The concept of socialism

Socialism is an economic and social system or ideology that calls for public ownership instead of private ownership, that is, control over property and natural resources, where socialists see that individuals do not live or work in isolation from society, but rather live in cooperation with each other, and all that people produce is A product of the whole society, and whoever contributes to the production of a commodity is entitled to a share in it, and therefore, society should own everything, or at least control property for the benefit of all its members. 

Under this system, individual ownership ends, meaning that individuals do not own any wealth that needs to be exploited by labor, but it is possible for him to own household tools, personal clothes and housing, as long as this property does not harm others, and socialism aims, by expropriating the individual, to create an opportunity for the equality of people In enrichment, and then the inheritance is canceled, because it contradicts economic freedom, which equates people, and does not distinguish one of them from the other except by natural features.

Historical origins:

Ideas in support of public ownership appeared since ancient times with the emergence of class society, and were an expression of the desire of the oppressed classes to be saved from oppression and exploitation towards a better life.

This development was the result of the French Revolution (1789), which embodied hopes for freedom, getting rid of the exploitation of feudal property, and the revolution ended with the elimination of the royal government, but then a new ruling class appeared, so that the persecution of the masses continued under the slogan of bourgeois democracy, but when it was not possible to achieve A true democracy with the continued presence of those who possess, and thus rule and control the fate of others, so it soon became apparent to the masses of toilers that the revolution did not fulfill their hopes.

The other revolution that had the greatest impact on the development of socialist ideas was the Industrial Revolution in England in the eighteenth century, whose actual result was more misery for thousands of workers, including children, women and men, who had to work in factories for periods of up to 14-16 hours per day. And despite the development of productivity and the achievement of societal abundance, the situation continued in the presence of a ruling class possessing capitalist means of production (wealth), and the survival of the majority in poverty.

Therefore, socialism developed to oppose the excesses of liberal and capitalist individualism, in light of the early capitalist economies during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, where Western Europe witnessed industrial production and the doubling of economic growth at a rapid pace, and wealth rose rapidly to some individuals and families, while others became poorer, leading to inequality.

This capitalist pattern resulted in a state of polarization within society, which revealed two classes with conflicting interests: the owners of capital (the bourgeoisie) and the workers (the proletariat), and with the formation of awareness among the working class about the extent of their poor social conditions and the extent of their exploitation by employers; An organized labor movement has emerged that defends workers’ rights and demands improvement in their living conditions.

Socialist ideas and principles:

Socialist ideology aims at a more just society, by eliminating capitalism, and its most important ideas can be highlighted in:

1- The Philosophical Element: Socialism starts from the judgment that unjust societies need change, and the inevitability of change comes in the light of a life based on the struggle of contradictions that arise from objective circumstances. 

2- The economic component: It is one of the most important reasons responsible for the movement of society, in terms of proportionality of income, profitability, and the distribution of society’s surpluses. Therefore, socialists see that the best way to achieve the general benefit is by transferring ownership of individuals to the state (nationalization).

3- The struggle element: the daily struggle is the basis for socialist revolutionary change, and the effectiveness of the struggle comes whenever it is more organized.

Socialists generally agreed on the demand for justice in the distribution of wealth, and the need to curtail private ownership in exchange for strengthening collective ownership of the means of production, and granting the state a fundamental role in economic life, but socialism is not a single form, including idealism (utopianism) and scientific socialism, and there is also reformist socialism. It appeared in later stages on scientific socialism.

Ideal Socialism – Utopian Socialism 

The vision of socialism, fictional or utopian, is idealistic, based on humanism and moral criticism of capitalism, and calls for a transition to a social system that achieves justice and well-being for all, through the promotion of collective ownership of the means of production, cooperative work, inclusive education for all people, and the elimination of poverty and all forms of exploitation, spread over the decades. First for the nineteenth century.

Idealism pioneers believe that the role of the state is to cooperate with the private sector to form a “mixed economy”, in order to correct imbalances that may result from market mechanisms for the purpose of organizing production, and among these imbalances is that the market produces supply that exceeds demand, which leads to wasting resources, or vice versa. It leads to a scarcity that causes high prices.

