Socialism places the process of production and the edifices of government in the hands of the people and helps to ensure economic parity between people, eliminating social castes based on income and resources. Socialism is a tool for encouraging and enforcing equality.
Socialism prevents individuals or single groups from accruing enough resources to oppress other groups. It was designed with social equality in mind, intended to serve as a system by which all human beings were provided with security throughout their lives and with the freedom to work and to be supported if they could not. This is achieved by removing executives, managers and other lopsidedly compensated production roles from the industrial structure.
Socialism can be effected either through a government structure or in direct community organization. When a central government is present, more opportunities for enforcement exist, but corruption is a larger potential problem. Without a central government, organization can be a significantly greater challenge but the access people possess to their materials and to determining their own lives is much more direct.
Socialism is distinct from Communism in that it is not predicated on violent upheaval and revolution. Socialism is designed to effect change during long periods and to reshape societies using the democratic process and measured debate.