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Q. Why Have Socialists Supported Collectivism And How Have They Sought To Promote It?

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Collectivists believe the individual should be subordinate to the collective, which may be a group of individuals, a whole society, a state, a nation, a race, or a social class. Thus, collectivism contrasts with individualism, which emphasizes the liberty of the individual.

Socialists emphasize the fact that people usually prefer to achieve goals collectively rather than independently. This is stems from the Socialist view of human nature, in which a man is seen as a social animal, who prefers to live in a social group rather than alone. Socialists assert that action taken by people in organised groups is likely to be more effective than the sum of many individuals' actions.

Socialists have traced the origins of competition and inequality to the ownership of private property, namely the ownership of productive wealth Ð'- capital. Socialists believe that private property is unjust, as wealth which is produced by collective effort should be owned collectively. Socialists argue that private property fosters conflict in society between the rich and the poor, or between the employers and the employees and thus creating an artificial divide, therefore Socialists argue if you didn't have the property then the divide would not exist, and this would be a class less society, which is the fundamental aim of a Socialist utopia. Therefore, Socialists support collectivism as it upholds the idea of reaching a class-less society Ð'- one of the aims of a Socialist utopia. Socialists also believe that property breeds acquisitiveness as it encourages people to believe that personal fulfilment can only come by obtaining property. Socialists believe that the earth is given to humankind in general, and therefore no individual has the right to claim any part of it and say that it belongs to him or herself. Socialists believe that by having common ownership, there is the possibility of imposing economic equality, and it is possible to direct commonly owned property to serve the interests of the whole community, not just those of fortunate owners of property. Hence, Socialists support collectivism as it is the opposite of capitalism, which is what Marx and other Socialist thinkers saw as the problem, where the poor were exploited.

Socialists have sought to promote collectivism in numerous ways. Syndicalists, for example have proposed that property should be owned collectively by groups of workers and not by the state, specifically, the workers in each industry should become the collective owners of their own enterprises. This is similar to the cooperative ideal common in continental Europe, whereby independent producers own their own property, but then pool their output and sell it collectively; therefore they collectively own the distributional elements of their work. In England, a system of consumer cooperatives was developed in the 1840s and has flourished ever since. Retail businesses are effectively owned by the consumers under this system, who then have access to cheap goods. Social democrats have emphasised the state as an instrument through which wealth can be collectively owned and the economy planned. They propose that there should be the creation of a mixed economy of nationalised and privately owned industry. The nationalised sector was used to regulate economic activity throughout the economy. Therefore it is evident that Socialism in the modern age is one in which there has been a decline in collectivism as a part of the central belief system. In conclusion, common ownership or collectivism is probably one of the oldest Socialist ideas, since is predates the onset of capitalism, and Socialists would argue that collectivism brings about equality in society, which is what Socialists call their utopia. Socialists have sought to promote collectivism in many different ways, and modern Socialists have had to accept that total collectivism is ineffective, and a mixed economy better reaches Socialist goals of equality.

Q. "Socialists have disagreed about both the means and the ends of Socialism" Discuss.

It is possible to devise two distinct types of Socialism, one being revolutionary Socialism, primarily formulated by Karl Marx, and on the other hand there is evolutionary Socialism, which is closer to modern day politics, with its origins in the Fabian Society, with founders such as H.G Wells.

Early Socialists accepted that the introduction of Socialism would be by a revolution, Marx described this as the "dictatorship of the proletariat", accepting the violence that would inevitably accompany this. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were revolutionary Socialist movements that were not completely based on the writings of Marx and Freidrich Engels. For example, in France Auguste Blanqui (1805-81) formed a small socialist party of conspirators and agitators, which he hoped would bring down the capitalist state and replace it with a permanent workers' government. In England, Hyndman (184201921) formed the short lived Social Democratic Foundation in 1884, and organisation dedicated to the destruction of the bourgeoisie state by revolution or other means. Both these movements failed to achieve their goals, and were remarkably unsuccessful. The seemed to lack the scientific rigour of Marxism and their ideas on what could replace a capitalist state proved to be hazy and unspecific.

Karl Marx believed however, that the only way to overthrow Capitalism would be a revolution in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Marx argued that the working class would achieve class consciousness, and would not be able to take oppression once this class consciousness had been achieved, and would therefore revolt, resulting in the end of the capitalist state. Generally, revolution was attractive to nineteenth century socialists as capitalism produced exploitation and misery for the overpowering bulk of people that left the working classes on the edge of revolution. "The year of Revolutions", 1848 gave the impression that ordinary people were on the verge of overthrowing the capitalist system which oppressed them, as Marx declared in the Communist manifesto "A spectre is haunting Europe Ð'- the spectre of communism", this was probably true in terms of the conditions of the people and their political aspirations. It is also evident that the working class had very limited means of political influence or expression. Revolution seemed the only way forward for these people who were disenfranchised in democracies and oppressed in autocracies.

Marx and Socialists saw revoltion as necessary also based on the perceived role played by the state. Socialists gave the state a negative role. (As opposed to the conservatives and Liberals) Socialists saw the state as the prime factor in oppressing the working class,

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