The owners of this theory believe that peaceful and non-revolutionary methods are their goal to achieve and fulfill their hope of building a socialist society in which justice and equality prevail, because in their view the human being is a rational being, and there is no need for revolutionary violence to persuade all society to adopt their ideas.

Among the most prominent idealist thinkers, Robert Owen, Louis Blanc, Saint Simon, and Charles Fourier: 

The Englishman Robert Owen (1771-1851), who believed that mankind could not fix its condition unless the living environment improved, and that he saw the development of machine production for profit only that would lead to the poverty of workers and the deterioration of their conditions. 800 to 1,200 people live in apartments they own close to their factories, and based on this vision a series of cooperation villages for producers and consumers have been developed across England.

The Frenchman Charles Fourier (1772-1827), saw the world in a state of chaos, and the solution lies in reorganizing society into brigades of 1600 or 2000 people, half of them men and the other half of women, and each person has his own peculiarity with different lifestyle according to the individual’s ability to pay With these brigades there is no government and individual ownership is not abolished, but it regulates ownership ratios as follows: 12/4 for the capital owner, 12/5 for workers, 12/3 for skill, and this idea has already spread in the United States, and there were more than 40 battalions complex except for It did not last.

He criticized this doctrine of socialism for its lack of realism. Radical change could not be achieved by persuading the royal classes to share the wealth they possess with the poor and exploited, thus achieving equality and establishing a socialist society .

Scientific Socialism

Scientific socialism came in response to the idealistic current, and is also known as Marxist socialism, after Karl Marx, and its historical context dates back to the forties of the nineteenth century, when the “famine of the forties”, in which many Irish peasants and English workers died, and with Karl Marx losing his work As an editor in 1844, he went to Paris to study economics and socialism, at which point Marx concluded that the bourgeois system was bound to fail, while his colleague Frederick Engels demonstrated that.

Supporters of scientific socialism base on a scientific understanding and rational criticism of capitalism, based on a materialist vision of the movement of history, as it is a continuous struggle between classes and a continuous struggle for the sake of rights. Human societies will turn into a new type of social organization (socialist society), and for the status quo to transform, the proletarian class (workers) must be aware of the need to adopt the revolutionary option to bring about the desired change.

The theorists of scientific socialism believe that the role of the state in the economy is to monopolize all means of production without any exception, and to nationalize all that is owned by the private. As for production, it is organized centrally and directed through its assignment to a planning body that takes the place of the market in the capitalist economy. The state organizes production in it as a historical transitional stage (the stage of revolutionary transformation), which ultimately leads to the emergence of communism, whereby society becomes devoid of classes and the state is abolished because there is no need for it at that time. 

Among the most prominent thinkers of the scientific current: Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Frederick Engels (1820-1895), who emphasized the material principle of the theory, as they analyzed history in the framework of material conditions, and believed that the material world defines ideas and not ideas determine the material world. The social system makes the individual feel alienated from himself, because individuals do not live by themselves because of the corrupt social system that exploits them like capitalism, and as a result, individuals become strangers to what their hands produce because they have become slaves of wages.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels issued the Communist Manifesto , which divided society into bourgeois (owners of the factors of production) and proletarians (workers). The history of any society is nothing but class struggles, free and slave, noble and commoner, teacher and maker, and they are in opposition. They are permanent, and they fight continuous wars, whether declared or hidden, that each time ends either with a revolutionary transformation of the whole society, or with the decimation of both the conflicting classes.

In order for the proletarian class to be able to free itself from alienation, it will work to create a social class that does not allow the exploitation of anyone, and this comes as a result of a revolution against capitalism, after which a period known as the authoritarianism of the proletariat, and then to a socialist society free from exploitation.

In Engels’s book in 1845 “The State of the Working Class in England,” the book began with a description of the Industrial Revolution in England, which would lead to the emergence of a new class of people, the working class, which would live in disrepair, while this industrial revolution would lead to obscene wealth for the rich. That competition destroyed the independent production of workers in the countryside and pushed them to migrate to cities towards looking for work. Living conditions in cities were not better, where poverty and disease, and long working hours with the risk of being injured by machines in laboratories, even children did not do better in cities. Because they did not receive a meaningful education, which led to more social problems such as unemployment, and as a result, English workers in central and northern England burned down the homes of the rich and sabotaged equipment in the factories. In Engels’ opinion, capitalism was subject to periodic crises that must be exploited to establish a communist system.

