File Name: revisionist socialism and economic liberalism .zip
- Liberal socialism
- Eduard Bernstein on Social Democracy and International Politics
- Crosland’s Future
This chapter explores socialism, an ideology that sprang from the industrial revolution and the experience of the class that was its product, the working class. Though a more coherent ideology than conservatism, socialism has several markedly different strands.
In order to appreciate these, and the roots of socialism in a concrete historical experience, the chapter also explores its origins and development, giving particular attention to the British Labour Party.
Utopian socialism, Marxism, nonconformist Christianity, class struggle, trade unionism, Fabianism, vegetarianism, pacifism and New Liberalism all contributed to the development of British socialism in the form of the Labour Party.
The Labour Party is one of the least ideological socialist parties in Europe but, arguably, one that has changed its society the most. The chapter concludes with some reflections on 'Blairism' and the 'Third Way', and the possible future of socialism as an ideology. The general diffusion of manufacturers throughout a country generates a new character in its inhabitants; and as this character is formed upon a principle quite unfavourable to individual or general happiness, it will produce the most lamentable and permanent evils, unless the tendency be counteracted by legislative interference and direction.
T he difference is that the enemy is more subtle and stealthy than before. Capitalism remains the oppressor it has always been, but the inequality and humiliation which used to stare out at you at every street corner is now harder to see, even possible to miss altogether. A delegate at the Labour Party Annual Conference, Like liberalism and conservatism, socialism was a nineteenth-century development with its roots in the eighteenth century and even earlier.
It grew up with industrialisation and urbanisation, a process that was under way in Britain by the s and spread to Western Europe during the early part of the s.
This process created the modern factory system which is only now beginning to disappear in the industrialised West and generated new industrial and manufacturing classes and elites, and, most important for socialism, the modern industrial working class. Out of this working class arose trade unions, building societies, co-operatives, all influenced by socialism, the ideology of the working classes.
Any political movement or ideology requires a group in society to which it can appeal. Socialism without industrialisation, without a working class, was essentially a utopian or idealistic movement. Without a collectivist or class doctrine it would have essentially been an ideological wing of radical liberalism.
To reiterate: it was nineteenth-century capitalist industrialisation that created the working class and socialism. However, they are often involved in bitter ideological argument with each other. Socialism is the most self-consciously ideological of the major political movements.
Theory and ideas are essential to an analysis of capitalist society and how it might be replaced or at least reformed. The experience of these socialist strains in changing society is varied. In most Western societies socialism or social reformism has rarely held political power for long. However, it has greatly influenced Western European political culture and may be considered a major element of the dominant ideologies in those societies, as it is closely associated with welfare states, Keynesian economic management and a culture of social and political rights.
While it constitutes a class analysis of society social reformism offers high levels of personal freedom aided by state action and state institutions. It stressed egalitarian values more than individual freedom. State power was used to strengthen these values as a stage towards the achievement of communism. The opponents of social democracy in the West tended to envisage Marxist socialism as the kind that social-democratic parties were planning to introduce.
Anarchism is confined to the fringes of politics and socialist movements. However, it offers an often-powerful critique of state power. Third World socialist states have attempted to create a form of socialism without a working class or the industrialism that goes with it. Such states have usually become associated with poverty, backwardness and failure. There is a strong current of nationalism and anti-colonialism in this form of socialism.
In particular, we look at the British version of socialism in the form of the Labour Party. Marxist and anarchist contributions to socialism will be discussed in Chapter Third World socialism is usually a variation of one of the three other versions adapted, with varying degrees of commitment and success, to non-industrialised societies. It could, however, be argued that there are at least two fundamental points on which all socialists agree, and which distinguish all the many varieties of socialism from other ideologies.
First is their attitude to property. For socialists the structure of property ownership in a capitalist society at any given time is radically unsatisfactory. Property, at least productive property rather than personal possessions, should be redistributed, not to individuals but rather to some form of communal or collective ownership. The second feature is that socialism offers a class analysis of society arising out of the relationships between social groups as a consequence of the unequal distribution of property ownership.
Financial inequality and the unequal opportunities open to people as a consequence of their position in the capitalist class structure are seen as fundamentally unjust and should be reformed in favour of greater social equality.
