Bloc and much of the West in the following decades. According to Ghodsee,
with democracy weakened and the anti-capitalist Left marginalised, the anger and resentment
which followed the period of neoliberalism was channeled into extremist nationalist movements
in both the former and the latter.==Contemporary socialist politics=====Africa===
African socialism has been and continues to be a major ideology around the continent.
Julius Nyerere was inspired by Fabian socialist ideals. He was a firm believer in rural Africans
and their traditions and ujamaa, a system of collectivisation that according to Nyerere
was present before European imperialism. Essentially he believed Africans were already socialists.
Other African socialists include Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda, Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah.
Fela Kuti was inspired by socialism and called for a democratic African republic. In South
Africa the African National Congress (ANC) abandoned its partial socialist allegiances
after taking power and followed a standard neoliberal route. From 2005 through to 2007,
the country was wracked by many thousands of protests from poor communities. One of
these gave rise to a mass movement of shack dwellers, Abahlali baseMjondolo that despite
major police suppression continues to work for popular people’s planning and against
the creation of a market economy in land and housing.===Asia===
In Asia, states with socialist economies—such as the People’s Republic of China, North Korea,
Laos and Vietnam—have largely moved away from centralised economic planning in the
21st century, placing a greater emphasis on markets. Forms include the Chinese socialist
market economy and the Vietnamese socialist-oriented market economy. They utilise state-owned corporate
management models as opposed to modelling socialist enterprise on traditional management
styles employed by government agencies. In China living standards continued to improve
rapidly despite the late-2000s recession, but centralised political control remained
tight. Brian Reynolds Myers in his book The Cleanest Race, later supported by other academics,
dismisses the idea that Juche is North Korea’s leading ideology, regarding its public exaltation
as designed to deceive foreigners and that it exists to be praised and not actually read,
pointing out that North Korea’s constitution of 2009 omits all mention of communism.Though
the authority of the state remained unchallenged under Đổi Mới, the government of Vietnam
encourages private ownership of farms and factories, economic deregulation and foreign
investment, while maintaining control over strategic industries. The Vietnamese economy
subsequently achieved strong growth in agricultural and industrial production, construction, exports
and foreign investment. However, these reforms have also caused a rise in income inequality
and gender disparities.Elsewhere in Asia, some elected socialist parties and communist
parties remain prominent, particularly in India and Nepal. The Communist Party of Nepal
in particular calls for multi-party democracy, social equality and economic prosperity. In
Singapore, a majority of the GDP is still generated from the state sector comprising
government-linked companies. In Japan, there has been a resurgent interest in the Japanese
Communist Party among workers and youth. In Malaysia, the Socialist Party of Malaysia
got its first Member of Parliament, Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj, after the 2008 general election.
In 2010, there were 270 kibbutzim in Israel. Their factories and farms account for 9% of
Israel’s industrial output, worth US$8 billion and 40% of its agricultural output, worth
over $1.7 billion. Some Kibbutzim had also developed substantial high-tech and military
industries. Also in 2010, Kibbutz Sasa, containing some 200 members, generated $850 million in
annual revenue from its military-plastics industry.===Europe===
The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated
in Northern Europe, where the Nordic model of social democracy is employed, with Denmark
topping the list. This is at times attributed to the success of the Nordic model in the
region. The Nordic countries ranked highest on the metrics of real GDP per capita, healthy
life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, generosity
and freedom from corruption. Indeed, the indicators of Freedom in the World have listed Scandinavian
countries as ranking high on indicators such as press and economic freedom.
The objectives of the Party of European Socialists, the European Parliament’s socialist and social
democratic bloc, are now “to pursue international aims in respect of the principles on which
the European Union is based, namely principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, democracy,
respect of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and respect for the Rule of Law”. As a result,
today the rallying cry of the French Revolution—Liberté, égalité, fraternité—is promoted as essential
socialist values. To the left of the PES at the European level is the Party of the European
Left (PEL), also commonly abbreviated “European Left”), which is a political party at the
European level and an association of democratic socialist, socialist and communist political
parties in the European Union and other European countries. It was formed in January 2004 for
the purposes of running in the 2004 European Parliament elections. PEL was founded on 8–9
May 2004 in Rome. Elected MEPs from member parties of the European Left sit in the European
United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European parliament. The socialist Left Party in Germany grew in
popularity due to dissatisfaction with the increasingly neoliberal policies of the SPD,
becoming the fourth biggest party in parliament in the general election on 27 September 2009.
Communist candidate Dimitris Christofias won a crucial presidential runoff in Cyprus, defeating
his conservative rival with a majority of 53%. In Ireland, in the 2009 European election
Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party took one of three seats in the capital Dublin European
constituency. In Denmark, the Socialist People’s Party (SF)
more than doubled its parliamentary representation to 23 seats from 11, making it the fourth
largest party. In 2011, the Social Democrats, Socialist People’s Party and the Danish Social
Liberal Party formed government, after a slight victory over the main rival political coalition.
They were led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and had the Red-Green Alliance as a supporting
party. In Norway, the Red-Green Coalition consists
of the Labour Party (Ap), the Socialist Left Party (SV) and the Centre Party (Sp) and governed
the country as a majority government from the 2005 general election until 2013.
