Socialism: A Primer -
Socialism is an umbrella term for everything from anarchism to democratic socialism to communism. It is the movement away from corporate ownership in the economy towards more community and social control.
For the vast majority of human history, humans lived a communal life that was conducive to sound mental health. Much of the mental health issues in capitalist society derive from its violation of our caring, communal nature that developed during this period of hunting-gathering life.
As hunter gatherers, we owned the land, which generated wealth, in common. With the advent of civilization and its class distinctions however, the vast majority of people were dispossessed from control of the land.
In class society, the vast majority of people became slaves or serfs subject to exploitation and control by the land owning classes. Wealth disparity developed and accelerated tremendously with the advent of capitalism.
European capitalism was only able to develop by dispossessing its own peasants and the people of Latin America, Asia and Africa.
From its birth, therefore, capitalism's freedom is only available to a privileged few. Their freedom and wealth depended on others being subject to war, slavery, and exploitation.
Different types of socialist governments developed not as a matter of cerebral choice but rather as responses to very different historical situations in different countries.
The negative aspects of communism derived from it having been developed in countries subject to brutal, Western imperialist control. Communists became dictatorial in order to defend against Western imperialist attacks.
The positive aspects of democratic socialism derives from it having been developed in the imperialist countries of Western Europe. Capitalists in those rich countries allowed democratic socialism in order to prevent communist revolution. Each type of socialism thus developed in response to specific historical situations in different locations.
We know now that capitalism is destroying our physical habitat. Socialists of all types can unite in order to prevent that from happening and to transition to a more sane society.