Before the dawn of the 20th century socialism was still an idea. It grew out of the industrial revolution like capitalism. Unlike socialism, capitalism was able to dominate the world, thanks to the imperialist European powers. They used the new tools that capitalism created, to conquer large parts of this world. Around 1900, most African nations were under European control. Socialism grew out of the needs of ordinary workers who were victims of the market economies. Two famous socialist philosophers were Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels!
Marx and Engels supported socialism as means to reach the class less society ( communism ). They placed human evolution in five era's. The first era was the time of ancient communism, when people worked together for the needs of their village. After that came the era of slavery, when slaves dominated the economy. After the slave era came the era of feudalism, when the nobility and kings own the means of production. Feudalism was replaced by capitalism, the system of private ownership of the economy. Marx and Engels believed that after capitalism, socialism would come and finally at the end; the class less society of communism!
Around 1900, capitalism was the dominate economic system in the western world. But in the Russian Empire and in Asia, feudalism was still the main economic system. When the Russian revolution of 1917 came, Russia was still largely a peasant feudal society. This was also partly the reason for the degeneration of the revolution and the rise of stalinism. In China the revolution deformed because of feudal backwardness and Stalinist dogmatism which replaced Marxist socialism in the Chinese Communist Party!
Many socialists debated how to change society. Some were revolutionary socialist and wanted a revolutionary change. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were revolutionary socialists and supported a workers revolution. But other socialists were reformist and supported an evolutionary change. These reformists wanted to work with the progressive elements of the bourgeoisie, in order to change the living standards of workers!
Reformist socialists took over the socialist movement and supported the First World War. The German socialists supported the Kaiser and the British socialists supported the Queen. Many revolutionary socialists opposed the First World War and choose to leave the workers parties. By 1921, many revolutionary socialists called themselves communists and supported the only nation in the world were revolutionary socialists took power. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was to be the first proletarian state in the world. But because of Russia's backwardness and the brutal civil war with the anticommunists, it degenerated into a monster soon called stalinism by socialist opponents of the Russian single party dictatorship!
In order to work under the anti-socialist European monarchies, most socialists chooses the name social democratic. Social democracy was the name of the socialist movement in the time of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. After the death of Marx and Engels, the socialists kept calling themselves social democratic and did not use the name; communist until the revolutionary socialists choose to do so after 1917!
After the revolutionary socialists split from the workers parties, the reformists decided to keep calling themselves social democrats or democratic socialists. For them a parliamentary democratic republic/monarchy was the ideal system of representation. Social democrats/democratic socialists opposed a workers state and a socialist revolution. Most reformist socialists would abandon Marxist socialism after 1945, they started to believe in a social capitalist ideology, a mixture between private and government ownership of the economy. It would take another 40 years before social democracy would become a completely capitalist ideology, so far by even abandoning their social capitalist viewpoints of mixed ownership over the means of production!
Marxist socialism is the most dominate form of socialism in the world. But there are other socialist ideologies who differ from Marxist socialism. Arab-socialism was a major ideology in the middle east, before the rise of islamism. Until the 1980's, Arab-socialism dominated most Arab nations. A famous leader who was Arab-socialist, was Gamal Abdel Nasser. He and general Muhammad Naguib ended the Egyptian monarchy in 1952 and created the first Arab-socialist state. Unlike Marxist socialism, Arab-socialism opposes class struggle. Also it supports the idea that Islam is part of the Arab world. While Marxist socialism is internationalist and proletarian in character, Arab-socialism is a nationalist ideology!
Nasser wanted to unite the Arab-world under his banner. He opposed Marxist socialism and banned the Egyptian Communist Party. A fundamental flaw in Arab-socialism is its dictatorial viewpoints on who must run the state. Many Arab-socialists created single party states and jailed all who opposed them, including islamists, liberals, conservatives and Marxist socialists. Gamal Abdel Nasser banned all opposition parties, only his Arab Socialist Union was allowed. This formula would be repeated in 1969 in Libya!
Muammar Gaddafi was 27 years old when he and his fellow officers ended the Libyan monarchy. Gaddafi became chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and like Nasser in Egypt, he created a single party state with the Libyan Arab Socialist Union as the only legitimate party. Gaddafi saw himself as the next Nasser, but also supported none-Arab revolutionary movements against western imperialism. He supported the Irish Republican Army, the Red Brigades in Italy and numerous revolutionary groups that fought against western supported regimes!