In the Greek legislative election of January 2015, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA)
led by Alexis Tsipras won a legislative election for the first time while the Communist Party
of Greece won 15 seats in parliament. SYRIZA has been characterised as an anti-establishment
party, whose success has sent “shock-waves across the EU”.In the United Kingdom, the
National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers put forward a slate of candidates
in the 2009 European Parliament elections under the banner of No to EU – Yes to Democracy,
a broad left-wing alter-globalisation coalition involving socialist groups such as the Socialist
Party, aiming to offer an alternative to the “anti-foreigner” and pro-business policies
of the UK Independence Party. In the following May 2010 United Kingdom general election,
the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, launched in January 2010 and backed by Bob
Crow, the leader of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union
(RMT), other union leaders and the Socialist Party among other socialist groups, stood
against Labour in 40 constituencies. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition contested
the 2011 local elections, having gained the endorsement of the RMT June 2010 conference,
but gained no seats. Left Unity was also founded in 2013 after the film director Ken Loach
appealed for a new party of the left to replace the Labour Party, which he claimed had failed
to oppose austerity and had shifted towards neoliberalism. In 2015, following a defeat
at the 2015 United Kingdom general election, self-described socialist Jeremy Corbyn took
over from Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour Party.In France, Olivier Besancenot, the Revolutionary
Communist League (LCR) candidate in the 2007 presidential election, received 1,498,581
votes, 4.08%, double that of the communist candidate. The LCR abolished itself in 2009
to initiate a broad anti-capitalist party, the New Anticapitalist Party, whose stated
aim is to “build a new socialist, democratic perspective for the twenty-first century”.On
25 May 2014, the Spanish left-wing party Podemos entered candidates for the 2014 European parliamentary
elections, some of which were unemployed. In a surprise result, it polled 7.98% of the
vote and thus was awarded five seats out of 54 while the older United Left was the third
largest overall force obtaining 10.03% and 5 seats, 4 more than the previous elections.The
current government of Portugal was established on 26 November 2015 as a Socialist Party (PS)
minority government led by prime minister António Costa. Costa succeeded in securing
support for a Socialist minority government by the Left Bloc (B.E.), the Portuguese Communist
Party (PCP) and the Ecologist Party “The Greens” (PEV).All around Europe and in some places
of Latin America there exists a social center and squatting movement mainly inspired by
autonomist and anarchist ideas.===North America===According to a 2013 article in The Guardian,
“[c]ontrary to popular belief, Americans don’t have an innate allergy to socialism. Milwaukee
has had several socialist mayors (Frank Zeidler, Emil Seidel and Daniel Hoan), and there is
currently an independent socialist in the US Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont”. Sanders,
once mayor of Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, has described himself as a democratic socialist
and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy. In 2016, Sanders made a bid for
the Democratic Party presidential candidate, thereby gaining considerable popular support,
particularly among the younger generation, but lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton.
Anti-capitalism, anarchism and the anti-globalisation movement rose to prominence through events
such as protests against the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999 in Seattle.
Socialist-inspired groups played an important role in these movements, which nevertheless
embraced much broader layers of the population and were championed by figures such as Noam
Chomsky. In Canada, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the precursor to the social
democratic New Democratic Party (NDP), had significant success in provincial politics.
In 1944, the Saskatchewan CCF formed the first socialist government in North America. At
the federal level, the NDP was the Official Opposition, from 2011 through 2015.===Latin America and Caribbean===
For the Encyclopedia Britannica, “the attempt by Salvador Allende to unite Marxists and
other reformers in a socialist reconstruction of Chile is most representative of the direction
that Latin American socialists have taken since the late 20th century. […] Several
socialist (or socialist-leaning) leaders have followed Allende’s example in winning election
to office in Latin American countries”. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Nicaraguan President
Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa refer
to their political programmes as socialist and Chávez adopted the term “socialism of
the 21st century”. After winning re-election in December 2006, Chávez said: “Now more
than ever, I am obliged to move Venezuela’s path towards socialism”. Chávez was also
reelected in October 2012 for his third six-year term as President, but he died in March 2013
from cancer. After Chávez’s death on 5 March 2013, Vice President from Chavez’s party Nicolás
Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the President. A special election was held
on 14 April of the same year to elect a new President, which Maduro won by a tight margin
as the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and he was formally inaugurated
on 19 April. “Pink tide” is a term being used in contemporary 21st-century political analysis
in the media and elsewhere to describe the perception that leftist ideology in general
and left-wing politics in particular are increasingly influential in Latin America. Foro de São Paulo is a conference of leftist
political parties and other organisations from Latin America and the Caribbean. It was
launched by the Workers’ Party (Portuguese: Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) of Brazil
in 1990 in the city of São Paulo. The Forum of São Paulo was constituted in 1990 when
the Brazilian Workers’ Party approached other parties and social movements of Latin America
and the Caribbean with the objective of debating the new international scenario after the fall
of the Berlin Wall and the consequences of the implementation of what were taken as neoliberal
policies adopted at the time by contemporary right-leaning governments in the region, the
stated main objective of the conference being to argue for alternatives to neoliberalism.
Among its member include current socialist and social-democratic parties currently in
government in the region such as Bolivia’s Movement for Socialism, Brazil’s Workers Party,
the Communist Party of Cuba, the Ecuadorian PAIS Alliance, the Venezuelan United Socialist
Party of Venezuela, the Socialist Party of Chile, the Uruguayan Broad Front, the Nicaraguan
Sandinista National Liberation Front and the salvadorean Farabundo Martí National Liberation
Front.===Oceania===Australia saw an increase in interest of socialism
in the early 21st century, especially amongst youth. It is strongest in Victoria, where
three socialist parties have merged into the Victorian Socialists, who aim to address problems
in housing and public transportation. New Zealand has a small socialist scene, mainly
dominated by Trotskyist groups. The current prime minister Jacinda Ardern has publicly
condemned capitalism but describes herself as a social democrat.Melanesian Socialism
developed in the 1980s, inspired by African Socialism. It aims to achieve full independence
from Britain and France in Melanesian territories and creation of a Melanesian federal union.
It is very popular with the New Caledonia independence movement.===International socialism===
The Progressive Alliance is a political international founded on 22 May 2013 by political parties,
the majority of whom are current or former members of the Socialist International. The
organisation states the aim of becoming the global network of “the progressive”, democratic,
social-democratic, socialist and labour movement”.==Social and political theory==
Early socialist thought took influences from a diverse range of philosophies such as civic
republicanism, Enlightenment rationalism, romanticism, forms of materialism, Christianity
(both Catholic and Protestant), natural law and natural rights theory, utilitarianism
and liberal political economy. Another philosophical basis for a lot of early socialism was the
emergence of positivism during the European Enlightenment. Positivism held that both the
natural and social worlds could be understood through scientific knowledge and be analyzed
using scientific methods. This core outlook influenced early social scientists and different
types of socialists ranging from anarchists like Peter Kropotkin to technocrats like Saint
Simon. The fundamental objective of socialism is
to attain an advanced level of material production and therefore greater productivity, efficiency
and rationality as compared to capitalism and all previous systems, under the view that
an expansion of human productive capability is the basis for the extension of freedom
and equality in society. Many forms of socialist theory hold that human behaviour is largely
shaped by the social environment. In particular, socialism holds that social mores, values,
cultural traits and economic practices are social creations and not the result of an
immutable natural law. The object of their critique is thus not human avarice or human
consciousness, but the material conditions and man-made social systems (i.e. the economic
structure of society) that gives rise to observed social problems and inefficiencies. Bertrand
Russell, often considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, identified as a socialist.
