I kept getting "lameness filter" so I had to split my post into multiple posts. Slashdot: FIX BUG!
Continued from below:
If and when workers gain control of the state, then and only then may it be called a socialist state in any way shape or form. Note however that neither socialism nor a "communist" society requires that the means of production be in the ownership of the state. A society where the means of production is controlled by cooperatives for instance is as much socialism as is ownership by a worker-controlled state, as is the syndicalist ideal of local union organizations taking control of the means of production, or the collectivist ideal of abandoning both state and private ownership of the means of production. There are as many variations of socialism as there are forms where the working class can take control of the means of production, as well as combinations thereof.
Despite what Americans (and all of us who consume US media) have been told all their lives, capitalism and democracy are in no way compatible, and you see it every day in your own country, I see it every day in my country, we see it all over the world, yet this myth seems to persist. Capital is power, when a few control that capital, they have disproportionate economic power, and thus political power, no matter how many campaign financing laws or similar you adopt. The simple act of owning the means of production means that capitalists can, if they wish, force society to adopt certain policies under threat of loosing the essential goods which their factories produce. This is why economic democracy is required for political democracy to ever be realized.