• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discussion question: What is socialism? Is socialism possible or desirable?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discussion question: What is socialism? Is socialism possible or desirable? (Week 14 question, Inequality) Throughout the history of the Western world various ideologies have proven so influential as to give rise to assorted "possibilities and desires" that change society. Namely, the rise and support of socialism has been a major component to the make up of Western history in the 19th and 20th centuries. An investigation into the development of socialism will prove that its popularity, support and even criticism came as a result of certain milestones. These milestones serve as turning points in the ideology's history, and without them it could easily be presumed that the philosophy would never have produced such influential results. In addition, such an investigation will prove these milestones were joined with various interactions between the philosophers and the political reality of assorted nations. This interaction proved to be the roots that allowed socialism to bloom into its entirety. There were various events in Western history that inspired discontent with the current government structure. This discontent dated all the way back to the late 1700's when political theorists like Edmund Burke tried to promote the monarchies in the Restoration era: "In Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke said that...the belief in human equality undermined the social order.... ...read more.

Middle

These philosophers rejected politics and promoted idealized governments for the good of the common person. The specific artisan uprisings of 1831 and 1834 marked the milestone that united these theories with actual political action: these revolts against the government caused the monarchy to tighten censorship and ultimately dissolve the republican organizations. The result was that these leaders were forced to form secret societies and thus "between 1835 and 1840 the French republican movement underwent a theoretical radicalization in a socialist direction" (Stott, 1999, p.77). Consequently, the philosophers noted the horrific state that workers were in, and began to criticize actual capitalistic profit as promoted by the government. This first wave of socialists wanted to alter society by promoting ideal communities in the early 1800's. They worked on understanding the new wave of industrialization, and then designing ideal structures to end the resulting injustices. The second milestone was brought about by the endorsement of the proletarian class. More specifically, this next wave dealt with Karl Marx and Marxism. In the mid 1840's, Marx argued that although the French Revolution had ended feudalism, it served only to place the Bourgeois class into power. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rise of Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik party, as a result of the March Revolution of 1917, marked the official incorporation of socialism into the Soviet Union. Furthermore, this revolution was more than a tie between socialist theory and political reality: through Lenin's interpretation of communist goals, the era marked the arrival of incorporating imperialism into the socialist doctrine. Lenin argued that ordinary people everywhere needed to fight the war on capitalism, and thus create a revolution across Europe. Socialism continued in Russia through the rule of Stalin, who gave the "ism" connotations of repression and cruelty through violence, intolerance, and labour camps in Siberia. Stalin focused the government on collective industrialization, controlling prices, distributions, and living standards. Ultimately, through the progression of various milestones in the development of socialism, as well as the interaction between socialist thinkers and the government, the ideology has evolved and developed to become a major philosophy in Western history (Von mises, 1981, p.198). Today, as a result of these progressions, socialism has developed into a practice and lifestyle that many have and continue to disagree with, despite its various intents throughout history to bring about an "ideal" society for the common man. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Why does Marx believe that capitalism will inevitably give way to socialism?

    The struggle between the two led to the moving to the sequential economic system - capitalism. Capitalism emerged from feudalism partly due to the conflict discussed above. Feudal society consisted mainly of peasants tilling small plots of land in order to provide for themselves and to make a livelihood.

  2. 'Socialists have disagreed on both the means and ends of socialism' - Discuss

    Firstly, having been through a violent revolution, new rulers regarded violence as a legitimate instrument of policy - as Mao famously said, 'Power resides in the barrel of a gun'. Also, revolutionary parties, in order to achieve their ends, often adopted a military-style structure.

  1. The development of fascist doctrine.

    Fascist doctrine inherited many conceptions from the sociological traditions of prewar Italy, but it was the conception of the state, which became central to Fascist thought only in 1921, which gave Fascism a specific and determinate character of its own.

  2. The rise of the Labour Party had more to do with class consciousness than ...

    Eric Hobsbawm describes the urban proletariat of this time as, 'the [proletariat] of the fish and chip shop, the football team and its supporters, the working class seaside holiday, the public elementary school, the working class pattern of betting... and not least, the Labour councillor and the "new" union'.

  1. Evolutionary and Revolutionary Socialists Disagree about both Means and Ends - Discuss.

    Secondly the reason why they were on the brink of revolution was that there was no other way of changing anything. The masses were unenfrachised so could have no vote to change anything, there weren't institutions that were listened to out of elections such as pressure groups for any one to join.

  2. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    If you work in a chemical factory, at an iron works, at a factory producing metal goods, or in any other industry involving specific dangers to health, describe the safety measures adopted by your employer. 24. What is your workshop lit up by (gas, oil, etc.)?

  1. Breaking down the Walls: A Discourse of Ideology and "Otherness"

    Arguably, hooks is asserting that "otherness" is wholly wrong in itself. As it was with regards to the declarations of Mohanty, I too fully agree with all that hooks asserts. I see blackness (and all "others" regarding skin tone, color, shade etc.)

  2. Is socialism a relevant ideology in 2012?

    able to remain intact and have a 13 year stretch in power and prevent their main opposition the Tories from gaining a majority of seats. Considering that the only socialist party who have managed to remain stable and powerful are a party that have moved away from socialism there is

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work