Forms of Socialism

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Below, you can learn about the many forms of socialism! Many of which may come as a surprise. Before reading this article, we encourage you to visit the page socialism.

Forms of Socialism
Russia was a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics between 1917 and 1991

Democratic socialism

This form is sometimes confused with social democracy. However, the two are not the same. Democratic socialists believe that justice and equality are not compatible with capitalism. Hence, it supports democratic procedures in a socialist planned economy. 

Authoritarian socialism

This form refuses liberal concepts such as freedom of speech or assembly. A group of privileged is in charge. For example, the Soviet block states were authoritarian socialists.

Utopian socialism

Utopian socialism imagines some forms of perfect future socialist societies. Unlike other socialists, utopists do not need struggles between classes to start the revolution. Karl Marx encouraged Utopists in their ideas.

Liberal socialism

Liberal socialism combines some liberal views on the economy with socialism. For example, it allows some form of private ownership. And, besides, the economy does not have to be strictly planned – it can be a mixed form. This idea emerged after World War II.


Marxism is a theory that stands on The Capital by Karl Marx. Hence, it is a socialist system created from Marx’s thoughts. 

The cornerstone is a conflict between the classes. The capitalists exploit the working class, creating a conflict. Hence, the working class start a revolution to overturn the system into a planned public-owned economy. 

Socialism of the 21st century

Socialism in the current era tries to avoid mistakes made by previous socialist countries. Besides, cohesion with the current world is a primary goal. While it theoretically approves democracy, critics have warned that it is a cover-up for authoritarianism. However, it continues to develop.

An example is Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. While literacy or access to water increased, food was only available by rations, and crimes escalated. More importantly, the economy was devastated.


Communism is a specific and distinctive form of socialism. It is a form that originates in Marxism. It, too, has many forms, such as Leninism, Stalinism, and Maoism. 


Anarchism also sometimes associates with socialism.