Portal:Socialism

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The Socialism Portal

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Socialism refers to a set of economic systems in which the means of production and distribution are under social ownership, management within economic institutions is based on collective decision-making or worker self-management, and the economy is primarily geared toward production for use. It also refers to a broad array of ideologies and political movements which have the goal of achieving this type of socio-economic system. Control of production may be either direct—exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils—or indirect—exercised on behalf of the people by the state. As an economic system, socialism is often characterized by state, worker, or community ownership of the means of production, goals which have been attributed to, and claimed by, a number of political parties throughout history. For Karl Marx, who helped establish and define the modern socialist movement, socialism would be the socioeconomic system that arises after a proletarian revolution, in which the means of production are owned co-operatively by the working class so that the surplus product generated would be used to benefit all of society, and the economy would no longer be structured upon the law of value.

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Eco-socialism or Green socialism is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, Green politics, ecology and the anti-globalization movement. Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, poverty and environmental degradation through globalization and imperialism, under the supervision of repressive states and transstatal structures; they advocate the non-violent dismantling of capitalism and the state, focusing on collective ownership of the means of production by freely associated producers and restoration of the Commons.

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Benjamin Tillett (11 September 1860 – 27 January 1943) was a British socialist, trade union leader and politician. He was born in Bristol and began his working life as a sailor, before travelling to London and taking up work as a docker.

He began his career as a trade union organiser in 1887 by forming the Tea Operatives and General Labourers Union at Tilbury docks. Tillett and his union, renamed the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union, rose to prominence during the London Dock Strike (1889), although the strike itself began without union involvement. Tillett also played a prominent role as a strike leader in dock strikes in 1911 and 1912. He was instrumental in forming the National Transport Workers' Federation in 1910, along with Havelock Wilson of the Seamen's Union.

Tillett's union was the largest of the unions which came together in 1922 to form the Transport and General Workers' Union, however, it was his deputy, Ernest Bevin, rather than Tillett himself, who took the major role in bringing about the amalgamation. Bevin became the General Secretary of the new union, but Tillett held the post of International and Political Secretary until 1931 and retained his seat on the General Council of the Trades Union Congress until 1932.

Tillett was a member of the Fabian Society and a founding member of the Independent Labour Party, but subsequently joined the Social Democratic Federation instead. He also joined the Bristol Socialist Society in the 1880s, when he often travelled to that city.

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I believe Socialism is the grandest theory ever presented, and I am sure it will someday rule the world. Then we will have attained the Millennium.… Then men will be content to work for the general welfare and share their riches with their neighbors.

—Andrew Carnegie, New York Times (1 January 1885) "A Millionaire Socialist

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Photo credit: Scott Ehardt

A demonstration by members of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo protesting "employer terrorism" by Mercadona.

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