CONTACT US

084594-00000

About Us  :  Online Enquiry

Download

Growth Of Socialism

Growth Of Socialism 

Introduction

  • The Congress of Berlin in 1878 may be said to mark the close of an epoch in European history, the epoch of nationalist struggle against the reactionary policy of the Congress of Vienna. By that date the principles of liberalism and nationalism, struggles which the French Revolution had propounded, and which the diplomats of Vienna had ignored, were triumphant throughout the greater part of Europe. The elaborate political structure reared by the Congress of Vienna, had been demolished and Europe was reconstructed on a new basis. With the rise of the two new nation-states Germany and Italy, the balance of power was profoundly modified, and Europe had to adapt itself to new faces and the new phenomena. Above all, the peoples of Europe no longer engrossed by the problems of Nationalism and Liberalism began to cast their eyes over the whole world. Concerns to remote lands suddenly became matters of European importance. The European Powers came to have a new outlook, a new political idea and these in their turn gave rise to new problems and new complications.
  • The causes of this new orientation were many and varied, but the one chiefly responsible for it was the amazing development of science and industry. Science advanced with rapid strides, conquering the forces of nature and harnessing them to men’s requirements. The progressive application of science to industry in the development of manufacturing methods and new modes of transport and communication, transformed the face of the world. The invention of steam ships, telegraphs and cables shortened space, extended time and linked up the different parts of the world, making it a single unit for various purposes. Trade and commerce crossed their accustomed frontiers and spread their tentacles over every region of the globe. With the inter-nation of trade and commerce, finance also internationalised and the nations of the world become economical as well as financially dependent upon one another. The world today is one vast market in which men of every race and colour fiercely jostle with each other for gain and profit. “The failure of a New York Bank may now ruin a craftsman of Tokyo, and a drought in Russia will alter an English artisan’s standard of living.” The day when Europe could be self-sufficient had gone forever. The more highly industrialised a country is the more dependent it is upon other countries for the supply of raw materials for its industries. Hence arose the necessity of controlling the regions which produced these materials. Thus, followed a scramble for the control of the still unoccupied regions of the world or of regions whose people were too weak and backward to offer opposition to European aggression. Industrialised Europe having ceased to be self-sufficient, turned its covetous eyes upon the non-European world. In other words, industrialism inevitably led to imperialism. The era of nation-states gave place to the era of world-states. The extension of the European control over the rest of the world and the keen rivalry which such a process entailed, formed one of the chief features of the period which preceded the hideous catastrophe of the Great War of 1914.
  • It should be noted that industrialism and imperialism were not the novelties of the period under review. Their influence was already in operation before 1878. But since that date their influence became much more intense and the changes they produced went on with much greater speed. This was largely due to the fact that many of the states were by this time released from the pressing internal and external troubles which had absorbed their energy, and so were in a position to turn their attention to extra-European affairs.

Some Characteristics Of The Period | Growth Of Socialism 

The Age of Armed Peace

  • For about four decades after the Treaty of Berlin Europe had peace. But the atmosphere was so much charged with mutual suspicion and rivalry that there was danger that the international tranquility might be disturbed at any moment The relations among the Powers, though not hostile, were watchfully suspicious. Hence they armed themselves to the teeth, justifying their action as a defensive measure against possible eventualities. The result was that almost all the Great Powers remodelled and enlarged their armies so that Europe tended to become one vast military camp. Hence the period from 1871 to 1914 has been described as the period of Armed Peace. It was the startling revelation of the military power of Germany that was mainly responsible for this posture of events. With the Germans the cult of the sword had by this time become a national creed; for they saw that each successive advance of Germany towards unity and national consolidation had been accomplished by a policy of “blood and iron.” It was to the army that they owed the creation of the Empire and it was to it that they trusted for guarding their gains recently secured. Hence they came to have a very strong faith in the efficacy of militarism. This attitude naturally provoked the fear of France who apprehended a fresh onslaught from her formidable neighbour. Hence she began to arm in self-defence. Germany, afraid of revengeful France, had to be on the alert and so there followed an intense competition between the two Powers, each trying to outdo the other in military strength. Italy, a new Great Power, had to follow suit since she was suspicious of Austria who might try to recover the lost Italian provinces. As a matter of fact, there were so many storm-centres in Europe that all the continental states felt themselves unsafe, especially in view of the soaring ambition of Germany and her sabre-rattling policy. The result was that almost every major state of Europe, except England, adopted German system of compulsory military service. England, by virtue of her insular position, was not compelled to maintain an army on the continental scale. But when Germany under William II adopted an ambitious naval programme, she atso was drawn into the competition to maintain her traditional naval superiority. Every nation talked of peace and at the same time prepared for war. Military preparations were supplemented by alliances with the result that Europe was before long divided into two distinct diplomatic groups— the Triple Alliance, and the Dual Alliance, each looking upon the other with profound suspicion.

