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What is Socialism?

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posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:05 PM
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What is Socialism?


en.wikipedia.org

Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society. Modern socialism originated in the late nineteenth-century working class political movement. Karl Marx posited that socialism would be achieved via class struggle and a proletarian revolution which represents the transitional stage between capitalism and communism.

Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.

Socialism is not a discrete philosophy of fixed doctrine and program; its branches advocate a degree of social interventionism and economic rationalization, sometimes opposing each other. Another dividing feature of the socialist movement is the split on how a socialist economy should be established between the reformists and the revolutionaries. Some socialists advocate complete nationalization of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; while others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. Social democrats propose selective nationalization of key national industries in mixed economies combined with tax-funded welfare programs; Libertarian socialism (which includes Socialist Anarchism and Libertarian Marxism) rejects state control and ownership of the economy altogether and advocates direct collective ownership of the means of production via co-operative workers' councils and workplace democracy.

In the 1970s and the 1980s, Yugoslavian, Hungarian, Polish and Chinese Communists instituted various forms of market socialism combining co-operative and State ownership models with the free market exchange. This is unlike the earlier theoretical market socialist proposal put forth by Oskar Lange in that it allows market forces, rather than central planners to guide production and exchange. Anarcho-syndicalists, Luxemburgists (such as those in the Socialist Party USA) and some elements of the United States New Left favor decentralized collective ownership in the form of cooperatives or workers' councils.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.worldsocialism.org
www.google.com
www.wisegeek.com
www.socialistaction.org




posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:05 PM
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There has been a huge amount of noise from the right as well as the McCain camp that Barack Obama is a socialist because he said that he wanted to "spread the wealth around" which has been grossly taken out of context.

His whole comment was:


It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success too," Obama responded. "My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody ... I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."


And the only way the right and McCain has been able to get away with claiming that Obama is a socialist is because as is with so many things outside of our boundaries and ourselves, Americans as a rule are profoundly ignorant.

For example few if any know that Marx was not a communist... he was hired by the Communist party to write their platform aka "The Communist Manifesto" he seriously disagreed with them on many points but hey money is money.

Also Marx would not be you call a Marxist in that he was far less rigid than his later followers, in short he was not dogmatic as so many Marxists are.

There are many forms of socialism and most nations practice so aspect of it as a rule, nor is socialism inherently antithetical to capitalism... many if not most of the nations of the EU are socialist and capitalist at the same time.

Finally What Obama said in essence is that the more people benefit the better society in general is... in short its better for the wealth to be spread around as opposed to being concentrated in the hands of a few.

All taxation is spreading the wealth around, just as bushes tax cuts concentrated it into the hands of the few.

Which now is better for society in general?

en.wikipedia.org
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 1-11-2008 by grover]



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:19 PM
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I really hope this thread gets some decent traffic and good dialogue going... we as Americans need more than anything to educate ourselves about the world outside of ourselves.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:38 PM
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reply to post by grover
 

Socialism is experienced on a Kibbutz. The Kibbutz system was based on a social ideal. Jump on a plane and volunteer to live on a kibbutz, it may be the most wonderful experience in humanity.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:40 PM
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I'm sorry to tell you this, but spreading the wealth, as Obama proposes is going to tax everyone except those on welfare, and it may finally come to that. I already pay income tax, state tax, payroll tax, federal, state, and local sales tax, property tax, and personal tax(which is a tax on my vehicles, my home, and everything I own.). How the hell much more do I have to pay? (By the way, my personal income is about 50k, and my wife is on disablity, which doesn't begin to cover the cost of her medications. Guess what? I have to pay taxes on that, because I make "too much money.")
A lot of you are going to say I should be supporting Obama. Obama's socialism is going to evolve into trickle down taxation.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:44 PM
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reply to post by ufoorbhunter
 


I've lived in a commune or two over my 50 plus years and when they work they work extremely well but when they don't OI VIE!!!

to Kettlebellysmith:

Obama is not a socialist. Nor is he especially liberal... he is a moderate in the mold of Clinton if he's anything at all.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:49 PM
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My explanation from another thread:

Socialism is when the people or community control the means of production & distribution, resources and wealth. It is the transition before communism. The state is then replaced with a society, which all property is owned by the people and each person is paid and works according to his or her needs and abilities.

The Kabutz are the closest to a socialist/communist system in the world.

