Is socialism a relevant ideology in 2012?

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Is socialism a relevant ideology in 2012?

The definition of socialism is ‘An economic, social and political doctrine which expresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eliminating private property and the exploitative ruling class’. This was a large movement in the mid to late 1900s and was the ideological basis of the early Labour party yet in the 90s however it has lagged in backing and supporters in recent years.

A good example of whether socialism is still relevant is to look at Europe where the movement first built up steam. Europe's still have socialist parties, Spain France and Italy are all countries with large socialist parties this large existence of socialist parties shows the ideology still has a large staying power in the world of European politics. However the socialist parties in most countries have failed to make any serious political inroads. In countries where they held power, such as Spain, they were very unpopular. This lack of support for the socialist parties shows that the movement has seemingly lost its appeal as this lack of backing is in stark contrast to the massive support shown toward the Labour party post war who were welcomed into Britain with open arms winning 239 seats and coming into government. This drop in support is indicative of a drop in relevance.

Furthermore where socialist parties are in opposition, as in France and Italy, they are in disarray – as is Germany's Social Democratic party (SDP), despite their being part of the ruling grand coalition. Even Sweden's out-of-power Socialists, the country's dominant party for a century, have failed to capitalise on the recent economic crisis that would usually allow socialist parties to thrive. The United Kingdom may be the exception, although the pro-market Labour party shaped by Tony Blair have moved from socialism into a more centre right position and were able to remain intact and have a 13 year stretch in power and prevent their main opposition the Tories from gaining a majority of seats. Considering that the only socialist party who have managed to remain stable and powerful are a party that have moved away from socialism there is a clear loss of relevance in power for the socialist ideology. Yet Labour remains a left party on the ideological political spectrum although there socialism is more moderate and a move away from anti capitalism they have remained a party who desire redistribution of wealth and equality for all and taking away power from the upper class so socialism has not necessarily become less relevant but just become less extreme as the still technically socialist party of Labour has managed to remain a major force in the two party system of Britain not being replaced by other parties such as UKIP or the Liberal Democrats

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Yet European socialists have failed to address the recent economic crisis cogently because of their internal divisions. Although originally anti-capitalist, these parties all (to greater and lesser degrees) came to accept the free market as the foundation of the economy. Moreover, since 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet system, the left has lacked a clear model with which to oppose capitalism. But, despite paying lip service to the market, the European left remains torn by an inner contradiction between its anti-capitalist origins and its recent conversion to free-market economics such as the New Labour shift spearheaded by Tony Blair. ...

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