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Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control


  • The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few. Where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe. And where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.
    • Clause 4, as redrafted in 1995, from the constitution of the Labour Party in Britain.
  • The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.
  • It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent States. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact. We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists.
    • Nelson Mandela, statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial, Pretoria Supreme Court, 20 April 1964
  • The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labour...I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.
    • Albert Einstein, "Why Socialism?" (essay originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review, May 1949)
  • Socialism accepts... the principles, which are the cornerstones of democracy, that authority to justify its title , must rest on consent; that power is tolerable only so far as it is accountable to the public; and that differences of character and capacity between human beings, however important on their own plane, are of minor importance when compared with the capital fact of their common humanity. Its object is to extend the application of those principles from the sphere of civil and political rights, where, at present, they are nominally recognized, to that of economic and social organization, where they are systematically and insolently defined.
    • Richard Henry Tawney, 1931, page 197
  • It is the common error of Socialists to overlook the natural indolence of mankind; their tendency to be passive, to be the slaves of habit, to persist indefinitely in a course once chosen. Let them once attain any state of existence which they consider tolerable, and the danger to be apprehended is that they will thenceforth stagnate; will not exert themselves to improve, and by letting their faculties rust, will lose even the energy required to preserve them from deterioration. Competition may not be the best conceivable stimulus, but it is at present a necessary one, and no one can foresee the time when it will not be indispensable to progress.
  • I am a Socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, Socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for co-operation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality, not because it wants people to be the same but because only through equality in our economic circumstances can our individuality develop properly.
    • Hansard, House of Commons, 6th Series, vol. 45, col. 316. Maiden speech by Tony Blair as MP for Sedgefield, 6 July 1983.
  • I've always doubted that the socialists had a leg to stand on intellectually. They have improved their argument somehow, but once you begin to understand that prices are an instrument of communication and guidance which embody more information than we directly have, the whole idea that you can bring about the same order based on the division of labor by simple direction falls to the ground. Similarly, the idea [that] you can arrange for distributions of incomes which correspond to some conception of merit or need. If you need prices, including the prices of labor, to direct people to go where they are needed, you cannot have another distribution except the one from the market principle. I think that intellectually there is just nothing left of socialism.
  • The Idiots of socialism are slaves, but they are no one's property and therefore no one's loss.
  • Under communism (socialism), there is no incentive to supply people with anything they need or want, including safety.
  • The issue is Socialism versus Capitalism. I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough. Money constitutes no proper basis of civilization. The time has come to regenerate society — we are on the eve of universal change.
    • Eugene V. Debs, Open letter to the American Railway Union, Chicago Railway Times (January 1, 1897).
  • As for me, I am deeply a democrat; this is why I am in no way a socialist. Democracy and socialism cannot go together. You can't have it both ways... socialism is a new form of slavery.
  • Socialism is based on the astounding belief that men under an all powerful , all controlling government, can not only be made into cheery robotic ants, but that they can somehow operate beyond the most primitive levels under such conditions.
  • let me hear that dirty word Socialism.
  • Socialism is dead. Even the labour party has turned against socialism.


  • Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind.
  • Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
  • Socialism is the flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world.
  • He who is not a socialist at 19, has no heart. He who is still a socialist at 30, has no brain.
  • Socialism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen.
  • Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose except your pay packets.
  • Socialism is nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes.
  • The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.
  • Socialism is workable only in heaven where it is needed, and in hell where they've got it.

See also

Look up socialism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary