Types of Socialism


Revolutionary Socialism

Karl Marx wrote ''The Communist Manifesto'' in 1948, analysed capitalism and proposed and alternative; believed that the proletariat would revolt against the bourgeoisie and create a new better society. Other revolutionary socialism ideas relate to anarchism.

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Evolutionary Socialism

Argue that a great upheavel is not the best way to change society (or may be impossible). Instead incremental chnages should be made winning gradual victories.

Some Evolutionary Socialists (such as Fabian Ttradition) might be better described as social democratic as they aim to improve life under capitalism rather than replace capitalism with socialism.

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Utopian Socialism

Some socialists (such as William Morris) promised a perfect future. Their socialism was based on an imagined future state where there is to be perfect equality, no explotation, peace & fellowship, etc..

Sometimes modelled on an imagined past (a golden age before capitalism).

Marx- ''too romantic''.

Trotsky spoke of 'permanesnt revolution' (i.e socialists should continue to keep changing; there is no end when perfection is attained)

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Ethical Socialism

For some socialism is more a religion than an ideology (for some its a science).

  • They see basic moral teaching as important; love thy neighbour.
  • Often too utopian; too 'romantic'.
  • In 1980/90's both 'sides' of the argument in the Labour Party (''Old Labour Bennites' and 'New Labour Blairites') said they were ideological decendents of ethical socialists (such as R.H Tawney).
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Social Democracy/Democratic

Initially was a phrase to differentiate between Marxist parties and other socialists (Lenin was considered a ''social democrat').

  • Through 20th century it completely changed it's meaning.
  • Social democrats seek to improve life for ordinary people under capitalism, using democratic means; in example The Labour Party.
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New Labour

New Labours 'Third-Way'' ideology is perhaps best seen as a departure from traditional social democracy, where many more of the aspects of capitalism/capitalist economics and scoiety previously seen by 'social democrats' as bad were considered acceptable (such as free-market, privatisation, competition) whilst still seeing the benefit of minimum wage.

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