Militant Nationalism| Growth Of Socialism 

  • Another characteristic of the period was its intense nationalism. It was fostered partly by the military temper of the age and partly by the growing feeling of aggressive patriotism. Nationalism emphasised what was peculiar to a given people and ignored all claims and aspirations other than its own. It demanded that the people should not only love their country and hold its honour high, but should exalt it beyond any other. It had degenerated into arrogant racialism, especially in Germany. Obsessed by the idea of the superiority of their own “Kultur”, the Germans looked down upon other peoples and “deliberately set out to Teutonise mankind.” The exuberant nationalism of the period found expression in competitive struggle for colonies, in the race of armaments and in the adoption of high protective tariffs to foster home industries and to exclude the manufactures of other countries.
  • Besides this assertive nationalism there was the unsatisfied, and in some cases, the outraged nationalism of some of the peoples of Europe. Thus the French people smarted under the recent loss of Alsace-Lorraine. The Danes of Schleswig and the Poles of Posen felt bitterly aggrieved at the forcible incorporation of their territory with Germany and resisted all efforts to Germanise them. There were racial conflicts in Austria-Hungary, and the unsatisfied national aspirations of the Balkan states. There was the national ambition of Italy to wrest from Austria the italian-speaking districts of Trieste and the Terentino. As a matter of fact there was hardly a single Power in Europe which was not affected by the growth of the national idea. England had in Irish nationalism a serious problem to deal with, while Russia had to face the discontent of the Finns and the Poles who resisted her policy of “Russification”. Nationalism, whether assertive or outraged, was a very disquieting feature of the period and eventually proved to be a tinder-box which set all Europe ablaze.

