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The influence of socialism on the development of universal human rights

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Introduction

Socialism and the development of the universal human rights agenda in the Industrial Age Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Henry David Thoreau, Claude Henri Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen, to mention just a few important persons in the socialistic history. Claude Henri Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen are even considered as the starters of the modern socialism, though they were 'utopian in their belief that peaceful cooperation between classes was possible under capitalism'. These three people, grown up in a world in which the industrial sector rapidly developed. The Industrial Revolution has had a great influence of the development of this upcoming political stream. But what influence had socialism in particularly the development of human rights during the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century? In the beginning of the 19th century the agriculture received a big boost by the introduction of new production processes like using fertilizers. The production process changed from a labor-intensive basis to a more capital-intensive basis and therefore the poor people, who were used to work in the agriculture, were almost forced to migrate to the cities in the hope to improve their standards of living. In the cities were the big manufactories, which needed lots of labor resources. The migration of these 'workers' thus was good for the city, but the gap between the rich and the poor grew massively. Not only men, but also children and women worked long hours in the different coal, steel, mine and textile industries and this development started the socialistic thinking. Throughout the years the perspective of working in these most of the times unsafe, unhealthy, unclean factories changed. ...read more.

Middle

Karl Marx was one of the socialist thinkers and the participants of the First International. He denounced the conservative restoration of "property, family, religion and order". A central state, without religion, was for him the best. The use of religion always benefited the preservation of the ruling elite, while the ruling should be based on the working class. The whole community should benefit from each other, as it was seen as "all citizens would give the benefits of their labor to the community on an equal basis and take from a collective storehouse whatever they needed". This would give more equality and universal suffrage should therefore be granted to all individuals. Marx called for a common human rights agenda and this would be the first step towards a universal human rights agenda. The First International enabled to harmonize global human rights activism. In the several conferences different important human rights issues were raised and international campaigns against abuse of human rights brought together journalists and intellectuals from all over the world and socialist movements pressured governments to stop abusing human rights. Karl Marx and the First International have been very important for the ideology. Group solidarity and universal human rights were equalized and probably the biggest achievements of the socialists were the near-end slavery, the enfranchisement of property and the granting of universal suffrage. 1889 was the year of the establishment of the Second International. It had no mandatory power but was recognized by its member parties as their highest moral authority. Marxism was the dominant ideology, though other trends and influences were also present. ...read more.

Conclusion

These people are known to be abusive towards universal human rights, but covering their deeds by propaganda happened and therefore many people were not aware about what was actually going on. Though, socialism had modified the early human rights discourse. The socialist position also represented the first historical assertion that all humans, regardless of wealth, gender, race, or age, were entitled to both political and social rights. All the achievements included different acts, congresses, movements, socialist thinking, but especially the introduction of the universal human rights agenda. Socialism brought a fresh breath into the political system. Although they did a lot of good things, there are some controversies and implications. The first point I would like to address is the controversial thinking about Jews. Socialists called for the equal rights, if so than people should also have had the right to freedom of religion. Socialists did not do this as they were in some countries anti-Semitistic, for example Russia. Secondly it were not only the socialists who implemented universal human rights. As mentioned, liberalism had its share in the development of human rights. Capitalism, a form of economy introduced by liberalists, opened the doors for the industrialization after a period of monarchies. Out of this actually came the working class, so the one is the cause of the other. Secondly the 1848 revolutions had a quite liberal character in many European countries. However, the socialists have had the biggest share in the development of the universal human rights agenda in the Industrial Age. ?? ?? ?? ?? Socialism and the development of the Human Rights Essay universal human rights agenda in the Industrial Age ...read more.

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