of these articles describes the political and sociological term socialism, for the magazine of the same name sees socialism (magazine).

Socialism designates egalitäre, political and economic theories, which endorse the production and distribution of achievements under joint or national steering element.

Inthe theory of “classical” socialism the view will represent that the interests of profit of the capitals owner do not align production in the result according to the need of the society. Interest of profit brings private capital to concentrate in few hands. This development suppliesfinancial oily archie, whose power can be controlled also by a democratic society less and less. From this in the theory of classical socialism the conclusion is drawn that it is necessary, means of production by means of socialization or nationalization (for example of industrial enterprises)to extract the control of the class of the capitalists.

In contrast to the liberalism the socialist theory refers not alone to equality of humans before the law, but to the material equality in the result (same distribution of the social wealth), ideallywith the goal of a classless society.Liberty is understood as possibility for the emancipation, which can be reached only by a social integration of all humans into the society. The social theoretician Karl Marx assumed the state apparatus with the timewill die. The state has only the task to distribute the gained goods for the well-being of all socially fairly.

The theory of the socialist anarchy mash however rejects national structures as instrument of domination . That anarchy mash builds connection of the individuals on the freiwillige in Collective one, advice and municipalities, in order to achieve the same goals. To that extent that tries anarchy mash a synthesis between individual liberty and collective responsibility.

An explicitly socialist movement developed only in consequence of clearing-up and industrieller revolution between end18. Century and in the middle 19. Century. It was closely verwoben with the emergence of the workers' movement. As is the case for all - ismen arose socialism historically in various forms: Of the genossenschaftlichen ideas of the early socialists over the party-politicalOrganization in social-democratic, socialist and afterwards communist parties, those in the process 20. Century often different developments assumed, up to the different interpretations of the socialist anarchy mash. To what extent the modern social-democracy, itself in some States of (Great Britain, Germanyamong other things) opposite opened for the ideas of the Neoliberalismus, still as socialist to be regarded can, is however disputed.

Table of contents

early socialism

Thomas Morus (Utopia) and Jean Jacques Rousseau are called of many socialists mental forerunners.

Straight one in the training of actual socialism gave it various variants. Early socialist such as François Noël Babeuf, Claude Henri Comte de Saint Simon, Louis Augusts Blanqui, Charles Fourier, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, William Godwin, Robert Owen or Moses Hess submitted political concepts of quasi-absolutist dictatorships up to an anarchist federalism. United were they itselfon the one hand in a repelling reaction against effects of early capitalism as in hope for a society, the medieval Standesunterschiede likewise would overcome like newer class contrasts. Often they argued very morally, a sociological inspired analysis like them by Marx were carried out,was missing.

Socialstructurally seen early socialism was carried not by the working class, but by craftsmen and small middle class. These began to feel already the distortions of the industriellen revolution, without it would have already come to the formation of a Industrieproletariats.

Some like RobertOwen tried the structure of final socialist communities in a in such a way felt hostile environment. Most socialists aimed at a fundamental change of the entire society.

Socialistically inspired activists took part in the French revolution from 1789 to 1799 and to thatessentially as civil valid European revolutions until 1848/1849 (see July revolution 1830, to February revolution 1848 and March revolution 1848/1849); a last high point in 19. These earlysocialist movements in that had century Paris municipality of 1871, as firstproletarian revolution applies and already after short time bloodily was struck down.

To the historical development the discussion lines were due thereafter more clearly: The various beginnings of early socialism split into three main lines, the anarchy mash and from the marxism inspired communist and social-democratic movements. Isolated, as in 20. Century with the Russian revolutions of 1905 and the February revolution 1917 (caused with the October Revolution 1917 only very much), the resident of Munich soviet republic 1919 or the Spanish civil war 1936 to 1939 came it toCo-operation of the three groups. This was however only in each case at short notice, usually by violent internal arguments coined/shaped and ended in the victory of a group or the defeat of all.