Russell opposed the class struggle aspects of Marxism, viewing socialism solely as an
adjustment of economic relations to accommodate modern machine production to benefit all of
humanity through the progressive reduction of necessary work time.
Socialists view creativity as an essential aspect of human nature and define freedom
as a state of being where individuals are able to express their creativity unhindered
by constraints of both material scarcity and coercive social institutions. The socialist
concept of individuality is thus intertwined with the concept of individual creative expression.
Karl Marx believed that expansion of the productive forces and technology was the basis for the
expansion of human freedom and that socialism, being a system that is consistent with modern
developments in technology, would enable the flourishing of “free individualities” through
the progressive reduction of necessary labour time. The reduction of necessary labour time
to a minimum would grant individuals the opportunity to pursue the development of their true individuality
and creativity.===Criticism of capitalism===
Socialists argue that the accumulation of capital generates waste through externalities
that require costly corrective regulatory measures. They also point out that this process
generates wasteful industries and practices that exist only to generate sufficient demand
for products to be sold at a profit (such as high-pressure advertisement), thereby creating
rather than satisfying economic demand.Socialists argue that capitalism consists of irrational
activity, such as the purchasing of commodities only to sell at a later time when their price
appreciates, rather than for consumption, even if the commodity cannot be sold at a
profit to individuals in need and therefore a crucial criticism often made by socialists
is that “making money”, or accumulation of capital, does not correspond to the satisfaction
of demand (the production of use-values). The fundamental criterion for economic activity
in capitalism is the accumulation of capital for reinvestment in production, but this spurs
the development of new, non-productive industries that do not produce use-value and only exist
to keep the accumulation process afloat (otherwise the system goes into crisis), such as the
spread of the financial industry, contributing to the formation of economic bubbles.Socialists
view private property relations as limiting the potential of productive forces in the
economy. According to socialists, private property becomes obsolete when it concentrates
into centralised, socialised institutions based on private appropriation of revenue—but
based on cooperative work and internal planning in allocation of inputs—until the role of
the capitalist becomes redundant. With no need for capital accumulation and a class
of owners, private property in the means of production is perceived as being an outdated
form of economic organisation that should be replaced by a free association of individuals
based on public or common ownership of these socialised assets. Private ownership imposes
constraints on planning, leading to uncoordinated economic decisions that result in business
fluctuations, unemployment and a tremendous waste of material resources during crisis
of overproduction.Excessive disparities in income distribution lead to social instability
and require costly corrective measures in the form of redistributive taxation, which
incurs heavy administrative costs while weakening the incentive to work, inviting dishonesty
and increasing the likelihood of tax evasion while (the corrective measures) reduce the
overall efficiency of the market economy. These corrective policies limit the incentive
system of the market by providing things such as minimum wages, unemployment insurance,
taxing profits and reducing the reserve army of labour, resulting in reduced incentives
for capitalists to invest in more production. In essence, social welfare policies cripple
capitalism and its incentive system and are thus unsustainable in the long-run. Marxists
argue that the establishment of a socialist mode of production is the only way to overcome
these deficiencies. Socialists and specifically Marxian socialists argue that the inherent
conflict of interests between the working class and capital prevent optimal use of available
human resources and leads to contradictory interest groups (labour and business) striving
to influence the state to intervene in the economy in their favor at the expense of overall
economic efficiency. Early socialists (utopian socialists and Ricardian
socialists) criticised capitalism for concentrating power and wealth within a small segment of
society. In addition, they complained that capitalism does not utilise available technology
and resources to their maximum potential in the interests of the public.===Marxism===At a certain stage of development, the material
productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production
or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations
within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. Then begins an era of social revolution.
The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the
whole immense superstructure. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels argued that
socialism would emerge from historical necessity as capitalism rendered itself obsolete and
unsustainable from increasing internal contradictions emerging from the development of the productive
forces and technology. It was these advances in the productive forces combined with the
old social relations of production of capitalism that would generate contradictions, leading
to working-class consciousness.Marx and Engels held the view that the consciousness of those
who earn a wage or salary (the working class in the broadest Marxist sense) would be moulded
by their conditions of wage slavery, leading to a tendency to seek their freedom or emancipation
by overthrowing ownership of the means of production by capitalists and consequently,
overthrowing the state that upheld this economic order. For Marx and Engels, conditions determine
consciousness and ending the role of the capitalist class leads eventually to a classless society
in which the state would wither away. The Marxist conception of socialism is that of
a specific historical phase that would displace capitalism and precede communism. The major
characteristics of socialism (particularly as conceived by Marx and Engels after the
Paris Commune of 1871) are that the proletariat would control the means of production through
a workers’ state erected by the workers in their interests. Economic activity would still
be organised through the use of incentive systems and social classes would still exist,
but to a lesser and diminishing extent than under capitalism.
For orthodox Marxists, socialism is the lower stage of communism based on the principle
of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution” while
upper stage communism is based on the principle of “from each according to his ability, to
each according to his need”, the upper stage becoming possible only after the socialist
stage further develops economic efficiency and the automation of production has led to
a superabundance of goods and services. Marx argued that the material productive forces
(in industry and commerce) brought into existence by capitalism predicated a cooperative society
since production had become a mass social, collective activity of the working class to
create commodities but with private ownership (the relations of production or property relations).
This conflict between collective effort in large factories and private ownership would
bring about a conscious desire in the working class to establish collective ownership commensurate
with the collective efforts their daily experience.===Role of the state===
Socialists have taken different perspectives on the state and the role it should play in
revolutionary struggles, in constructing socialism and within an established socialist economy.
In the 19th century the philosophy of state socialism was first explicitly expounded by
the German political philosopher Ferdinand Lassalle. In contrast to Karl Marx’s perspective
of the state, Lassalle rejected the concept of the state as a class-based power structure
whose main function was to preserve existing class structures. Thus Lassalle also rejected
the Marxist view that the state was destined to “wither away”. Lassalle considered the
state to be an entity independent of class allegiances and an instrument of justice that
would therefore be essential for achieving socialism.Preceding the Bolshevik-led revolution
in Russia, many socialists including reformists, orthodox Marxist currents such as council
communism, anarchists and libertarian socialists criticised the idea of using the state to
conduct central planning and own the means of production as a way to establish socialism.
