Since mankind first grasped the importance of a society, many have had various ideas on how a society should look like and how it should work. With society, came the need for politics to enable the governance of people much easier. History has, therefore, seen its fair share of political ideologies, each of which have their strengths and weaknesses in terms of governing the society. Ideologies involve ideas that are aimed at serving a particular purpose and achieve some sort of benefit. Political ideologies can thus be defined because doctrines, principles, or ethical ideas meant to govern a group, class, or social movement, while also explaining its working parameters. A political ideology is like a social magnet that brings together people with similar values and belief concerning the functioning of a government. It offers what some would call a cultural and social blueprint that forms a given society. There are various kinds of political ideologies that have been drafted over time, and this paper will be taking a brief look into one particular form – Socialism. Various minds have been able to generate their own ideas of what Socialism is, and in this paper, however, I mainly focus on Donald Sassoon’s account of it.


I chose to write on this topic because I feel that Socialism is an idea that is slowly losing its importance in our political lives despites the many great advantages that it can serve us with. So far, no other political thinking seems to want to only serve the interest of every individual like socialism does. A simple definition describes Socialism as a system in the society that is aimed at ensuring everyone within the said society is able to get an equal share of the society’s accumulated wealth (Von Mises 2016). The society’s factors of production which include capital, labor, natural resources and goods are distributed equally amongst the people involved. This ideology ensures that everyone gets a certain percentage of the wealth according to what they contributed, a move that was meant to encourage people to work harder in order to get earn more from each contribution (Von Mises 2016). History believes that socialism as a political tool could have been coined somewhere in the 19th century where it was meant to tackle some of the problems brought about by the then classical liberalism. It was aimed at giving a voice to the industrial workers who served under bad conditions during that period. Socialists felt that the rich were exploiting the poor workers, who seemed to become poorer with each effort they put in their work.

Donald Sassoon explained (Berman 2016, p. 69-75) that socialists in the 20th century understood the relevance of capitalists to their movement. For instance, they recognized Marx’s theory which was of the belief that socialism would eventually came to replace capitalism (Berman 2016, p. 69-75). This idea, however, had a small problem given the fact that the then fastest emerging capitalist society, the US, had no firmly established form of social movement. Even in the European nations that had some bit of social movements, the movements were still in their early stages and did not have that much of the effect that they should have had. Britain, for instance, had an undefined socialist movement despite it being an established capitalist state (De Graaf 2018). In Russia, the Socialist movement seemed divided in its responsibilities, whereby the Westernisers felt that the movement needed to backup capitalists who were to eventually help them serve their agenda in return. The Slavophiles on the other hand were of the assumption that they did not need capitalism. V. Bervi-Flerovski, who was an anti-capitalist, felt that Russia already had a communal way of association that needed to be shared across the globe. He was of the opinion that Russia need to show the whole world the importance of having a social system of governance that was based on cooperation and unity. The problem now was between the Westenisers (pro – capitalist) and the Slavophiles (anti-capitalist), deciding who was best suited to take up the task of industrializing Russia (Berman 2016, p. 69-75). However, in order for the socialists to determine industrialization of the nation, they had to be in control of the government which was then being run by the capitalist. Sassoon described this type of socialism as a developmental ideology (De Graaf 2018). The socialists needed the nation to be industrialized in accordance to their own version of life, rather than mimicking the westerners, which to them would make them another western colony.

Despite the socialist’s end goal being that of ensuring equality and bringing an end to private ownership, it also served some other short term goals. These short term goals had the purpose of ensuring the following:

Regulating the labor market

Sharing of all the factors of production (creating a welfare state)

Democratization of the society

Sassoon noted that the socialist’s values included those of ensuring a minimum standard of life, equality and promoting unity (Bresciani 2016). Everyone in the society needed to have an equal right of speech, right to vote and equal treatment – no one should be regarded as being better than the other. The old, the unemployed and the sick also had rights and were also to be taken care of by government funds specifically allocated to them. The socialists were keen on the security and health matters being administered equally to all, and a regulation placed on the number of hours that a person was supposed to work. However, in order for them to further their agenda, they had to fight for democracy, which meant that they had to first of all take power from the rich and powerful classes that were in control. Their ideology was based on individual right and not on class. They encouraged universal suffrage where everyone’s vote mattered – the voting was to be a secret ballot (Bresciani 2016). The conservatives and liberals on the other hand gave votes in terms of class, and in this case, the most “classy” always prevailed. Most of Europe was pro-upper class sort of rule, and Sassoon notes that this system of favoring the upper classes still exists today even in Britain which has for a long time been regarded as the birth place of democracy. The conservatives and liberals not only encouraged classism, but, were also against women empowerment – they were sexists.

