What Will Socialism Be Like?

Friedrich Engels, from Principles of Communism (1847)

What will this new social order have to be like?

Above all, it will have to take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole -- that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society.

It will, in other words, abolish competition and replace it with association.

Friedrich Engels, from Principles of Communism (1847)

The general co-operation of all members of society for the purpose of planned exploitation of the forces of production, the expansion of production to the point where it will satisfy the needs of all, the abolition of a situation in which the needs of some are satisfied at the expense of the needs of others, the complete liquidation of classes and their conflicts, the rounded development of the capacities of all members of society through the elimination of the present division of labor, through industrial education, through engaging in varying activities, through the participation by all in the enjoyments produced by all, through the combination of city and country -- these are the main consequences of the abolition of private property.

Marx and Engels, from the Communist Manifesto (1848)

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

Karl Marx, from the Grundrisse (1857)

The saving of labour time is equal to an increase of free time, i.e., time for the full development of the individual, which in turn reacts back upon the productive power of labour as itself the greatest productive power.

Friedrich Engels, from Anti-Dühring, part 3, chapter 2 (1877)

The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialised production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, and becoming day by day more full, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties -- this possibility is now for the first time here, but it is here.

With the seizing of the means of production by society, production of commodities is done away with, and, simultaneously, the mastery of the product over the producer. Anarchy in social production is replaced by systematic, definite organisation. The struggle for individual existence disappears.

Then for the first time man, in a certain sense, is finally marked off from the rest of the animal kingdom, and emerges from mere animal conditions of existence into really human ones.

The whole sphere of the conditions of life which environ man, and which have hitherto ruled man, now comes under the dominion and control of man who for the first time becomes the real, conscious lord of nature because he has now become master of his own social organisation.

Karl Marx, from Capital, Volume 3 (1894)

In fact, the realm of freedom actually begins only where labor which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases; thus, in the very nature of things, it lies beyond the sphere of actual material production.

. . .

Beyond it begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom forth only with the realm of necessity as its basis. The shortening of the working day is its basic prerequisite.

William Morris, from How I Became a Socialist (1894)

What I mean by Socialism is a condition of society in which there should be neither rich nor poor, neither master nor master's man, neither idle nor overworked, neither brain-sick brain workers, nor heart-sick hand workers, in a word, in which all men would be living in equality of condition, and would manage their affairs unwastefully, and with the full consciousness that harm to one would mean harm to all -- the realization at last of the meaning of the word "commonwealth".

Daniel De Leon, from the Daily People (Nov. 2, 1908)

Socialism is that social system under which the necessaries of production are owned, controlled and administered by the people, for the people, and under which, accordingly, the cause of political and economic despotism having been abolished, class rule is at an end. That is socialism; nothing short of that.

Rosa Luxemburg, from The Socialisation of Society, 1918

At the moment, production in every enterprise is conducted by individual capitalists on their own initiative. What -- and in which way -- is to be produced, where, when and how the produced goods are to be sold is determined by the industrialist. The workers do not see to all this, they are just living machines who have to carry out their work. In a socialist economy this must be completely different! The private employer will disappear. Then no longer production aims towards the enrichment of one individual, but of delivering to the public at large the means of satisfying all its needs.

Rosa Luxemburg, from The Socialisation of Society, 1918

In a socialist society, the industrialist with his whip ceases to exist. The workers are free and equal human beings, who work for their own well-being and benefit.

Last page revision: March 5, 2004