WHAT IS SOCIALISM?

Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism or Communism, most rational people would agree the distinctions are not significant. All are characterized by vast government confiscation of private property, severely curtailed personal freedom, low levels of general prosperity and by totalitarian governments. How does Socialism differ from this other set of “isms”?

The hardbound edition of Webster’s Unabridged Encylopedic Dictionary helps us out.

Communism
1. a theory or system of social organization based on the theory of holding all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state
2 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

Socialism
1. a theory or system of social organization which advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles

Random Thots’ simplification of Webster’s definitions:

Communism
a system of total government ownership of all private property (except personal property such as clothing and furniture) and controls all social activity

Socialism
a system that advocates and may be the transition to Communism

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