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Political Systems


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#1 Darkademic

Darkademic
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Posted 12 February 2007 - 01:19 am

This is my attempt to cover the major political systems.

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Anarchism
A philosophy advocating the abolition of all forms of hierarchical authority, including capitalism and the state. Anarchists are opposed to the idea, advocated by most Marxists, that a transitional dictatorship is necessary to achieve a classless society and instead argue for the simultanious abolition of capitalism & the state.

There are many different types of anarchism. Three types which have been prominent throughout the twentieth century are:

-- Anarcho-Communism/Libertarian Communism
A form of anarchism advocating the abolition of money and markets and the organizing of the economy along the lines of “from each according to ability, to each according to need”

-- Anarcho-Syndicalism
Anarchism oriented towards unions and the labor movement

-- Anarcho-Collectivism
A form of anarchism where markets are abolished and production is co-ordinated with collectives of workers syndicates.

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Communism
1. Any philosophy advocating a classless, stateless society without money or markets organized according to the principle "from each according to ability, to each according to need".

2. In Orthodox Marxist theory it is stage of history coming after socialism (dictatorship of the proletariat) when the state has "withered away" and society is run according to the principle "from each according to ability, to each according to need".

-- Marxism
A philosophy based on the ideas of Karl Marx, along with its derivatives, is the certainly best-known form of communism. Marx was the first to create a total underpinning philosophy for communism. Among other things, Marxism proposes the materialist conception of history; there are stages of economic development: slavery, feudalism, capitalism, and communism. These stages are advanced through a dialectical process, progressing society as history progresses. This progress is driven by class struggle. Communism is the final form of class society as it results in one class, or conversely, no classes, as those divisions cannot exist if only one exists.

-- Leninism
Philosophy based on the ideas of Vladmir Lenin, advocates a vanguard party and claims that the "dictatorship of the proletariat" must come in the form of the dictatorship of the Communist party. The most accurate term for the USSR, China, etc. is Leninist, since they were all based on Leninist philosophy. None of them ever claimed to be Communist. Leninists regard their ideology as a form of Marxism, as it's logical evolution in the age of imperialism. In the early 1930's, Leninism itself fractured in two distinct branches: Stalinism and Trotskyism.. Maoism was also based on Leninism.

-- Stalinism
1. The period in Russian history in which Stalin ruled the USSR

2. A form of Leninism based on the ideas of Joseph Stalin. Stalinists generally argue that the major atrocities allegedly committed in the USSR did not take place and are just capitalist lies. Most claim that the USSR underwent a counter-revolution after Stalin's death, with Kruschev's rise to power.

3. Any form of Leninism which is not hostile to Joseph Stalin and does not thoroughly condemn his rule

-- Trotskyism
Form of Leninism based on the ideas of Leon Trotsky. Intensely hostile towards Stalinism. Argues that the USSR during & after Stalin's rule was a "degenerate workers' state" and that the problems in it were brought about by objective historical circumstances, not any flaw in Leninist ideology.

-- Maoism
Another form of Leninism based on the ideas of Mao Tse Tung. Maoists tend to focus on using guerilla war and peasant unrest to bring about a Leninist revolution. Most admit that Stalin & Mao made some mistakes but are still positively inclined towards them and argue that the social-political systems that existed under their rule were overall good systems.

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Socialism
1. A belief that human society can and should be organised along social lines - that is, for the benefit of all, rather than for the profit of a few 2. A type of reformist politics advocating nationalised industries and workers rights 3. In Orthodox Marxist theory, the stage after capitalism but before Communism in which the dictatorship of the proletariat rules and individuals are paid according to how much they work. China, the USSR, etc. all claimed to be in this socialist stage, none ever claimed to be in communism. That is why the USSR was called the Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics and not the Union of Soviet Communist Republics. 4. Also a form of post revolutionary society in its own right.

State Capitalism
State Capitalism is a contradiction in terms as Capitalism rejects the state as an economic or social controller. However the term is often used to mean the following.

