Types of socialism

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Christian socialism
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</span> Since the 19th century, socialist ideas have developed and separated into many different types of socialism.


[edit] Communism

Main article: Communism

Communism refers to a conjectured future classless, stateless social organization based upon common ownership of the means of production, and can be classified as a multivariant branch of the broader socialist movement. Communism also refers to a variety of political movements which claim the establishment of such a social organization as their ultimate goal. [citation needed]Early forms of human social organization have been described as primitive communism. [citation needed]However, communism as a political goal generally is a conjectured form of future social organization which has never been implemented.

There is a considerable variety of views among self-identified communists. However, Marxism and Leninism, schools of communism associated with Karl Marx and of Vladimir Lenin respectively, have the distinction of having been a major force in world politics since the early 20th century. Class struggle plays a central role in Marxism. The establishment of communism is in this theory viewed as the culmination of the class struggle between the capitalist class, the owners of most of the capital, and the working class. Marx held that society could not be transformed from the capitalist mode of production to the communist mode of production all at once, but required a state transitional period which Marx described as the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. The communist society Marx envisioned emerging from capitalism has never been implemented, and it remains theoretical. However, the term "Communism", especially when the word is capitalized, is often used to refer to the political and economic nations under Communist parties which claimed to be the dictatorship of the proletariat.

After the success of the Red October Revolution in Russia, many socialist parties in other countries became Communist parties, owing allegiance of varying degrees to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (see Communist International). After World War II, regimes calling themselves communist took power in Eastern Europe. In 1949, the Communists in China, led by Mao Zedong, came to power and established the People's Republic of China. Among the other countries in the Third World that adopted a Communist form of government at some point were Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Angola, and Mozambique. By the early 1980s, almost one-third of the world's population lived under Communist states.

Communism carries a strong social stigma in the United States, due to a history of anti-communism in America. Since the early 1970s, the term "Eurocommunism" was used to refer to the policies of Communist parties in western Europe, which sought to break with the tradition of uncritical and unconditional support of the Soviet Union. Such parties were politically active and electorally significant in France and Italy. With the collapse of the Communist governments in eastern Europe from the late 1980s and the breakup of the Soviet Union on December 8, 1991, Communism's influence has decreased dramatically in Europe, but around a quarter of the world's population still lives under Communist states.

[edit] Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism

Main articles: Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism

Lenin himself never used the term "Leninism," nor did he refer to his views as "Marxism-Leninism." However, his ideas diverged from classical Marxist theory on several important points (see the articles on Marxism and Leninism for more information). Bolshevik communists saw these differences as advancements of Marxism made by Lenin. After Lenin's death, his ideology and contributions to Marxist theory were termed "Marxism-Leninism," or sometimes only "Leninism." Marxism-Leninism soon became the official name for the ideology of the Comintern and of Communist parties around the world.

Stalin, in contrast to many contemporary revolutionaries, did not write a significant body of theoretical work. "Stalinism," strictly speaking, refers to a style of government or political structure, rather than an ideology per se; during the period of Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism was proclaimed the official ideology of the state.

Whether Stalin's practices actually followed the principles of Marx and Lenin is still a subject of debate amongst historians and political scientists. Trotskyists in particular believe that Stalinism contradicted authentic Marxism and Leninism, and they intitially used the term "Bolshevik-Leninism" to define their beliefs.

The term "Stalinism" is sometimes used to denote the brand of Communist theory that dominated the Soviet Union and the countries within the Soviet sphere of influence during and after the leadership of Joseph Stalin. The term used in the Soviet Union and by most who uphold its legacy, however, is "Marxism-Leninism", reflecting that Stalin himself was not a theoretician, but a communicator who wrote several books in language easily understood, and, in contrast to Marx and Lenin, made few new theoretical contributions. However, many people professing Marxism or Leninism view Stalinism as a perversion of their ideas; Trotskyists, in particular, are virulently anti-Stalinist, considering Stalinism a counter-revolutionary policy using Marxism to achieve power.

