Socialism and Communism

Socialism and communism are distinct yet intimately connected forms of economic organization, political movement, and philosophical thought. From the mid-19th century onward, the terms have been generally synonymous with working-class movements. Karl Marx is the philosopher par excellence of these debates, and this entry therefore remains firmly within the orbit of his theoretical writings. For Marx, socialism and communism are concerned with contesting the exploitations inherent within capitalist democracy, such as private ownership of the means of production, commodity fetishism, oppression, and alienation of the workers. Collectively, then, both socialism and communism aim to secure greater freedom and equality for everyone (not just for those who sell their labor power to the capitalist), often through violent forms of revolutionary struggle. This entry begins with ...

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