Sociologist Views on the Means and Ends of Socialism Essay

2363 Words10 Pages
Sociologist Views on the Means and Ends of Socialism Socialism is a very broad ideology, encompassing many different ideas and viewpoints. Different socialists have disagreed on both the ways in which they believe socialism should be achieved and implemented, and on what exactly it is that they want to achieve. The two main viewpoints I am going to look at in terms of the means of achieving socialism are revolutionary socialism and evolutionary socialism, and in terms of the aims of different socialists I am going to discuss Marxism, including orthodox communism, and also social democracy and the 'third way'. Because socialism tends to have an oppositional character, and be seen as a force…show more content…
This was blamed on capitalism. Also, the working class had no political identity - they had generally not been granted political suffrage and were represented by the rich. Revolutionary socialists view the state as an agent of class oppression. Marxists think that political power mirrors class interests, and so the state is a ‘bourgeois state’ in favour of capital. Therefore political reform is pointless, and universal suffrage is a façade, covering up the reality of unequal class. A class-conscious working class must overthrow the ‘bourgeois state’ through revolution. After this there will be a state for a short time, under the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ until the danger of counter-revolution by the dispossessed bourgeoisie has passed, at which time the state will wither away. The use of revolution tends to lead to fundamentalist ends. With the complete overthrow of the old order an entirely new system can be put in place, and in the past this has often led to dictatorship and repression for several reasons. Firstly, having been through a violent revolution, new rulers regarded violence as a legitimate instrument of policy - as Mao famously said, ‘Power resides in the barrel of a gun’. Also, revolutionary parties, in order to achieve their ends, often adopted a military-style structure. They were very
Open Document