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Socialism and the Development of the Working Class Bad Times and Good Times for European Socialists after 1848.

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Presentation on theme: "Socialism and the Development of the Working Class Bad Times and Good Times for European Socialists after 1848."— Presentation transcript:

1 Socialism and the Development of the Working Class Bad Times and Good Times for European Socialists after 1848

2 I. The Decline of Socialist Ideas in the 1850’s and 1860’s

3 II. Marx’s Criticism of Capitalism  Elaborated in Das Kapital (1867)  Capitalism would self- destruct due to internal contradictions  The Labor Theory of Value  Overproduction and Eventual Destruction of the Bourgeoisie  Abolition of Private Property and the Disappearance of the State and Government

4 III. The Formation of a Mature Industrial Working Class  Definition of a “Mature” Working Class  The Effect of the Maturation of the Working Class  Massive Drinking Problem began to decrease  Family Life became more stable  Instability remained, but was more the exception than the rule

5 IV. Increase in the Standard of Living from  Real wages rose steadily for factory workers  Improvements in diet increased physical health  Better housing became available to at least skilled workers  More recreational opportunities were available

6 V. Still, Widespread Poverty and Hardship  Very few factory workers were able to adopt the consumption patterns of even the lower middle class  Wages differed drastically from industry to industry  “Sweated” Labor  Tailors disappear in the wake of “ready-made” clothing

7 VI. The Advent of Welfare Legislation  The Triangle Shirt Company Fire: New York City, 1911  Bismarck’s “cutting edge” welfare programs  Works to moderate socialistic demands  Types of welfare legislation introduced  Uneven enforcement of this legislation

8 VII. The Emergence of a Self- Conscious Labor Movement  The Shift of Leadership from the Middle Class Socialists to Skilled Working Class Leaders --Fabian Society (1884) --H.G. Wells --George Bernard Shaw  The Stimulus of Legal Changes and the Extension of Suffrage

9 VII. The Emergence of a Self- Conscious Labor Movement (cont)  The Growth of Trade Unions in the 1880’s  Labor Union membership exploded : 3 million workers in Britain unionized  The Evolution of Socialist Parties  Conflict between Unions and Socialist Parties over the use of a strike

10 VIII. Karl Marx and the International Workers Movement  Origins of the “First International” (1864)  Broad and diverse membership  Marxism = the most important strand of European socialism  The significance of the “great depression” of the 1870’s

11 VIII. The First International (cont)  Interest in Marx and his ideas accelerated  The complexity of Marxism and the popularization of Marx’s ideas  “One thing is certain, I am not a Marxist.”

12 IX. The Paris Commune  The events of March to May, 1871  Marx and his followers believed that the inevitable revolution had begun  The Collapse of the First International  The demise of the Paris Commune  The Creation of the Second International (1889)

13 X. Socialist Revisionism: The German Socialist Party (SPD)  At first, Government Opposition  Compromising Marx: The Erfurt Program of 1891  Eduard Bernstein and Evolutionary Socialism (1899)  More democracy and social reform needed, not a revolution

14 X. The German Socialist Party (SPD) (cont)  Revisionism rejected officially, but unofficially pursued  The political success of the SPD and the growing distance between itself and the working class : 3 million votes and 81 seats --Superbly organized --A conservative, nationalistic creature of vested interests

15 XI. Anarchism: The Radical Socialist Alternative  The priority of direct action  “Propaganda of the Deed”  No central theory or organization  The dream of spontaneous revolutionary action—the “general strike”  Conflict evolving within two branches of working class political culture

16 XII. “Nationalistic Socialism”  Period of real optimism about the possibilities of left-wing European politics  Antithesis to the middle class culture that still dominated western Europe  The power of nationalism to modify socialism  Socialist policies and doctrines varied from country to country


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