Admittedly, even this definition does not entirely suffice to cover the extensive rethinking of socialism in very recent times, but it forms a useful starting point. From the outset there were major divisions within socialism. One obvious source of division concerned the end product: what sort of society ought to replace the existing system?
While this might seem an obvious question, in fact the main dispute within socialism, the basic faultline, was the issue of how a new society might be brought about. Utopians believed that moral argument, reason and action within the existing order constituted the way forward. They spoke in the name of reason and natural rights, but they still had a mystical belief in change.
Revolutionary socialists, such as Karl Marx, dismissed these schemes as pipe dreams. Only the violent overthrow of the state, the tool of the capitalist class to oppress the workers, would make possible the creation of a socialist society. The revisionist view of socialism was that the state was more or less neutral and that socialists could gain control of it by peaceful, constitutional means by contesting elections and ultimately being voted into power.
Once in government they would enact socialism via the normal legal processes. These ideas developed out of the German Social Democratic Party from the middle of the century. An important figure here was Eduard Bernstein, who joined the SDP in and soon became one of its leading journalists. In Evolutionary Socialism he argued for reform through parliamentary action, rather than by revolution, as the basis for a socialist party.
Revolution was redundant. The socialist Second International — was dominated by rows between supporters of revolutionary and revisionist roads to socialism. They disliked intensely his claims that Marxism was irrelevant and a nuisance to socialist development. They believed that capitalism could not be reformed.
At best it would only make sufficient concessions to ensure the continuation of capitalist power. Revisionism, first applied to the means of gaining power, was now applied to what should be done with that power once it was achieved. Socialists have historically been anxious to stress the international nature of the movement and the universal applicability of its principles.
In fact, though, the various strands of socialist thought have been powerfully influenced by the historical and cultural setting in which they developed. Continental socialism evolved in a markedly different context from that of British socialism. Of particular significance were the powerful traditions of despotism, revolution and anti-clericalism in many European countries. British socialism, by contrast, had its own indigenous roots, its own political and economic environment and its own distinctive qualities.
Of major importance were the traditions of constitutional government and political continuity. British socialism has rejected Marxism as a major trend. It has been greatly influenced by revisionism and the Fabian movement of Sydney and Beatrice Webb, who regarded Owen as the founder of British socialism and preached human brotherhood rather than class war.
A class analysis is certainly part of British socialism but class war is regarded as irrelevant to the solving of practical social problems. Indeed, parliamentary roads to socialism can be more effective than revolutionary means. British socialism has always considered, for example, the European socialist stress on the political general strike or activity outside the lawful political system to be illegitimate and actually counter-productive.
The close links between the Labour Party and the trade unions have undermined the role of extra-parliamentary movements for socialism. Only in recent years, under New Labour, have these links been weakened. The Labour Party as the dominant form of socialism in Britain has close cultural links with the natural conservatism and moderate values of British society.
Early nineteenth-century near-revolutionary conditions abated with mid-nineteenth-century prosperity. Marx, who believed the Chartist campaign for parliamentary reform had the potential for a mass revolutionary movement in the s and s, eventually came to see little potential for revolution in Britain.
The Labour Party steadily emerged as the major anti-Conservative party during the s and s. Scientific socialism harks back to the Enlightenment, the idea of human perfectibility and the application of human reason to the understanding and appropriate modification of human society.
For this school, socialism was right because it was more rational and more efficient a means of organising society than the free market. A variant of this approach was that of the later writings of Karl Marx, where he claimed that the ultimate triumph of socialism was built into laws governing the development of human society.
Romantic socialists based their approach on a moral vision of humanity. The existing capitalist order crushed the human spirit, blighted creativity, caused poverty, misery, degradation and crime. It was deemed a fundamentally unjust system, based on selfishness, cruelty, exploitation and greed. These evils could and should be removed or mitigated. Romantic socialism, therefore, was essentially moral, its inspiration revolutionary and its appeal emotional.
There are, in addition to the common views of socialists already identified, a number of major themes around which socialists build their creed, even if they do not agree on the relative importance or priority of their realisation:. Socialists of all persuasions have generally held an optimistic view of human nature. They themselves would call it realistic. Most people have a natural desire to help others, to be part of a common project, to be valued members of society.
