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

'The history of socialism had been marked by a retreat from its traditional principles. Discuss.'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'The history of socialism had been marked by a retreat from its traditional principles. Discuss.' It could be argued that the history of socialism can be marked by a series of journeys away from it's traditional principles. To make itself compatible with changing economic and social conditions, socialism has had to employ a series of revisions if it's ideas in the interests of reaching its goal of a socialist society. Clearly an ideology which has developed from Marx's beliefs of violently overthrowing the exploitative bourgeoisie, to Blair's third way, which focuses on achieving equality through capitalism, has featured a number of key revisions. Marxists would be quick to distinguish between Marx's principles and the manipulation of them used by Stalin and Lenin. Lenin's use of a vanguard party would be questioned by traditional socialists and it could be argued that his belief in the necessity of an ordered and disciplined party showed that he did not faith in the socialist ideas of human nature, and that he rejected that human beings were naturally sociable and co-operative. ...read more.

Middle

The ideas of the Fabian society were considered to have much more on an impact on British socialism, that Marx's traditional principles. British socialists were prepared to see the state as a neutral arbiter, whereas fundamentalist socialists would see it as a weapon of class oppression. Although it seemed bizarre to fundamentalist socialists that socialists were embracing a parliamentary road to socialism, and advocated legal and electoral methods to gain power. With socialist academia sceptical about Marx's false prophecy that capitalism would fall, they began to question Marx's original doctrines. Eduard Bernstein produced a comprehensive criticism of Marx in his book 'Evolutionary Socialism', and his ideas were underlined by the fact that capitalism had proved itself to be stable and flexible, and had not fallen, like Marx had predicted. Bernstein also rejected Marx's crude 'two class' analysis, considering it inappropriate for the twentieth century society with its complex class system. ...read more.

Conclusion

Social democrats also saw the welfare state as a method of reforming capitalism to create a more 'humane' system. They believed the welfare state as a useful mechanism to prevent the economic inequalities that capitalism would breed, and achieve a sense of social justice. After the economic prosperity of the 1960's, Labour's social democracy seen to have abandoned the idea that socialist and capitalism were fundamentally opposites, and seemed to concentrate of incorporating socialist ideas into a capitalism system. Traditional socialists may see this abandonment of the principles of common ownership and the abolishment of capitalism as the Labour party merely responding to electoral pressures and to the interests of the upper classes of society. In conclusion, the revisionary thinkers in socialism are united in their quest for social justice, but after seeing their predecessors attempts at achieving a commonly owned economy, and because of the influence of the rapidly changing economy, socialists have had to engineer their methods of reaching this goal to achieve success. ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

4 Stars - A strong essay that demonstrates a secure, high level understanding of the key issues surrounding the development of socialism in the 20th Century. The core argument is sophisticated and intelligently expressed.
Where the essay could be improved is in overall structure and technique - the introduction does not adequately set out the argument and the conclusion does not decisively answer the question - in fact the question in general is only addressed implicitly.

Marked by teacher Dan Carter 10/09/2013

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. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent has the Labour Party today abandoned its core values?

    3 star(s)

    The purpose of this, would be the fact that Britain would be free to protect domestic industries from foreign competition. New Labour however, with their internationalist avocations, could not afford to be anti-EU.

  2. 'Aristotle's theory of the four causes is convincing' Discuss.

    To him there must be some sort of change to the theory of the Forms. Also, Aristotle couldn't see how the existence of the forms explained how we gained knowledge in the first place. He didn't understand how not knowing what we already know brings us knowledge because we didn't know it before.

  1. Compare and contrast the UK and US political parties and their party systems

    The powers devolved to the regions were restrained by the simple fact that Westminster is still the major purse-holder of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, thereby not giving these three regions the freedom they believe they need to be truly devolved governments.

  2. To what extent has socialism been defined by its opposition to capitalism?

    boom and bust cycles which will always fall worst on the working class as they don't own the means of production, he believes that the only possible solution is to overthrow capitalism in revolution. Then form a new society on the bases not on wealth creation but on wealth equality

  1. Analyse the main differences between Liberal and Marxist ideology

    Government exercises sovereign power, which is a constant threat to individual liberty, therefore governments threaten to become a tyranny against the individual. Liberals fear arbitary government, and seek to establish limited government. These constitutional constraints include powers being limited by external and legal constraints, and internal constraints that disperse political

  2. Compare and contrast the pluralist, elitist and Marxist theories of the state.

    What the Government neglected to mention was that when they had joined the EEC some few years earlier the signed deal was "perpetual". Even if Britain had voted against the EEC in the referendum there was still nothing that the Government could have done, (if they would choose to do something at all...).

  1. Nationalism. Where do nations come from? Are they natural or artificial formations?

    mediaeval period, however, the 'nationalism' that was prevalent during this period was inspired by a fear of domination by another entity and as a result people needed to protect themselves and their own being (Hale, 1994:8). With this in mind, it could be argued that nationalism did exist before the

  2. Why did Marx Criticise Liberal Democracy?

    Marx criticised liberal democracy on the grounds that it alienated the people and is deficient because it is a part of capitalism. The 'freedoms' and policies implemented by the democratic governments were based on vacillating and uniformed public opinion. Marx disagreed with the concept that each person in society individualistic

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