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Socialism is the name given to a wide range of socio-economic, and to a lesser degree cultural and political, theories based on the principle of economic determinism - that is, the functioning of society and government is ultimately determined by the organisation and inherent nature of the base economic system.
Socialists typically advocate either total or partial common ownership of the means of production, fair allocation of economic resources, equal redistribution of wealth, republicanism and the abolition of the class system through either revolutionary or progressive means.
Modern Socialism is closely linked to Communism, though the two should not be confused and Socialist thought pre-dates modern Communist thought by at least several decades. Within the left-right ideological spectrum, Socialism is usually classed as inhabiting the centre-left to far centre-left of the spectrum, with Communism inhabiting the extreme left.
Although different branches of Socialism typically consider themselves to be the main, or perhaps only, method of Socialist thought, the term can be applied to a number of various socio-economic theories and political ideologies that may not have a great deal in common. The late twentieth century has in particular seen the rise of a much more progressive form of Socialism in the western world compared to its historical, more extreme form. The most important division in the Socialist community is that between those who advocate revolution and those who advocate reform, with the former frequently being Communists.
In Communist though, Socialism is seen as a transitionary stage between a capitalist (and often statist) society and a Stateless, Communistic society - thus, most Communist States consider themselves to be Socialist Republics. In much of the western world however, this view has been rejected by the mainstream Socialist community, who have come to see Socialism as being compatible with liberal democracy (as opposed to the Communist popular democracy) and believe that progressive reform of society is needed rather than sudden revolutionary change.
Micronationally, many micronations have a Socialist party active within their political system, though some enjoy much more success than others. They tend to be more common and enjoy greater success than Communist Parties, though this is often only the case if they are democratic or not revolutionary.
- Socialism on wikipedia
- What is Socialism?, an e-book by a British Socialist party
- Marxist Internet Archive, which contains writings by a number of prolific Socialists even if they were not also Marxists