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Socialism and the Development of the Working Class

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Socialism and the
Development of the Working
Class
Bad Times and Good Times for
European Socialists after 1848
I. The Decline of Socialist Ideas
in the 1850’s and 1860’s
II. Marx’s Criticism of Capitalism
 Elaborated in Das Kapital




(1867)
Capitalism would selfdestruct 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
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
IV. Increase in the Standard of
Living from 1850-1900
 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
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
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
VII. The Emergence of a SelfConscious 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
VII. The Emergence of a SelfConscious Labor Movement (cont)
 The Growth of Trade
Unions in the 1880’s
 Labor Union membership
exploded
--1910: 3 million workers
in Britain unionized
 The Evolution of Socialist
Parties
 Conflict between Unions
and Socialist Parties over
the use of a strike
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
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.”
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)
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
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
--1903: 3 million votes
and 81 seats
--Superbly organized
--A conservative,
nationalistic creature of
vested interests
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
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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