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Pieces of the Socialist Pie

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The Industrial Revolution brought change in the economy and society to the world when it first started. The wealth gap between the owners and the workers because increasingly bigger as years went by. Socialism emerged as a response to inequalities associated with the growth of industrialism happening in Europe in the mid-20th century. It became an alternative to improve the lives of the working class and stressed public ownership of the means of production.

Karl Marx was known was one of the most influential theorists of socialism. The Communist Manifesto, written in 1848 was seen as a big influence in socialism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles were the authors of the Communist Manifesto, and is a critique of capitalism and the implications is had on the world at the time. They lived near the time of the events they described as the revelations of 1848 were beginning to take place all over Europe. They wrote it for the working class who they believed would eventually rise up against the bourgeoise. They wanted to influence the proletariat to try to overthrow the system. They don’t see much change in history. Each society has seen different class struggles but in the end they view the role of class as the oppressors and the oppressed. They see society as two classes facing off against each other, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. A major achievement the bourgeoisie achieved was exclusive political sway. The state only serves the interests of the bourgeoisie class. The bourgeoisie had put an end to all “feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations” and they striped away the social ties that bound men together. It essentially made workers expendable. Marx and Engles believe the capitalist system is doomed because the rise of a revolt will arise when more wealth and ownership concentrates in one class. The conditions that the proletariat work under will worsen over time and a revolt will come from that.

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Mikhail Bakunin was a known opposition of Karl Marx. Although they had a common enemy, capitalism, they were different in how they analyzed the State. As an anarchist, Bakunin rejected a government and wanted nothing to do with the bourgeoisie. In his speech at the Hague Congress in 1872 of the International Workingmen’s Association, he objected Karl Marx. He wrote was he said for the audience he was talking to at the congress, He lived near in the time he was talking about because he is condemning Marx for how his post-revolution society would look like and what he believes his government will comprise of if the proletariate would take control of the state. In a post-revolution society according to Bakunin, the government will concentrate the wealth of the people in the hand of the State, as well as all the lands, the development of factories and the direction of commerce. He believes that a very elite group of people will lead he government and it will come forth a new minority ruling the majority of ‘illiterates’. When the majority of people are unhappy with the new government, a deployment of armed forces will be needed to keep them in check, because Engles states that they would be needed for a government to stay strong.

Vladimir Lenin was a Russian revolutionary. Lenin published the pamphlet ‘What is to be done?’ in 1902 before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. Just like Marx and Engles, Lenin wrote the pamphlet for the workers and peasants who he saw needed to stand together unified against the bourgeoisie. Lenin condemned the bourgeoisie and wanted the working class to form a political party to spread Marxist political ideas among the working class. What is distinctive about Lenin’s concept of political leadership is his absoluteness is his words. He is very direct it what he wants and how the party must achieve it. He only wanted people who would devote their entire lives to the party. Lenin was good at making decisions and knew how that exploiting the governments weaknesses and promising people what they wanted would make him look good in the people’s eyes. His arguments are convincing because he states that no government or organization in the past has ever practiced broad democracy and that he thinks it a useless and harmful toy. He was convincing in the fact that he is confident that in order for them to have a political leadership in the socialist party, the need to be one unified party that can turn into a “political victory over the government”.

Each of the primary sources I read had different insights to how they perceived socialism. The Communist Manifesto analyzed the class struggle, how history has never changed with there always being oppressors and the oppressed. Bakunin’s critique of state socialism saw the post-revolutionary state being run by a new minority of elites who would still have all the wealth. Vladimir Lenin wanted to see a unified working class forming a political party to topple the bourgeoisie. Although their concepts of socialism varied they still all had a common goal of getting rid of the capitalist system.

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Pieces of the Socialist Pie. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
“Pieces of the Socialist Pie.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
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Pieces of the Socialist Pie [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Jan 29]. Available from:
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