Another Arab-socialist ideology is called ba'athism. This ideology shares the dictatorial element of a single party state and like Nasser's Arab-socialism never gave political power to the working class. But Gaddafi and Nasser were not supporters of ba'athism, as it was too secular for them. The Arab-socialist Ba'ath Party wanted to be the party that would unite the Arab world in the 60's. But it splintered between an Syrian based faction and an Iraqi based faction. Ba'athism also opposes Marxist socialism because Marxism is materialistic and atheistic. The original Arab-socialist Ba'ath Party was an Arab-nationalist party. Like Nasser and Gaddafi's Arab Socialist Union it was anti-Marxist in nature!
Ba'athism shares many elements of stalinism. Both stalinism and ba'athism support the idea of a single party state under a vanguard party. This party has to be the only allowed political movement in a nation. But unlike stalinism, the ba'athist parties in Iraq and Syria glorified the Arab people and its religion; Islam. Stalinism is not based on one people and can be applied in many nations. Ba'athism is an Arab ideology and fully based on Arab traditions and customs!
After 1966, the Arab-socialist Ba'ath Party split in two parties. One took power in Syria and the other in Iraq. Hafez Al-Assad became the main leader of the Syrian Ba'ath Party in the 70's and in 1979, Saddam Hussein took power in Iraq. Although both men were of the same ideology they hated each other. Partly because Saddam Hussein started to create his own ideology and because both men supported a different interpretation of ba'athism. Also the regime of Saddam Hussein became more Islamic after the failed war with Iran. In 1991 the flag of Iraq was changed. The words ''Allah Akbar'' were added between the three stars. Even today you still see the words ''Allah Akbar'' written in the Iraqi flag. While Saddam Hussein turned more Islamic, Hafez Al-Assad kept Islam out of Syrian politics!
Hafez Al-Assad and Muammar Gaddafi shared many basic believes that are traced back to Nasser's Arab-socialism. Both the Libyan Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic joined the Federation of Arab Republics in 1972. But the struggle between the moderate president Sadat of Egypt and the dogmatic Gaddafi soon ended in conflict. Libya left the Federation of Arab Republics in 1977 and changed its name to Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Syria and Egypt disbanded the federation and with that came an end to the many years of failed attempts to create Arab unity!
Muammar Gaddafi created a new ideology based on Islam and Arab-socialism. He called it Jamahiriya, the state of the masses. Under the Jamahiriya, Libyans were to be the masters of the nation and in full control, but in reality Gaddafi and his tribe were the true masters of the Jamahiriya. Muammar Gaddafi changed the flag of Libya, from the Arab liberation flag to the flag of the Fatimid Islamic Caliphate. A green flag became the Libyan banner for almost 34 years until the Jamahiriya was overthrow by the Libyan revolution of 2011!
Egypt and Syria kept the flag of the Federation of Arab Republics until the 80's. Egypt's new president Mubarak returned to the state emblem of the former United Arab Republic, a short-lived nation that was made up of Egypt and Syria. Hafez Al-Assad also used symbols of the United Arab Republic. After the failed Federation of Arab Republics, the Arab world slowly abandon Arab-socialism as Arab leaders became more capitalist. Islamic movements were able to win the hearts and minds of many Arabs. Today the Islamic movements are the ones who dominate Arab politics. Like Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This is opposed by the traditional secular capitalist elite of the Arab world. After the Arab revolutions that destroyed the secular dictatorships of Ben Ali, Mubarak and the Jamahiriya of Muammar Gaddafi, many Islamic political parties are now legalized for the first time in Arab histroy!
Social democracy ( called democratic socialism ) in the western world, remained limited to a more social capitalistic model. In Scandinavia, the reformist workers parties won almost all elections, this gave the social democrats a change to turn the Nordic nations into welfare states. Poverty died out in the 50's, as the wealth was shared through progressives taxes. A downside of this social capitalist system was that the prices went up. Nations like Norway, Sweden and Denmark are more expansive to live in, then nations like Germany and France. Also many capitalists in the Scandinavian nations only supported the social market economy because they rather had a social capitalist system, then a fully socialist planned economy!