Rather, Stalinism is more in the order of an interpretation of their ideas, and a certain political system claiming to apply those ideas in ways fitting the changing needs of society, as with the transition from "socialism at a snail's pace" in the mid-twenties to the forced industrialization of the Five-Year Plans.

The main contributions of Stalin to Communist theory were Socialism in One Country and the theory of Aggravation of class struggle under socialism, a theoretical base supporting the repression of political opponents as necessary.

Stalinism has been described as being synonymous with totalitarianism, or a tyrannical regime. The term has been used to describe regimes that fight political dissent through violence, imprisonment, and killings.

[edit] Maoism

Image:Little red book.jpg
Cover of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung with Chinese words "Supreme Directives"
Main article: Maoism

A key concept that distinguishes Maoism from other left-wing ideologies is the belief that the class struggle continues throughout the entire socialist period, as a result of the fundamental antagonistic contradiction between capitalism and communism. Even when the proletariat has seized state power through a socialist revolution, the potential remains for a bourgeoisie to restore capitalism. Indeed, Mao famously stated that "the bourgeoisie [in a socialist country] is right inside the Communist Party itself", implying that corrupt Party officials would subvert socialism if not prevented.

Unlike the earlier forms of Marxism-Leninism in which the urban proletariat was seen as the main source of revolution, and the countryside was largely ignored, Mao focused on the peasantry as a revolutionary force which, he said, could be mobilized by a Communist Party with their knowledge and leadership.

Unlike most other political ideologies, including other socialist and Marxist ones, Maoism contains an integral military doctrine and explicitly connects its political ideology with military strategy. In Maoist thought, "political power comes from the barrel of the gun" (one of Mao's quotes), and the peasantry can be mobilized to undertake a "people's war" of armed struggle involving guerrilla warfare.

Since the death of Mao and the reforms of Deng, most of the parties explicitly defining themselves as "Maoist" have disappeared, but various communist groups around the world, particularly armed ones like the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the New People's Army of the Philippines, continue to advance Maoist ideas and get press attention for them. These groups generally have the idea that Mao's ideas were betrayed before they could be fully or properly implemented.

[edit] Other types of communism

Religious communism
Religious communism is a form of communism centered on religious principles. The term usually refers to a number of utopian religious societies practicing the voluntary dissolution of private property, so that society's benefits are distributed according to a person's needs, and every person performs labor according to their abilities. "Religious communism" has also been used to describe the ideas of religious individuals and groups who advocate the application of communist policies on a wider scale, often joining secular communists in their struggle to abolish capitalism.
The secular nature of Marxism led to many religious people on the political right oppose the use of the term communism to refer to religious communal societies, preferring names such as communalism instead. The term religious communism has been ascribed to the social arrangement practiced by many orders of monks and nuns of such religions as Christianity, Taoism, Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism. As recorded in the Bible, the first Christians lived in communities organized according to communist-like principles.
"all who owned property or houses sold them and lay them at the feet of the apostles to be distributed to everyone according to his need." (Acts 4:32-35; see also 2:42-47)
The Diggers movement in England in the year 1649 may also be described as an example of religious communism. The Diggers were particularly concerned with the communal ownership of land. From the early 20th century to the present day, the most prominent form of religious communism has been the one practiced in the kibbutzim (collective communities) of Israel.
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself a Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party. He considered himself an advocate of orthodox Marxism. His politics differed greatly from those of Stalin or Mao, most importantly in declaring the need for an international "permanent revolution". Numerous groups around the world continue to describe themselves as Trotskyist and see themselves as standing in this tradition, although they have diverse interpretations of the conclusions to be drawn from this.
Shachtmanism is a critical term applied to the form of Marxism associated with Max Shachtman. It has two major components: a bureaucratic collectivist analysis of the Soviet Union and a third camp approach to world politics. Shachtmanites believe that the Stalinist rulers of Communist countries are a new (ruling) class, distinct from the workers and rejects Trotsky's description of Stalinist Russia as being a "degenerated workers' state". Max Shachtman described the USSR as a "bureaucratic collectivist" society. Although Shachtmanism is usually described as a form of Trotskyism, both Trotsky and Shachtman were careful to not describe Shachtman's view as Trotskyist.

