Originally posted by petrus4
....and what it means in general.
OK, you asked for it. I'll try to keep this short, but to be honest to really explain it all would take a book, or two.
I can't really talk about socialism, without also talking about capitalism, as to understand the first you have to understand the later in context.
I'll start with socialism.
Socialism is defined by socialists as 'the workers ownership of the means of production'. It's a term that covers many different economic and
political ideas. In other words instead of a private owner, or owners, the workers themselves would own their place of employment. There have been
many different ideas as to how this could be accomplished, and how it should be ran once in place. Communism, Marxism, Anarchism, are all forms of
socialism, with different ways to implement it. The idea of socialism came from the working classes, working in the mills and factories during the
industrial revolution in Europe. They came to the realization that they could be better off if they owned the mill themselves.
Socialism can be state controlled, Marxism, or it can be libertarian, Anarchism. Around the 1850's socialists split between those who supported a
state system, Marxists, and those who apposed the state who called themselves anarchists, libertarians, libertarian socialists etc.
Anarchism was actually a word used in a derogatory way until it was first used to mean stateless-socialism, but still was used in derogatory way by
the press, so other terms were introduced such as Libertarian.
"Anarchism is stateless socialism" Mikhail Bakunin
Libertarianism was a term first used by socialists to describe their anti-state form of socialism. Also known as Anarchism. The term was first used,
again by a French socialist, Joseph Déjacque, in his publication, 'La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social'. [The Libertarian Journal of the
socialist movement]. Ironically published in New York in 1858. Thus we get the term Libertarian
Traditionally all forms of Anarchism were socialist.
for example, was socialism through voluntary labour
Capitalism was defined by Marx as 'the private ownership of the means of production', and that is the definition mostly used now. The term was first
used by the French socialist louis Blanc in his publication Organisation du travail
[That link says 1848 but it was 1839 according to other sources. Marx used the term in 1848 in the Communist Manifesto]. Blanc defined the
term as 'the appropriation of capital by some to the exclusion of others'.
Capitalism is the system that replaced feudalism. The laws changed to allow land owners,
to sell parcels of land, which came with a deed giving the owner the
right to bar access to their land, thus denying it's use to the
. This forced the commoners, who had always been
self sufficient living off the land, into 'jobs' in cities. The Nobles exploited the commoners to produce goods to sell to other wealthy Nobles.
This lead to the worker organizations in order to try to better their own lives. The better working conditions and wages we have today are a result
of worker organizations going back to the industrial revolution.
Capitalism is the system that allows private owners of capital to use that capital to exploit labour. Those who do not own capital have to work for a
private owner. The worker has to produce more than they are paid for, in order for the capitalist to make profit. Labour should be treated like any
commodity in a free market, and the worker should earn the full amount for their labour. The worker is being robbed.
Free-markets is not the definition of capitalism, it is a claim, and not an honest one. We can have free-markets without capitalism. Capitalism,
socialism, is who controls the means of production for the market, not the market itself. People control the market, and socialism allows all of us
to do that, not just the lucky few who own capital.
The left and the right.
The original political meanings of ‘left’ and ‘right’ have changed since their origin in the French estates general in 1789. There the
people sitting on the left could be viewed as more or less anti-statists with those on the right being state-interventionists of one kind or another.
In this interpretation of the pristine sense, libertarianism was clearly at the extreme left-wing.
The left were the revolutionary socialists. The right was the establishment, the capitalist 'ruling' class.
This is how it was up until the 1950's when the new-right, the establishment, started their propaganda to further erode the power of the working
class. The second world war had pretty much decimated the working class. To see a more modern example of this kind of class war you only have to
look at the 1980's Thatcher dictatorship in the UK. She deliberately destroyed the economy of the industrial, working class, north.
edit on 2/1/2012 by ANOK because: typo