See also: Utopian socialism

Marxist socialism

the marxism had long timethe interpretation sovereignty in the socialist motion. Since the purge the first international one 1876 over the largest part entire 20. Century, discussions became predominant within and over socialism with by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engelsanalytic terms led. Whereby their beginnings were frequently shortened taken up (“Vulgärmarxismus “) and to today the picture “” marxism in the public to coin/shape.

The Marxist intellectual ones regarded early socialism as “utopian socialism” and placed the marxism to it as 'scientific socialism 'opposite. From this requirement a first model of world-historical growth prospect develops: Since communism can be attained not directly, socialism is a first (low) phase of communism. With Marx - however not with Lenin andother successors - the development is inevitable over socialism to communism. A goal of communism like socialism is the overcoming of capitalism and the release of humans from the exploitation by humans. In the first phase (socialism) are not yet all characteristics of the civil society (see.Bourgeoisie) overcome, but exploitation and the private property at means of production are already as far as possible waived. From one to exist both production ways one proceeds next to each other, in their development the capitalistic with the communistProduction way is slowly replaced. This development leads finally to communism. Marx in addition: „In the course of the development the class differences disappeared and are concentrated all production in the hands of the assozierten individuals, then the public force loses the political character. “

Socialismeveryone can be described after its abilities, everyone after its achievement “with the key word „, in the following communism is to apply the principle „for everyone after its abilities, everyone after its needs “.

While Marx used still another sophisticated sociological method,in order to occupy its analyses, its theory turned out ever more to the political power instrument. In its requirement on scientificness absolute heating absolute already given became after the seizure of power of socialist movements ever more the means, over (politically wished) true world view and (politically unwanted)to differentiate wrong ideology.

material socialism

the term of material socialism and/or. also „material existing socialism “was impressed in „material socialistically “the states calling, those by the communist party of the respective countries usually inParty systems were governed. To them belonged in particular the USSR with the CPSU at the point, and starting from center/end of the 1940er years to their to aligned states of the European Eastern Bloc in such a way specified: Poland, ČSSR, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, GDR; in addition, other states as for instance the Mongolian People's Republic of (Mongolia from 1924 to 1992). Further partly contradicting exist from some than material socialistically designated systems, for example in that to today some further very different, People's Republic of China (since 1949), in Viet Nam combined after the Viet Nam war (at the latest since 1975), Laos (since 1975), Cuba (since 1959) or North Korea (since 1948). In that Mongolia reforms communist MRVP also under pluralistisch democratic signs of 1992 to 1996 and again in the year 2000 the government selected, likewise the communist party of Moldavia, which governs under pluralistischen signs since 2001 in Moldavia.

With the October Revolution 1917 in Russia the opportunity, the ideas was offeredto convert socialism into the practice. After the October Revolution formed world-wide communist parties, which came out mostly from splitting off from moderately reform-oriented socialist or social-democratic parties already existing.

The term of material socialism should explain, why many forecasts of the Marx theoryas did not occur for example a “dying of the state”. It should point out further that these states were further on the way to communism to fight however with problems of the material politics just like with hostile influencing control by “counter-revolutionary forces”had.

Stalin represented the theory that instead of a world revolution, which should at the same time have taken place in all countries, first socialism in a country, in the concrete historical case of the Soviet Union be developed can and is.

At the latest since then itself Stalin afterthe death of Lenin against its will in the Soviet Union against Trotzki had implemented, utopian hopes of the socialist movements in the material-socialist states were in fact given up. Material socialism turned out to its mixture made of power politics of the Soviet Union and the one inThe west as diktatorisch technokratisch designated communism, which appeared many only as illusory communism.

Since the turn of 1989 material socialism, particularly “up to then, applies for that of the European „Eastern Bloc in particular under the radical measures Stalins until 1954 (see. Stalinismus), in addition,its successor after Chruschtows Entstalinisierung since 1956, particularly in Europe and North America as historical discredits to a large extent. In particular substantial offences against the human rights in the large material-socialist countries, beside the USSR also in China and other nations carried substantially tooa moral discrediting of material socialism.

