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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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A red rose is often used as a symbol of social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. Social democracy supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism. Social democracy advocates the creation of legal reforms and economic redistribution programs to eliminate economic class disparities between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The Frankfurt Declaration of the Socialist International in 1951, attended by many social democratic parties from across the world, committed adherents to oppose Bolshevik communism and Stalinism, and to promote a gradual transformation of capitalism into socialism. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of a welfare state, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure workers' rights.

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Keir Hardie portrait
James Keir Hardie, Sr. (15 August 1856 – 26 September 1915), was a Scottish socialist and labour leader, and was the first Independent Labour Member of Parliament elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Hardie is regarded as one of the primary founders of the Independent Labour Party as well as the Labour Party of which it later was a part.

Initially a Liberal, by the late 1880s Hardie had become convinced of the need for a distinct political organisation representing the interests of workers. By this time he was also active in publishing radical workers newspapers.

In 1892 Hardie was elected an independent Labour member of the House of Commons representing the West Ham South constituency in London. Hardie caused a stir when he first arrived at parliament as he was attired in workers clothes rather than the formal day suit and silk hat then thought necessary for the smooth conduct of parliamentary business.

In 1893 the Independent Labour Party was formed and Hardie became its first chairman. In 1895 he lost his West Ham South seat, but was re-elected to Parliament in 1900 to serve the Merthyr Tydfil seat, which he held until his death. Around this time the Labour Movement was ceasing to be so fractured and by 1906 the Labour Representation Committee had managed to get 29 Labour members elected to Parliament.

In 1906 the modern Labour Party was born and Hardie became its leader. That same year the Liberals won the general election with a huge landslide, beating the Conservative Party - but more significant was the election of 29 Labour MPs; the first of many to come.

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Mercadona protest 2.jpg
Photo credit: Scott Ehardt

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


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