All about Socialism

Origins and Core Values

19 and 20th century reaction to inequality and laissez faire liberalism. A critique of the present.

Plasticity of human nature= Sees a humanity that can mould, and beleive in human desire for community. Supposedly practice an "ethic of self love and empathy."

Revolutionary= action is needed to bring about social justice. Revolutionary socialists are activists, Scientific Socialists are convicted this will come about naturally, Evolutionary and Democratic Socialists believe in revolution with electoral mandate. 

Collectivism= Inheritance is bad, the group is superior to the individual. This is the solution to socio economic problems. scientific socialism excepts the need for leaders. Hayek= assault on liberty and individuals. Violence is needed.

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origins and core values continued

Equality= Believe in socio economic equality of outcome. State Education.

Needs of the disadvantaged= All socialists promote common welfare for all people. Poverty is the greatest social evil and you should judge a society on how they treat their weakest subjects. Social Democrats want to work within existing structures to increase the economic welfare of the working class + alleviate urban poverty through state welfare+market control+healthcare. Communists achieve this through state planning.

Common Ownership: similar to absolute equality. Proudhon 'all property is theft.'

Ethical socialism: refashioning socialism to meet new problems such as inflation, social exclusion and social stratisfication. Concern for social justice. Public private initiatives. Christian democracy+strong moral argument socialism has eg. michael moore.

Communitarianism: emphasis on the values and togetherness of a community.

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Strands of Socialism

Utopian Socialism= Want to achieve the Utopian ideal and are the founders of the idea of a perfectly ideal society.

Revolutionary Socialism= Activism is needed. Traditional structures of power must be destroyed by revolt.

Scientific Socialism= Socialism will naturally arise from the unrelenting pressures of industrialised society.

Democratic Socialism= Democrats who keep democracy in place but seek a fully socialist economic structure (eg the end of capitalism).

Social Democracy= Demcorats who retain capitalism but seek to change it to bring about more equality.

Third Way= New Labour. Can be described as 'modern socialism,' which places more emphasis on neo liberal values such as equality of opportunity.

Blue Labour=  socialy conservative=Family, Faith and Flag. Include 'tough' policies on immigration and crime. Supporters included Ummuna and Lammy

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Critisms of Marxism: Russia

Kill count: Joseph Stalin 40 million.

Marx: Believed revolution was natural in advanced capitalist countries.

Russia 1917 did not fit this model. Largely agricultural. Lenin believed Russia could conform to Marxist ideology. In Marxism, there are two classes: the elite and the proletariat. In Russia there were two exploited classes, the peasants and the proletariat. Some Marxists in Russia, the Menshevists, wanted democracy but Lenin was convinced revolution needed to occur as a 'pre emptive strike' against capitalism. The Russian Revolution 1917 lead to the ovethrow of the tsar= Bolshevik dictatorship, Lenin dies in 1924. USSR= industrialisation/collectivisation of agriculture. Russia then isolated itself from capitalist states.Stalin recreated society on socialist lines. USSR exported to Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, E Germany, Romania and Bulgaria.

Stakhanovism= Ideal worker.

5 Year Plan: Set targets and incentives for production. Reward: Social honour and career advancement. Punishment: loss of position, undesirable work, gulag?

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Criticism of Marxism: Zedong's China

Kill count: Mao Zedong 60 million

Marx: Believed revolution was natural in advanced capitalist countries.

China: Communists achieve power after long war in 1949 under Mao Zedong. China was completely agricultural. Peasants wanted to overthrow the landlords rather than create a socialist state. Farms were collectivised. Zedong wanted constant accountability of all govt officials, in this way he hoped to create a pure form of socialism. 1966 Cultural Revolution. Millions of public sector officials killed or forced in peasantry. Equality had failed, the economy was poor and the birth rate was soaring. Now a major global capitalist power. All that remains is a one party state.

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Can Marxism be a Socialism that is Democratic? 1

Problems with Scientific Socialism: The argument of inevitability, The theory of Class war, Rejection of moralism, The question of leadership.

The inevitability argument= Communist Manifesto 'What the its own grave diggers' 'the victory of the proletariat' is 'inevitable.' Therefore class war is inevitable/natural.

What happens when revolutions are 'bourgeois' in character?= Marxists support bourgeois revolution where liberal constitutionalism is not established. This explains the attraction of Marxism in colonial countries, autocratic regimes or fuedal societes. Once the old regime has fallen (according to the communist manifesto) 'the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin.' Focused on German revolution 1848, also applies to Russia 1917.

Hunt argues this support for bourgeois revolution was put in  the manifesto to appease members of the Communist League who commissioned the document. Hunt argues this idea of constant revolution doesn't fit in with traditional Marxism who elsewhere in the manifesto argue for educating the proletariat before revolution.

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Can Marxism be a Socialism that is Democratic? 2

Hunt continued: However Marx and Engels did refer to the Communist Manifesto as a 'historical document which we have no longer any right to alter.'

Historical Significance of permanent revolution: Marxism developed in 'backward' countries that didn't have capitalism. Authoritarian leader needed eg. Stalin.