From evaluating the US election as a mere foreign spectator, I can safely conclude Americans have no idea what socialism even means.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 06:54 PM
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reply to post by kettlebellysmith
 

I love listening to Grosvenor.................. he's lived it.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:01 PM
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reply to post by infinite
 


It is sometimes like pounding your head into a brick wall... I think I gave a clear and accurate description of socialism at the start as i have done on other threads as well and still some people haven't a clue... they have some sort of picture in their heads and they are damned and determined to stick to it and deny their ignorance.

I am American born and bred, southern boy and I am sometimes embarrassed about the degree of ignorance in this nation of ours, its simply appalling....

...I have had "creation science" devotees cite natural selection as proof the evolution is wrong.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:04 PM
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Socialism is where you feel someone else's hand always in your pockets and it's okay to take apples off your neighbors tree, without their permission. Oh, and you can be shot or imprisoned if you object and refuse.

Ya know, I wouldn't mind pinkos if communism/socialism was completely voluntary, but you know the inept ones can't have THAT! Communism/socialism depends upon the stupid people enslaving those that don't want to have anything to do with the pinkos.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by grover
 


You have to remember, during the Red Scare of the Cold war, Socialism and Marxism were banned from being taught in certain States in America. Trotskyism was outlawed too (which is a fantastic school of thought of Socialism. Much more radical than Marxism.)



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:11 PM
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reply to post by grover
 


Your right Grover...All this rubbish about Obama being a socialist?!! Like hell is he. To be a socialist you have to belive in government ownership of all state resources, that will never happen in the U.S. To be a socalist you have to renounce war as a tool of expansion, i believe he wants to expand the war in Afghanistan and has taken no option of the table in regards to Iran.

Now i think Obama is a sound person, but he is within the system. Even if he had the balls to go Socialist IF he gets elected, he would be assasinated almost immediatley.

Is this socialist tag really having an effect on the American population? There seems to be such an irrational fear of socialism in the U.S. Socialism if properly regulated (Like capitalism hasn't been) is clearly the best form of government.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:13 PM
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reply to post by Divinorumus
 


I rest my case about applied ignorance. You prove my point.... you have no idea what you are talking about so you spout platitudes and think it makes you look smart.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:16 PM
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reply to post by Divinorumus
 


Pipe down and read a book, it will do you the world of good. Another example of an absolute lack of knowledge on a subject on ATS!



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:20 PM
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In a true socialist society, the words "government" or "state" would not exist. The people themselves decide on methods of disturbance and production during workers councils. The office of President would be abolished, along with Congress and Senate; both replaced by community councils and leaders would be elected by the people.

During the Spanish Civil War, true socialism and anarchy were implemented to a great success. The Spanish created a pure utopia, but Franco and his fascist regime executed revolutionary forces.



[edit on 1-11-2008 by infinite]



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:29 PM
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reply to post by grover

I am American born and bred, southern boy and I am sometimes embarrassed about the degree of ignorance in this nation of ours, its simply appalling....

Yeah, I recently had someone tell me that socialism = fascism = free market.


I would hazard to say that the problem with getting people in America to understand the definitions of various economic/social/political systems is that they are besieged by things like we have seen in this campaign. Somehow rumors become reality in people's minds. In this election cycle, I have heard from average people that:
  • Obama is a Muslim
  • Obama is a terrorist
  • Obama wants to raise taxes on the poor
  • Obama is an immigrant
  • Obama is anti-Christianity
  • Obama is a socialist
  • Obama is going to institute Sharia Law
  • Obama wants to tax white people

Every one of these claims is absolutely ridiculous and have been refuted. But people still believe it, and will argue the point as though their very lives depended on one of these falsehoods being true.

I think it comes from an inherent fear of the unknown. Especially in America, we are subject to a MSM and a political machine that stresses how our system is supposedly the only one that will work, and anyone who thinks otherwise is somehow anti-American. But in reality, what is truly un-American is the idea that anyone with a different opinion should be silenced.

Any time a new idea is introduced, it will either be praised if it benefits those already in power, and it will be demonized if it does not benefit them. This is the way American politics work. And since most people have very little idea of exactly what is going on in their own government, these same people are perfect targets for such disinformation. With the opinions of the majority firmly in control by this method, any threat to the status quo can be quickly dispatched. One of the things I look at when trying to decide if I am for or against a particular proposal is how it is being portrayed by the media and the political powers. Then I typically lean the other way.