[edit] Libertarian socialism and Social anarchism

Libertarian socialism is any one of a group of political philosophies dedicated to opposing coercive forms of authority and social hierarchy, in particular the institutions of capitalism and the State. Some of the best known libertarian socialist ideologies are anarchism - particularly anarchist communism and anarcho-syndicalism - as well as mutualism, council communism, autonomist Marxism, and social ecology. However, the terms anarcho-communism and libertarian communism should not be considered synonyms for libertarian socialism - anarcho-communism is a particular branch of libertarian socialism.

Libertarian socialists believe in the abolition of the State and of private control over the means of production, considering both to be unnecessary and harmful institutions. Most libertarian socialists support personal property or use rights over certain goods destined for individual use, but some, such as anarcho-communists, favoured collective ownership in the products of labor as well, with a distribution system which allocates based on one's needs.

Some individualist anarchists also referred to their philosophy as libertarian socialism, although some supported private property (as long as it was not exploitative) and a market economy.

[edit] Democratic socialism and social democracy

Modern democratic socialism is a broad political movement that seeks to propagate the ideals of socialism within the context of a democratic system. Many democratic socialists support social democracy as a road to reform of the current system, in effect, it is a means to an end. Other groups within democratic socialism support more revolutionary change in society to establish socialist goals. Conversely, modern social democracy emphasises a program of gradual legislative reform of the capitalist system in order to make it more equitable and humane, while the theoretical end goal of building a socialist society is either completely forgotten or redefined in a pro-capitalist way. The two movements are widely similar both in terminology and in ideology, though there are a few key differences.

Many who describe themselves as "socialists" disagree with the terminology of "democratic socialism" because they believe that socialism necessarily implies democracy. For many years, though, the terms "democratic socialism" and "social democracy" were used interchangeably to describe the same overall political movement, but in modern times, social democracy is considered to be more centrist and broadly supportive of current capitalist systems (for example, the social market economy) and the welfare state, while many democratic socialists support a more fully socialist system, either through evolutionary or revolutionary means.

The term social democracy can refer to the particular kind of society that social democrats advocate. The Socialist International (SI) - the worldwide organisation of social democratic and democratic socialist parties - defines social democracy as an ideal form of representative democracy, that may solve the problems found in a liberal democracy. The SI emphasizes the following principles[1]: Firstly, freedom – not only individual liberties, but also freedom from discrimination and freedom from dependence on either the owners of the means of production or the holders of abusive political power. Secondly, equality and social justice – not only before the law but also economic and socio-cultural equality as well, and equal opportunities for all including those with physical, mental, or social disabilities. Finally, solidarity – unity and a sense of compassion for the victims of injustice and inequality.

Democratic socialists and social democrats both advocate the concept of the welfare state, but whereas most social democrats view the welfare state as the end itself, many democratic socialists view it as a means to an end. Democratic socialists are also committed to the ideas of the redistribution of wealth and power, as well as social ownership of major industries, concepts widely abandoned by social democrats. As of current, there are no countries in the world that could qualify as a "democratic socialist" state, though many European nations are considered to be socially democratic or nearly so.

The prime example of social democracy is Sweden, which prospered considerably in the 1990s and 2000s. Sweden has produced a robust economy from sole proprietorships up through to multinationals, while maintaining one of the highest life expectancies in the world, low unemployment, inflation, all while registering sizable economic growth. Many see this as validation of the superiority of social democracy. However, many others point out that in comparison with other developed countries Sweden did fell behind in that period [2]. Also, Sweden experiences welfare dependency of around 20% of the working age population according to the Swedish Trade Union Confederation. Likewise, crime has been steadily rising since the 1960s, and during the past decade has grown ever more violent.

[edit] Religious socialism

[edit] Christian socialism

Main article: Christian socialism

There are individuals and groups, past and present, that are clearly both Christian and Socialist, such as Frederick Denison Maurice, author of The Kingdom of Christ (1838), or the contemporary Christian Socialist Movement (UK) (CSM), [3] affiliated with the British Labour Party.