Problem of premature revolution: If revolution is inevitable, Communists are compelled to support revolutions that don't bring about the desired result, and can only be maintained through authoritarian institutions. eg. Paris Commune 1871: Recreation of France into confederate communes and collectives, regular elections, workers councils. Govt troops entered Paris 1871, 25000 people killed. Marx 10 yrs later conceded the commune was a 'desperate folly.' Rosa Luxemburg- Supports Russian Revolution 1917, championing thier heroism and proletarian courage. However she was later alarmed by the authoritarianism of Lenin and Trotsky, eg. dispersal of Constituent Assembly 1918 when it returned a socialist, but not Bolshevik majority. Died in her own uprising. Engels- 'revolution is the most authoritarian thing there is.'

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Can Marxism be a Socialism that is Democratic? 3

Concept of Class war: Increases authoritarianism, reduces democracy. The social issues of class war disregards other struggles (gay+female equality, religious toleration etc.).

Problem of morality: Disdain for the moral argument. Implication of Marxism= destruction of religion eg. Russia and China.

Ends and Means: Russian Revolution= in a life and death struggle victory goes to the most efficent, not the most moral. Trotsky defended terror tactics by claiming 'who aims at the end cannot reject the means.' A dictatorship of the proletariat must protect itself. At best we must choose between proletarian morality and bourgeois morality.

Leadership: Problem= middle class monopoly of skills. Charismatic leaders are needed to spearhead the revolution. This only adds to the authoritarian version of socialism.

Conclusion: idea that socialism is inevitable makes it in opposition to democracy. Becomes authoritarian in theory+practice.

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Democratic Socialism and Bernstein

Arose out of disdain over the Russian Revolution of 1917. Opposes revolution, works within democracy, wants be more realist in its goals.

dem soc. argue soc. must differentiate itself from Communism, concern for reform rather than revolution. Snowden 'more Methodist than Marxism.'

E. Bernstein- 'Evolutionary Socialism': Joined the German Socialists in 1872. Bernstein converted to Marxism in Switzerland. In 1884 the party returned 24 MP's to the Reichstag. By 1903 the SDP had 81 seats in German parl.

Engels expressed concern over Bernsteins enthusiasm for the Fabians, a British group of evolutionary socialists.

In his book, Bernstein 'revised' Marxism. Possessing classes increasing. Society becoming more complex. Agriculture: smaill and medium ladnholding increase. Surplus valuye unnecessary. Cooperation. Rejection of inevitability. Democracy safegaurd against tyranny. goal: increase power of workers+more democracy. Wanted Coop nationalisation.

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Key thinkers

The Webbs (ENG) 1800's to mid 1900s:Influential Labour party ideologues. Championed pragmatism. Sidney Webb drafted the parties new constitution and 1918 Election Manifesto.

Charles Fourier (FRA) 1772-1837: Wanted to revive the sense of community threatened by capitalism. Industrialisation was evil because it drained the creative energy of the workers. Argued for a minimum standard of living, collectivism, good education and housing.

Robert Owen (WAL) 1771-1858: Argued for the education of an intellectual working class. Wanted Cooperative business with produce distributed on the basis of need. Wanted an effective response to the evils of capitalism (exploits consumers and workers).

Auguste Blanqui (FRA) 1805-1881: Wanted to replace Capitalism with a 'workers state.' Set up clubs to organise revolution. Leading figure in the 1848 and 1871 revolts. Emotional idealist.

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Key thinkers continued

Marx (GER) 1818-188: Work was the greatest human desire. Capitalism alienated the workers. By depriving the proletariat of the right to work, the Capitalism was killing itself. Social revolution is inevitable. Equality could then be established.

Anthony Crossland (ENG) '18-'71: Criticised nationalisation. Capitalism ok if it doesn't exploit workers (protection needed) eg. 1999 minimum wage. Nationalisation and coop can exist, but capitalism must dominate. Rejected central planning and idea of class. Redirection of wealth through tax and welfare.

Tony Benn (ENG) '25-present: believed in christian egalitarianism and messages of Jesus. Pres. of the Stop the War Coalition. Inequalities are unethical.

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The Labour Party History part 1

1945: Landslide victory. Rejection of Conservatives (pain from 1930's austerity measures). Attlee 'New Jerusalem': assisted by Marshall aid= total of $3297 million. NHS 1948. Natioanlisation: Coal, rail, electricity and roads. Post war consenus= High spending. Wanted to establish common welfare. Pros: welfare state. Cons: Chancellor Stafford Crips imposed austerity 1947-1950. Rashions continu3ed. War.

1956: Anthony Crosland. Socialist Revisionism= Keynesian economics, Social Justice redefined as moderate wealth distribution+mixed, mainly private economy. Arose as the middle class grew in size, Crossland saw the party needed to evolve.

1961: Hugh Gaitskell: Attempted to modernise clause 4 in response to revisionism. Clause 4 still commitred to democratic socialism 'to secure for the workers...the full fruits of their industry.' In a coup by the parties left, cl4 is put on every party membership card. 1963 Gaitskell dies, replaced by Harold Wilson.