The causes for the failure of material socialism on other levels, anyhow that of the European Eastern Bloc, are various. As main causes of many under others the following developments are regarded:

  • Developed against the forecasts marxismthe capitalistically coined/shaped industrial nations of Europe, North America and Eastern Asia on pressure of the workers' movement a more or less strongly minted social security system in a welfare state, that the worst social differences and the poverty in these countries cushioned and thus alsopotenzielles revolutionary Potenzial undermined clearly there.
  • The state apparatus of most material-socialist states proved due to democratic participation lacking as increasingly inflexible, and due to more ideological and other obstacles hardly able to deal with the complexity degree of modern western societies.
  • The states of the materialSocialism oriented themselves at a usually capitalistically coined/shaped modernization model, only they could up-get the degree the modernization of these states, apart from few technological exceptions, hardly. They tried, nevertheless - approximately by subsidies within many ranges (health service, public traffic,Basic food production, housebuilding etc.) - to exceed the social achievements of the capitalistic states, which a cause for the statement became „overhauling without to catch up “.
  • The political systems of material-socialist states were carried only rarely in the long term by the majority of the respective population, in particular therenot, where the appropriate system (without own revolution) was forced upon from the outside (particularly in Hungary, the ČSSR, Romania, Poland, which GDR and Bulgaria). These systems became against a moving opposition of the dominant socialist or communist parties upDuration also by an increasingly ausufernden police state (spying on, Repressionen, censorship) alive receive. The indignant part of the population, who would have partially rather emigrated, often prevented by check plants and visa regulations from leaving the state. Material-socialist statesalso means used, under those the advocates of socialism in 19. , Exemplarily for this is the political pursuit of defiance crates had suffered century.
  • In the converted nationally and central directed planned economy it was missing to most material-socialist states often onOverview of the conditions and the need locally. Through long-term economic planning without a feedback of the producers and consumers often the flexibility was lost to react at short notice to complex restaurant procedures. The consequence was that frequently at the need pastone produced, economically necessary investments were omitted, resources were inappropriately used and innovations were not converted. A further economic cause for the failure of material socialism was the high indebtedness of the appropriate states, which increased in particular in the cold war, for example, over in thatArms production with the military development of the USA and NATO step to hold (see. Arms race, arms race).


in the social-democracy sat down since beginning 20. Century the view through, socialism not by oneRevolution to be able to reach but by democratic reforms.

First essentially oriented yourself the social-democracy at the revolutionary ideal of communism in the sense of the Marx theories. An explicit demarcation to communist positions stepped gradually starting from the change of 20. Century up. For the discussion around this distinction and in the long run the fragmentations of the social-democracy resulting from it, which took place in the reason contentwise similarly in the socialist and social-democratic parties of many countries, in the following each other opposite become exemplaryDevelopments in Germany and Russia marked out:

In Germany the social-democracy began its party-political organizing with the ADAV (general German worker association), which was created 1863 by Ferdinand let-letting let-leaving. 1869 followed with the SDAP (social-democratic labour party) under William dear farmhand and August Bebel a further predecessor party of the later SPD. More radically than the ADAV it represented first a communist inspired transformation of the society. 1875 united the ADAV and the SDAP to SAP (socialist labour party of Germany), outthe 1890, after abolition of the repressive Bismarck socialist laws, finally to today SPD firmierende under this name (a social-democratic party of Germany) came out.

In Germany the argument began whether the way to socialism over the revolution or overReforms to lead, with the revisionism theory and the appropriate heated led, according to this theory designated principle debate (revisionism debate) should end 19. Century. This debate was released substantially by the reform-oriented theoretician of the SPD , Eduard amber. Its position remainedfirst still in the minority. Only after the death of the chairman of the party 1913 and the taking office by Friedrich Ebert reform orientation in the German social-democracy became generally accepted August Bebel - strengthens with the politicspolitics politics of the party in the First World War. During the war the USPD from opposition split itself off for the war-approving of attitude of the SPD the nut/mother party . From the left wing of the USPD, formed for the Spartakusbund in the group with other left-revolutionary groups after the November revolution of 1918 the communist party of Germany (KPD) on substantial initiative of the leaders of the Spartakusbundes, Karl dear farmhand and pink Luxembourg, which was murdered briefly after the KPD establishment.

