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What is Socialism? In what ways, if at all, do you consider the ideas associated with this movement to have been related to those of romanticism?

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Introduction

EUR 1200: European Studies Catherine Wyatt 19453175 Q:What is Socialism? In what ways, if at all, do you consider the ideas associated with this movement to have been related to those of romanticism? Due 4 October Although diverging in opinion on many topics and in many areas, Romanticism was as much an idea as it was a building block for Socialism. Romanticism developed after the French Revolution of 1789, and was influencial to Socialist icon Karl Marx' 'Communist Manifesto'. This was the leading piece of literature for the socialist/communist movement that followed. This was a period of social unrest where people and communities looked into the feasibility of socialist ideologies. A system of social organization which advocated the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land etcetera, in the community as a whole increased in popularity. Both Romanticism and Socialism depend on the power of Revolutions to bring about the necessary change. The complete rotation created is exactly what is desired to instill the new more 'enlightened' structures. Although Revolution is only the beginning, education of the community members involved is crucial to instill the ideology and sustain it's existence in the society. Furthermore romantic emotions and notions of the era such as cooperation, nationalistic pride, belief in the goodness of humanity, equality, dedication, anti-Materialism are paramount to the emergence and success of Socialism. ...read more.

Middle

Historically where this equality would have meant shared poverty in countries, it was inevitable that a minority would plunder, enslave and exploit the majority. However, through experiences, a key tool to education according to Romanticism theories, workers learn to do without an elite. An infamous example was seen in the Soviet Union, somewhat blamed on the lack of education and knowledge. Many people were peasants or ex-peasants with little knowledge of anything much beyond village life and therefore weren't equipped to take on the tasks of management or other more cerebral forms of mental labour. Socialism's dependence on education and the lack of access to cultural and intellectual resources for workers worked against any kind of progress. A variety of Romantic literature writes of children being closer to nature and the opportunities and positivity of leaving them 'uncivilized'. There is an indirect effect through the impact of other people's neurotic behaviour, particularly that of parents, who have been coerced and changed by their social system. For Socialism to work kids shouldn't be molded by their parents own previous problems or capitalist upbringing that they would then impose on their children. 'The goal-however impossibly paradoxical on the face of it-was to preserve the instinctive freedom, playfulness and sincerity of the natural child into adulthood. ...read more.

Conclusion

Among the characteristic attitudes of Romanticism was a preoccupation with the genius, the hero and the exceptional figure in general, accompanied by a focus on his passions and inner struggles. Emotive poems, strong literature or passionate marching songs of revolution that were written were often for or in honour of a leader. Socialists use symbols to give fervour to this aswell. Posters of their mighty leader breaking the chains, figures with clenched fists, revolutionary songs about the struggle to the death are common during a movement. They often idolize their leader and quote the typical and oft-repeated phrases from the books of these people. Socialists and Romantics alike often take great delight in causing themselves pain and in making people feel sorry for them, whilst they also take pride in being recognized as a 'hero' himself. The shear feasibility of Socialism is far off and romantic in believing that everyone would not be inherently selfish. The foundation of it's ideas rest on Romanticism, those who continue to espouse Socialism can do so only contrary to the warrant of reason, and can defend it only with their eyes closed to the fact that it is obsolete as an ideology. Generally unsuccessful, Socialism has been the cause of millions of deaths through war and starvation and through it's many failures and obvious shortcomings, followers devotedly defend their ideology, making it clear that their devotion to the cause is a Romantic one. ...read more.

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