And the firm belief of Marx and Engels, that scientific socialism can change the world, if it is linked to the struggles of the working class, but in reality the revolution that will change the social system in the nineteenth century did not come, which led to the disappointment of this current. 

With the death of Karl Marx in 1883, it was linked to the terms of socialism and Marxism, and considered those terms one thing, but there is between the Marxist differences which represented the scientific socialism, and between the idealistic utopian socialism, and the development of socialism, emerged other trends are trying to fit more with reality, and the most prominent Those trends:

Christian Socialism 

Although Christianity or any other religion had no role within socialist theory or policy, the intertwining between Christianity and socialism continued into the twentieth century, and one manifestation of this link was the theology of liberation, which appeared among Catholic theologians in Latin America in the 1960s, as well as the movement Christian socialism in Britain, which is attributed to the British Labor Party, and the involvement of men and women in these currents seemed to agree on a few visions, including the condemnation of capitalism, as many socialists are militant atheists.

The beginnings of Christian socialism in the Church of England are related to the work of J.M. Ludlow, Charles Kingsley, and F. Dr.. Morris, Morris was not a Marxist, and with most of the English he was not sympathetic to the revolution, and with the assumption of the name Christian socialism, its theorists did not propose an economic doctrine or a reform program, but rather a “science of partnership”. Christianity aspires to a society in which people work cooperatively, and accordingly Morris proposed cooperative unions for workers and educational institutes, and despite Morris’ death in 1872, his ideas remained influential until June 1889, and the Christian Social Union was formed to urge basic Christian social principles.

In the twentieth century, several successive Christian socialist groups were formed in the Church of England, and in 1921 a comeback appeared in the Christian world, in which industrial capitalism was criticized in light of the Catholic doctrine, and in the United States, the Socialist League of the American Church and its successor, the Ecclesial League for Industrial Democracy, sought to Promoting the Christian socialist agenda, came William Temple (1881-1944), Archbishop of Canterbury, who urged the choice between socialism and heresy, as Christianity and social monasticism were the basic text of Christian socialism in the twentieth century.

Anarchist Socialism

According to Mikhail Bakunin, religion, capitalism and the state are forms of oppression that must be destroyed if people are to be free at all. In an essay entitled “The German Reaction” in 1842, he emphasized, “The passion for destruction is also a creative passion.” This belief led Bakunin to One uprising or conspiracy after another throughout his life, it also led him to an argument with Marx that contributed to the disintegration of the International League of Working Men in the 1970s, and as a communist, Bakunin shared Marx’s vision of a classless and stateless society in which the means of production would be under the control of the local community.

Nevertheless, Bakunin vehemently rejected Marx’s claim that the dictatorship of the proletariat was a necessary step on the path to communism, on the contrary, he emphasized that the dictatorship of the proletariat might become more oppressive than the bourgeois state, which had at least a militant and organized working class to limit its growth .

Anarchist socialism took less extreme forms in the hands of two later Russian immigrants, Peter Kropotkin and Emma Goldman. Kropotkin used science and history in an effort to demonstrate that anarchism was not optimistic about mutual aid (1897), and relied on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to argue that, Contrary to popular notions of social circadianism, the groups that flourished developmentally were those that practiced cooperation, while Goldman emerged in the United States, with a campaign against religion, capitalism, the state, and marriage.

In general, anarchism was not one thing, some of them rejected violence and revolution, stressing the importance of education in the arrival of ideas, and others were with revolutionary violence, and their most prominent beliefs were doubts about the ability of the state to play a positive role, and that the working class would overthrow capitalism, and this is not about The path of struggle and revolution, but rather through intensifying efforts to organize their efforts in social institutions.


