State socialism

State socialism

State socialism, broadly speaking, is any variety of socialism which relies on control of the means of production by the state, either through state ownership or regulation. [cite web
title=Leicester Research Archive: Redistribution Under State Socialism: A USSR and PRC Comparison
] In the former, traditional way public ownership through nationalization is held to be the preferred method for building socialism. State socialism is often referred to simply as "socialism"; the attributive "state" is usually added only by socialists with a different vision, wishing to criticize "state" socialism. Some socialists may go further and deny that it even "is" socialism, calling it instead "state capitalism". Those socialists who oppose any system of state control whatsoever believe in a more decentralized approach which puts the means of production directly into the hands of the workers rather than indirectly through state bureaucracies--which they claim represent a new elite. Proponents of state socialism claim the state, through practical considerations of governing, must play at least a temporary part in building socialism.

Today, many political parties on the political left advocate a mild version of what may be considered "state socialism", in the form of modern social democracy, in which regulation is used in place of ownership. These moderate socialists do not advocate the overthrow of capitalism in a socialist revolution, and they support the continuing existence of the capitalist state and the capitalist economic system, only turned to more social purposes.

In the former Yugoslavia, the successor political parties to the League of Communists in Serbia and Montenegro, the Socialist Party of Serbia and the People's Socialist Party of Montenegro (one of a number of parties created under the influence of Momir Bulatovic) have advocated progression towards a free-market economy but also advocated state regulation of elements of the economy, maintaining social welfare and have advocated significant state influence in the media.

Some Democratic Socialists argue for a gradual, peaceful transition from capitalism to (full) socialism. They wish to abolish capitalism, but through "evolution" rather than "revolution".

In contrast, Marxism holds that a socialist revolution is the only practical way to implement fundamental changes in the capitalist system. Marxists maintain that after a certain period of time under socialism, the state should "wither away" (in the sense that political power should be decentralized and distributed evenly among the population), producing a communist society.

Of course, the state did not, in fact, wither away in the 20th century's so-called Communist states. Some Marxists defend them and contend that the transitional period simply wasn't finished. Other Marxists denounce those "Communist" states as Stalinist, arguing that their leadership was corrupt and that it abandoned Marxism in all but name. In particular, some Trotskyist schools of Marxism call those countries degenerated workers' states to contrast them with proper socialism (i.e. workers' states); other Trotskyist schools call them "state capitalist", to emphasise the lack of true socialism.

Many libertarian socialists and anarchists go further, deriding even Marxism as "state socialism". They use the term in contrast with their own form of socialism, which involves collective ownership of the means of production without state intervention, though some calling themselves libertarian socialists are similar to modern social democrats in advocating regulation rather than ownership.

ee also

*New class
*State capitalism
*Bureaucratic collectivism
*Degenerated workers state
*Deformed workers state
*Planned economy


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Socialism — • A system of social and economic organization that would substitute state monopoly for private ownership of the sources of production and means of distribution Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Socialism     Socialism …   Catholic encyclopedia

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