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Lab. History 2

1964: 1st Wilson Govt= Lab-Con 317-304. 'White Heat.' Investment for research and dev. of new industry swallowed by arms industry. Positive investment in Nuclear energy and Concorde. Manifesto plans (school leaving age 16, house building, state pensions) scrapped or curtailed. 1966 GE: 364-253. 1966= poor economy and issues with the pound. 1965 death penalty abolished, 1967 legalisation of gays and abortion, 1970 Equal Pay Act for women. Race Relations 65 and 68. Pros: more advanced society due to investment in  industry, social progress. Cons: failed to bring about the rise of the working class 'educated, sophisticated proletariat.' Lack of focus on socialist economic policy such as redistributive tax+controlled economy. 1970 defeat.

1974-1979: PMs Wilson and Callaghan. Wilson returns as PM Lab 301 Con 297. Majority lost in by elections. Cabinet: Benn: Sec of State for Industry (L=Left, R=Right), Foot: Sec of State for Employment (L), Healey: Chancellor (R), Callaghan: Foreign Sec (R), Jenkins: Home Office (R). Wilson resigns 1976 out of choice. Callaghan wins over Foot and becomes PM. Low unemployment rate: 5.5% lower than in 80s and 90s. 1976: increased borrowing+ £2.5 billion spending cuts. 'We used to think you could spend your way out of reccession...that...option no longer exists.'

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Lab. History 3

Spending cuts demolished the post war consensus= Labour born and Labour killed. Winter of Discontent 1979= TU's wreak havoc vote of no confidence. GE= The Sun 'Vote Tory This Time.' 269-339. Rise of the Left: disatisfaction and frustration '64-'79. Foot becomes leader 1980. Migration= Owen, Rogers, Jenkins and Shirley Williams become SDP. 1983 The Longest Suicide Note In History= Called for unilateral nuclear disarmament, withdrawal from the EEC abolition of the HofL, and the re-nationalisation of recently de-nationalised industries like BT. 203-397 Benn loses seat, re enters in '84. Kinnock becomes leader. 1987 GE 229-376 'The choices are between Labour's programme of work for people and Tory policies of waste of people: between investment in industrial strength, and acceptance of industrial decline.' Manifesto. The Sun 'Why I'm backing Kinnock, by Stalin.' 1992 GE 271-336   The Sun ran a front page headline which urged "the last person to leave Britain" to "turn out the lights" if Labour won.

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Lab History 4

1992 Kinnock-John Smith 94-Tony Blair 07: Accept market forces, reject public ownership, accept industrial relationships and abandon unilateral defence.

New Labour:New Revisionism. Less confidence in high spending, increase media relations, free market. More fairness, less tax, economic soundness. 1995.'By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone.'

1997 GE 418-165  2001 GE 413-166  2005 GE 355-198. Cons by elections from Lab in Crewe and Nantwich and Norwich North. 2010 258-306.

Policies: Make Bank of England independant. National Minimum Wage, Sure Start schemes, public-private partnerships, private finance initiatives, 2nd term increase in NHS and school Spending, 'ethical foreign policy,' Atlanticism, promote human rights, counter terrorism, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. criticised for  'Blatcherism'

3rd term: Economics didn't want euro, bail out banks such as northern rock. Pushed in to 3rd in EP elections. resigns 2010.

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2010-2012: What next?

Peter Mandelson: The Third Man= 2010 'was a reminder of how far we had fallen.' 'With barely 8.5 million votes...our result was worse than in 1992.' 'a broad constituency of voters in the centre ground.' 'commitment to social justice' 'support for individual aspiration.'

2010 AV electoral college leader election: first round won only 11% of PLP Dave= 14% (round to nearest whole number). Fourth round Ed lost to Dave in the CLP and the PLP.Ed supported the AV referendum in 2011.

Re investing in traditional manufacturing to encourage youth employment and re generation of depressed areas. Living wage. Redistributive tax. Slightly less atlantacist and more co operative with EU. Developments= Obama and Hollande. Focus on defining stage 2 in Afghanistan.

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2010-2012 Where Next 2

Mandelson Labour 'prone to clutch at straws and grab at any passing fad.'

Blue Labour: Ed endorsed it in May 2011. Emphasis on conservative working class and communitarianism. Published and e book. Critical of New Labour, Jon Cruddas 'destructive neo liberalism'. Tough stance on immigration. Effectively disbanded in July 2011 following Glasmans comments on immigration. Accused of pandering to the BNP over migration. Problem with Lab isn't social progressive stance, but acceptance of neo liberalism.

Purple Labour: Driven by the Think tank Progress. Supported by Ed, Mandelson and other party magnates. 'Leaving the Big State Behind.' Greater economic credibility. Directly elected mayors. 'Squeezed middle' + 'out of touch.' Opposition to reducing the 50% top rate of tax. Want to build on past achievements.

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Is the Labour Party Socialist?

Revolutionary/Utiopian Soc= No. However 1st Lab govt Zinioviev letter. Loan to Bolshevik Russia. 'to secure for the workers... the full fruits of their industry.'

Democracy Soc= Fabian society influenced by Bernsteins revisionism. Fabians saw Capitalism as unjust and inefficent.

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