What does "socialism" mean to you?

Dec 2009
19,933
The OP is self-explanatory.

Pasted online encyclopedia quotations is not what I'm looking for; trust me, I'm perfectly able to search them by myself.

What I'm looking for is more the personal concept & impressions of each one of us, including personal experiences (if they were considered relevant here).

Economical, political and/or social criteria might be included; in fact, it's an entirely open question.

Thanks in advance.
 

Gile na Gile

Ad Honorem
May 2008
4,466
Fireland
Away from the often complicated nuances of theory I would say it's simply the attempt to artificially inject a greater degree of justice and fairness into our myriad goings on. Its success depends on the notion that 'justice' and 'fairness', though abstract concepts, must be forced, through our own labours, to be given real concrete existence in the world. Of course, any government or monarchy or even a tyranny may claim that their form of governance is permeated by considerations of 'justice'. The divine right of kings may be invoked to forestall more democratic assemblies and the justice here imagined by the authoritarian monarch is no less than the justice of allowing God's will operate through his own divinely sanctioned wishes. Of course, the wedge of the enlightenment has displaced the 'intermediary' rule of the divine proxy with the egalitarian notion that no one of us has rational claim to especial heavenly foresight. Here, we have the first levelling that makes possible a more socialist means of political organisation for all at once the formerly 'natural' hierarchy sustained by the central king and his network of lords, earls and dukes is displaced from the locus of power by a nominal democracy.

I think, both because socialist 'states of affairs' don't have any reality outside of what we ourselves give to them and that they are absolutely necessary for our survival, the 'movement towards socialism' will always result in a tension between 'power centres' and peripheralised power seekers.
Points of high tension naturally result in wars and revolution whereas periods of tolerable equilibrium result in extended times of peace. It is always then necessary to encourage a notably disenfranchised bloc to assert that right which is naturally theirs and to ensure the overall elasticity of a socius which is now global and increasingly integrated. The recent globalisation of the socius, which I understand to be that domain in which we are responsible actors, has merely expanded the region, out beyond the confines of the tribe, the empire and the nation state in which we may be said to have our (still abstract) commitment to 'justice' and 'fairness'.

Of course, some still belong to a tribe, some to an empire, some to a nation state and many more have affiliations in between. Stiill others again, perhaps the majority, who knows, deny even the necessity of these abstractions and here lies perhaps the greatest source of tension - life givers, and life takers.
 

Bismarck

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
2,847
rangiora
Where the state takes a pro-active role in the redistribution of wealth. All western democracies are socialist to some degree, some more so than others.
 

Sharks and love

Ad Honorem
Jul 2008
5,397
Sharkland
Personal experiences: Socialism as it is discussed in everyday American life is indistinguishable from Communism.

To me it is a silly buzz word. I like to discuss things without the labels as much as possible.

I am not afraid, opposed, or favorable towards something because it is part of an ideology or a group it belongs to.
 

Gile na Gile

Ad Honorem
May 2008
4,466
Fireland
Personal experiences: Socialism as it is discussed in everyday American life is indistinguishable from Communism.

To me it is a silly buzz word. I like to discuss things without the labels as much as possible.

I am not afraid, opposed, or favorable towards something because it is part of an ideology or a group it belongs to.
Sometimes discussion is given an enormous kick start by jettisoning entirely what is supposedly regarded as knowledge. Well, let's not be too dismissive. It's always nice to know where ideas had their reputed origins and so picking them up and developing from this point where there is an attested origin an 'informed' discussion is considered to be possible. Here, though, for the purposes of a message board it's simply too tedious at times to have continual recourse to the precise dates and people; a wiki or google will tell us of early pioneers Robert Owen and so on, it will emphasize Marx and the attempt to put the matter on a scientific footing, maybe the Chartists too and certainly the early Social Democratic parties and all these thinkers and organisations have certainly played a role in refining modern notions of what socialism entails or should entail. But in the spirit of the OP I think what's required here is more a personal impression of what 'socialism' is or should be, whether those impressions are positive or negative or otherwise.

I would say that anyone who has developed a negative impression of what socialism is then necessarily we would have to visit such issues as Cold War ideology and so on because it seems strange otherwise that such a wholly positive concept as 'tending towards being more socially integrated' which is what the adjective, on the face of it suggests the meaning of 'socialism' to be - why, on these grounds would anyone object to 'socialism'. Only because a certain form of the signifier 'socialism' has become that most objectionable of beasts, the mark and stamp of an objectionable political ideology.

If we bear in mind that the as yet neutral signifier 'socialism' has many signifieds, many potential meanings, then we might begin to sniff some diesel. The Socratic approach is required I fancy. We could in the first instance dispense completely with the discussion of how 'socialism' as it would be discussed in an academic context evolved and instead focus on how even capitalism in its rawest forms has necessarily elements of a socialist character built into it. Anything, just to shake up the rootedness of the inherited conventional signifier/signified relations of the term.
 
Sep 2010
14
Equality, friendship, fairness. No poverty, no hatred, no conflict. Free education and healthcare for all.

Well, it's my idealistic vision. :)
 

pablo668

Ad Honorem
Apr 2010
2,201
Perth, Western Australia. or....hickville.
A higher level of taxes, higher levels of govt debt, but good services eg schools, hospitals, power, water etc.
That's what Australia was like in the past. We ended up rationalising the hell out of everything and selling it off though.....this is supposed to much better for everyone/the country. Though we still have high taxes and foreign debt.
 

Bismarck

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
2,847
rangiora
By that definition, Reaganomics qualifies, as it served to redistribute the aggregate wealth of the middle and lower classes to the wealthy elite.
Well of course it is, coz they also spent money on social services. The so-called 'conservative' government of Eisenhower was probably more socialist than the Clinton/Obama terms.