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Ben Ashraf: Discuss the extent of similarities between evolutionary and revolutionary forms of socialism Revolutionary and Evolutionary

socialism are two conflicting attempts to achieve a utopian socialist society. This essay will explore the key similarities between these two schools of thought: they both seek to achieve a socialist society, secondly they both strive for the widespread knowledge of socialist thought. This essay will also explore the key differences between revolutionary and evolutionary socialism: the methods of achieving the utopian goal of socialism are very different, secondly the other important difference between the two are their views on the scope of reform, mainly their beliefs of democracy, to what extent can democracy co-exist with a socialist state. This essay will come to the conclusion that revolutionary and evolutionary socialism are two very different pathways to the same goal, hence the subtle differences outnumber the core similarities. The First difference between revolutionary and evolutionary, and happens to be defining difference is that they have different ways of achieving a socialist state. Evolutionary socialists believe that the status quo can be be changed gradually and democratically-eventually culminating in a peaceful, but more importantantly, socialist society. The Fabian movement, credited for the foundations of the Labour party which consisted of characters such as H.G.Wells and G.B.Shall both agreed that gradualism is the way forward in terms of reform to a capitalist society. However, revolutionary socialists feel that the status quo (the capitalist system) can only be changed via coercion, this is because of the staunch defence of the capitalist state from the ruling class which manipulate and dominate the proleteriat. Examples of practictioners of such a theory (the only way to achieve socialism is via revolution) are: Marx (who developed the theory), Engels or more recently Lenin in the Bolshevik movement in Russia in the in the 1910s. Revolutionary socialists strongly believe that a revolution is the only way in which this systematic upheaval can take place. This is because they want to prevent a potential counter-revolution from the ruling class/those who endorse capitalism, hence violence is needed to destroy all of their popular support. Evolutionary socialists believe that if individuals focus upon the core values of socialism- they will persuade the people to realise the faults within the capitalist system and the morality and freedom present in the socialist one which will gradually take the place of the capitalist system. To conclude-these two approaches are very different in achieving the same goal, as one seeks violence to bring socialism and the other encourages cooperation to gradually wither away the capitalist state. Conversely, The main similarity between the two socialist paths is that they both share the same goal: a socialist society. However, one could evaluate that comment by professing that whilst they both agree on a general goal, the intricacies of the utopian socialist society are different. Evolutionary socialists feel that the state is not as coercive as it is made out to be, it is not inherently an oppressive tool to undermine the proletariat. However, they feel that reform to it is necessary in order for this utopian dream to be realised. Revolutionary socialists on the other hand feel that the state purpose is to oppress the proletariat/working class and are in their nature oppressive thus must be destroyed if a socialist state is to come to fruition. Hence they have no place in society and after the revolution the state will wither away (Engels) and give rise to a proletariat dictatorship in the short-run. However, the state, for revolutionary socialists is still temporarily necessary in the transition period between capitalism and socialism. To Conclude, the two approaches both strive for a general socialist state, however- one could argue that in reality, subtle differences in terms of permanence of the state and the state as a tool of coercion make this point contentious. The second difference between revolutionary and evolutionary socialism is their way of incorporating

democracy into the socialist state. Revolutionary socialists believe that democracy as a tool of reform is insufficient in bringing about what they strive for, that is a socialist shift in society. This is because they feel that democracy is a tool designed by the bourgeoisie in order to protect their interests and protect them for the proletariat. In Contrast, Evolutionary socialists feel that democracy is a tool which can be used to their advantage in terms of the creation of a socialist state. This is because of the huge numbers of the proletariat which will overpower the bourgeoisie grip on power as the ruling class cannot prevent an upheaval (this is, of course, implying a fair and equal democratic system). An example of this is in the 1970 where european countries such as France and Italys communist parties advocated Eurocommunism -moved away from typical communist values typified in the socialist Soviet Union and shifted towards many features of a liberal democracy. The second similarity between the two forms of socialism is that they both agree that there is the need for a raise in consciousness amongst the people regarding socialist principles. Revolutionary and evolutionary socialists that in order for a socialist state to be realised there must be the maintenance of socialist beliefs. The core principles of equality, cooperation,fraternity must be upheld. However, in evaluation one could argue that they still do differ in the channels in which this social consciousness is brought about. Revolutionary socialists would argue that in order to spark up a revolution- revolutionary content must be maintained in order to get the masses of the proletariat into a coherent body in order to overthrow the capitalist state. On the other hand, evolutionary socialists focus upon gradual change in the education system in order to indoctrinate socialism into citizens. To Conclude, whilst superficially the two methods seem to share this belief, one could argue that in depth they are quite different. In Conclusion, revolutionary and evolutionary socialism- whilst superficially they seem to share core ideas if one investigates further it is clear to see they are two different paths which end up in the same direction but differ in every other aspect. However, their differences are clear-cut- they disagree on the way of achieving a socialist state and they both disagree upon the nature of the state.