Welcome to The Half-Baked Bloggers Consortium's (HBBC) eighth post. Yeah, it has been two months since we started! :) Meet the members here.
This week's topic is Socialism, chosen by Noor El Terk. Please, make sure to check the other members' posts. You won’t be disappointed. ;)
This week’s post is going to be a scholar post. Since I’m no expert in economics or political science, I am only going to state some points from the sources I’ve read to gather information about this topic. No personal opinions involved.
The Story of Socialism: The Man, The Theory and The Utopia.
Karl Marx, trained Hegelian philosophy, produced a theory consisting of 3 interrelated elements: a theory of economics, a theory of social class, and theory of history.
Economic Theory Marx concentrated on profit. Workers produce goods and services but get only paid for a fraction of the value of what they produce. The capitalist owners skim off the rest (profit). Workers are paid too little to buy the products they have made, resulting in repeated overproduction which leads to depression.
Marx predicted that there will be a depression so big the capitalist system would collapse, then socialism will come next and we should all ‘aid in its coming’. (This was in the 19th century when liberalism was dominant).
Marx wrote not as a scholar but as a revolutionist. Socialists with their leading thinker Karl Marx wanted to overthrow the capitalist system.
The Communist Manifesto, the pamphlet of Karl Marx’s idea published in 1848, was concluded with the famous ringing words: “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of all countries, unite!". Proletarians are the workers.
Socialism? "Communist" Manifesto? Hmmm..
Socialism Marx actually focused on the malfunctions of capitalism he only specified socialism to be a just, productive society without class distinctions. Just in the distribution of goods and services. He only said that socialism would be much better than capitalism; however, the workings and procedures to deliver economic justice among people were vague.
Communism Marx then stated that at a certain stage, when industrial production was very high, the socialist society will turn into communism. Communism to Marx was “a perfect society, without police, money, or even government”. Goods will be in such plenty that people will just take what they need. There will be no private property, so there will be no need for police. Since there will be no class distinctions, there will be no need for governments, which are instruments of class domination. Communism was more of a political ideology than an economic theory. Communism was the utopia of socialism.
So, what is socialism we’ve been hearing about all these years?
The vague procedures of serving economic justice in the manifesto enabled socialist thinkers to put forward their own vision of socialism. This has ranged from welfarism of social democratic parties, to anarcho-syndicalism, to Lenin’s and Stalin’s hypercentralized tyranny, to Mao’s self-destructive permanent revolution, to Trotsky’s denunciation of same, to Tito’s experimental decentralized system, to 3agaby!!! All claim to espouse “real” socialism. Maybe this is why eventually socialist and communist systems were splinted in history.
One last note..
Since most of us are tweeps, then you must have come across a lot of “activists” who promote socialism and claim that they are #LeftistAndProud. What is the relation between leftists and socialism?
“In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for an egalitarian (equal) society. They usually involve a concern for those in society who are disadvantaged relatively to others and the assumption that there are unjustified inequalities (which right-wing politics view as natural or sacred) that should be reduced or abolished.
The term was then applied to a number of revolutionary movements, especially socialism, anarchism and communism as well as more reformist movements like social democracy and social liberalism.” Wikipedia
Reference: Michael G. Roskin. Political Science: An Introduction.