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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Logo first used by the Federal Council of Spain of the International Workingmen's Association.
The International Workingmen's Association (IWA) (1864–1876), sometimes called the First International, was an international organization which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and trade union organizations that were based on the working class and class struggle. It was founded in 1864 in a workmen's meeting held in Saint Martin's Hall, London. Its first congress was held in 1866 in Geneva.

In Europe, a period of harsh reaction followed the widespread Revolutions of 1848. The next major phase of revolutionary activity began almost twenty years later with the founding of the IWA in 1864. At its peak, the IWA had 5 million members according to the police reports, although the official journal reported 8 million members.

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Robert Owen portrait
Robert Owen (14 May 1771 – 17 November 1858) was a Welsh social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement.

Owen's philosophy was based on three intellectual pillars:

  • First, no one was responsible for his [or her] will and his [or her] own actions because his whole character is formed independently of himself; people are products of their heredity and environment, hence his support for education and labour reform, rendering him a pioneer in human capital investment.
  • Second, all religions are based on the same ridiculous imagination, that make man a weak, imbecile animal; a furious bigot and fanatic; or a miserable hypocrite
  • Third, support for the putting-out system instead of the factory system

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Defending Socialism - Street Scene - Pinar del Rio - Cuba.JPG
Photo credit: Adam Jones Defending socialism -- a street scene in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. December 2006.

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