Man is perfectible by his own efforts. A good society is possible. Such a society will come about by greatly modifying the existing capitalist society or replacing it with one based on socialist values, however they might be defined. The evils of war, crime, ignorance, unemployment, poverty and even disease are regarded as largely the product of capitalist economic and social arrangements.
Remove these and all would be improved. Scientific socialists can, in this sense, be regarded as heirs to the Enlightenment tradition. Romantic socialists, with their preoccupation with the soul of man, may have had a post-Enlightenment starting point but their conclusions were much the same.
Such a socialist vision has a strong ethical component, even when, in the case of scientific socialism, it purports to be based on scientifically proven fact. This moral drive comes from a belief in the essentially social nature of humanity.
Liberal socialism is a political philosophy that incorporates liberal principles to socialism. For Ian Adams, post-war social democracy and socialist New Labour are examples of liberal socialism, in contrast to classical socialism. However, those two forms of liberal socialism are based on two different economic theories, namely Keynesianism and supply side , respectively. Liberal socialism has been particularly prominent in British and Italian politics. During the National Autonomist Party governments, liberal socialism emerged in Argentina's politics as opposed to the Julio Argentino Roca 's ruling conservative liberalism , albeit president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento had previously implemented an agenda influenced by John Stuart Mill writings.
paperback paperback. eBook (NetLibrary). eBook (NetLibrary) Revolutionary Revisionism and the Merging of Nationalism and Socialism. 5 and national socialism, social democracy was built on a belief in the primacy of politics and.
Eduard Bernstein on Social Democracy and International Politics
Socialism is a political , social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership   of the means of production     and democratic control  or workers' self-management of enterprises. Socialist systems are divided into non-market and market forms. Profits generated by these firms would be controlled directly by the workforce of each firm or accrue to society at large in the form of a social dividend. Socialist politics has been both internationalist and nationalist in orientation; organised through political parties and opposed to party politics; at times overlapping with trade unions and at other times independent and critical of them; and present in both industrialised and developing nations.
This chapter explores socialism, an ideology that sprang from the industrial revolution and the experience of the class that was its product, the working class. Though a more coherent ideology than conservatism, socialism has several markedly different strands. In order to appreciate these, and the roots of socialism in a concrete historical experience, the chapter also explores its origins and development, giving particular attention to the British Labour Party. Utopian socialism, Marxism, nonconformist Christianity, class struggle, trade unionism, Fabianism, vegetarianism, pacifism and New Liberalism all contributed to the development of British socialism in the form of the Labour Party. The Labour Party is one of the least ideological socialist parties in Europe but, arguably, one that has changed its society the most.
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Revisionism , in Marxist thought, originally the late 19th-century effort of Eduard Bernstein to revise Marxist doctrine. The revisionism of Bernstein aroused considerable controversy among the German Social Democrats of his day. Led by Karl Kautsky q.
Liberal Democracy in Africa: A Socialist-Revisionist Perspective. Author(s): Richard Sandbrook. Source: Canadian Journal of African Studies.
Each strand of socialist thought seeks a transformation in the economic structure of society. However, there is considerable disagreement amongst socialists over the means towards building a better alternative to capitalism. According to revolutionary socialists, the transformation of society lies in the hands of the proletariat. As a result of class consciousness, the gravediggers of capitalism will finally realise their shared common interest in the overhaul of an economic system built upon exploitation.
In the most simple of terms, economies consist of producing goods and exchanging them; they are fundamentally social systems. In the most simple of terms, economies consist of producing goods and exchanging them. Economies can be divided into formal economies and informal economies. Informal economies are frequently less institutionalized and include all economic practices that are neither taxed nor monitored by a government. Economies are fundamentally social systems.
What, if anything, can be usefully salvaged from the socialist tradition, now that communism lies in final disgrace? Paul Starr argued in these pages last fall that four developments -- the implosion of communism, the collapse of efforts to reform communism from within, the failure of socialism in the Third World, and the shift of European socialists toward liberal policies -- should persuade American liberals that socialism ought not to be part of our vision of an ideal society.