“What is socialism?” poll

June 2024 Forums General discussion “What is socialism?” poll

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
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  • #85532
    maxhess
    Participant

    Has there ever been consideration given to a poll being carried out into how many people know what socialism is?

    It seems that if we carried out a poll (or had one carried out for us) we might be able to attract a fair bit of publicity for the results. And with Corbyn wanting to win power, might it not be an especially good time to do this?

    I’m guessing the result would be around 95-98% of those polled would not know, which I think would cause a lot of surprise, and hopefully, a lot of interest in knowing what it actually is?

    #127109
    rodmanlewis
    Participant
    maxhess wrote:
    Has there ever been consideration given to a poll being carried out into how many people know what socialism is?It seems that if we carried out a poll (or had one carried out for us) we might be able to attract a fair bit of publicity for the results. And with Corbyn wanting to win power, might it not be an especially good time to do this?I’m guessing the result would be around 95-98% of those polled would not know, which I think would cause a lot of surprise, and hopefully, a lot of interest in knowing what it actually is?

    Do you mean they would not be able to give an answer, or wouldn't give the same definition as us? We don't have exclusive use of a definition for socialism.

    #127110
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    rodmanlewis wrote:
    We don't have exclusive use of a definition for socialism.

    Oh yes we do… 

    #127111
    DJP
    Participant

    The meaning of words comes from how people use them. That's how language works.I'm sure most people don't use "socialism" the exact same way as we do. But a poll like suggested in the original post would be like taking a poll of the meaning of the word "gay" and then when most people say "homosexual" saying "No – gay means happy!"Defintions are not things that can be true or false only used inconsitsently or not.A better approach would be to get people to think about what they think "social ownership" would entail if that is what they mean by "socialism". Telling people they are wrong because they don't share common definitions just shuts down dialogue. It should be more about using things as a way of opening up dialogues.

    #127112
    rodmanlewis
    Participant
    DJP wrote:
    Defintions are not things that can be true or false only used inconsitsently or not. 

    I don't think that's strictly true. Definitions have to be meaningful. If not they have to be preceded by qualifications like "alleged", "imagined" or "believed". If someone describes socialism as "common ownership of the means of production and distribution", that is a meaningful definition, although you may not agree with it as a possibility. This is true of defining it as state capitalism, nationalisation or state control. However, if socialism is described as "common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange" this is a meaningless concept because you cannot have common ownership and exchange alongside each other.

    #127113
    DJP
    Participant

    The second one is contradictory, not meaningless.I could say a "blumba" is a square circle. That's a meaningful definition though self contradictory one..It's the difference between synthetic and analytic truths, if there is such a difference. But there you go…I think our main concern should be how to effectively engage with people not philosophy of language…

    #127114
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    There's class to consider. Do we dance to their tune?

    #127115
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    maxhess wrote:
    Has there ever been consideration given to a poll being carried out into how many people know what socialism is?It seems that if we carried out a poll (or had one carried out for us) we might be able to attract a fair bit of publicity for the results. And with Corbyn wanting to win power, might it not be an especially good time to do this?I’m guessing the result would be around 95-98% of those polled would not know, which I think would cause a lot of surprise, and hopefully, a lot of interest in knowing what it actually is?

    I had an idea a while back to carry out research on people's perceptions on 'socialism'. I think it would be a wothwhile endeavour "98% of those polled did not know what socialism means".  would be powerful statement.The research would have to be based on some assumptions, as all research is. It would require a definition of socialism based on  historical data. and a well thoughtout questionaire. Such research would be no less valid than any capitalist research and who cares anyway. We are the world socialist movement of well over 100 years, if we are not qualified to define socialism who is? Dictators?

    #127116
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Any poll we should conduct must have a positive outcome for ourselves…and i think there would be if we ask if people accept or reject…(could be the usual polling scale…from strongly agree to strongly disagree)…for all the various values of socialism and the actual practice of socialist society.

    #127117
    twc
    Participant

    We recognize one, and only one, definition of Socialism — our Object.A system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.

    #127118
    robbo203
    Participant

    What about a poll that identifies or lists particular historical figures plus a quote or summary from each of them relating to their particular take on "socialism"?e.g. Marx, Lenin, Tony Blair etc You could then ask people to tick the relevant  box as to which of these best describes "socialism".I think that this would at least highlight the point that what we call socialism – the Marxian defintion – differs from the others in a quite profound way and it might get people thinking…

    #127119
    rodmanlewis
    Participant
    robbo203 wrote:
    What about a poll that identifies or lists particular historical figures plus a quote or summary from each of them relating to their particular take on "socialism"?e.g. Marx, Lenin, Tony Blair etc You could then ask people to tick the relevant  box as to which of these best describes "socialism".I think that this would at least highlight the point that what we call socialism – the Marxian defintion – differs from the others in a quite profound way and it might get people thinking…

    We want socialism–the system, not socialism–the word. If we start introducing those two arseholes at the end of the list, then it becomes self-defeating. The last name has had more than his fair share of publicity, why should we give him more?

    #127120
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Besides, political opportunism determined what  lenin and Blair said about socialism and a reasonable interpretation of events will show that.  We have already shown that their interpretations are distortedThe research would have to define socialism as perceived by Marx and his contemporaries. The scientific foundations of the term. I think it will be the same as that of the world socialist movement: A post-capitalist society of common ownership, democratic control and free access for all.  There is such a thing as distortion by those who have an interest in doing so.  The SPGB University of Socialism has already laid the foundations for such research.

    #127121
    robbo203
    Participant
    rodmanlewis wrote:
    robbo203 wrote:
    What about a poll that identifies or lists particular historical figures plus a quote or summary from each of them relating to their particular take on "socialism"?e.g. Marx, Lenin, Tony Blair etc You could then ask people to tick the relevant  box as to which of these best describes "socialism".I think that this would at least highlight the point that what we call socialism – the Marxian defintion – differs from the others in a quite profound way and it might get people thinking…

    We want socialism–the system, not socialism–the word. If we start introducing those two arseholes at the end of the list, then it becomes self-defeating. The last name has had more than his fair share of publicity, why should we give him more?

     Sure I understand what you are saying but the probem is people in the main tend to identify socialism "with the two arseholes at the end"; realtively  few  are aware of the Marxian/SPGB defintjion of socialis. The whole pointt of the exercise is to highlight the huge gulf between these different versions of (pseudo)"socialism" and the real thing by encouraging people to see it for themselves with a question like "which do you think is the more accurate descriotion of socialism"

    #127122
    robbo203
    Participant
    robbo203 wrote:
    rodmanlewis wrote:
    robbo203 wrote:
    What about a poll that identifies or lists particular historical figures plus a quote or summary from each of them relating to their particular take on "socialism"?e.g. Marx, Lenin, Tony Blair etc You could then ask people to tick the relevant  box as to which of these best describes "socialism".I think that this would at least highlight the point that what we call socialism – the Marxian defintion – differs from the others in a quite profound way and it might get people thinking…

    We want socialism–the system, not socialism–the word. If we start introducing those two arseholes at the end of the list, then it becomes self-defeating. The last name has had more than his fair share of publicity, why should we give him more?

     Sure I understand what you are saying but the probem is people in the main tend to identify socialism "with the two arseholes at the end"; realtively  few  are aware of the Marxian/SPGB defintjion of socialis. The whole pointt of the exercise is to highlight the huge gulf between these different versions of (pseudo)"socialism" and the real thing by encouraging people to see it for themselves with a question like "which do you think is the more accurate description of socialism"

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