Despite the socialists advocating for equality for all, they did not fight for female representation with the vigor that one would have expected. They were mainly keen of achieving universal suffrage rather than focusing on a single concern. The women themselves also seemed to succumb to this system (conservatism) such that they believed in it and most of them even stood by it, despite it treating them as lesser beings. This was one of those instances where an ideology came before one’s pride (Bresciani 2016, p. 30-45). In a socialist society, women would be expected to have more important roles in the labor market, and be able to be their own bosses unlike with the conservative’s society that would only see them as nothing more than clerks.

In their aim to regulate the labor market by monitoring the working hours of laborers, the socialists had to agree on certain terms with the capitalists. This was an agreement that brought together the workers and the capitalist who would then have an understanding. In order to get their pay, each worker had to work for an agreed length of times under agreed conditions. This was an agreement that Marx would come to describe as “formal equality”. This plan, however, still had loopholes that put the advantages in favor of the capitalists, especially when there was readily available labor. In order to address this problem, trade unions were then formed. These unions could only achieve their full potential if the law also stood by them (De Graaf 2018).

Their aim to ensure shared factors of production, involved the inclusion of some of the working class’s participation. It involved having a collective tax fund that saw money being received from the capitalists be used to fund medical expenses, national insurance and pension plans. This system would directly be beneficial to the workers along with their families, but, it would also mean that the employers would be paying them less. This is because there would have been no need for the known benefits that come with employment.

Socialism, therefore, as a political ideology served to bring to light the unfairness that was brought about by classism, and the importance of its aims. They, like other known parties, chose to go the way of the opposition (Bresciani 2016, p. 130-141). They wanted to be able to convince as many people as they could by stressing what they felt was necessary for the nation. They knew that some of their policies which were liked would most likely be copied by other parties, and they were ready for it. They ensured that the support which they had been able to get remained by presenting themselves as the leaders of change. They sold themselves as the party that brought about an end to social injustices.

Despite them initially being an anti-government movement, the onset of the 20th century eventually saw them turn over a new leaf. After the Second World War, they began to understand the importance of having the government’s backing if they were to achieve their agenda. Without the government, it would have been difficult to negotiate for equity in all the factors of production (Bresciani 2016, p. 120-140). The socialist’s acceptance of the government grew even more when their struggle became more and more heated and they knew that they could now fight on their own. Their idea for universal suffrage was one that was, for instant, greatly accepted by the government as it showed their interest in serving all the citizens of the nation. The socialists were able to gain some bit of political ground through this move.


Despite its equality agenda and strong fight towards its dominance, I feel that the future of socialism still remains somewhat “bleak”. With the current trend the best possible way that socialism can remain relevant in the political scene is if there are still willing parties in the political arena that want to associate with it. At the moment, capitalism still remains the safe haven that it can always run to for regrouping when it is lost. The idea of socialism acting as the modernizing force in a nation has slowly dwindled over the past two decades, and in some Western Europe nations, it was completely done away with. The fall of the USSR for instance, was proof enough of the defeat of this agenda. China, which had been known to be a communist region is quickly embracing into the idea of capitalism. 20th century socialism aimed at ensuring everyone gets access to equal education, health and culture without following any market rules and this was an idea that some still find important to consider. The fact that it is still being talked about in electoral arenas shows the relevance that it still has in the opinions of many.

Today, the problem that the still active socialists face is the fact that they heavily rely on prosperity and economic strength that capitalism can grant them. The capitalists on the other hand do not necessarily need them.  Capitalist have their own ways of sustaining themselves, such as devolution of welfare activities like in Japan or by offering some protection to some marginal such as the case in the USA.

Socialists have also failed to come up with a definite definition of the term socialism, which they can all identify themselves with. Currently there are various definitions to it that one can come across, each seemingly different from the other. Some of the definitions used today were even coined by enemies of socialism and have stood their ground to this date. With that in mind, an idea cannot stand on its own if its founders are unwilling to be recognized by it.

Do you need high quality Custom Essay Writing Services?

Custom Essay writing Service