The Socialism reference article from the Simple Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Socialism

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Socialism is the name for a set of political ideas. Socialists believe in equality, solidarity, and social justice. People have different views about what socialism means. Many socialists think the government should own large industries. Others think that workers should own companies. Still others say that people should be much more equal, but under a reformed capitalism.

History

Some people say that an Englishman, Robert Owen, was the first socialist. He said that workers should own the own companies which they worked for. The workers would then share the profits among themselves.

Many socialist political parties were formed during the 19th century and early part of the 20th century.

The most famous socialist is Karl Marx, who wrote The Communist Manifesto.

Socialism and Communism

At first, the words "socialism" and "communism" meant much the same thing. Today, they usually mean different things. People say "Communism" when they mean the Marxist and Leninist ideas of Russia's Bolshevik party.

After 1917, socialism was split into two traditions. Some socialists followed Lenin and were called Communists. Others believed in democratic socialism and were called social democrats. Social democrats disagreed very strongly with Communists.

Today, many social democrats believe in a reformed capitalism. Some other socialists still want public ownership or worker ownership.