Internationalism | Growth Of Socialism 

  • Side by side with the growth of nationalism, there developed throughout the nineteenth century a consciousness of international solidarity. With the increased facilities for travel there were greater opportunities for peoples of various nations to meet together and exchange their ideas on many aspects of their social and political life. The result was that international conferences multiplied and almost every field of human activity came under their purview. There was a marked tendency towards co-operation in many aspects of social life. The Universal Telegraph Union (1875), the Universal Postal Union (1878), the adoption of a practically uniform system of patent and copyright laws, these are some of the instances of international cooperation of the period. Socialism was a movement which was common to the countries of Europe, while commercially the whole world tended to become a single economic unit.
  • This tendency towards international co-operation was also to be found in the sphere of politics. The Holy Alliance was an idealistic attempt to secure peace and international goodwill, while the more practical Concert of Europe recognized the necessity of the joint action of the great Powers to deal with some of the pressing political problems of the time. Numerous questions, especially those relating to the Balkan peninsula, Africa and the Far East, which in earlier times would have led to war, were settled by joint diplomatic discussion in European conferences. Thus the Congress of Berlin (1878) prevented the Russo-Turkish War from developing into a much vaster struggle, and settled the eastern Question for a time. The Berlin Conference of 1884-85 peacefully settled the question of the partition of Africa by delimiting the spheres of influence of the Powers and setting up the Congo Free State under their joint guarantee. In 1900 an international army suppressed the Boxer rising in China. Two of the small states of Europe, Belgium and Luxemburg, were under the joint protection of the Powers. The international idea was greatly promoted by joint agreement on the laws of war. Thus the Declaration of Paris (which was embodied in the Peace of Paris, 1856) laid down certain rules of maritime warfare for the protection of neutral trade in times of war. The Geneva Convention of 1864 declared that subject to certain restrictions, the wounded soldiers in the field and the official staff of ambulances and their equipment were to be neutral. For the execution of this convention an International Red Cross Society was organised with its headquarters at Geneva, with branches in all European countries and with an international flag. Thus although there was no permanent Concert of Europe, the idea underlying it was never wholly lost. On many an occasion the Powers acted as if there was a European commonwealth of nations. Growth Of Socialism
  • With the growth of international co-operation there arose a growing tendency among the people as well as government to prevent war among nations. In every country there were pacifists who denounced-war as a relic of barbarism. Peace societies sprang up all over Europe, and Peace congresses, at first held intermittently, became regular annual events after 1889. Bern in Switzerland was fixed as the permanent headquarters of this international peace movement. Philanthropists like Alfred Nobel of Sweden and Andrew Carnegie of America freely gave their purse to the cause of peace. Nobel endowed several annual prizes of which one was for the greatest service to the cause of international peace, while the other patronised many peace societies and built a Temple of Peace at The Hague. The name of Count of Tolstoy is also famous for his powerful writings on behalf of pacifism. Growth Of Socialism
  • A good illustration of the pacific tendency of the age is furnished by the new willingness of the nations to submit their quarrels to international arbitration. This tendency was strongly supported by the British Government which submitted many of its disputes to an arbitral court set up for each occasion the most famous of these was the quarrel between England and the United States over the affairs of the cruiser, Albania (1871). The settlement of the Venezuela boundary dispute (also between England and the United States) is another instance in point. Another good example of the avoidance of war by arbitration was the North Sea incident of 1904. A Russian fleet on its way to the Far East during the Russo-Japanese War, in a moment of panic, opened fire upon some British fishing boats off the Dogger Bank and killed some of the helpless sailors. Public opinion in England was naturally aroused by the British Government, instead of sending an ultimatum to Russia, agreed to submit the case to arbitration. The attack was proved to be a mistake and damages were awarded to the British fisherman by a Court which was set up in Paris.
  • An important plank in the pacifist platform was the limitation of armaments by international agreement. This plan strongly appealed to many European statesmen in view of the ruinous expenditure entailed by the fierce competition in armaments among the nations of Europe. Growth Of Socialism
  • In 1898 Czar Nicholas II of Russia issued a famous circular to the Powers, proposing an international conference on disarmament. Accordingly, a conference was held at The Hague in 1899, and it was attended by the representatives of twenty-six states of which four were Asiatic and two American. But no agreement could be come to on the question of the limitation of armaments chiefly on account of the opposition of the German delegates. But though the conference failed in its main object, it achieved some noteworthy results. It set up a Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, to which international disputes might be referred for adjudication. Besides, some—but not all of the Powers agreed not to use asphyxiating gases or poisoned bullets in time of warfare, nor to launch projectiles or explosives from balloons.
  • Despite discouragements the friends of peace were active and they brought about the Second Conference at The Hague in 1907. It was also summoned by Nicholas II but the suggestion had first come from President Roosevelt. It was attended by representatives from forty-four out of the world’s fifty-seven sovereign states. The Conference was thus not European but international, and was a good illustration of the fact that the age of world-politics had dawned. The Conference accomplished much useful work in adopting rules for conducting warfare in a more humane fashion, particularly in regard to the treatment of the civilian population of the invaded country and in regard to prisoners. But concerning disarmament or the limitation of armaments, nothing was achieved. Growth Of Socialism

