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:
Varieties of socialism can be categorized in a variety of ways:
Non-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.
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
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.
(January 6, 1850 – December 18, 1932) was a German social democratic theoretician
, a member of the SPD
, and the founder of evolutionary socialism and revisionism
Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus (1899) was Bernstein's most significant work and was principally concerned with refuting Marx's predictions about the imminent demise of capitalism. In it, Bernstein pointed out simple facts that he took to be evidence that Marx's predictions were not being borne out: he noted that the centralisation of capitalist industry, while significant, was not becoming wholescale and that the ownership of capital was becoming more, and not less, diffuse. He also pointed out what he considered to be some of the flaws in Marx's labor theory of value.
Bernstein believed that socialism would be achieved through capitalism, not through capitalism's destruction; as rights were gradually won by workers, their cause for grievance would be diminished, and consequently, so too would the foundation of revolution.
||The world war which has smashed the International must, however, be realized as a powerful sermon making clear the need for a new International, an International of another kind, with a different force from that which the capitalist powers so easily scattered on August 4, 1914.
Only in the cooperation of the working masses of all countries, in times of war as in times of peace, does the salvation of humanity lie. Nowhere have the masses desired this war. Nowhere do they desire it. Why should they, then, with a loathing for war in their hearts, murder each other to the finish? It would be a sign of weakness, it is said, for any one people to suggest peace; well, let all the people suggest it together. The nation which speaks first will not show weakness but strength. It will win the glory and gratitude of posterity. It is the duty of every Socialist at the present time to be a prophet of international brotherhood, realizing that every word he speaks in favor of socialism and peace, every action he performs for these ideals enflame similar words and actions in other countries, until the flames of the desire for peace shall flare high over all Europe. The example which you and our Russian and Servian comrades have given to the world will have an emulating effect wherever Socialists have been ensnared by the designs of the ruling classes, and I am sure the mass of the British workers will soon rally to the International Labor Party. Already among the German workers there is far greater opposition to the war than is generally supposed, and the louder the echo of the cry for peace in other countries the more vehemently and energetically will they work for peace here. Thus shall the working classes of all the belligerent countries become conscious of the necessity to fight for a peace consistent with the principles of Socialism, a peace without conquest and without humiliation, a peace based not on hatred but on fraternity, not on force but on freedom, a peace which, because of its justice, may be everlasting. In this way, even during the war, the International can be revived and can atone for its previous mistakes. Thus it must revive, a different International, increased not only in numerical strength but in revolutionary fervor, in clearness of vision and in preparedness to overcome the danger of absolutism, of secret diplomacy, and of capitalist conspiracies against peace.
Workers of the World, unite!
Unite in a war against war!
|— Karl Liebknecht, A New Year's Greeting to England, 1914
The celebration of the election of the Commune on 28 March 1871—the Paris Commune was a major early implementation of socialist ideas
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