Sociologist Views on the Means and Ends of Socialism

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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 for change, the means in which socialism is achieved are quite significant, and tend to determine the form of socialism which results from this change. Early socialists believed that socialism could only be brought about through a revolutionary movement - the overthrow of the existing regime. Violence was accepted as an undesirable but necessary part of this process. In the 19th Century there were two accepted versions of this idea - some socialists believed the revolution would be carried out by a small group of dedicated revolutionaries, while others such as Marx and Engels believed that a class-conscious working class would rise up in a proletariat revolution and overthrow capitalism. The first successful socialist revolution was the Russian Revolution of 1917, which was a coup d’état carried out by a small group of revolutionaries, and this provided a model for further socialist revolutions. In the 19th Century revolutionary socialism wa... ... middle of paper ... ...ght watchman’ and social democrats think it should be used to counterbalance the inequalities in society, ‘third way’ socialists support a ‘competition state’, whose main goal should be to ensure national prosperity. It should improve the country’s infrastructure and concentrate on improving skills and knowledge - education rather than welfare should be the priority. In conclusion, I would agree that there has been a lot of disagreement within socialism, on whether it should be achieved through revolution or should gradually evolve through democracy, and also on how extreme or how moderate socialism should be. However, all of these different viewpoints are all based around the same principles, of community, cooperation, equality, social class and common ownership, however drastic or moderate these ideas might be.
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