The Future of Socialism (The Failure of Socialism; A Clarification)


Due to comments that my essay on ‘The Failure of Socialism?’ article started good but did not come to a sufficient conclusion i feel compelled to address the beckoning masses of my readership and address the issue head on. Firstly i will confess that it was partially deliberately vague as i did not want to dull the expansion of my own political theoretic, however as i am ebulliently pressed into a position of self consolidation i must appear to legitimize my argument and reveal some deep, dark secrets…

Expanding on my point that the socialist movement needs a new direction, as commonly flaunted by historians and political scientists alike socialism is very often referred to as primarily an economic movement, dominated by the Keynesian Theory of economics advocating a mixed economy and a level of government intervention to keep the economy of the respective nation on track. Picking up on this, would be whether the revived socialist movement would adopt a Keynesian Theory – which produced massive results in the post-war period – which is actually being adopted by some world leaders in the contemporary era. However, i am no economist and cannot vouch to know enough about the workings of the worlds economic system to comment too much on it. Although i am, evidently, a socialist and therefore would be deeply sickened by a nation solely dominated by private enterprise, property and ruled by the Capitalist elite, and therefore i would suggest that either a return to Kenyesian Economics – which would be an acceptance of the existence of Capitalism in the modern world and its entrenchment in the very nature of man (whether you are of this persuasion i do not know) – or a whole rethink of socialist economic doctrine creating a completely new era of socialism.

In general then, i would suggest a move towards a focus on social issues, standards and society (the three s’s), which are all mainly domestic and of course mainly social issues, as a pose to economic ones. However those economists out there do not fret, there would be plenty of work for you to do, lots of counting etc…Only kidding! With policies such as equality of enhancement and negative social minimisation  there would be much scope for economists to play their part. In reference to my point on Keynesian economics earlier, this would play a major role within the application and theory of these social thematics, and thus would require much work from economist – most likely of a leftist persuasion. This social focus would mainly be orientated around issues of equality – or as the case may be, lack of it – which would appeal to the masses as a whole, and as pathetic, as this makes me sound, appeal directly to voter antagonisms and boost the socialist electoral vote. This could be played upon with the policy i mentioned earlier ‘equality of enhancement’, which whilst not acknowledging that there should be equality of opportunity over just plain equality, it does push for educational equality and an improvement in social mobility – ‘to the extent that the capitalist entrenchments allow’. Secondly is the greater factor of ‘negative social minimisation’, which would advocate a reduction in the negative social aspects of capitalism, such as greed, selfishness and elitism. This would also be primarily enacted within the education system, ideally abolishing the existence of private schooling and pushing for simply better state schooling, better regional education distribution (to create a greater extent of equality) and demonopolise the halls of power.

Furthermore, the issue of declining Unionism and Trade Union participation would be a factor to consider if establishing a Modern Socialist Party. The numbers would presumably boost within years of great strife and publically viewed government tyranny; possibly some would claim that the government today are wielding such elitist power. This could be further addressed by campaigns or an exploitation of a particular government drive at the moment; ‘The Big Society‘. This could be exploited to contain Union membership in an the increasing drive for volunteering and social participation. Or even a more radical approach would be to actively organise specific pressure groups in Union fashion (the ones which are already not) and thus provide a revival of Unionism embracing view points as well as interest groups. This massive boost in pluralist pressure upon the government could also lead to serious cracks within the Political elite and possibly transform the Unions into a breeding ground for prospective Politicians once again. However, some of these theories seem highly far fetched and it is possible that a whole new idea would need to be devised.

Another major question would be the dimensions of the socialist slanted party which you were establishing would be the debate between whether your focus would be based nationally, or would take an international focus, obviously the dominant ideology of the majority of socialist parties and organisations is based around the theories of Marx, which are predominantly – if not solely – internationalist in outlook. Talk of the Working Classes overcoming the tyranny of the Capitalist class and the ‘ever-expanding union of the workers’ is ridden through The Communist Manifesto and it would be absurd to deny the link between socialist organisations across the world. However, much to the dislike of ‘old socialists’ it would be impossible to deny that patriotism takes second place to association with socialist ideals (at least generally), as we have seen by World War One and the collapse of the Second International, but also the fact that national identity is entrenched through factors such as language, traditions and wider culture which have entrenched themselves in the behaviour of humanity. Therefore i personally would advocate a primarily nationalist based socialist movement, with the greater goal as that of international dimensions.

Finally there would be the issue of Centralisation vs. Decentralisation to consider; a fractious debate which has divided many socialists over the years. Basically, the arguments for Centralisation are thus; a more equal distribution of resources (referring to regions mainly), also the fact that it would cost less for things to run as they would be decided and enacted in the centre and thus save debate etc. However Centralisation does often lead to a government tyranny, as was the case within many supposed ‘Communist’ states of the 2oth Century. Decentralisation on the other hand, would lead to better policy, more democracy and better participation, but it would boost costs dramatically as well as leading to massive regional inequality which could be seen to override all the negative aspects of Centralisation. As long as the regime was assuredly democratic, there would be no problem.

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