Portal:Socialism

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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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Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social anarchism, and sometimes left libertarianism) is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production. Libertarian socialism is opposed to all coercive forms of social organization, and promotes free association in place of government and opposes what it sees as the coercive social relations of capitalism, such as wage labor. Adherents of libertarian socialism assert 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.

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:Eduard Bernstein portrait
Eduard Bernstein (January 6, 1850 – December 18, 1932) was a German social democratic theoretician and politician, 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.

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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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