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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Christian cross
Christian socialism generally refers to those on the Christian left whose politics are both Christian and socialist and who see these two things as being interconnected. This category can include Liberation theology and the doctrine of the social gospel. Christian socialists draw parallels between what some have characterized as the egalitarian and anti-establishment message of Jesus, who — according to Christian Gospel — spoke against the religious authorities of his time, and the egalitarian, anti-establishment, and sometimes anti-clerical message of most contemporary socialisms. Some Christian Socialists have gone as far as to become active Communists.

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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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Small Red Rose.JPG
Photo credit: Libera

A red rose is often used as a symbol of social democracy, mostly adopted in the period after World War II.

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