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Socialism aims to banish evils of capitalist economy

Socialism aims to banish evils of capitalist economy

Socialism may have lost its sheen with the unrelenting wave of democratic revolutions during the last part of the 20th century, but socialism history shows that the ideals behind it never left the consciousness of many people who find reasons to complain about the failures of a capitalist market economy in their own experiences. The bastions of democracy like the US and the EU have lately slipped off the mark and their own peoples are voicing reforms that echo socialist sentiments. One need only look at the “Occupy Wall Street” movements sweeping across the US to see a marked desire to instill social responsibility among capitalists that have proven to hold the nation by the neck.

Looking for an exact all-embracing definition of the philosophy is futile as there are dozens of flavors resulting in various socialist political movements since the concept first became recognizable as such in the late 19th century.

Having said that, there are fundamental core themes common among European socialists. These include a general bent towards social equality, responsibility and economic security which private ownership and capitalist control have largely ignored in the pursuit of personal enrichment. Another is the view that collective control of the nation’s resources and productive facilities results in more social justice and economic equity among the people. In other words, socialism espouses that society as collective whole rather than individual enjoying competing freedoms fosters human equality, individual productivity and a resulting social justice for everyone. It allows no room for poverty, unemployment and social inequality, and no justification for laziness or useless work in the society.

All these echoes socialist advocacies that promise to end the recession gripping the world pointing to an overhaul of the current capitalist economies as the cure. It is no wonder that many countries now have political parties that espouse the concept but without denigrating basic democratic freedoms of elective governance, speech and expression that people hold dear. This time, the socialist agenda gets tempered with the ideals that put more conscience of social justice to economic policies that had otherwise created record unemployment and economic disenfranchisement.

As the late world-renown physicist Albert Einstein once said, socialism carries a political view “directed towards a social–ethical end.” Now that’s really at the heart of the matter. Capitalism makes everyone busy accumulating wealth with little regard for the social-ethical consequence, not even a myopic one. It’s all about, “he who has the money, rules the world.” Socialism history has shown that the European socialist experiment has been a dismal failure. But with what many are experiencing today, who’s to say that capitalism is no less a failure?

European Socialists support 'coalition for democracy’ from Hungary’s opposition

Sergei Stanislev, Interim President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) welcomes the protest initiatives of Hungary’s political opposition parties that staged a massive pro-democracy protest right in the heart of Budapest last January 3. The protest rally voiced the people’s angst against measures undertaken by FIDESZ, Hungary’s ruling party, which was perceived by European socialists and the locals as increasingly authoritarian. Specifically, it was voicing a united opposition against curtailing the independence of its central bank, media, and the judiciary, that were seen as damaging the democratic institutions in the country. More than a hundred thousand Hungarians were reported to have joined the mass rally.

Attila Mesterhazy who heads the local Socialist Party (MSZP) had played a pivotal role in coalescing various opposition parties and for which Stanislev singled out with praises, saying; "Attila Mesterhazy is helping to building a domestic coalition for democracy. The coalition is based on the most powerful force in any society - its people".

Mr. Stanislev further highlighted the commitment of his PES to support the coalition and assist in creating global consciousness about Victor Orban’s regime that has flouted democratic institutions. He adds that the people must now match Attila’s resolve and encourage global condemnation of Orban and his government.

It will be recalled that Hungary has been a democratic country since the fall of communism in the state in 1989. The old ruling party turned to socialism and was renamed simply as the Socialist Party or MSZP in the local tongue to shake off its old autocratic image. But it lost to the new Hungarian Democratic Forum or MDF in the election of 1990. The MDF has since slowly given way to the emerging FIDESZ that is now in power under Orban.

Over the years, transitioning powers between the MSZP and FIDESX/MDF have been rocked with protests that peaked in 2006 after the socialism-centric MSZP was unmasked by then Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány's to have lied to win the 2006 elections. The rallies supporting socialism turned into riots ended with the resignations of several high ranking officials in 2007 and promptly entered as a class struggle in European socialism history.

Today, the political tide seems to be doing a reversal of fortunes. Orban’s bent on authoritarian policies have fueled a coalition of opposition parties to preserve the democracy it won more than 20 years ago. This is the second time in the country’s socialism history that several parties coalesced, the first being the SZDSZ coalition of democratic parties in the 1990 elections after the fall of communism. Philip Cordery, PES General Secretary said that the European People’s Party which has FIDESZ as a member has been silent on the issue. PES has called on the European People’s party to have FIDESZ suspended until the independence of democratic institutions in the country is restored. The PES had earlier condemned the arrest of Members of Parliament who had been vocal against the constitutional distortions perpetuated by the FIDESZ regime.