Socialism can be defined as a social, political and economic system in which the state owns and controls the means of production, exchange and distribution of goods and services.
The main aim of socialism is to ensure equal distribution of nation’s wealth. The state, acting on behalf of the people is seen as impartial and can adequately control all productive and distributive activities and the state. This theory originated as a protest against the evils of capitalism.Karl Marx, a German propounded this theory.
Russia was the first country to embrace socialism. Other countries that at one time or the other practiced this system of government include: China, Romania, Poland etc. In Africa, Tanzania and Ethiopia also practiced socialism.
Features of Socialism
Socialism has something uniquely features. They include:
It is the last stage in the progressive movement towards the establishment of a communist society. It is a period of transition from capitalism to communism. Capitalism has not been totally abolished but it is in the process of being dismantled and replaced.
In a socialist society, there is dictatorship of the proletariat (workers) unlike the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie which exists in a capitalist system. Leadership is provided by the working-class who formed an alliance with the peasants and progressive intellectuals.
The major aim of the working class under socialism is to overcome the resistance of the capitalist elements, to eliminate them, to get ride of the factors which promoted the system of exploitation and to pursue an integrated system for the building obvious socialist state in which there is social equality.
Socialism is based on the public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.
By abolishing private property, socialism invariably abolishes the basis of inequality between men and man and establishes a regime of egalitarianism.
In a socialist state, there is revolutionary party whose primary task is to carry on the revolution and educate the people concerning their role in the new society. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was, for instance, the vanguard party in the former Soviet Union.
Opposition to the government in power is not allowed.
The principle for the production and distribution of wealth in a socialist society is: “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need or from each according to his capacity, to each according to his needs.” In emphasizing the significant role of work in the socialist society, Lenin wrote that “he who does not work neither shall eat”. Employment opportunities are provided to all citizens as of right while those who cannot work are catered for by the state.
Two forms of property are the main recognised in a socialist society, namely, (i) state-owned industrial and commercial enterprises and (ii) cooperative and collective farm property. – This means that there is no place for private property.
There are two oclasses in a socialist society, namely, (i) the workers and peasants (the new ruling class) and (ii) the socialist intellectuals who provide intellectual guidance for the socialist revolution.
Doing the socialist stage, the state will “wither away” because the reason for its existence – dissipation of workers in the interest of the capitalist class – will have ceased.
The socialist state ever sizes indoctrination, propaganda and political socialization in order to influence the people are channeled their efforts towards the socialist goal.
Socialism is scientific in the sense that it is a systematic and scientific analysis of the historical development of the various modes of production. Scientific socialism also has to undertake an analysis of the whole to the struggle between classes has played and is playing in the affairs of men.