Distributism, is a third-way economic philosophy formulated by such Catholic thinkers as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc to apply the principles of social justice articulated by the Roman Catholic Church, especially in Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum.

Various Catholic clerical parties have at times referred to themselves as "Christian Social." Two examples are the Christian Social Party of Karl Lueger in Austria before and after World War I, and the contemporary Christian Social Union in Bavaria. Yet these parties have never espoused socialist policies and have always stood at the conservative side of Christian Democracy

Further information: Christian left and social gospel

[edit] Islamic Socialism

Cover of English language edition of The Green Book.

Islamic socialism is the political ideology of Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, Former Iraqi president Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and of the Pakistani leader of Pakistan People's Party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

The Green Book (written by Muammar al-Qaddafi) consists of three parts - "The Solution of the Problem of Democracy: 'The Authority of the People'", "The Solution of the Economic Problem: 'Socialism'", and "The Social Basis of the Third Universal Theory". The book is controversial because it completely rejects modern conceptions of liberal democracy and encourages the institution of a form of direct democracy based on popular committees.

Scholars have highlighted the similarities between the Islamic economic system and socialist theory. For example, both are against unearned income. Islam does allow private ownership of natural resources and large industries, which are owned collectively, or at least encouraged to be so.

[edit] Eco-socialism

Main article: Eco-socialism

Merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, environmentalism and ecology, Eco-socialists generally believe that the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, inequality and environmental degradation. Eco-socialists criticise many within the Green movement for not going far enough in their critique of the current world system and for not being overtly anti-capitalist. At the same time, Eco-socialists would blame the traditional Left for overlooking or not properly addressing ecological problems<ref name=Babylon>Wall, D., Babylon and Beyond: The Economics of Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Globalist and Radical Green Movements, 2005</ref>.

Eco-socialists are anti-globalisation. Joel Kovel sees globalisation as a force driven by capitalism - in turn, the rapid economic growth encouraged by globalisation causes acute ecological crises<ref name=Kovel>Kovel, J., The Enemy of Nature, 2002</ref>.

Eco-socialism goes beyond a criticism of the actions of large corporations and targets the inherent properties of capitalism. Such an analysis follows Marx's theories about the contradiction between use values and exchange values. As Joel Kovel explains, within a market economy, goods are not produced to meet needs but are produced to be exchanged for money that we then use to acquire other goods. As we have to keep selling in order to keep buying, we must persuade others to buy our goods just to ensure our survival, which leads to the production of goods with no previous use that can be sold to sustain our ability to buy other goods. Eco-socialists like Kovel stress that this contradiction has reached a destructive extent, where certain essential activities - such as caring for relatives full-time and basic subsistence - are unrewarded, while unnecessary economic activities earn certain individuals huge fortunes<ref name=Kovel/>.

[edit] Differences between various schools

Although they share a common root (as elaborated upon in the above sections), schools of socialism are divided on many issues, and sometimes there is a split within a school. The following is a brief overview of the major issues which have generated or are generating significant controversy amongst socialists in general.

[edit] Theory

Some branches of socialism arose largely as a philosophical construct (e.g. utopian socialism); others in the heat of a revolution (e.g. early Marxism, Leninism). A few arose merely as the product of a ruling party (e.g. Stalinism), or a party or other group contending for political power in a democratic society (e.g. social democracy).

Some are in favour of a socialist revolution (e.g. Leninism, Trotskyism, Maoism, revolutionary Marxism), whilst others tend to support reform instead (e.g. Fabianism, reformist Marxism). Others believe both are possible (e.g. Syndicalism, various Marxisms). The first utopian socialists even failed to address the question of how a socialist society would be achieved.

Socialists are also divided on which rights and liberties are desirable, such as the "bourgeois liberties" (such as those guaranteed by the U.S. First Amendment or the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union). Some hold that they are to be preserved (or even enhanced) in a socialist society (e.g. social democracy), whilst others believe them to be undesirable (e.g. Maoism). Marx and Engels even held different opinions at different times, and some schools are divided on this issue (e.g. different strains of Trotskyism).

