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Ideology: Socialism

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

May 28, 2008 Ideologies: Socialism Basic Notion • Political society based on co-operation Philosophical Bthkground • Plato (4 century BC) • Thomas More (16 century) • Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels (early 19 century) o Most influential socialist was Karl Marx (1818-1883)  Most of what we now refer to as “socialism” is directly traceable to the ideas of Marx • “Anarchist Socialists” th o Bakunin & Proudhon (19 century) • V.I. Lenin (early 20 century) Main Ideas • Humans are co-operative by nature or can easily be made to be co-operative • Based on Planning and not supply and demand • Common ownership- no private ownership • Equality of result • International brotherhood of man- humans are equal, not divided by race or wealth Marxism • All politics are the result of economic structures o The “mode of production” • History is marked by a class struggle o Product of economic conflict • Dominant “mode of production” is currently the capitalist system o It produces and is characterized by two antagonistic classes  #1: the bourgeoisie • Those who own the means of production and control the state  #2: the proletariat • Those workers who must sell their labour power on the open market • Mainly the industrial working class • Capitalism is plagued by contradictions o Too much produced and not enough consumed  Workers are increasingly too poor to buy products Marxism Cont’d • In time, capitalism will collapse as almost the whole society becomes proletarianized • Masses of impoverished workers will seize the capitalist stats and set up a “dictatorship of the proletariat” • The masses will create a rational planned socialist state o Will be more humane and efficient than the capitalist system • Within a short time period, the state will “wither away” o It will no longer be required o Ending the period of “socialism” Marx’s Communism • After the state (government) disappears, there will be very little conflict o Only “the administration of things” • Society will be classless o People will totally co-operate • There will be no division of labour o Wealth will be plentiful and so people will be able to work at whatever pleases them • There will be no greed and no scarcity o “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” • Marx’s notion of communism sounds like a “utopia” o But Marx insisted that his vision was “scientific” and would come to pass o Therefore, the question was: did workers need to organize and create socialism/communism or would it happen without the conscious effort of anyone?  It appeared that some effort was needed, so even in Marx’s
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