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What Is Socialism?

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sevenOP | 15:29 Fri 15th May 2015 | Society & Culture
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What do you think socialism means ?

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What do I think socialism means or what is the "official" definition?
It is a wonderful concept of sharing and comradeship, to each according to his needs from each according to his abilities. If only that could possibly work. Sadly the main obstacle is human nature.
May have been Tora's intention, but his definition is of Communism rather than Socialism... although, in practice, they are frightenly simiiar...
Robbing Peter to pay Paul (so Paul always votes for you.)
Svejk,

That might depend on how many peters are robbed to pay how many Paul's!!

If there are more Peters being robbed you won't get enough Paul's to vote you in?
It's whatever the smug capitalists tell you it is since they know all the answers and create heaven on Earth for all.
As long as 'all' can pay of course.
It's the belief that community and helping each other has priority over the right to do anything legal to improve your own lot in the hope that any wealth created might benefit all eventually. The group first then the individual, rather than vice versa.
it was a joke, cassa. I wasn't setting forward my manifesto. ;-)
//What do you think socialism means ? //

An unworkable system.
It's easier to explain it by looking at why it happened. Like communism, socialism grew in reaction to the worst excesses of the Industrial Revolution. In the UK the movement already had a root in the independent, self-educated master craftsmen of the late 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. This sector was notoriously 'awkward', not being of the servant class or the masters, and many of this sector also fostered dissident beliefs such as being against the landed political class, and joining nonconformist religious groups such as methodists, unitarians and quakers.
The 19th century saw industrialisation remove the livelihood of most of these craftsmen, leading to poverty but also to an increase in agitation for political change. Movements such as trade unionism and chartism were the result. Sometimes calls for change resulted in violence, both from the ruling elite (eg Peterloo, 1819) and from the agitators (Spa Fields, 1816).
The movement with the most support was Chartism in the mid-1800s, unfortunately largely sabotaged from within.
At around the same time that the Chartists were losing their way, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began formulating an alternative economic system to capitalism, which became communism.
In the UK, a steady improvement in wealth from industry in the later 19th century meant communism didn't gain the follwoing that it did elsewhere on the continent, but nonetheless the generally philanthropic outlook that had its roots in older working and religious traditions continued to flourish, and this became the bedrock of British socialism.
Hence there are still strong links between trade unionism, the notion of a welfare state, and a notion of social equality being 'a good thing', that taken together can be a fair enough shorthand for socialism.
My pub is an old 'chartist pub', mosaic.(S. Wales)
ah - that is a good explanation mosaic - well past its expiry date then.
Communism = Taking everything that belongs to all & sharing it between all after creaming off a reasonable amount to share with the chosen few at the top of the pile.
Socialism = Sharing everything that belongs to all amongst some after creaming off a reasonable amount to distribute to those at the top of the pile.
Conservatism = Taking everything that belongs to all & sharing it amongst the chosen few who already have plenty.
Lot's of old chartist pubs! and south Wales would fit the bill exactly - an industrial area, lots of Chapel - goers, and the working men's clubs weren't always just boozers.

Is socialism past its sell-by? Long and proper answer, not flippant or soundbite?
Socialism had its own political party in the UK - the Cooperative Party. This flourished in the industrial north between the wars but in a real 'sliding doors' moment it threw its lot in with the Labour Party in the 1950s.
The Cooperative movement then lost its way, becoming increasingly an office of accountants running a valuable property portfolio, and this decline was typified by the 'Crystal methodist' scandal last year.
The Labour governments' strategies in the 1960s and 70s are very easy to unpick with hindsight but nobody knew - NOBODY - that the economics it was based on would change so radically and so quickly.
Many people in the UK now are acting in a socialist manner - they provide social support for poor or marginalised people, food banks, legal aid etc. Socialism therefore works, and is working.
But there isn't a formal political party that is both successful and socialist. Labour ceased to be a socalist party when Bliar became leader.
Sit on your bum & let the workers keep you
These days, it means anything a self-declared socialist wants it to mean.
What's yours is mine, and what's mine is my own.
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woofgang>"What do I think socialism means or what is the "official" definition? "

I was asking what 'you' think woofgang, but please enlighten us with 'the official definition' if you have it.

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