The difference between socialism and communism is often a point of confusion. In this piece, the author offers a materialist framework of history in order to understand the various stages of society and the struggles between them. This writing is meant for beginners.

Capitalism and socialism are stages of human society in which there is a struggle between those who own property and those who do not.  Examples of property include land, factories, machines, and other tools and resources necessary to produce food, shelter, electronics, medicine, or any other commodity.  The individual, or private, “ownership” of property is a relatively new concept in the greater history of humankind and necessarily emerged through violent means. Settler-colonialism (occupation, division, and privatization) in Turtle Island  and Israel provide one of the most recent and straightforward examples. The minority of people who own property, capitalists, have the ability to invest its value in order to accumulate profit. In one way, this can be done by hiring workers, otherwise known as buying labor-power, and using them to transform resources into commodities.  As an example, a capitalist who owns land rich in minerals may hire people to dig out iron ore, meaning that labor transforms earth into usable ore. The capitalist can then sell these ores for profit, without contributing any labor themself. Moreover, it is possible and even likely that the same capitalist also owns a steel mill and a railroad factory because of various processes of monopolization,…