Socialism Is a Highly Charged


"In Great Britain, where orthodox Marxism had never been a powerful force, the Fabian Society, founded in 1884, set forth basic principles of evolutionary socialism that later became the theoretical basis of the British Labour party." ("Socialism ") Though there was conflict from the very beginning the power structure of the parliamentary system was challenged and the results were to be felt for a long time. As with most nations involving themselves in the socialist ideal the biggest rift was of coarse the deemed necessity for complete social upheaval in a revolution or the need for the maintenance and redirection of the current system to create changes that would better serve the people and therefore better reflect socialist ideologies.

For Mr. Powell, the difference between the Fabian gradualist, George Bernard Shaw, and the revolutionary, William Morris, says it all. The former insisted that Socialism could be 'adopted as a whole or by instalments': the latter, that Parliamentary Socialism led to 'the continual life of compromise' and that extra-Parliamentary activism was the only way forward. In the 1950s, after six years of post-war Labour government had come to an end, Hugh Gaitskell and Aneurin Bevan were, according to Mr. Powell's interpretation at least, still having much the same argument. (Phillips)

Parliamentary power base, though constantly in flux has seen foundational growth of the socialist concern through legitimate means, e.g. means other than revolutionary bloodshed and losses.

Democratic socialism can probably be said to the be the most influential of all the revisionist socialist movements as they took the high road and dealt in many ways with those things which they felt they could have greatest control over and did not attempt to disenfranchise capitalism, in a grand way.

Democratic socialism took firm root in European politics after World War I. Socialist democratic parties actively participated in government in Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, and other nations. Socialism also became a powerful force in parts of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. To the Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of independence movements, it was attractive as an alternative to the systems of private enterprise and exploitation established by their foreign rulers. ("Socialism ")

Even greater personal and social control has been gained through the implementation of socialist ideals, under the guise of other names, so as not to alert the opponents of the capitalistic camp. Yet, the reality has been, in general an increased sense of social control by the lower classes in many colonial ravaged nations. This is especially true in Africa, a place foundational changed by colonial rule and capitalistic exploitation.

After World War II, socialist parties came to power in many nations throughout the world, and much private industry was nationalized. In Africa and Asia where the workers are peasants, not industrial laborers, socialist programs stressed land reform and other agrarian measures. These nations, until recently, have also emphasized government planning for rapid economic development. African socialism has also included the revival of precolonial values and institutions, while modernizing through the centralized apparatus of the one-party state. ("Socialism ")

Though Socialism has been a pervasive influence in the world, under many names and through many theorists and incarnations, the recent collapse of the Eastern European and Soviet Communist states has caused at the very least a theoretical victory for capitalism, yet the foundational concepts of social responsibility and actions is still very much a part of the culture left behind in those and other nations. ("Socialism ") For this reason the modern world may well see the development of a social and political situation that is a meeting in the middle, per se of the socialist/capitalist ideals. (Brucan 515)

Most nations have a high regard for their institutions of government and their particularly, more or less homogenous acceptance of a world view that for most includes the definition of their political and economic philosophies. Yet, it is hard to imagine that the individual has any great ability to see the big picture or for that matter completely understand the catch phrase like labels assigned to their respective culture. Through a greater understanding of socialism I think most people would benefit, psychologically and socially. Equating the dark reputed evil "communism" as equivalent to socialism is inherent in many places in the world, especially within nations that participated in what some call the "cold war" and in nearly all nations who espouse capitalism as their major economic philosophy.

Yet, it would be surprising an enlightening at least to take universalities which people often espouse and link them to the particular beliefs within socialism from which they are derived. This exercise should be mandatory in higher education as well as in secondary education, as for the most part a utter lack of understanding reigns supreme about socialism's core values and real applications, as the change they have elicited in many nations and cultures is often just slightly under the radar screen of the common man.

Works Cited

Brucan, Silviu. "Political Reform in the Socialist System." World Policy Journal 4.3 (1987): 515-526.

"Socialism ." The Columbia Encyclopedia . 6th ed. 2000.

Gray, Alexander. The Socialist Tradition, Moses to Lenin. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1946.

Hardy, Dennis. "J.E.M. Latham. Search for a New Eden. James Pierrepont Greaves (1777-1842): The Sacred Socialist and His Followers." Utopian Studies 14.1 (2003): 227+. Questia. 5 Dec. 2004 .

Laidler, Harry W., ed. Socialist Planning and a Socialist Program: A Symposium. New York: Falcon Press, 1932.

Lane, David. The Socialist Industrial State: Towards a Political Sociology of State Socialism. Boulder, CO: Allen & Unwin, 1976.

MacDonald, J. Ramsay. The Socialist Movement. New York: H. Holt and Company, 1911.

Phillips, Tom. "What's Left? Labour Britain and the Socialist Tradition." Contemporary Review Apr. 1999: 211+. Questia. 5 Dec. 2004 .

Schwartz, Moshe, Susan Lees, and Gideon M. Kressel,…