All socialists criticize the current system in some way. Some criticisms center on the ownership of the means of production (e.g. Marxism), whereas others tend to focus on the nature of mass and equitable distribution (e.g. most forms of utopian socialism). A few are opposed to industrialism as well as capitalism (common where socialism intersects green politics)? Utopian Socialists, like Robert Owen and Saint-Simon argued, though not from exactly the same perspective, that the injustice and widespread poverty of the societies they lived in were a problem of distribution of the goods created. Marxian Socialists, on the other hand, determined that the root of the injustice is based not in the function of distribution of goods already created, but rather in the fact that the ownership of the means of production is in the hands of the upper class. Also, Marxian Socialists maintain, in contrast to the Utopian Socialists, that the root of injustice is not in how goods (commodities) are distributed, but for whose economic benefit are they produced and sold.

[edit] Implementation

Most forms and derivatives of Marxism, as well as variations of syndicalism, advocated total or near-total socialization of the economy. Less radical schools (e.g. Bernsteinism, reformism, reformist Marxism) proposed a mixed market economy instead. Mixed economies, in turn, can range anywhere from those developed by the social democratic governments that have periodically governed Northern and Western European countries, to the inclusion of small cooperatives in the planned economy of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito. A related issue is whether it is better to reform capitalism to create a fairer society (e.g. most social democrats) or to totally overthrow the capitalist system (most Marxists).

Some schools advocate centralized state control of the socialized sectors of the economy (e.g. Leninism), whilst others argue for control of those sectors by workers' councils (e.g. syndicalism, Left and Council communism, Marxism, Anarcho-communism). This question is usually referred to by socialists in terms of "ownership of the means of production." None of the social democratic parties of Europe advocate total state ownership of the means of production in their contemporary demands and popular press.

Another issue socialists are divided on is what legal and political apparatus the workers would maintain and further develop the socialization of the means of production. Some advocate that the power of the workers' councils should itself constitute the basis of a socialist state (coupled with direct democracy and the widespread use of referendums), but others hold that socialism entails the existence of a legislative body administered by people who would be elected in a representative democracy.

Different ideologies support different governments. For example, in the era of the Soviet Union, western socialists were bitterly divided as to whether the Soviet Union was basically socialist, moving toward socialism, or inherently un-socialist and, in fact, inimical to true socialism. Similarly, today the government of the People's Republic of China claims to be socialist and refers to its own approach as "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," but most other socialists consider China to be essentially capitalist. The Chinese leadership concurs with most of the usual critiques against a command economy, and many of their actions to manage what they call a socialist economy have been determined by this opinion.

[edit] Controversial classifications

Like other political terms, such as liberal, conservative and democratic, the words socialism and socialist have sometimes been used in a controversial manner, usually by critics. Libertarian conservatives have argued that movements led by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini are socialist because of their degree of state control. Most historians agree that fascism and Nazism were anti-socialist movements which drew their political support mainly from right wing conservative elements.

[edit] Baathism

The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party rules Syria (and ruled Iraq under Saddam Hussein), based on a tradition of secular, non-Marxist socialism. Ba'thist beliefs combine Arab Socialism, nationalism, and Pan-Arabism. The mostly secular ideology often contrasts with that of other Arab governments in the Middle East, which sometimes lean towards Islamism and theocracy. The Ba'athists have persecuted socialists in their own countries. In Iraq, the American Central Intelligence Agency assisted Iraq with a list of communists to eliminate, effectively wiping them out. Socialist Lynn Walsh argues that the Iraqi Ba'athists promoted capitalists from within the party and outside the country.<ref>Walsh, Lynn. Imperialism and the gulf war, Chapter 5, 1990-91</ref>

[edit] Fascism

Fascism developed from Fascio, which began as a form of radical socialism (later becoming nationalistic). Although it opposed communism and social democracy — and embraced many aspects of reactionary conservatism — fascism was partly rooted in radical leftist philosophy such as the theories of Gabriele D'Annunzio (a former anarchist), Alceste de Ambris (influenced by anarcho-syndicalism), and former socialist Benito Mussolini.