Following the victory of Leninism in Russia, the idea of “state socialism” spread rapidly
throughout the socialist movement and eventually state socialism came to be identified with
the Soviet economic model.Joseph Schumpeter rejected the association of socialism (and
social ownership) with state ownership over the means of production because the state
as it exists in its current form is a product of capitalist society and cannot be transplanted
to a different institutional framework. Schumpeter argued that there would be different institutions
within socialism than those that exist within modern capitalism, just as feudalism had its
own distinct and unique institutional forms. The state, along with concepts like property
and taxation, were concepts exclusive to commercial society (capitalism) and attempting to place
them within the context of a future socialist society would amount to a distortion of these
concepts by using them out of context.===Utopian versus scientific===Utopian socialism is a term used to define
the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Henri de Saint-Simon,
Charles Fourier and Robert Owen, which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialists. However,
visions of imaginary ideal societies, which competed with revolutionary social democratic
movements, were viewed as not being grounded in the material conditions of society and
as reactionary. Although it is technically possible for any set of ideas or any person
living at any time in history to be a utopian socialist, the term is most often applied
to those socialists who lived in the first quarter of the 19th century who were ascribed
the label “utopian” by later socialists as a negative term in order to imply naivete
and dismiss their ideas as fanciful or unrealistic.Religious sects whose members live communally such as
the Hutterites, for example, are not usually called “utopian socialists”, although their
way of living is a prime example. They have been categorised as religious socialists by
some. Likewise, modern intentional communities based on socialist ideas could also be categorised
as “utopian socialist”. For Marxists, the development of capitalism
in Western Europe provided a material basis for the possibility of bringing about socialism
because according to The Communist Manifesto “[w]hat the bourgeoisie produces above all
is its own grave diggers”, namely the working class, which must become conscious of the
historical objectives set it by society.===Reform versus revolution===Revolutionary socialists believe that a social
revolution is necessary to effect structural changes to the socioeconomic structure of
society. Among revolutionary socialists there are differences in strategy, theory and the
definition of “revolution”. Orthodox Marxists and left communists take an impossibilist
stance, believing that revolution should be spontaneous as a result of contradictions
in society due to technological changes in the productive forces. Lenin theorised that
under capitalism the workers cannot achieve class consciousness beyond organising into
unions and making demands of the capitalists. Therefore, Leninists advocate that it is historically
necessary for a vanguard of class conscious revolutionaries to take a central role in
coordinating the social revolution to overthrow the capitalist state and eventually the institution
of the state altogether. “Revolution” is not necessarily defined by revolutionary socialists
as violent insurrection, but as a complete dismantling and rapid transformation of all
areas of class society led by the majority of the masses: the working class.
Reformism is generally associated with social democracy and gradualist democratic socialism.
Reformism is the belief that socialists should stand in parliamentary elections within capitalist
society and if elected utilise the machinery of government to pass political and social
reforms for the purposes of ameliorating the instabilities and inequities of capitalism.==Economics==Socialist economics starts from the premise
that “individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another.
Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone
who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a
whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members”.The
original conception of socialism was an economic system whereby production was organised in
a way to directly produce goods and services for their utility (or use-value in classical
and Marxian economics): the direct allocation of resources in terms of physical units as
opposed to financial calculation and the economic laws of capitalism (see law of value), often
entailing the end of capitalistic economic categories such as rent, interest, profit
and money. In a fully developed socialist economy, production and balancing factor inputs
with outputs becomes a technical process to be undertaken by engineers.Market socialism
refers to an array of different economic theories and systems that utilise the market mechanism
to organise production and to allocate factor inputs among socially owned enterprises, with
the economic surplus (profits) accruing to society in a social dividend as opposed to
private capital owners. Variations of market socialism include libertarian proposals such
as mutualism, based on classical economics, and neoclassical economic models such as the
Lange Model. However, some economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Mancur Olson and others
not specifically advancing anti-socialists positions have shown that prevailing economic
models upon which such democratic or market socialism models might be based have logical
flaws or unworkable presuppositions.The ownership of the means of production can be based on
direct ownership by the users of the productive property through worker cooperative; or commonly
owned by all of society with management and control delegated to those who operate/use
the means of production; or public ownership by a state apparatus. Public ownership may
refer to the creation of state-owned enterprises, nationalisation, municipalisation or autonomous
collective institutions. Some socialists feel that in a socialist economy, at least the
“commanding heights” of the economy must be publicly owned. However, economic liberals
and right libertarians view private ownership of the means of production and the market
exchange as natural entities or moral rights which are central to their conceptions of
freedom and liberty and view the economic dynamics of capitalism as immutable and absolute,
therefore they perceive public ownership of the means of production, cooperatives and
economic planning as infringements upon liberty.Management and control over the activities of enterprises
are based on self-management and self-governance, with equal power-relations in the workplace
to maximise occupational autonomy. A socialist form of organisation would eliminate controlling
hierarchies so that only a hierarchy based on technical knowledge in the workplace remains.
Every member would have decision-making power in the firm and would be able to participate
in establishing its overall policy objectives. The policies/goals would be carried out by
the technical specialists that form the coordinating hierarchy of the firm, who would establish
plans or directives for the work community to accomplish these goals.The role and use
of money in a hypothetical socialist economy is a contested issue. According to the Austrian
school economist Ludwig von Mises, an economic system that does not use money, financial
calculation and market pricing would be unable to effectively value capital goods and coordinate
production and therefore these types of socialism are impossible because they lack the necessary
information to perform economic calculation in the first place. Socialists including Karl
Marx, Robert Owen, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and John Stuart Mill advocated various forms
of labour vouchers or labour credits, which like money would be used to acquire articles
of consumption, but unlike money they are unable to become capital and would not be
used to allocate resources within the production process. Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky
argued that money could not be arbitrarily abolished following a socialist revolution.
