Chapter 5: RISE OF SOCIALISM
Early Worker's Movements
The industrial revolution created a chain events that led to
Capitalism and then Socialism. Machines were started around the
16th century and means of production could now expand. Trade too
was flourishing and there was a race for colonies. The Capitalist
class was created who invested in building factories and
The workers were mostly peasants who had lost their jobs and
wanted to earn a living. Then started the circle of exploitation
where the employers dictated terms and employees were exploited.
Poor living conditions, no job security, poor sanitation, long
work hours and no rights were the reasons there was unrest.
Workers formed trade unions for collective bargaining and getting
more rights. The radical leaders forced government to pass laws to
regulate industry. The workers however wanted a social revolution
as they believed that the entire system of capitalism created a
class distinction. All these soon culminated in creating a new
social order that would compete with Capitalism called Socialism
Birth of Socialism
The French revolution was started to remove the mighty privileged
clas and end exploitation of the lower classes. It did manage to
remove the monarchy but its ideals of equality weren't achieved.
The revolution however contributed most in giving an impetus to
the worker class to think of a social order where there would be
no private property and all would be equal.
Early thinkers in this field believed in Socialism too. "From
each according to his capacity, for each according to his work",
this slogan was popularized. But the methods for
creating such a society were ineffective.
It was only the international society called "Communist League"
that called for Proletarians of all lands, Unite! which
had a vision for such a society where no bourgeois or class
distinctions existed. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were asked to
draft a manifesto.
The study of Marx and Engels on creation of a socialist society
was called scientific socialism. The communist manifesto came out
and its ideas on workers revolution reached everywhere. Marxism
believed that capitalism would never be the solution to the
societies problem. The Capitalists would create a class
distinction and the society would be divided into haves and haves
not. This was put in his work Das Capital.
Communist manifesto came out during the 1848 revolutions and
workers led the revolts for creating a new social order. But the
support of other groups was not achieved by them and so the
Even after 1848 revolutions the socialist movements were not
completely wiped out. The one aspect of socialist groups was their
First International - 1864
The socialism entered world stage after creation of the First
International. The organization had the motto same as the
communist manifesto "Proletarians of the World, Unite!". The
organization created a solidarity amongst workers of the world. It
was not only against depotism in its own countries but against it
n all countries.
Whenever wars were fought by its members for imperialism the
workers of both fronts protested against them. During the Prussia
French conflict when France was defeated and Alsace Lorraine was
annexed by Prussia. The mine worker's of Germany protested against
this move by Prussian dynasty.
Governments and capitalists saw this as a menace and arrested or
sought to exterminate the influence of First international from
their respective countries.
Paris Commune, 1871
The Prussian French war was also known for leading to another
event in history that influenced Socialism. This was the Paris
Commune of 1871.
The Prussian forces had defeated the army of king Napoleon III
and captured him. The French kingdom was ruined and in its place a
republican government was formed. This government had the
propertied class. The Prussians asked for a huge war indemnity,
Surrender of Paris, Alsace Lorraine and Saar coal mines to
Germany. The republican government of France accepted these
However the proletariat class of Pars called this a treachery by
the bourgeois of Paris and refused to accept the secession of
Paris. They formed a government in Paris known as Paris commune.
The lower classes had representation her and all public offices
were elected by universal franchise. People also had a right to
The French government and army attacked the Commune along with
the German army. The commune members were brutally slaughtered and
the commune ended. This butchery enraged the international class
of workers who expressed solidarity with the deceased workers of
The end of the Commune also gave a death blow to First
International. The members of the international were accused of
abetting the transfer of refugees of Paris. The governments of
European countries also suppressed these movements. But another
reason was internal differences. The organization wasn't
homogeneous and represented many thoughts.
However Socialism was on the rise and socialist parties
were formed in many states that came together to form the Second
Second International and Later Events
The fall of the First International did not end socialism but led
to the rise of socialism as a mas movement everywhere. The trade
unions witnessed heavy numbers and also socialist ideology based
political parties emerged. The Governments too were forced to
implement reforms by these parties.
The main contribution was to protest against militarism and
colonialism. The International believed that Militarism and War
were the effects of Capitalism and every proletariat should fight
On 1st May the International Labor Day celebrated today
was due to work of Second International. During this day massive
protest against capitalism and demonstrations were organized
around the world.
The Second International however had some limitations. It was a
loose federation of parties and had different ideologies. Some
members wanted social revolution to overthrow capitalism, some
favored socialism by gradual reforms and so cooperated with their
governments. Some members favored colonialism too.
The First World War was a major failure of the International. It
couldn't effectively protest against the war and supported their
respective governments. It also failed in making a successful
However the World War showed the failure of capitalism to
everyone and in the post war period Socialism emerged as a