تعدّ الفابيّة إحدى أهمّ الحركات الاشتراكية غير الماركسيّة التي ظهرت في بريطانيا بعد عام 1889، وسميت اشتراكية فابيان نسبة للجنرال الرومانيّ “فابيوس ماكسيموس”، ويعتقد الفابيان أن “التدرج أفضل وسيلة لتحقيق الاشتراكية، وقد استتبع مفهومهم للاشتراكية، حيث السيطرة الاجتماعية على الممتلكات من خلال دولة تدار بشكل فعال ومحايد، وحكومة من الخبراء المستنيرين، ويعد أغلب الفابيان من مثقفي الطبقة المتوسطة، الذين اعتقدوا أن الإقناع والتعليم سيؤديا إلى الاشتراكية، ولكن تدريجيا، من الحرب الطبقية العنيفة، وبدلا من تشكيل حزب سياسي خاص بهم أو العمل من خلال النقابات، ويهدفون إلى كسب النفوذ داخل الأحزاب القائمة، ونتيجة لذلك، مارسوا نفوذا كبيرا داخل حزب العمال البريطاني.

The most important points that distinguished Fabian socialism from Marxism is considering society as a living organism that develops with the passage of time, and the shift from capitalism to socialism can only take place through popular vote as evidence of the maturity of the masses’ political awareness and awareness of their rights and duties. They see socialism as the natural product of social development and progress. Intellectual and civilizational peoples, and the most prominent viewers of Fabianism are Sydney, Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallace, H. C. Wells, and George Bernard Shaw, who published Fabian Socialism 1889 and is considered the first intellectual product of Fabianism.

Syndical Socialism – Guild Socialism

Trade union socialism arose in the first decades of the twentieth century, among the working classes in Britain, where they saw the possibility of achieving socialism through trade unions’ control over the management and ownership of industry, and called for reducing the role of the state in public life, and opposite to Fabianism, trade-union socialism took the bureaucratic apparatus of the state as an enemy, and tried to control On the Fabian Society, when their attempt failed, they established the “National League of Trade Unions”, and with the Russian October 1917 Revolution, a group of Trade Union Socialists joined the British Communist Party, while others joined the British Labor Party.

Social Democracy

Socialist or social democracy called for the peaceful evolutionary transition of society from capitalism to socialism using established political processes. In the second half of the twentieth century, a more moderate model emerged from this doctrine, which generally adopted the organization of the state, instead of state ownership, of the means of production and welfare programs. Large-scale socialism. Socialist democracy was originally known as revisionism because it represented a change in the basic Marxist doctrine of refusing to use revolution to establish a socialist society.

Social democracy is seen as a compromise between capitalism and socialism, and it is an ideology that stipulates a commitment to parliamentary democracy, as well as to the principles of the socialist market, meaning the right of the government to play a role in supervising the ownership of some service facilities, but with the market being allowed to determine the distribution of services and goods, and this transformation appeared. Theoretical and economic of socialism in 1980 after the return of socialists to power in several countries, including Spain and France, and the British Labor Party’s victory in power in 1997 led to a shift in socialism away from its historical ideas and to take a more liberal curve.

The growth of social democracy is due to the influence of the German, Eduard Bernstein, in his book entitled “The Preconditions for Socialism and the Tasks of Social Democracy”; In it, Bernstein challenges the Marxist doctrine that condemns capitalism to failure. Capitalism overcomes many of its weaknesses, such as unemployment, overproduction, and the unfair distribution of wealth. Industry ownership has become more widespread, rather than more concentrated in the hands of the few. The success of socialism does not depend on the continuation and intensification of the misery of the working class, but on the elimination of this misery, after noticing that social conditions are improving and that the working class can, by public vote, establish socialism by electing socialist representatives. The violence of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and that followed led to Failure acceleration between social democratic and communist parties.

After World War II, social democratic parties came to power in several countries in Western Europe, such as West Germany, Sweden and Britain, and laid the foundations for modern European social welfare programs. With their rise, social democracy gradually changed, most notably in West Germany, where these changes reflected moderation. The socialist doctrine in the nineteenth century to nationalize business and industry as a whole, and although the principles of the various social democratic parties began to diverge somewhat, some common basic principles emerged. In addition to abandoning violence and revolution as tools for social change, social democracy took a position opposing totalitarianism. Abandoning the Marxist view of democracy as a “bourgeois” facadeFor class rule, and democracy was declared necessary for socialist ideals, social democracy has increasingly adopted the goal of state regulation of business and industry as sufficient to promote economic growth and fair income.

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SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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