Working Class Movement | Growth Of Socialism 

  • The Industrial Revolution had immensely multiplied the production of wealth, but had at the same time accentuated the problem of its distribution. The lion’s share went to swell the coffers of the capitalist, while the labourer had to starve in the midst of plethoric plenty. He was paid miserably low wages; he had to work and live under extremely unsafe and unhealthy conditions and there was no time limit to his work—the only limit being exhaustion. It was this state of things which led to movements for the amelioration of the lot of the working classes. Attempts in this direction were made by the labourers themselves as well as by the state.
  • The labourers realised that union is strength and that combined action is more effective than individual efforts. Hence they formed Trade Unions or combinations of workmen-employed in the same trade with the object of securing better wages and easier hours of labour.
  • Such unions were at first declared illegal by the Governments, but in course of time they secured legal recognition. In England Gladstone legalised Trade Unions in 1871. In France they were encouraged by Napoleon III and subsequently legalised in 1884. All over Europe Trade Unions multiplied and prospered and today there is hardly any industry or occupation without its union. The most potent weapon by which these unions seek to put pressure on the employers is the strike or concerted stoppage of work. Such a strike becomes all the more effective if it is followed by a sympathetic strike on the part of another union. These Trade Unions have immensely improved the conditions of the labourers by securing to them higher rate of wages and reductions in the hours or work. Growth Of Socialism
  • The efforts of the labourers were supplemented by those of the state. The Government, influenced partly by humanitarian considerations, began to pass Factory regulating hours and age of employment and providing for.a general improvement in the condition of the working classes.
  • The third manifestation of the working class movement was Socialism. It is direct challenge to capitalism and seeks to reconstruct the society on a new basis. A brief history of the development of socialist ideas is given below.

Growth Of Socialism

  • Like democracy and nationalism, Socialism is one of the potent forces of the nineteenth century. It was however, long before it could make its influence felt and not until we reach the last quarter of the century that we realise its strength and possibilities. Socialism grew out of the endeavour to improve the conditions of the poor and seeks to establish economic equality between man and man just as democracy seeks to establish political equality. Its object is to put an end to an economic system which permits the extremes of plenty and poverty to exist side by side. That the few should roll in wealth at the cost of the many sunk in abject poverty, is a state of affairs which Socialism is out to destroy. Growth Of Socialism
  • This chasm between the rich and the poor which Socialism wants to bridge over, is no new thing. It is as old as the world, and so ever since the dawn of civilization it has provoked speculations about the cure of this economic evil. Plato in his “Republic” envisaged a communist state based upon equality of wealth. The medieval schoolmen found it difficult to defend an economic system in which some men suffered from privation while others prospered. Moore in his “Utopia” pictures an ideal community where there is no private property and where everyone must work Other instances may be added to show that Socialism as an ideal can claim venerable antiquity and a fair measure of persistence and continuity. But these early speculations were the dreams of philosophers and philanthropists whose idealism painted with rosy tints an imaginary golden age in which men were politically free and economically equal. It was the French Revolution which brought communistic theories into the realm of practical politics. Its Idea of equality was galvanised into a dynamic force by the misery wrought upon the working classes by the great economic upheaval, known as the Industrial Revolution. Growth Of Socialism
  • The evils which Socialism seeks to cure are those arising from too much concentration of wealth in the hands of a few individuals. It is a protest against economic individualism. It stands for co-operation as opposed to competition. It pleads for’social justice and fairness in the matter of distribution of wealth which finds its way mostly into the pockets of the few. It holds that the prevailing economic inequality is due to the exploitation of labour by capital. Wealth is the joint product of both labour and capital, but at the time of its distribution it is the capital which manages to monopolise the lion’s share by robbing labour of what is rightfully due to it. That is why Proudhon has remarked that all property is theft. Hence to restore social justice the individual capitalists must be made to disgorge their ill-gotten gains, and all the means and resources of production and distribution must be transferred to the State. This is the central idea of Socialism—the substitution of common or collective ownership of the ownership for private ownership. Socialism thus aims at replacing the present capitalist system of economic organisation by one in which the interests of the wage-earning class will be safeguarded by the establishment of some form of collective ownership. But how is the transference from private to common ownership to be effected, whether by political methods, or by direct action such as strikes and sabotage or by violence and revolution? What form the common ownership should take? In other words, who is to own the means of production, the State or an organised group of labourers? These were the questions on which widely different opinions were and are still held. All Socialists agree in their denunciation of Capitalism, in championing the cause of the wage-earners and in their advocacy of communal ownership of all the means of production, but they differ in respect of the methods to be adopted to achieve their objects. Hence “there are as many varieties of Socialism as there are Socialists.” Growth Of Socialism