Fascists rejected categorization as left or right wing, claiming to promote a "third way" that rejects socialism and capitalism. Fascists opposed Marxism and the concept of class struggle, instead promoting corporatism. Fascism holds the state to be an end in and of itself (see statism). Unlike traditional socialist governments, Italy's fascists did not nationalize any industries. They established a corporatist structure influenced by the Catholic Church's model for class relations (see Roman Catholicism's links with fascism). Friedrich Hayek claimed that fascism and totalitarian forms of socialism (i.e. Stalinism) stemmed from a common origin.<ref>Friedrich Hayek - Libertarian from self-gov.org</ref> Hannah Arendt argued that "totalitarian movements use socialism and racism by emptying them of their utilitarian content, the interests of a class or nation." <ref>Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism, p348.</ref>

[edit] Nazism

There is much debate over whether Nazism is truly a form of socialism, even though it was the ideology of the National Socialist German Workers Party (formerly the German Workers Party). The Nazi party included several measures that would redistribute income and war profits, profit-sharing in large industries, nationalization of trusts, increases in old-age pensions and free education in their 25 party program). However, according to most historians this was propaganda tool to appeal to the working class and socialists. The Nazis considered German social democrats and communists as enemies; to be censored, outlawed and killed.<ref>Simkin, John. Nazi Party - NSDAP from the Spartacus Educational website</ref> Evidence suggests that the Nazis set up the Reichstag Fire incident to discredit the communists. In 1934 the Nazis had a hostile purge within their own party — the Night of the Long Knives — which has been viewed as a victory of the right wing of the Nazi party and the SS over the more socialist Strasserists and Röhm's SA. Adolf Hitler himself explained his use of the words "National" and "Social" by defining them as follows:

'National' and 'Social' are two identical conceptions. It was only the Jew who succeeded, through falsifying the social idea and turning it into Marxism, not only in divorcing the social idea from the national, but in actually representing them as utterly contradictory. That aim he has in fact achieved. At the founding of this Movement we formed the decision that we would give expression to this idea of ours of the identity of the two conceptions: despite all warnings, on the basis of what we had come to believe, on the basis of the sincerity of our will, we christened it National Socialist. We said to ourselves that to be 'national' means above everything to act with a boundless and all-embracing love for the people and, if necessary, even to die for it. And similarly to be 'social' means so to build up the state and the community of the people that every individual acts in the interest of the community of the people and must be to such an extent convinced of the goodness, of the honorable straightforwardness of this community of the people as to be ready to die for it. <ref>"The speeches of Adolf Hitler April 1922-August 1939", speech made on April 12, 1922 in Munich</ref>

In the same vein, Hitler defined 'Socialism' so as to be identical to Nationalism:

Whoever is prepared to make the national cause his own to such an extent that he knows no higher ideal than the welfare of his nation, whoever in addition has understood our great national anthem, Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, to mean that nothing in the world surpasses in his eyes this German people and land, land and people - that man is a socialist.<ref>Joseph A. Leighton, "Social Philosophies in Conflict", D. Appleton-Century Company, 1937. pg 32</ref>

Traditional socialists reject the nationalism and racism of the Nazis, and consider them a far right party elected under the guise of socialism. Also, Nazis rejected the policies of class struggle and common ownership of the means of production, which are by some seen as the main tenets of socialism.<ref>Trotsky, Leon. What is National Socialism? June 10 1933</ref> The Nazis had demanded some nationalization of big industries and land reform before their rise to power, but they did not act on most of these policies, and they outlawed strikes and independent trade unions.

Some political theorists and economists argue that the Nazis' large public works projects and state interventions are indicative of socialism. <ref>Reisman, George. Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian</ref> The Nazis made efforts to coordinate private business goals with the needs of the state, particularly with rearmament and the establishment of some state-owned concerns such as Volkswagen. History shows that these policies were shared by the wartime economies and welfare states of many governments.

[edit] References


[edit] Further reading

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Socialist perspective

[edit] Non-socialist perspective

Types of socialism

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