Money had to exhaust its “historic mission”, meaning it would have to be used until its
function became redundant, eventually being transformed into bookkeeping receipts for
statisticians and only in the more distant future would money not be required for even
that role. The economic anarchy of capitalist society
as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil… I am convinced
there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of
a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social
goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilised
in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community,
would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee
a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition
to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility
for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.===Planned economy===A planned economy is a type of economy consisting
of a mixture of public ownership of the means of production and the coordination of production
and distribution through economic planning. There are two major types of planning: decentralised-planning
and centralised-planning. Enrico Barone provided a comprehensive theoretical framework for
a planned socialist economy. In his model, assuming perfect computation techniques, simultaneous
equations relating inputs and outputs to ratios of equivalence would provide appropriate valuations
in order to balance supply and demand.The most prominent example of a planned economy
was the economic system of the Soviet Union and as such the centralised-planned economic
model is usually associated with the communist states of the 20th century, where it was combined
with a single-party political system. In a centrally planned economy, decisions regarding
the quantity of goods and services to be produced are planned in advance by a planning agency
(see also the analysis of Soviet-type economic planning). The economic systems of the Soviet
Union and the Eastern Bloc are further classified as “command economies”, which are defined
as systems where economic coordination is undertaken by commands, directives and production
targets. Studies by economists of various political persuasions on the actual functioning
of the Soviet economy indicate that it was not actually a planned economy. Instead of
conscious planning, the Soviet economy was based on a process whereby the plan was modified
by localised agents and the original plans went largely unfulfilled. Planning agencies,
ministries and enterprises all adapted and bargained with each other during the formulation
of the plan as opposed to following a plan passed down from a higher authority, leading
some economists to suggest that planning did not actually take place within the Soviet
economy and that a better description would be an “administered” or “managed” economy.Although
central planning was largely supported by Marxist–Leninists, some factions within
the Soviet Union before the rise of Stalinism held positions contrary to central planning.
Leon Trotsky rejected central planning in favour of decentralised planning. He argued
that central planners, regardless of their intellectual capacity, would be unable to
coordinate effectively all economic activity within an economy because they operated without
the input and tacit knowledge embodied by the participation of the millions of people
in the economy. As a result, central planners would be unable to respond to local economic
conditions. State socialism is unfeasible in this view because information cannot be
aggregated by a central body and effectively used to formulate a plan for an entire economy,
because doing so would result in distorted or absent price signals.===Self-managed economy===A self-managed, decentralised economy is based
on autonomous self-regulating economic units and a decentralised mechanism of resource
allocation and decision-making. This model has found support in notable classical and
neoclassical economists including Alfred Marshall, John Stuart Mill and Jaroslav Vanek. There
are numerous variations of self-management, including labour-managed firms and worker-managed
firms. The goals of self-management are to eliminate exploitation and reduce alienation.
Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers’ control of industry through the medium
of trade-related guilds “in an implied contractual relationship with the public”. It originated
in the United Kingdom and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th
century. It was strongly associated with G. D. H. Cole and influenced by the ideas of
William Morris. One such system is the cooperative economy,
a largely free market economy in which workers manage the firms and democratically determine
remuneration levels and labour divisions. Productive resources would be legally owned
by the cooperative and rented to the workers, who would enjoy usufruct rights. Another form
of decentralised planning is the use of cybernetics, or the use of computers to manage the allocation
of economic inputs. The socialist-run government of Salvador Allende in Chile experimented
with Project Cybersyn, a real-time information bridge between the government, state enterprises
and consumers. Another, more recent variant is participatory economics, wherein the economy
is planned by decentralised councils of workers and consumers. Workers would be remunerated
solely according to effort and sacrifice, so that those engaged in dangerous, uncomfortable
and strenuous work would receive the highest incomes and could thereby work less. A contemporary
model for a self-managed, non-market socialism is Pat Devine’s model of negotiated coordination.
Negotiated coordination is based upon social ownership by those affected by the use of
the assets involved, with decisions made by those at the most localised level of production.Michel
Bauwens identifies the emergence of the open software movement and peer-to-peer production
as a new alternative mode of production to the capitalist economy and centrally planned
economy that is based on collaborative self-management, common ownership of resources and the production
of use-values through the free cooperation of producers who have access to distributed
capital.Anarcho-communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state,
private property and capitalism in favour of common ownership of the means of production.
Anarcho-syndicalism was practiced in Catalonia and other places in the Spanish Revolution
during the Spanish Civil War. Sam Dolgoff estimated that about eight million people
participated directly or at least indirectly in the Spanish Revolution.The economy of the
former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia established a system based on market-based
allocation, social ownership of the means of production and self-management within firms.
This system substituted Yugoslavia’s Soviet-type central planning with a decentralised, self-managed
system after reforms in 1953.The Marxian economist Richard D. Wolff argues that “re-organising
production so that workers become collectively self-directed at their work-sites” not only
moves society beyond both capitalism and state socialism of the last century, but would also
mark another milestone in human history, similar to earlier transitions out of slavery and
feudalism. As an example, Wolff claims that Mondragon is “a stunningly successful alternative
to the capitalist organisation of production”.===State-directed economy===State socialism can be used to classify any
variety of socialist philosophies that advocates the ownership of the means of production by
the state apparatus, either as a transitional stage between capitalism and socialism, or
as an end-goal in itself. Typically it refers to a form of technocratic management, whereby
technical specialists administer or manage economic enterprises on behalf of society
(and the public interest) instead of workers’ councils or workplace democracy.
A state-directed economy may refer to a type of mixed economy consisting of public ownership
over large industries, as promoted by various Social democratic political parties during
the 20th century. This ideology influenced the policies of the British Labour Party during
Clement Attlee’s administration. In the biography of the 1945 United Kingdom Labour Party Prime
Minister Clement Attlee, Francis Beckett states: “[T]he government… wanted what would become
known as a mixed economy”.Nationalisation in the United Kingdom was achieved through
compulsory purchase of the industry (i.e. with compensation). British Aerospace was
a combination of major aircraft companies British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley
and others. British Shipbuilders was a combination of the major shipbuilding companies including
Cammell Laird, Govan Shipbuilders, Swan Hunter and Yarrow Shipbuilders, whereas the nationalisation
of the coal mines in 1947 created a coal board charged with running the coal industry commercially
so as to be able to meet the interest payable on the bonds which the former mine owners’
shares had been converted into.===Market socialism===Market socialism consists of publicly owned
or cooperatively owned enterprises operating in a market economy. It is a system that utilises
the market and monetary prices for the allocation and accounting of the means of production,
thereby retaining the process of capital accumulation. The profit generated would be used to directly
remunerate employees, collectively sustain the enterprise or finance public institutions.
