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
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.
Imperialism is the highest stage of development of capitalism. Capital in the advanced countries has outgrown the boundaries of national states. It has established monopoly in place of competition, thus creating all the objective prerequisites for the achievement of socialism. Hence, in Western Europe and in the United States of America, the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat for the overthrow of the capitalist governments, for the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, is on the order of the day. Imperialism is forcing the masses into this struggle by sharpening class antagonisms to an immense degree, by worsening the conditions of the masses both economically—trusts and high cost of living, and politically—growth of militarism, frequent wars, increase of reaction, strengthening and extension of national oppression and colonial plunder. Victorious socialism must achieve complete democracy and, consequently, not only bring about the complete equality of nations, but also give effect to the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, i.e., the right to free political secession. Socialist Parties which fail to prove by all their activities now, as well as during the revolution and after its victory, that they will free the enslaved nations and establish relations with them on the basis of a free union and a free union is a lying phrase without right to secession—such parties would be committing treachery to socialism.
Of course, democracy is also a form of state which must disappear when the state disappears, but this will take place only in the process of transition from completely victorious and consolidated socialism to complete communism.
|— Vladimir Lenin, The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination, 1916
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