Thus splitting the German social-democracy into two parties was, the reform-oriented SPD andthe Marxist-revolutionary KPD, unreversible carried out. The USPD was ground until 1922 between this two Poland in the reason and played after 1922 only an insignificant role in the Weimar Republic.

Into Russia the social-democracy already split 1903 in two parliamentary groups up, which reform-oriented Menschewiki (= Minderheitler) and the Marxist in a revolutionary manner oriented Bolsheviks (= Mehrheitler), whose prominent theoretician and guidance figure were Lenin. To a relative to short phase of recent co-operation it came 1912 final splitting of the two parliamentary groups. In the February revolution 1917, which led to the joggle of the Zaren, first the Menschewiki could become generally accepted with the government Kerenski. Also under their missing readiness and initiative to terminate the First World War for Russia came with onerenewed revolution, the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks under Lenin to power. They justified Russian Bügerkrieg after the 5-jährigen against the different zarentreuen „white troops so mentioned “(see. White army) the USSR with from thatBolsheviks a come out communist party as dominant state party (starting from 1952 after different renaming a communist party of the Soviet Union the CPSU). The smashed social-democracy had on it in Russia and/or. the USSR in the following decades to nearly for the end 20. Century no power-politicsMeaning more.

In contrast to it the development stands in Germany, where the making and the system question 1919 in favor of the reform-oriented social-democracy was decided - although with the aid of right-nationalistic military and free corps federations. Although the SPD in their pro grammarthe overcoming of the capitalistic to a socialist production, thus the socialization of means of production into the Heidelberger program of 1925 inside pursued, did not come up it in political everyday life practice another way, i.e. that the reform party, those their goals notrevolutionary, but on parliamentary way to intersperse searched. In the Weimar Republic its influence on government level was back pushed however already very soon by conservative and right-nationalistic parties; it remained however one of the largest parties in the first German republic, toit was forbidden 1933 after the seizure of power of the national socialism in the fascist dictatorship under Adolf Hitler (time of the national socialism), like all other parties also (if they did not dissolve).

Only after the defeat of Germany in the Second World Warand the end of the LV dictatorship the SPD could regenerate and became after its readmission starting from 1946 in the western zones of occupation beside the CDU to the most influential political party in the West German, 1949 based, Federal Republic of Germany.

On the other hand it came intothe East German Soviet zone of occupation under Soviet influence for the obligation combination of the SPD with the dominating KPD for the socialist unit party of Germany (SED), those in the GDR from 1949 to their fall 1989/1990 at power remained andat the CPSU and the political system of the USSR aligned itself.

The SPD in the Federal Republic came the first time in a large coalition with the CDU 1966 to the government. Willy Brandt was a minister of foreign affairs of this government. The SPD placedafterwards, between 1969 and 1982, with chancellors Brandt (1969 to 1974) and Helmut Schmidt (1974 to 1982) the heads of the government. Between 1998 and 2005 a SPD lead government with Gerhard Schröder was again in the Federal Republicas Federal Chancellors at power. Since 2005 again a large coalition from union and SPD governs.

With the Godesberger program had changed itself the SPD 1959 from a class party to the people's party (see. also people's party (a type of party)). Accompanying with it one becameRedefinition of the term „socialism “necessarily. One got rid of of in a marxist manner understood adjustment of the term prevailing up to then „socialism “and selected as new conceptualness „democratic socialism “, in order to imply thereby the acknowledgment of the pluralistischen system of the western democracies.