1. Any economic system in which the state plays a significant role beyond protecting private property. A commonly used alternative for socialism by communists who are critical of extended socialism.

2. Term used by some anarchists, Trotskyists and others to refer to the economic policies of the USSR (State monopoly capitalism), either during it's entire existence or a subset of it's existence.

3. A welfare state.

4. Government policies which redistribute wealth upwards (corporate welfare) such as the military-industrial complex in the United States.

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Feudalism
Three elements existed and characterize Feudalism: lords, vassals and fiefs. Feudalism is defined by how these three elements fit together.

A lord was a noble who owned land. A vassal was given land by the lord. The land was known as a fief. In exchange for the fief, the vassal would provide military service to the lord. The obligations and relations between lord, vassal and fief form the basis of feudalism.

Manorialism or Seigneurialism
This describes the organization of rural economy and society in medieval western and parts of central Europe, characterised by the vesting of legal and economic power in a lord supported economically from his own direct landholding and from the obligatory contributions of a legally subject part of the peasant population under his jurisdiction. These obligations could be payable in labour (the French term corvée is conventionally applied), produce or rarely money.

Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of government in which a religion and the government are allied. The government rules a system which is dictated by the moral codes of a particular religion.

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Autocracies - Rule by one.

Despotism
Despotism is government by a singular authority, either a single person or tightly knit group, which rules with absolute power. The word implies tyrannical rule; it suggests a form of government which exercises exacting and near-absolute control over all of its citizens.

Fascism
The word fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini's. A system which exalts nation and sometimes race above the individual. Fascist systems use violence and modern techniques of propaganda and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition thus implementing totalitarianism. The state then engages in severe economic and social regimentation and corporatism. Fascist government is led by a single all powerful ruler, e.g. Hitler and Mussolini.

Monarchy
A monarchy, (from the Greek "monos archein", meaning "one ruler") is a form of government that has a monarch as Head of State. The distinguishing characteristic of monarchies is that the Head of State holds his office for life, unlike in republics, where presidents are generally elected for a certain amount of time. The term monarchy is also used to refer to the people and institutions that make up the royal establishment, or to the realm in which the monarchy functions.

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Republic
A republic is a state or country that is led by people that don't found their power status on any principle beyond the control of the people living in that state or country. Most commonly such principle beyond the control of the state's citizens is a hereditary principle, and in this sense a republic is the opposite of a monarchy. The republic is often associated with a kind of democracy as voting is often used to elect heads of state.

Democracy
Meaning "power in the hands of the people", I.e. rule by the people. The term is often associated with the voting election systems in place in the west, however this is not the true meaning of democracy which is intended to be the will of the people; a direct democracy.

Demarchy
Demarchy is an attempt to produce a form of democracy that is free from many of the influences and problems that are part of modern politics. It describes a political system without the state or bureaucracies, and based instead on randomly selected groups of decision makers. These groups, sometimes termed "policy juries," "citizens' juries," or "consensus conferences," would deliberate and make decisions about public policies in much the same way that juries reach verdicts on criminal cases.

Mixed Economy
Not a political system as such, but often the result of any democratic (will of the majority) system. This is where aspects of both left and right wing (collectivist and individualist) economic policy are used. The result is a so called "centrist" economy which often revolves around portions of people's money being collected as taxes, which is then used at the governments discression.

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Capitalism
1. Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. The term capitalism is used here in the broader philosophical political sense, and not in the narrower economic sense, I.e. a free-market. A capitalist system is a laissez-faire system both economically and socially. The only laws involve prevention of infringement of individual rights and prevention of fraud. The government does not receive taxes and payments for government legal protection are voluntary. Everything else is privatized. There are no "public" services as such; schools, transport, health, the media etc. are all privatized.

2. Marx used the term capitalism to refer to any society which is composed of two opposing classes; the bourgeoisie and the prolateriat, and which is based around an economic system of wage labour.

Libertarianism
A social system which advocates social and economic freedom and no (or minimal) state intervention.
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