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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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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Ben Tillett portrait
Benjamin Tillett (11 September 1860 – 27 January 1943) was a British socialist, trade union leader and politician. He was born in Bristol and began his working life as a sailor, before travelling to London and taking up work as a docker.

He began his career as a trade union organiser in 1887 by forming the Tea Operatives and General Labourers Union at Tilbury docks. Tillett and his union, renamed the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union, rose to prominence during the London Dock Strike (1889), although the strike itself began without union involvement. Tillett also played a prominent role as a strike leader in dock strikes in 1911 and 1912. He was instrumental in forming the National Transport Workers' Federation in 1910, along with Havelock Wilson of the Seamen's Union.

Tillett's union was the largest of the unions which came together in 1922 to form the Transport and General Workers' Union, however, it was his deputy, Ernest Bevin, rather than Tillett himself, who took the major role in bringing about the amalgamation. Bevin became the General Secretary of the new union, but Tillett held the post of International and Political Secretary until 1931 and retained his seat on the General Council of the Trades Union Congress until 1932.

Tillett was a member of the Fabian Society and a founding member of the Independent Labour Party, but subsequently joined the Social Democratic Federation instead. He also joined the Bristol Socialist Society in the 1880s, when he often travelled to that city.

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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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