In state-oriented forms of market socialism, in which state enterprises attempt to maximise
profit, the profits can be used to fund government programs and services through a social dividend,
eliminating or greatly diminishing the need for various forms of taxation that exist in
capitalist systems. Neoclassical economist Léon Walras believed that a socialist economy
based on state ownership of land and natural resources would provide a means of public
finance to make income taxes unnecessary. Yugoslavia implemented a market socialist
economy based on cooperatives and worker self-management. Mutualism is an economic theory and anarchist
school of thought that advocates a society where each person might possess a means of
production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts
of labour in the free market. Integral to the scheme was the establishment of a mutual-credit
bank that would lend to producers at a minimal interest rate, just high enough to cover administration.
Mutualism is based on a labour theory of value that holds that when labour or its product
is sold, in exchange it ought to receive goods or services embodying “the amount of labour
necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility”.The current economic
system in China is formally referred to as a socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics.
It combines a large state sector that comprises the commanding heights of the economy, which
are guaranteed their public ownership status by law, with a private sector mainly engaged
in commodity production and light industry responsible from anywhere between 33% to over
70% of GDP generated in 2005. Although there has been a rapid expansion of private-sector
activity since the 1980s, privatisation of state assets was virtually halted and were
partially reversed in 2005. The current Chinese economy consists of 150 corporatised state-owned
enterprises that report directly to China’s central government. By 2008, these state-owned
corporations had become increasingly dynamic and generated large increases in revenue for
the state, resulting in a state-sector led recovery during the 2009 financial crises
while accounting for most of China’s economic growth. However, the Chinese economic model
is widely cited as a contemporary form of state capitalism, the major difference between
Western capitalism and the Chinese model being the degree of state-ownership of shares in
publicly listed corporations. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has adopted
a similar model after the Doi Moi economic renovation, but slightly differs from the
Chinese model in that the Vietnamese government retains firm control over the state sector
and strategic industries, but allows for private-sector activity in commodity production.==Politics==The major socialist political movements are
described below. Independent socialist theorists, utopian socialist authors and academic supporters
of socialism may not be represented in these movements. Some political groups have called
themselves socialist while holding views that some consider antithetical to socialism. The
term “socialist” has also been used by some politicians on the political right as an epithet
against certain individuals who do not consider themselves to be socialists and against policies
that are not considered socialist by their proponents.
There are many variations of socialism and as such there is no single definition encapsulating
all of socialism. However, there have been common elements identified by scholars. In
his Dictionary of Socialism (1924), Angelo S. Rappoport analysed forty definitions of
socialism to conclude that common elements of socialism include: general criticisms of
the social effects of private ownership and control of capital – as being the cause
of poverty, low wages, unemployment, economic and social inequality and a lack of economic
security; a general view that the solution to these problems is a form of collective
control over the means of production, distribution and exchange (the degree and means of control
vary amongst socialist movements); an agreement that the outcome of this collective control
should be a society based upon social justice, including social equality, economic protection
of people and should provide a more satisfying life for most people. In The Concepts of Socialism
(1975), Bhikhu Parekh identifies four core principles of socialism and particularly socialist
society: sociality, social responsibility, cooperation and planning. In his study Ideologies
and Political Theory (1996), Michael Freeden states that all socialists share five themes:
the first is that socialism posits that society is more than a mere collection of individuals;
second, that it considers human welfare a desirable objective; third, that it considers
humans by nature to be active and productive; fourth, it holds the belief of human equality;
and fifth, that history is progressive and will create positive change on the condition
that humans work to achieve such change.===Anarchism===Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates
stateless societies often defined as self-governed voluntary institutions, but that several authors
have defined as more specific institutions based on non-hierarchical free associations.
Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary or harmful. While anti-statism
is central, some argue that anarchism entails opposing authority or hierarchical organisation
in the conduct of human relations including, but not limited to, the state system. Mutualists
advocate market socialism, collectivist anarchists workers cooperatives and salaries based on
the amount of time contributed to production, anarcho-communists advocate a direct transition
from capitalism to libertarian communism and a gift economy and anarcho-syndicalists worker’s
direct action and the general strike.===Democratic socialism===Modern democratic socialism is a broad political
movement that seeks to promote the ideals of socialism within the context of a democratic
system. Some democratic socialists support social democracy as a temporary measure to
reform the current system while others reject reformism in favour of more revolutionary
methods. Modern social democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative modification
of capitalism in order to make it more equitable and humane, while the theoretical end goal
of building a socialist society is either completely forgotten or redefined in a pro-capitalist
way. The two movements are widely similar both in terminology and in ideology, although
there are a few key differences. The major difference between social democracy
and democratic socialism is the object of their politics: contemporary social democrats
support a welfare state and unemployment insurance as a means to “humanise” capitalism, whereas
democratic socialists seek to replace capitalism with a socialist economic system, arguing
that any attempt to “humanise” capitalism through regulations and welfare policies would
distort the market and create economic contradictions.Democratic socialism generally refers to any political
movement that seeks to establish an economy based on economic democracy by and for the
working class. Democratic socialism is difficult to define and groups of scholars have radically
different definitions for the term. Some definitions simply refer to all forms of socialism that
follow an electoral, reformist or evolutionary path to socialism rather than a revolutionary
one. You can’t talk about ending the slums without
first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous
ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry.
Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are
saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth,
and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.===Leninism and precedents===Blanquism refers to a conception of revolution
generally attributed to Louis Auguste Blanqui which holds that socialist revolution should
be carried out by a relatively small group of highly organised and secretive conspirators.