In the United States of America, socialism is a cursed word. The ruling class of the USA has done what they could not do in Europe. Since 1917 the American public is getting brainwashed with lies about socialism and communism. This has resulted in the fact that many Americans think that socialism is like social democracy in Europe. A system of big government with a huge bureaucracy and high taxes. Although this is not socialism, it is portrayed like socialism in the anti-socialist media. Fox News is famous for its anti-socialist viewpoints. But not only Fox News portrays socialism as ''not working''. The collapse of stalinism and strengthen the anti-socialist grip on the American working class. Both the right-wing liberals of the Democratic Party and the corrupt ultra-conservatives of the Republican Party, spread the idea that socialism has no place in the USA. When a politcian speaks about thins the US ruling class does not like, he/she is called a socialist and portrayed as a danger to American society by Fox News, the main anti-socialist propaganda network!
For Africans, socialism was a liberation ideal. When they rose up against the Europeans, most African liberation movements were revolutionary socialist and opposed capitalism. Even today's African National Congress was once a socialist party. Led by Nelson Mandela, the ANC wanted to end apartheid in South Africa. Their goals were a free democratic state under a democratic socialist system. Like most social democratic parties, the ANC abandoned socialism after 1990 and when it was legalized it no longer opposed capitalism!
Other African socialists also abandoned socialism with the collapse of the USSR. In Angola and Mozambique, the ''socialist experiments'' were ended an replaced by market based politics. Revolutionary liberation parties changed their history to erase any mention of socialism. Today most former liberation parties claim to be social democratic in nature. Most of them are in reality corrupt capitalistic. Like the ANC in South Africa, the ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe, the FRELIMO in Mozambique and the MPLA in Angola, all turned capitalist!
Why did most people gave up on socialism after the USSR? Partly because most people believed the capitalism had won the fight. The end of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was a huge blow in the face of many socialists and communists. They believed the illusion, that the USSR was a socialist workers state and a model for mankind. Only a tiny minority of revolutionary socialists opposed this idea since 1923. Even the pro-capitalist social democrats decided to turn fully capitalist with the collapse of the eastern ''communist'' states, as they were called by the western media!
But socialism does not die. Today most young people are brought up with the injustice of capitalism. They search for an alternative to the dictatorship of money. This alternative is still revolutionary socialism. More and more people see that capitalism does not work. Unfortunate because of the Stalinist experience and social democratic dominance over the trade union movement, many people are still trapped in the illusion that capitalism can be regulated!
But this is not the case. Capitalism will not allow regulation, it hates regulation. In the USA we see this in full force, were Republican and Democratic politicians are bought with millions of dollars to make pro-capitalist laws. The ruling class makes sure that only the Democratic Party and the Republican Party get all the media attention. Elections are an entertainment show in the USA and both parties spend at least 500 million dollars on propaganda. But after the elections it is business as usual. It does not matter who runs the White House or the Senate. Both the Democrats and the Republicans serve the needs of Wall Street and those who own the means of production!
In the last 10 years, the ruling class of the USA goes very far in calling socialism equal with nazism. They say that Hitler was a socialist, because his party was the National Socialist German Workers Party. USP-RSM makes on thing very clear; Hiter was an anti-socialist, he hated socialism. The first people arrested in Germany were socialists and communists. Hitler's pseudo ''nationalist socialism'' was one big lie. He never nationalized the German economy and never expropriated the capitalists. No, the ruling class was kept in power because Adolf Hitler opposed class struggle much like the Arab-socialists do. The NSDAP was supported by most German capitalists, as the nazi government banned trade unions and workers organisations. Workers were now cheap labour for the ruling class of Nazi Germany!
But the American anti-socialists have a political reason why they claim that Hitler was a socialist. Most Americans are brainwashed with the idea, that socialism is something bad. Almost 100 years of indoctrination and lies about the socialist ideology has led to this. By putting Hitler equal with socialism, the ruling class hopes to keep workers away from socialism and in line with the dogma's of the capitalist system. Since 2008, many anti-socialists target the Democratic Party and claim it is a socialist party. They say this because Obama wanted to change US society. The ruling class saw this change as a radical socialist experiment and started to put Obama on the same level as Lenin. Sometimes he is made equal with Hitler, who is also equal to Lenin according to some ultra-conservatives. These conservative anti-socialists proof how far the US society had degenerated, because of anti-socialist propaganda!
Socialism is the ideology that liberates the workers from the iron grip of their bosses. Socialism give power to all those millions who don't have it. Also socialism opposed borders, nations and cultures. We are all workers who may speak different languages, but in the end we are all of the same class. The class that must sell their labour for a wage. Socialism wants to end this. Under socialism we workers control the means of production. No, more shall capitalists enjoy the fruits of our labour. Never again shall they spend our earned money on luxurious products. Only a socialist revolution can changed this!