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    Posted September 25, 2008 by

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    Since iReporters seem to be confused: Socialism vs Communism


    I am seeing more and more anti-Socialism and anti-Communism comments usually wrapping their comments into the same burrito. Some even go as far as to use the oxymoronic term "Socialist Fascist" At first I thought it was sarcasm, but I am no longer sure. So, to clarify things a little, a small lesson:





    What is Socialism? Socialism is a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole, procedure or practice in accordance with this theory, and (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles. Please notice that the natural evolution of capitalism is, ideally, socialism. However, as with Russia, the government perverted the socialist ideal and brought about communism. Where communism takes its divergence from socialism is, instead of the community as a whole owning the lands, etc. it is a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.






    We'll come back to communism in a moment. What is capitalism? A solid definition of capitalism is an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth. Yup, that's corporate America for certain. The ideal is similar to socialism in the fact that the people have the power. However, unlike socialism, not all people have power; it is shared only with those who hold and amass private wealth. The more wealth they accrue, the more power they gain to accrue more wealth. This leaves the majority of the community struggling. Now, the bonus to capitalism is anyone, you, me, anyone can build a business and engage in the system. At least, that's the idea.






    But what about the government? Where does that fit in with capitalism? Well, we are a republic, a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. As a capitalist society, this means the great wealth of America has a significant influence on our politics and how they are presented and enforced. This is where "special interests" come in. it seems as a capitalist republic we are living hand in hand with socialism. So why are so many people here confusing socialism with communism still?






    And what of democracy? A democracy is defined as government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. The ideals seem nearly identical to those of a republic, so why the constant struggle between democrats and republicans? Well, a democracy is also defined as the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power. We, the common people, and they the privileged class. Privileged based on an accumulation of personal wealth as explained in the definition of capitalism, who have the greatest political power. This, to me, is where we have strayed from the socialistic ideal to the greatest degree; as the chasm between the wealthy and poor continues to widen it seems we, the common people, the mass public, are being left behind by both our representatives and privileged class. In a capitalist society that schism will never get any better. As the middle class reaches its extinction we are becoming a nation of only two classes: the privileged and the servants.






    A truly socialist republic or democracy would mean that we, the people, have more. More wealth, more resources, more of a say. Why would that be seen as a bad thing, I wonder? Are people still confusing socialism with something else? As a socialist nation families would be fed and housed, jobs would be more available and the government would be more accountable. The gap between the rich and the poor would shrink and the majority would once again be the majority. Unless the government or the rich perverted it, which would bring us back to where we are now.






    Please, do not confuse socialism with communism and do not confuse capitalism with freedom.



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