Having seized power, the revolutionaries would then use the power of the state to introduce
socialism. It is considered a particular sort of “putschism”—that is, the view that political
revolution should take the form of a putsch or coup d’état. Rosa Luxemburg and Eduard
Bernstein have criticised Vladimir Lenin that his conception of revolution was elitist and
essentially Blanquist. Marxism–Leninism is a political ideology combining Marxism
(the scientific socialist concepts theorised by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) and Leninism
(Lenin’s theoretical expansions of Marxism which include anti-imperialism, democratic
centralism and party-building principles). Marxism–Leninism was the official ideology
of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of the Communist International (1919–1943)
and later it became the main guiding ideology for Trotskyists, Maoists and Stalinists.===Libertarian socialism===Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social
anarchism, left-libertarianism and socialist libertarianism) is a group of anti-authoritarian
political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralised
state ownership and control of the economy including criticism of wage labour relationships
within the workplace, as well as the state itself. It emphasises workers’ self-management
of the workplace and decentralised structures of political organisation, asserting that
a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian
institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to
an owning class or political and economic elite. Libertarian socialists generally place
their hopes in decentralised means of direct democracy and federal or confederal associations
such as libertarian municipalism, citizens’ assemblies, trade unions, and workers’ councils.
Relatedly, anarcho-syndicalist Gaston Leval explained: “We therefore foresee a Society
in which all activities will be coordinated, a structure that has, at the same time, sufficient
flexibility to permit the greatest possible autonomy for social life, or for the life
of each enterprise, and enough cohesiveness to prevent all disorder…In a well-organized
society, all of these things must be systematically accomplished by means of parallel federations,
vertically united at the highest levels, constituting one vast organism in which all economic functions
will be performed in solidarity with all others and that will permanently preserve the necessary
cohesion”. All of this is generally done within a general call for libertarian and voluntary
human relationships through the identification, criticism and practical dismantling of illegitimate
authority in all aspects of human life. As such, libertarian socialism within the larger
socialist movement seeks to distinguish itself both from Leninism/Bolshevism and from social
democracy.Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian
socialist include anarchism (especially anarchist communism, anarchist collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism
and mutualism) as well as autonomism, Communalism, participism, revolutionary syndicalism and
libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism and Luxemburgism; as well as some
versions of utopian socialism and individualist anarchism.===Religious socialism===Christian socialism is a broad concept involving
an intertwining of the Christian religion with the politics and economic theories of
socialism. Islamic socialism is a term coined by various
Muslim leaders to describe a more spiritual form of socialism. Muslim socialists believe
that the teachings of the Qur’an and Muhammad are compatible with principles of equality
and public ownership drawing inspiration from the early Medina welfare state established
by Muhammad. Muslim socialists are more conservative than their western contemporaries and find
their roots in anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and Arab nationalism. Islamic socialist leaders
believe in democracy and deriving legitimacy from public mandate as opposed to religious
texts.===Social democracy and liberal socialism
===Social democracy is a political ideology which
“is derived from a socialist tradition of political thought. Many social democrats refer
to themselves as socialists or democratic socialists, and some, for example Tony Blair,
use or have used these terms interchangeably. Others have opined that there are clear differences
between the three terms, and preferred to describe their own political beliefs by using
the term ‘social democracy’ only”. There are two main directions, either to establish
democratic socialism, or to build a welfare state within the framework of the capitalist
system. The first variant has officially its goal by establishing democratic socialism
through reformist and gradualist methods. In the second variant, social democracy becomes
a policy regime involving a welfare state, collective bargaining schemes, support for
publicly financed public services and a capitalist-based economy like a mixed economy. It is often
used in this manner to refer to the social models and economic policies prominent in
Western and Northern Europe during the later half of the 20th century. It has been described
by Jerry Mander as “hybrid” economics, an active collaboration of capitalist and socialist
visions and while such systems are not perfect they tend to provide high standards of living.
Numerous studies and surveys indicate that people tend to live happier lives in social
democratic societies rather than neoliberal ones. Social democrats supporting the first variant
advocate for a peaceful, evolutionary transition of the economy to socialism through progressive
social reform of capitalism. It asserts that the only acceptable constitutional form of
government is representative democracy under the rule of law. It promotes extending democratic
decision-making beyond political democracy to include economic democracy to guarantee
employees and other economic stakeholders sufficient rights of co-determination. It
supports a mixed economy that opposes the excesses of capitalism such as inequality,
poverty and oppression of various groups, while rejecting both a totally free market
or a fully planned economy. Common social democratic policies include advocacy of universal
social rights to attain universally accessible public services such as education, health
care, workers’ compensation and other services, including child care and care for the elderly.
Social democracy is connected with the trade union labour movement and supports collective
bargaining rights for workers. Most social democratic parties are affiliated with the
Socialist International.Liberal socialism is a socialist political philosophy that includes
liberal principles within it. Liberal socialism does not have the goal of abolishing capitalism
with a socialist economy, instead it supports a mixed economy that includes both public
and private property in capital goods. Although liberal socialism unequivocally favors a mixed
market economy, it identifies legalistic and artificial monopolies to be the fault of capitalism
and opposes an entirely unregulated economy. It considers both liberty and equality to
be compatible and mutually dependent on each other. Principles that can be described as
“liberal socialist” have been based upon or developed by the following philosophers: John
Stuart Mill, Eduard Bernstein, John Dewey, Carlo Rosselli, Norberto Bobbio and Chantal
Mouffe. Other important liberal socialist figures include Guido Calogero, Piero Gobetti,
Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse, John Maynard Keynes and R. H. Tawney. Liberal socialism has been
particularly prominent in British and Italian politics.===Socialism and modern progressive social
movements===Socialist feminism is a branch of feminism
that focuses upon both the public and private spheres of a woman’s life and argues that
liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural sources
of women’s oppression. Marxist feminism’s foundation is laid by Friedrich Engels in
his analysis of gender oppression in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
(1884). August Bebel’s Woman under Socialism (1879), the “single work dealing with sexuality
most widely read by rank-and-file members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
(SPD)”. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both Clara Zetkin and Eleanor Marx were against
the demonisation of men and supported a proletariat revolution that would overcome as many male-female
inequalities as possible. As their movement already had the most radical demands in women’s
equality, most Marxist leaders, including Clara Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai, counterposed
Marxism against liberal feminism rather than trying to combine them. Anarcha-feminism began
with late 19th and early 20th century authors and theorists such as anarchist feminists
Emma Goldman and Voltairine de Cleyre In the Spanish Civil War, an anarcha-feminist group,
Mujeres Libres (“Free Women”) linked to the Federación Anarquista Ibérica, organised
to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas. In 1972, the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union
published “Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement”, which is believed
to be the first to use the term “socialist feminism” in publication. Many socialists were early advocates for LGBT
rights. For early socialist Charles Fourier, true freedom could only occur without suppressing
passions, as the suppression of passions is not only destructive to the individual, but
to society as a whole. Writing before the advent of the term “homosexuality”, Fourier
recognised that both men and women have a wide range of sexual needs and preferences
which may change throughout their lives, including same-sex sexuality and androgénité. He argued
that all sexual expressions should be enjoyed as long as people are not abused and that
“affirming one’s difference” can actually enhance social integration. In Oscar Wilde’s
The Soul of Man Under Socialism, he passionately advocates for an egalitarian society where
wealth is shared by all, while warning of the dangers of social systems that crush individuality.
