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SOCIALISM. Chronological Overview. Early socialism (utopian socialism) Revolutionary socialism (communism) Evolutionary socialism (revisionism). Early socialism (utopian socialism). France 1815 Saint-Simon, Fourier, Blanc, Proudhon. Revolutionary socialism (communism). Mid-19 th c.

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Chronological overview
Chronological Overview

  • Early socialism (utopian socialism)

  • Revolutionary socialism (communism)

  • Evolutionary socialism (revisionism)


Early socialism utopian socialism
Early socialism (utopian socialism)

  • France

  • 1815

  • Saint-Simon, Fourier, Blanc, Proudhon


Revolutionary socialism communism
Revolutionary socialism (communism)

  • Mid-19th c.

  • Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848)

  • First Int’l (1864) & Second Int’l (1889)


Evolutionary socialism revisionism
Evolutionary socialism (revisionism)

  • Late 19th c.

  • Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899)

  • Social reforms sought through democratic means (suffrage)

  • Ex: Social Democrats in Germany (SPD)


Evolutionary socialism revisionism1
Evolutionary socialism (revisionism)

  • Why did socialism become less radical?

    • Expansion of suffrage

    • Patriotic edu. increased nationalism

    • Workers not unified

    • Workers’ standard of living improved after 1850

    • Growth of labor unions


Edward bernstein evolutionary socialism 1899
Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899)

Against revolutionary (Marxian) socialism:

“I set myself against the notion that we have to expect shortly a collapse of the bourgeois economy, and that social democracy should be induced by the prospect of such an imminent, great, social catastrophe to adapt its tactics to that assumption. That I maintain most emphatically.”


Edward bernstein evolutionary socialism 18991
Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899)

Revolutionary socialist theory has flaws:

“The theory which the Communist Manifesto sets forth of the evolution of modern society was correct as far as it characterised the general tendencies of that evolution. But it was mistaken in several special deductions, above all in the estimate of the time the evolution would take. … if social evolution takes a much greater period of time than was assumed, it must also take upon itself forms and lead to forms that were not foreseen and could not be foreseen then.”


Edward bernstein evolutionary socialism 18992
Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899)

The bourgeoisie has not disappeared:

“Social conditions have not developed to such an acute opposition of things and classes as is depicted in the Manifesto. … The number of members of the possessing classes is to­day not smaller but larger. … The middle classes change their character but they do not disappear from the social scale.”


Edward bernstein evolutionary socialism 18993
Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899)

Evolutionary socialism is already working:

“In all advanced countries we see the privileges of the capitalist bourgeoisie yielding step by step to democratic organisations. Under the influence of this, and driven by the movement of the working classes which is daily becoming stronger, a social reaction has set in against the exploiting tendencies of capital … Factory legislation, the democratising of local government, and the extension of its area of work, the freeing of trade unions and systems of co­operative trading from legal restrictions, the consideration of standard conditions of labour in the work undertaken by public authorities-all these characterise this phase of the evolution.


Edward bernstein evolutionary socialism 18994
Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899)

The employment of democratic institutions will bring change for the proletariat:

“… the more the political organisations of modern nations are democratised the more the needs and opportunities of great political catastrophes are diminished.”


Edward bernstein evolutionary socialism 18995
Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism (1899)

Use legal means to expand political and economic rights to empower the working classes:

“But the conquest of political power necessitates the possession of political rights; and the most important problem of tactics which German social democracy has at the present time to solve appears to me to be to devise the best ways for the extension of the political and economic rights of the German working classes.”


How can we connect the evolution of socialism to the theme of nationalism
How can we connect the evolution of socialism to the theme of nationalism?

Nationalism got in the way of the success of international, revolutionary socialism:

  • People pledged allegiance to nation over class

  • Socialist parties developed unique national characteristics


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