Thursday, June 06, 2013

What's so scientific about socialism?

As a doctrine socialism has passed through two main phases - the utopian and the scientific. What is scientific socialism? Under that name we understand the communist teaching which began to take shape at the beginning of the forties out of utopian socialism. Despite the criticism of capitalist society, the predecessors of Marxism did not understand how  society could provide the forces which could overthrow it. These attempts bear the same relation to modern scientific socialism that astrology or alchemy do to astronomy and chemistry. They resorted to devising schemes and communities but Marx and Engels showed how the development of the powers of production under capitalism would result in the formation of a strong working class and the realization by them intellectually and emotionally of their exploitation and need for a new society the foundations of socialism would come to be created.

Marx was in favour of capturing political power. This was his distinction from utopian socialists that represented socialism before him. It was also suggested the fall of the Paris Commune had to do with the lack of political power. Workers using a party to capture political power doesn't imply statism, hierarchical organisation, a new ruling-class, workers serving the party (rather than the other way round), party loyalty or anything. Marx and Engels showed at the same time the victory of the wage slaves was not going to fall mechanically into their lap when a certain stage of historic development had been reached, but that the workers must prepare themselves for this victory by fighting day-to-day against the capitalist in all spheres of social life, class against class. Marx did not create the working class movement. Nor did he create class consciousness. Rather, he created the theoretical (scientific) expression of them. Marxism is the scientific theory of the revolutionary movement which aims to overthrow the capitalist system and establish a new socialist order in its stead. Marxism provides a scientific theoretical analysis of the laws of motion and the internal contradictions of the capitalist mode of production.

Scientific socialists apply the inductive method, that is inference of general laws from particular instances, reasoning and  proceeding from particular facts to a general conclusion. They stick to facts. They use the  inductive method to draws their mental conclusion from concrete facts.They live in the real world and not in the spiritual regions of idealism or within the realms of academia. The fundamental proposition of inductive scientific socialism may be thus formulated: there is no eternal principle or an a priori idea of the divine, just and free; there is no revelation or a chosen people, but there are material factors which govern human society. The materialist conception of history is scientific induction and not idle speculation.

Socialism is a movement based upon the historic evolution of the past and the economic conditions of the present. It is not, therefore, something that has been hatched in the brain of a poet or in the imagination of some philosopher. It is true that many in the past sought to outline ideal social systems wherein all the inhabitants would be happy and free from poverty. The distinction between those early idealists and modern socialism is the difference between utopianism and science. Scientific socialism builds upon reality. It looks upon society as ever-changing, and it is able to explain why society has changed in the past and why it must change in the future. The reason why socialism is able to explain the past and the present and to foreshadow the future is because it establishes itself upon the facts of history and the truths of economic science.

The whole practical question of socialism may be summed up in the following three points: 1) Has the working class arrived at a clear conception of its existence as a class by itself? 2) Has it strength enough to engage in a struggle against the other classes? 3) Is it about to overthrow, together with the organisation of capitalism, the entire system of traditional thought.  

No comments: