What is Socialism?
The piece “1. Capitalism”, talks about what capitalism is, which is a system of production for profit and a set of ideas which calls for the economy and the individual companies etc. to be under the control of and run for the personal gain of the normally very rich individuals who own them, and which also operates through and with the help of their state including the police, army and courts. Societies and the state such as in the UK are set up to service these individuals and companies and help them make money.
Socialism on the other hand is a system which states that the economy and wider society should be owned by workers, oppressed people and young people, the working class – the many, and run for the benefit of the whole population, not for the purpose of making money but for meeting people’s basic needs at least (food, water, shelter, safety etc.).
A key part of socialism is instead of each individual person being left to fend for themselves society comes together to ensure all people are looked after.
This means that instead of people working for some privately owned company who pay their staff as a little as they can get away with in order to make more money for the people who own it, they work for a company owned by all people and are paid a wage which is enough to support themselves and their families on.
It also means that instead of the prices of things like food, drink, rent etc. being set at whatever price some company thinks they can get away with they are a set a reasonable price people can afford by a new form of government a workers government based on workers control.
So let’s use Tesco the supermarket as an example, instead of it being run by its CEO/President (top boss) for the personal benefit of its shareholders (owners), it would be run collectively by the people who work in it for the benefit of all people, both its prices and its wages would be fair and enough for people to live on/afford, any extra which didn’t go to covering costs would go to the benefit of all people instead of the bank accounts of a few people.
Socialism means that instead of wider societies being run to ensure a few people can make money, they are run to benefit all. The NHS is an example where instead of individuals getting the healthcare they personally can afford there is a system in place that ensures all people are looked after and all people collectively work together to ensure the NHS runs well, at least that’s what the NHS is supposed to be although under capitalism it was never fully publicly owned, nor run by the people who work for it, the doctors, nurses and all workers.
Socialism also means that the decisions about all things that affect people are made by a system which truly represents the wishes of all people and is democratically controlled by the majority of people.
Socialism means workers and oppressed people together setting up a system of new organizations to plan the production and distribution of the goods required for the existence of millions of people. It can only happen through a workers’ government and with the participation of many workers and people.
Such control and planning of the economy means the chance to build a new society by using nature but in ways that do not destroy the environment and is sustainable. The capitalist system is utterly incapable of doing that.
Socialism has to be able to defend itself from all capitalist armies and the aims of capitalist governments to interfere.
True socialism has to be an international united effort, we live in a connected world, what happens in one part affects another, and socialism can never be truly achieved in one country alone. Socialism means standing up for and with the whole of humanity together.
The ideas about socialism consist of two main groups of people: one who think the idea of reform or a slow pace of change is the way forward, that is capitalism will allow their profit system to be eradicated, the other are those who work on the idea that revolution is the way forward, that begins from the bottom and is based on democratic organisations.
Socialism can only appear through mass struggle that leads to a socialist revolution and a workers government, because those who have the power will never give up their privilege, control and position.
The next piece will talk about reform.
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions feel free to ask.