Socialist Movement | Growth Of Socialism 

  • Although Socialism is an old idea it was never a living force before the nineteenth century. Modern Socialism is the direct product of the economic changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The most important feature of these changes was the substitution of machinery for manual labour. But machinery entailed a heavy outlay and so industry became more dependent on capital. The result was the rise of a class of capitalists who owned the factories and made it their business to exploit the labourers. The workmen were herded into factories and compelled to work for long hours at miserable wages and under conditions extremely prejudicial to their health and morals. Thus instead of being a boon to mankind, machinery appeared to be but a cruel instrument of oppression in the hands of conscienceless capitalists. The prevalent economic theory of laissez faire stood for the non-interference of the State in individual action, especially in matters of trade and industry. The result was that the Government did not interfere in regulating the relations between the capitalist and the wage-earner, and left the latter entirely at the mercy of the former. But the capitalist cared only for his own profit and was quite apathetic to the shocking conditions that existed among the labouring class. The Socialist movement arose as a protest against this state of things – the existence side by side of unfeeling luxury and grinding penury. At first it was a cry of distress and despair, but it developed into the battle cry of “down with capitalism”. The wage-earner (proletariate) began to realise the value of his labour and to feel that he was being robbed of his dues. Thus arose the conflict between labour and capital – a conflict which threatens to involve modern civilisation into a cataclysm. The distress of the working class provoked bitter criticism of the existing social order. A new class of theorists and reformers began to arise, who urged men to be social and not selfish—look to the welfare of the society as a whole. Such reformers came to be known as Socialists. The agitation they started and continued to this day has assumed many forms and has called forth a profusion of suggestions and remedies. One of the best known of early socialists was Robert Owen, a Welshman. Himself a manager of big business concern he had observed with grief and disgust the evils of the factory system and tried to find a solution for the problem of the wretched labourers. He began by making New Lanark, the centre of his business, a model factory town where the moral and material welfare of workmen were well cared for. He tried to set up similar communities in America but without success. One good result however, attended his efforts, viz., the establishment of co-operative stores. In France the cause of Socialism was represented in the first quarter of the nineteenth century by Saint-Simon and Fourier. Saint-Simon saw with great insight the importance of the new industrialism and held that the future would belong to the “industrial state.” He wanted that such a state should be directed by savants and men of science, who alone were fitted to look after the interests of the most numerous and poorest class. Fourier emphasised the danger to society of a proletariate having no interests in its maintenance. He, like Owen, advocated the establishment of independent industrial communities of 1,800 persons who were to live and work together and share on a co-operative basis the product of their toil. All these were visionary schemes and came to nothing, and so their advocates have been described as Utopian Socialists. They were clear enough in the ideal they aimed at,-but could not formulate practicable plans for the realisation of their object. They were reformers and philanthropists who appealed to the generous sentiment of the upper classes but ignored the grim facts of human nature and society. Hence their endeavour proved nothing more than pious wishes. Growth Of Socialism
  • In the next generation Louis Blanc of France struck out a new line. Instead of appealing to the upper classes he appealed directly to the working men. His ideal was that without political power the labourers would not be able to improve their condition. Hence he wanted to sweep away the bourgeois government of France and to organise the state on a thoroughly democratic basis. The State thus re-organised should set up national or “social workshops” which were to be controlled by the workers themselves who were to share the profits. This would eliminate private competition and ensure co-operative production and distribution. Blanc also insisted on the principle of “right to work,” that is the right of every man to have work found for him by the state. But he was no more successful than his predecessors in regenerating the existing social system. Growth Of Socialism
  • It should be noted that although the efforts of the early socialists failed of their purpose, they were not without their influence upon contemporary men and politics. They focused public attention upon the appalling evils of the existing industrial system and set in motion forces against the fashionable theory of laissez faire or individualism. In the 1840s there were two important movements which were largely inspired by socialistic ideas. In England industrial discontent led to the agitation of the Chartists who demanded political reform as a means to the redress of their grievances which were mainly economic. In France the socialism of Louis Blanc was a powerful factor in organising the working men against the bourgeois government of Louis Philippe and in precipitating the revolution of 1843. Both these movements failed, but they left their traces behind in the idea of labour being exploited by the merciless capitalist. The growing unrest on the part of the factory labourers, with their demand for democracy and economic equality, was destined to exercise a profound influence on the history of the later nineteenth century. Growth Of Socialism

