My friend asked me, "What is a communist state?" And I told him all my dreams of what my ideals and studies tell me a communist state should be.... He countered with the Wikipedia definition that says a communist state is a state controlled by the communist party and guaranteed, constitutionally, seats in the government.
If that's all you say, it sounds kind of bad. It sounds like there is a one party system that practices dictatorship.... And then, that is what it is. It just sounds better after you've studied history and philosophy for a bit and have come to terms with the fact that you can't get to straight up communism without this intermediate state thing.
But, when you look at the definition of straight up communism, it sounds beautiful!! "Communism is a socioeconomic structure that promotes the establishment of a classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the means of production." (still from wikipedia, but good enough for me)
I guess I just thought it was interesting that you have to separate the two definitions because, realistically, one of the central ideals of communism is that there is no state.... It can get confusing, too, because we only know how to talk about states. For example, if everything were simplified amazingly and we could take one country who succeeded in establishing communism, what would we call them? They wouldn't be a communist state, because they wouldn't have a state to speak of, technically....
And so, this is where I fumble. If it is hard to find a word for, it will be hard for people attempting to understand it for the first time. I get scared, too, that people will only look at this one definition, the definition for communist state, and ignore the warning above it (on wikipedia, at least) that says this is not a definition of communism! I'll let those fears go. I just wanted to throw this out there and see if anyone else had any thoughts on this.
'Britain's blood donor scheme seems to me to be an example of socialism in practice - giving, not selling, for the greater good, in a cooperative, not competitive, manner.
The blood transfusion service is run by the state, nationwide, with no need for capitalists at all.
Hopefully we are all donors.'
I found this response to a request, of an example of socialism in practise!
If I can come up with a better one I'll post it here.