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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Socialists have disagreed on both the means and ends of socialism' - Discuss Socialism is a very broad ideology, encompassing many different ideas and viewpoints. Different socialists have disagreed on both the ways in which they believe socialism should be achieved and implemented, and on what exactly it is that they want to achieve. The two main viewpoints I am going to look at in terms of the means of achieving socialism are revolutionary socialism and evolutionary socialism, and in terms of the aims of different socialists I am going to discuss Marxism, including orthodox communism, and also social democracy and the 'third way'. Because socialism tends to have an oppositional character, and be seen as a force for change, the means in which socialism is achieved are quite significant, and tend to determine the form of socialism which results from this change. Early socialists believed that socialism could only be brought about through a revolutionary movement - the overthrow of the existing regime. Violence was accepted as an undesirable but necessary part of this process. In the 19th Century there were two accepted versions of this idea - some socialists believed the revolution would be carried out by a small group of dedicated revolutionaries, while others such as Marx and Engels believed that a class-conscious working class would rise up in a proletariat revolution and overthrow capitalism. The first successful socialist revolution was the Russian Revolution of 1917, which was a coup d'�tat carried out by a small group of revolutionaries, and this provided a model for further socialist revolutions. ...read more.

Middle

He thought these crises would deepen as the long-term profit decreased, and that tension would increase as profit was concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. He claimed that capitalist society was becoming 'two great classes facing one another: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat'. The exploited masses would then become the overwhelming majority and could overthrow the corrupt system. Much of Marx's early writing were a critique of capitalism based on the idea of alienation. He claimed that capitalism separates people from their essential nature, and stops them from developing skills, talents and understanding through labour. He also believed that exploitation was an integral part of the capitalist system, because according to his view, the value of a product relates to the quantity of labour needed to make it. Capitalism works by extracting 'surplus value' from workers - paying them less than the value of their labour - so for capitalism to work, workers have to be exploited. This shows that Marx, unlike later socialists, did not see capitalism as being in any way acceptable, and would never have been happy to simply reform or 'humanise' it. Orthodox communism is often seen as 'Marxism in practice', as the Bolshevik Party who took power in Russia in 1917, in the first successful socialist revolution, were dedicated Marxists. They renamed themselves the Communist Party and were the leading authority within communism. Others followed their model and joined Communist International, or 'Comintern'. Therefore Soviet communism was the dominant model of 20th Century communism. However, Soviet communism was not the same as Marxism. ...read more.

Conclusion

They believe in a consensus society, quite different from the original socialist conflict view of society. They highlight the links between different groups and ignore the disparities such as class or economic inequality. In a more knowledge-driven society these inequalities are based more on work-based skills than structural inequalities. 'Third way' thinkers support enterprise and fairness, self-opportunity and security, self-reliance and interdependence. The 'third way' has concentrated more on social inclusion than equality - they support equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. This has led to proposals for welfare reform which move away from both the liberal idea of 'standing on your own two feet' and the socialist idea of 'cradle to grave' welfare. The general idea is 'helping people to help themselves', or as Bill Clinton put it, 'a hand up, not a hand out'. While neoliberals think that the state should be used purely as a 'night watchman' and social democrats think it should be used to counterbalance the inequalities in society, 'third way' socialists support a 'competition state', whose main goal should be to ensure national prosperity. It should improve the country's infrastructure and concentrate on improving skills and knowledge - education rather than welfare should be the priority. In conclusion, I would agree that there has been a lot of disagreement within socialism, on whether it should be achieved through revolution or should gradually evolve through democracy, and also on how extreme or how moderate socialism should be. However, all of these different viewpoints are all based around the same principles, of community, cooperation, equality, social class and common ownership, however drastic or moderate these ideas might be. ?? ?? ?? ?? Meghan Rimmer February 2006 1 Politics - Socialism ...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?

    acts as a reflection of the base structure by supporting the values of the economic structure. Without the economic basis, the superstructure would not be possible, as it is shaped and determined by the substructure. It is at this point, at which the terms of forces of production and relations of production enter the theory.

  2. 'Parties do not matter anymore.' Discuss.

    Parties have therefore been able to use this soft money - money that is not regulated - to significantly enhance their role in national campaigns. The hundreds of thousands of signs of support for John Kerry or George W. Bush in American citizens' gardens up and down the country were testimony to this.

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

    case in those constituencies where one industry, usually mining, was overwhelmingly prevalent. It wasn't just the need for political protection of the unions' legal positions that led to the LRC's creation, however. There is a view that rapid industrialisation and increasing world competition homogenised and radicalised the working class around

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

    Revolutionary socialism was the first to be thought up. Originally it was thought that socialism could only be reached through a justified revolution, which inevitably contained violence, early example included August Blanqui who wanted a small group of conspires to seize power, another example would be Marx and Engels.

  1. Why did Marx and Engels believe that history was on their side?

    the political form at last discovered under which to work out the economic emancipation of labour'. Economic emancipation, the elimination of class divisions and private ownership of the means of producing wealth, could only take place under the direct and democratic rule of the working class through its own state.

  2. The study of international or rather global politics, seeks to provide an account of ...

    John Herz (in Bayliss & Smith 2001:257) explians that the security dilemma is "a structural notion in which the self-help attempts of states to look after their security needs, tend regardless of intention to lead to rising insecurity for others as each interprets its own measures as defensive and the measures of others as potentially threatening."

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

    This was revolutionary to socialism as it tied the theory into science and history: he argued that "the laws of history dictated that capitalism would collapse, having created with itself the means of its own destruction-namely, the rising proletariat. By proclaiming his brand of socialism as scientific, Marx gave it

  2. How and why does Locke explain the creation, value and protection of property?

    The same rules are cited for land as for the produce of land." The making of currency as an unspoilable property and medium for exchange seems to have by-passed this limit all together. Inequality becomes rampant and as such an authority is needed to protect a man's property and the social peace.

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