Modern or Marxian Socialism | Growth Of Socialism 

  • Utopian Socialism, as noticed above, lacked precision of method rather than a definite aim. It left a wide chasm between the end it had in view and means of its attainment. This was due to the fact that it failed to analyse correctly the forces and impulses which govern human nature and mould its environment. It was Karl Marx who removed this defect and gave socialism a Philosophy and a new direction. He gave form to what was chaotic before and left socialism a dynamic force. The Communist Manifesto which appeared in 1848 has been aptly described as “the birth-cry of modern socialism”. In it he traces the evolution of history as the inevitable result of the economic changes brought about by the changed method of the material production of wealth, and prophecies a social revolution leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat. The first volume of his monumental work Das Kapital, appeared in 1867. After his death in 1883 two other volumes, based upon manuscripts left by him were published by his friend and collaborator, Engels. The Das Capital became, and has since remained, the Bible of the socialists all the world over. It heralded a revolution in the realm of ideas and became the gospel of a new faith. Few books in history have equalled it as a work of popular propaganda. Marx brushed aside all the earlier socialistic theories as vague and unscientific, because they ignored the operation of certain immutable laws which determine the course of history. The future state, he declares, cannot be the product of intellectual ingenuity however great, or the device of a reformer however gifted. The future is determined by the past; it is the inevitable product of certain forces and tendencies which are irresistible in their operation. The business of social philosophy is to discover these forces and not to prescribe panaceas or to work out the details of an Utopia. In a word, social philosophy must be based upon philosophy of history. Growth Of Socialism
  • What then is the philosophy of history? What are the lessons to be learnt from it? Marx finds answers to these questions in the economic interpretation of history, and from it he draws the conclusion that all history is but a record of class struggles. In his view the fundamental impulses of human life are economic and he holds that the course of history has always been determined by economic factors. Those who control the means of production dominate the society and it is their interest so to fashion the laws and institutions as to perpetuate their social and political pre-eminence. Thus arises the division of the society into those who control and those who are controlled, those who have and those who have not. It is from this division of the society into two antagonistic sections that there arises class war. Marx points out that the present society has been in 1873. The international organisation of socialism was sought to be revived in 1889 when the Second International was founded. But it was no more successful than the first. It collapsed, with the outbreak of the Great War. The Third International was organised by the Russian communists in 1919 at Moscow. It was definitely revolutionary in character and its avowed object was “to accelerate the development of events towards world revolution.” Growth Of Socialism

