A retreat from core values and goals has been a continuing feature of the history of socialism’ The core values and goals of traditional socialism have transitioned from its previously radical and revolutionary roots founded by socialist figures like Marx and Engels to a more evolutionary vision that believes in gradualism. Traditional socialism is arguably entirely distinct from today’s notion of socialism; it previously sought to create absolute social equality through a workers revolution that would result in the abolition of capitalism and a classless society. In contrast contemporary socialism has different ‘means and ends’, it seeks relative equality, achieved by harnessing capitalism that will result in a more equal society. I will assess whether the different factions of socialism have retreated from the values and goals of the original concept or if they continue to embrace them.
Socialism has seen a distinct retreat from its core values and goals, this is particularly evident in New Labour’s revision of clause IV. The Labour party from its inception was a socialist party formed by the trade unions with a commitment to creating a more socially equal society through the even redistribution of wealth and common ownership. Their socialist agenda was outlined in the original clause IV, ‘To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange’. The original clause IV was entirely socialist and subscribed to the ideology’s core values of redistribution of wealth and common ownership of the means of production. However New Labour distanced its political agenda away from the core values of socialism and proposed responsible capitalism and relative social equality, this is a stark retreat from traditional socialism. The defining values of traditional socialism have been discarded...
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