Wilde’s libertarian socialist politics were shared by other figures who actively campaigned
for homosexual emancipation in the late 19th century such as Edward Carpenter. The Intermediate
Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women was a book from 1908 and an
early work arguing for gay liberation written by Edward Carpenter who was also an influential
personality in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. After the Russian
Revolution under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, the Soviet Union abolished
previous laws against homosexuality. Harry Hay was an early leader in the American LGBT
rights movement as well as a member of the Communist Party USA. He is known for his roles
in helping to found several gay organisations, including the Mattachine Society, the first
sustained gay rights group in the United States which in its early days had a strong marxist
influence. The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality reports that “[a]s Marxists the founders of
the group believed that the injustice and oppression which they suffered stemmed from
relationships deeply embedded in the structure of American society”. Also emerging from a
number of events, such as the May 1968 insurrection in France, the anti-Vietnam war movement in
the United States and the Stonewall riots of 1969, militant gay liberation organisations
began to spring up around the world. Many saw their roots in left radicalism more than
in the established homophile groups of the time, though the Gay Liberation Front took
an anti-capitalist stance and attacked the nuclear family and traditional gender roles.Eco-socialism,
green socialism or socialist ecology is a political position merging aspects of Marxism,
socialism and/or libertarian socialism with that of green politics, ecology and alter-globalisation.
Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the
cause of social exclusion, poverty, war and environmental degradation through globalisation
and imperialism, under the supervision of repressive states and transnational structures.
Contrary to the depiction of Karl Marx by some environmentalists, social ecologists
and fellow socialists as a productivist who favoured the domination of nature, eco-socialists
have revisited Marx’s writings and believe that he “was a main originator of the ecological
world-view”. Eco-socialist authors, like John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett, point to
Marx’s discussion of a “metabolic rift” between man and nature, his statement that “private
ownership of the globe by single individuals will appear quite absurd as private ownership
of one man by another” and his observation that a society must “hand it [the planet]
down to succeeding generations in an improved condition”. The English socialist William
Morris is largely credited with developing key principles of what was later called eco-socialism.
During the 1880s and 1890s, Morris promoted his eco-socialist ideas within the Social
Democratic Federation and Socialist League. Green anarchism, or ecoanarchism, is a school
of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues. An important
early influence was the thought of the American anarchist Henry David Thoreau and his book
Walden and Élisée Reclus.In the late 19th century, there emerged anarcho-naturism as
the fusion of anarchism and naturist philosophies within individualist anarchist circles in
France, Spain, Cuba and Portugal. Social ecology is closely related to the work and ideas of
Murray Bookchin and influenced by anarchist Peter Kropotkin. Bookchin’s first book, Our
Synthetic Environment, was published under the pseudonym Lewis Herber in 1962, a few
months before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. His groundbreaking essay “Ecology and Revolutionary
Thought” introduced ecology as a concept in radical politics. In the 1970s, Barry Commoner,
suggesting a left-wing response to the Limits to Growth model that predicted catastrophic
resource depletion and spurred environmentalism, postulated that capitalist technologies were
chiefly responsible for environmental degradation as opposed to population pressures. The 1990s
saw the socialist feminists Mary Mellor and Ariel Salleh address environmental issues
within an eco-socialist paradigm. With the rising profile of the anti-globalisation movement
in the Global South, an “environmentalism of the poor” combining ecological awareness
and social justice has also become prominent. In 1994, David Pepper also released his important
work, Ecosocialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice, which critiques the current approach
of many within green politics, particularly deep ecologists. Currently, many green parties
around the world, such as the Dutch Green Left Party (GroenLinks), contain strong eco-socialist
elements. Radical red-green alliances have been formed in many countries by eco-socialists,
radical greens and other radical left groups. In Denmark, the Red-Green Alliance was formed
as a coalition of numerous radical parties. Within the European Parliament, a number of
far-left parties from Northern Europe have organised themselves into the Nordic Green
Left Alliance.===Syndicalism===Syndicalism is a social movement that operates
through industrial trade unions and rejects state socialism and the use of establishment
politics to establish or promote socialism. They reject using state power to construct
a socialist society, favouring strategies such as the general strike. Syndicalists advocate
a socialist economy based on federated unions or syndicates of workers who own and manage
the means of production. Some Marxist currents advocate syndicalism, such as DeLeonism. Anarcho-syndicalism
is a theory of anarchism which views syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society
to gain control of an economy and with that control influence broader society. The Spanish
Revolution largely orchestrated by the anarcho-syndicalist trade union CNT during the Spanish Civil War
offers an historical example. The International Workers’ Association is an international federation
of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions and initiatives.==Criticism====See also==
List of anti-capitalist and communist parties with national parliamentary representation
List of communist ideologies List of socialist countries
List of socialist economists List of socialist songs
Socialism by country==Notes====
References==Berlau, A Joseph (1949), The German Social
Democratic Party, 1914–1921, New York: Columbia University Press.
Lamb, Peter; Docherty, J. C. (2006). Historical Dictionary of Socialism (2nd ed.). Lanham:
The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5560-1.==Further reading====External links==
Socialism at Curlie. “Socialism”. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Cuban Socialism from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives.
Cole, G. D. H. (1922). “Socialism”. Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.).
Ely, Richard T.; Adams, Thomas Sewall (1905). “Socialism”. New International Encyclopedia.

One thought on “Socialism | Wikipedia audio article

  1. Doesn't anything socialistic make you want to throw up?
    Like great public schools, or health insurance for all?

    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

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