Influence of Socialism | Growth Of Socialism 

  • The failure of the International meant by no means the failure of Marxian socialism. Marx had brought down Socialism from the clouds, had clearly defined its aims and methods, and made it a living force in every country. Especially was this the case in Germany. There, under the brilliant leadership of Ferdinand Lassalle, a Social Democratic Party grew up which in course of time became the largest party in Germany. It became the model for similar organisations for the spread of Marxian socialism in other countries. Even an unbending autocrat like Bismarck had to bow before the storm and had to pass measures in conformity with the principles of Socialism. He nationalised the railways and established a system of old age pensions and workmen’s insurance. After Lassalle the ablest leader of the Social Democratic party was George Ebert a saddler who rose to be the first President of the German Republic in 1919. In England the cause of socialism was represented by the Fabian Society and the Independent Labour Party. As a matter of fact the working class movement was one of the chief features of the forty years preceding the Great War. Every country had a socialist party and nearly even statesman has to contend with socialism. Legislation to prevent the many abuses of the factory system, has been undertaken in almost every civilised state. Education, health, sanitation and schemes for the welfare of workmen, such as, old age pensions and insurance against the vicissitudes of life, occupied an ever increasing share of the legislator’s attention. In foreign affairs, however, the influence of the socialists was negligible. Their internationalism had been eclipsed by the militant nationalism of the period. They are opposed to militarism and imperialism but hitherto their cry against them has been in the wilderness. It should be noticed that although socialism is an important factor in politics, and rival parties bid against one another for the support of the working class, it was till 1914 urging a purely propagandist war. But the capture of the Russian state by Lenin and the Bolsheviks made it clear that Marx was not mere doctrinaire but expositor of a faith that could be translated into practice. Growth Of Socialism
  • evolved gradually out of many class struggles in the past. There had been struggles between the freeman and slave, between lord and serf, between the landed aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. History is simply the record of how one class has gained wealth and political power only to be overthrown and succeeded by another class. The Industrial Revolution has destroyed the power and political influence of the old aristocracy and magnified those of the bourgeoisie, the middle-class capitalists. But it has also created a class of wretched wage-earners, the proletarians, who are being mercilessly exploited by the capitalists. Hence these two classes are set in mutual hostility with the result that a severe conflict between the two is inevitable. This would be the last and final struggle leading to a terrible revolution which would establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. In his Communist Manifesto, Marx makes a strong appeal to the people in these ringing words: “Let the ruling class tremble at a communist revolution. The proletariate have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries unite.” Growth Of Socialism
  • Economic interpretation of history and class war are the two main principles of Marxian Socialism. Marx next directs his attack upon capital through the economic theory of Surplus value. According to it all wealth is the product of labour and labour is the only measure of value. Hence workmen have the right to the whole produce of labour. “The workman has to work longer and harder than the wages he receives warrant, and the surplus above what he actually receives is the source of the capitalist’s income. Lastly, Marx is of opinion that capitalism is digging its own grave. Its’ inevitable tendency is the progressive concentration of wealth in the hands of increasingly fewer men, the big capitalists swallowing up the little ones. The result of this tendency would be to swell the number of the proletariat, so that society would come to be composed of only two classes sharply differentiated by increasing wealth and increasing misery. The only logical outcome of this state of things is revolution in which the many will dispossess the few and inaugurate the communist state. The social revolution which will bring about the fall of capitalism is thus inevitable. Growth Of Socialism
  • Another feature of Marxian socialism is its international character. Marx appeals to working men of all countries. He holds that labourers of one country have far more in common with the labourers of other countries than they have with the capitalists of their own. To promote this unified interest of the labourers Marx took a leading part in organising the International Workingmen’s Association which met in London in 1864 and which is known as the First International. It was attended by delegates from most of the countries of Europe and was pledged to the advocacy of Marxian teachings. For several years it held annual congresses in different European towns and advocated socialistic measures, but in the seventies several events conspired to bring about the failure of the First International. The first blow came when Bakunin and his anarchist followers joined it. This led to a clash of programmes, giving rise to bitter internal dissensions. In the end the anarchists were expelled. The failure of the communist uprising in 1871 in Pairs with which Marx heartily sympathised, discredited the International in the eyes of those who stood for law and order. Attacked from without and torn within by rival factions, the First International lost its vitality and died of exhaustion. Its last congress was held at Geneva.
  • Growth Of Socialism

World History

close-link

Send this to a friend