Democratic socialism, new one left

democratic socialism was practical therefore long time a synonym for the social-democracy. In the GDR democratic socialism was reviled as „Social Democratism “. Since the failure of material socialism and increasing liberalisation of the social-democracy up to modern Neoliberalismus (publicised in the social-democracy particularly by the SPD under Gerhard Schröder and the British labour party under Tony Blair), for many a particularly aggressive increase of international capitalism, takes the efforts after its own democratic socialismtoo. Many are explicitly not as social-democratically feeling socialists on the search for new political concepts. The social-democracy continues to move away ever from Marxist society analyses and the associated concept of socialism; in the party one discusses,whether the concept of democratic socialism from the party program is to be erased.

Democratic socialism in appropriate new variants sets on the one hand on a development of the welfare state, on the other side on a stronger orientation of the parliamentarism to elements direct democracy.

In Germany see itself the 1990 from the SED a party of democratic socialism ( Party of Democratic Socialism), come out, on the extraordinary conference 9. Party Congress of 17. July 2005 in Berlin renamed into the left wing party., this goalconnected. In other states of Western Europe similar contents in some communist parties, which had put the revolutionary course down in the own country, with the ideological direction of euro communism had already settled center to end of the 1960er years. Examples of representatives of theEuro communism were for instance the communist party of Italy (KPI, Italian Partito Comunista Italiano - PCI), which 1990 renamed itself into „a democratic party that linking “(Italian Partito Democratico della Sinistra - Party of Democratic Socialism) or the communist party of France (KPF) (French PCF).

When representatives of democratic socialism become also determined „undogmatische so mentioned “or „anti-authoritarian “currents „new linking “regarded, which came out from the APO (Ausserparlamentari opposition) of the student movements since center of the 1960er years. The new left one stepped and stepsin different parties up, which reach the Greens in West Germany of the very different, small , as K-groups designated splinter parties over the SPD up to the 1980 a again created party „“(today „alliance 90/Die the Green “); WASG - thoseChoice alternative for work and social justice (based January 2005; starting from 18. Not to forget September 2005 with 12 delegates in the Bundestag). Others remained further outside of parties, for example in different social motion (see.New social movements), politically engages.


in view of the change for the production way of High carouse capitalism (Wolfgang Haug) and the associated ways of life demand left-political intellectual ones to learn from the historical experiences and to update the socialist project. In the Federal Republic new “maintenances leave themselvessocialism " observe. A critical stocktaking undertakes among other things the magazine the argument and the there likewise settled edition of the historical-critical dictionary marxism (HKWM).


critic of socialism accuse to its representatives, they pursued the structurea totalitarian social order developed on arbitrariness. They regard the development of a corrupt suppression state as logical consequence of a social order, which ignores and instead of same right for all different rules for different persons plans vested titles. The rule of a class became new Power structures justify, which were based alone on the force monopoly of the state. From this power circle impossible individuals are to a large extent unprotected in a in such a way organized society. The moreover due to theoretical considerations and historical experiences it is criticized that the protection lacking of the private property as well asnational restrictions poverty cause, which meets usually the weakest ones of the society hardest.


  • Rudolf Bahro: The alternative. To the criticism of material existing socialism. 1977 information
  • Klaus von Beyme: Political theories in the age of the ideologies. 1789-1945.Wiesbaden, West German publishing house. 2002.ISBN 3-531-13875-8
  • B. Crick: Socialism. Milton Keynes, open University press. 1989.
  • Eric Hobsbawm: Revolution and revolt. Essays to communism, anarchy mash and revolution in 20. Century. Frankfurt, Suhrkamp. 1972.
  • Hans Herman Hoppe: Democracy, thatGod is not
  • Ludwig of bad “the social economy”
  • S. Mukherjee/S. Ranaswamy: A History OF Socialist Thought. London. Legend. 2000.
  • J.L. Talmon: History of the totalitarian democracy. Cologne, West German publishing house. 1961/1963 (2 volumes).
  • P. Weber: Socialism as culture movement. EarlysocialistWorkers' movement and developing two hostile brothers marxism and anarchy mash. Duesseldorf, Droste. 2000.

see also

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Wiktionary: Socialism - word origin, synonyms and translations
Wikiquote: Socialism - quotations

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