This is only one of several threads on socialism that I have recently seen active. I would imagine the cause of this is the current attempt to demonize Obama as a socialist and therefore anti-American. In reality, socialism is very American... what would you call Social Security if not socialist? What about tax credits for a myriad of situations? What about the recent tax rebate checks? I don't think I heard anyone complaining about receiving a check in their mailbox, at least not enough to send it back. And finally, what would the recent bailout bill be? I would consider it anti-socialist, since it tends to concentrate wealth in the hands of the elite rather than keep the wealth of the people more evenly distributed. So, everyone who was against the bailout bill would have been leaning socialist in that opinion (which includes me, btw), but now I see many of these same people stating that socialism will be the total destruction of the American economy.


Socialism is not a bad system in itself. It can be abused, like any economic system, and too much socialism mixed with capitalism is indeed a problem. But a certain amount can fix many of the inherent problems with capitalism, making the fairest economic system known even better.

TheRedneck



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:34 PM
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The best way I can sum up Socialism is it's purpose is to make everybody more equal.

I think this next section is relevant to the OP because this is what has started this whole debacle. So, somebody please answer me this.

You say Obama is not a socialist but:

Well why does he believe in spreading the wealth around?
Why does he believe increasing the amount of welfare support?
Why does he believe that everybody should volunteer their time regardless their walk of life?
Why does he believe in 'voluntary' community service for kids aged from 14-24?
Why does he believe in extending public education to include zero-to-five education?
Why does he believe in raising taxes on the rich just because it's 'fair'?
Why does he want to implement a whole lot of new social programs for volunteer work?

Now take this quote from the OP,



All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved.


If socialist have disagreements on the best way to implement these policies, then each and everybody that is a practicing socialist has a different philosophy on the best way for this to be achieved.

So essentially each and everybody would have their own "-ism." Like in Obama case it would be "Obamanism." But wouldn't that still be classified under socialism because his ultimate goal is to create an equal society, which is the main goal of socialism?

*edit* used existentially instead of essentially





[edit on 1-11-2008 by Hastobemoretolife]



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:34 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


A star for you... a very well thought out and intelligent post.

People are comfortable with what they know, I understand that still that should not preclude anyone from learning.

However, sadly it seems, it often does.

What I love is so of the most ignorant posters here at ATS have deny ignorance plastered all over their avatars totally blind to the double meaning of it.



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:39 PM
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Originally posted by Hastobemoretolife
Well why does he believe in spreading the wealth around?
Why does he believe increasing the amount of welfare support?
Why does he believe that everybody should volunteer their time regardless their walk of life?
Why does he believe in 'voluntary' community service for kids aged from 14-24?
Why does he believe in extending public education to include zero-to-five education?
Why does he believe in raising taxes on the rich just because it's 'fair'?
Why does he want to implement a whole lot of new social programs for volunteer work?


Well I personally believe that the majority of those are excellent ideas and advocated them long before Obama came along and there is nothing inherently socialistic about any of them.

If anything the word for them would be communitarian.

Simply put by my iMac's New Oxford American Dictionary:


communitarianism |kəˌmyoōniˈte(ə)rēəˌnizəm|
noun
a theory or system of social organization based on small self-governing communities.
• an ideology that emphasizes the responsibility of the individual to the community and the social importance of the family unit.
DERIVATIVES
communitarian |kəˈmjunəˈtɛriən| adjective & noun.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from community + -arian , on the pattern of words such as unitarian.


Which would make sense given Obama's history as a community organizer. Which also explains why his campaign is so effective.


[edit on 1-11-2008 by grover]



posted on Nov, 1 2008 @ 07:46 PM
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reply to post by grover
 


Okay I can see your point, but then why does he want to make all these programs part of the federal government making the federal government even bigger?

I figure what I am gathering from these posts is where exactly do you draw the line.

It seems to me that the way the USA was designed was to be communitarian as in that you had One major set of laws that the states followed, but then the states adopted their own constitutions, one of the intents of the constitution was for the states to have more power than the federal government.

Now if Obama was a communitarian wouldn't he want to give more power to the states instead of growing the federal government bigger?

But you just said something:



Which would make sense given Obama's history as a community organizer. Which also explains why his campaign is so effective.


The term community organizer was a term that Saul Alinsky invented. Saul Alsinky was a communist.

[edit on 1-11-2008 by Hastobemoretolife]



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