Strong role for proletariat social class and the state in promoting social change through revolution, the socialist experiment has frequently been associated with revolution and violent social change. Initially seen as the antithesis to capitalism and capitalist modes of production, socialism today represents a variety of ideas that blend modern capitalism and socialist ideas about redistribution and the role of the state in economic affairs. Seeking to explore the history of socialism and thereby analyze its future in international affairs, this essay will chart the history of socialism through an in-depth analysis of the U.S.S.R. and China. Each country represents socialism in practice and will be used to discuss this important political theory. Does Karl Marx, the most famous advocate of socialism, remain relevant in the 21st century? Seeking to address this question and many more, the following aims to provide a holistic analysis of socialism today.
Early socialists such as Karl Marx advocated proletarian revolution and mass mobilization to correct the social inequality perpetuated by capitalism. Marxist thought inspired socialists around the globe including Fidel Castro in Cuba, Mao in China and Lenin in the Soviet Union. According, to the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin established an authoritarian political system, which grew out of mass discontent associated with the First World War. The October Revolution of 1917 – also known as the Bolshevik Revolution – had an enormous impact on Europe’s social, political and economic landscape and accordingly “produced by far the most formidable organized revolutionary movement in modern history” (Hobsbawm 1994, pp. 55). The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, viewed themselves as the shepherds of a new international communist order in necessary conflict with the old order, embodied by bourgeois liberal capitalism. .
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