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

Why Was Marxism A Minority Ideology Amongst The European Working Class?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why Was Marxism A Minority Ideology Amongst The European Working Class? The 19th century was a period of social development unrivalled in the changes it brought about. The Industrial Revolution was the fundamental basis of this, not only inflating the economy and making the rich far richer, but enlarging the mercantile classes, and creating a vast working class (proletariat). It was this last group, the proletariat, that were, towards the mid to late 1800's, of political and economic importance, not only due to their crucial role in the industrial process and therefore the economy, but because of their sheer size and potential volatility. Geary identifies three major factors as being crucial to the formation and success of national labour movements: (1) The structure and composition of the work force (2) The nature of the State (3) The availability to workers of alternative, radical ideologies. However, of all the political movements that emerged during this period, the only one that concentrated almost entirely on this section of the population was Marxism. On an intellectual and theoretical level, Marx rejected all the sources of capitalism and the dominance of a minority, unrepresentative class, and drew from ideals that emerged in the French Revolution, especially that the proletariat could become a 'universal class'. ...read more.

Middle

These workers were also less dispensable, and working shorter hours meant they had the time in which they could fully participate. Although this meant that membership numbers amongst the urban working classes in Germany were not as great as those elsewhere (for example Britain), but the organisation, and therefore effectiveness, was greater. Another factor that encouraged political mobilisation amongst the working classes, were the hardships that arose as part of the process of industrialisation. Towards the late 19th century, the growth of industry in Germany was relatively accelerated, with numbers of Germans employed in industry rising from 6,396,000 in 1882 to 11,256,000 in 1907. This meant that the influx of workers from the countryside to urban areas was disproportionate to the state's ability to provide amenities for them. The appalling housing conditions therefore meant that the main social focus took place outside the home, often in pubs, and cafes, which also happened to serve as the focal point of socio-democratic activities. Low wages and appalling factory conditions served to fuel the unrest that could be aired in such public meeting places, but this was hardly exclusive to Germany, as a factor of industrialisation throughout Europe. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, generally, there was both a lack of direction and a lack of facilitation to that socialist movement in France, that meant while there was, at times, a demand for socialist principles, but no way in which it could become a mass political movement. It is clear, that whilst socialism was often seen as the 'Red Threat' from the late 19th century until well into the 20th, there was no uniformity to the movement within Europe. In Germany, the advent of WW1, whilst initially bolstering the SPD's hold on the Reichstag, put an end to the political development of the state due to the imposition of the Weimar Republic in the inter - war years. In France, however, there was no real force to the movement due not only to viable and popular alternatives, but a predisposition unfacilitating of a political movement based around the working classes. Therefore, the only real place in which socialism formed a dominant and lasting political movement was in Russia, and the perceived threat, was often, disproportionate to the actual one. In any situation, however, it was the working classes who were the driving force, and the focus of the movement, making any differences within this particular section of society crucial to the Labour movements success and dominance in a wider political sphere. Sarah Sutton Teddy Hall Dr Priestland ...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. How important was ideology as a factor in the outbreak of the Spanish Civil ...

    these reforms, and, as expected from their radical nature, extensive opposition was encountered, resulting in deep polarisation among various political groups. To the Nationalists, the Communists had influenced the Republic too much and lead it to destroy the economy, had failed to keep stability and attacked the traditional pillars of Spanish society: the Church, the Army and the monarchy.

  2. Similarities and differences between 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century European Fascism

    where social problems in western countries such as Britain and America have caused evangelicals to organize pressure groups to petition against abortion laws and other problems such as pornography. This further explains the popularity of political Islam in the Middle East as it is the only other viable solution to the secular ideologies propagated by the West.

  1. Assess critically Marx's distinction between ideology and science

    as in antiquity, or of serfs as in the feudal ages, or of the proletariat of Marx's own times. The ruling classes determined the social and political institutions of a historical period, most prominently - religion and the State. These institutions were so designed as to prolong the supremacy of

  2. What exactly is Weber's Protestant Ethic Thesis?

    If God offers an opportunity to achieve, then it must be accepted. "If God show you a way in which you may lawfully get more than in another way (without wrong to your soul or to any other), if you refuse this, and choose the less gainful way, you cross

  1. Political Parties, Role and Ideology/Policies Qa (i) Ideology is the core fundamental beliefs ...

    It was then argued that this action was a major cause of voter apathy, the working class felt unrepresented and that they were being taken advantage of and simply became fed up of what they thought was the corrupt and underhanded nature of British politics Moreover when you couple this

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

    Even in its small and weak 1900 form, the LRC was evidence of the unions' desires to demonstrate some degree of political as well as industrial capability in asserting their interests. The role socialism had at this time is not so clear.

  1. Free essay

    What do you consider to be the defining elements of a socialist outlook?

    This is where individuals are treated in an equal manner, despite differences in areas such as race, class, gender or religion; all people start on a level playing field. Secondly, communist state socialism advocates absolute social equality; where there are very little or no economic differences between individuals, therefore leading to a very equal standard of living.

  2. Europe post WW1

    Women received the same rights as men, like freedom of speech and the right to vote. One of the reasons why the democratic development was not very stable was the disagreement of the countries that lost the war, like Germany, Hungary and Austria, because the conditions they were given by the triumphant states were very harsh.

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