Why do people think socialism works
Socialism is a technical term from politics. That means two different things. For one, socialism is an idea of how people should live together. All people should have the same rights and no one should be poor. Anyone who likes these ideas is a socialist.
On the other hand, one calls socialism a form of society that looks the way the socialists want it to be. The factories that make things should belong to the state. The state is run by socialists and ensures that everyone is well.
The politicians who call themselves socialists have very different ideas. Some want to change the whole of society completely, others just a little. Some also want to use violence to achieve the goal of socialism. Others, on the other hand, think that people should be persuaded peacefully so that they also become socialists.
Where did socialism come from?
Even in ancient times, some people had ideas that sounded like socialism. The first real socialists lived around 1800. They were later called the “early socialists”. Back then, the words “socialism” and “communism” meant the same thing.
One of these early socialists was Henri de Saint-Simon from France. He invented the term socialism. He wanted the achievement of all working people to be recognized. By that he meant factory workers, but also farmers and even managers and people who worked in a bank. The rest were for him the "lazy" like the nobility and people who let their money work for them.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were born a little later. They came up with what they called "Scientific Socialism". They wanted to say: Our ideas are correct because we have researched them thoroughly, as in science. Today the ideas of Marx and Engels are called “communist” or “Marxist”. Allegedly, socialism comes first, and then communism, automatically.
Does socialism already exist?
There are some countries in which the politicians claim: We already have socialism with us. For example, it used to be Yugoslavia and the German Democratic Republic. Today Cuba and North Korea call themselves “socialist”. In such countries there are mostly dictators and there is no freedom for the majority of the people.
So many people think of something bad when they hear the word socialism. Nevertheless, there are many politicians who call themselves socialists. They say they want to achieve socialism in a peaceful way. Some socialists believe that there will probably never be a completely just society. But you can try to make the world better, step by step. So the word “socialism” can be used in two ways: for violent politics and for peaceful politics.
The Social Democrats approve of many of the ideas of socialism. But they call themselves social democrats, so that one does not confuse them with the socialists, especially not with the violent ones and the dictators. In addition, many other people believe that the state should take care of poor people. This is called the welfare state. Christian Democrats, Greens and many liberals are also in favor.
Ferdinand Lassalle from Breslau founded the General German Workers' Association 150 years ago.
The rose is a well-known symbol for socialists. This is due to the red color.
The German party “Die Linke” calls itself socialist.
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