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Socialism is a political philosophy and movement encompassing a wide range of economic and social systems which are characterised by social ownership of the means of production, as opposed to private ownership. As a term, it describes the economic, political, and social theories and movements associated with the implementation of such systems. Social ownership can be public, community, collective, cooperative, or employee. While no single definition encapsulates the many types of socialism, social ownership is the one common element. Socialism is traditionally placed on the left-wing of the political spectrum. Different types of socialism vary based on the role of markets and planning in resource allocation, on the structure of management in organizations, and from below or from above approaches, with some socialists favouring a party, state, or technocratic-driven approach. Socialists disagree on whether government, particularly existing government, is the correct vehicle for change.

Socialist parties and ideas remain a political force with varying degrees of power and influence on all continents, heading national governments in many countries around the world. Socialist politics have been both internationalist and nationalist; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions and at other times independent and critical of them, and present in both industrialised and developing nations.

The socialist political movement includes a set of political philosophies that originated in the revolutionary movements of the mid-to-late 18th century and out of concern for the social problems that socialists associated with capitalism. By the late 19th century, after the work of Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels, socialism had come to signify anti-capitalism and advocacy for a post-capitalist system based on some form of social ownership of the means of production. By the early 1920s, communism and social democracy had become the two dominant political tendencies within the international socialist movement, with socialism itself becoming the most influential secular movement of the 20th century. Many socialists also adopted the causes of other social movements, such as feminism, environmentalism, and progressivism. (Full article...)

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The Socialist International (SI) is a worldwide association of political parties, most of which seek to establish democratic socialism. It consists mostly of democratic socialist, social-democratic and labour political parties and other organisations.

Although formed in 1951 as a successor to the Labour and Socialist International, it has antecedents to the late nineteenth century. The association has grown to include 153 member parties from over 100 countries. Its members have governed in many countries including most of Europe. The Party of European Socialists (PES), a major European political party, is an associated organisation of the SI.

The current secretary general of the SI is Luis Ayala (Chile), who has held the post since 1989. The current president of the SI is the former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou.


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Edward Carpenter (29 August 1844 – 28 June 1929) was an English utopian socialist, poet, philosopher, anthologist, an early activist for gay rights and prison reform whilst advocating vegetarianism and taking a stance against vivisection. As a philosopher, he was particularly known for his publication of Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure. Here, he described civilisation as a form of disease through which human societies pass.

An early advocate of sexual liberation, he had an influence on both D. H. Lawrence and Sri Aurobindo, and inspired E. M. Forster's novel Maurice. (Full article...)

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