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Example research essay topic: Trade Union Movement Utopian Socialists - 1,098 words

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... lapse, then it did not automatically follow that socialism would be born from that. They construed that although the workers could revolt as predicted by Marx, that they could revolt in support of new rulers "who denounced the old set of rulers and clamped down their own rule, their own exploitation of the workers." (Eddy, 1979, pg 100) Marx goes on to argue that "what the utopias ts have never grasped, namely that socialism must be the outcome of a historical evolution, and that this evolution must be brought to pass by a self conscious and independent movement on the part of the working class." (Eddy, (1979), pg 91) Owen and the utopian socialist movement were at the forefront in the organising of the early Trade union movement as well as the co - operative societies which were working class based organisations. Owen was fundamental in promoting the interests of the working man.

After selling his shares in New Lanakshire, Owen realised that although his ideas were not highly regarded by the middle and upper classes that they were spreading amongst the working classes and within the new trade union movement. His ideas of the co-operatives were being more widely accepted and shops and work shops were opening around the country. The reforms that Owen had been fighting for, for over 20 years, such as shorter working hours and the fight against child labour were being adopted and in 1832 Owen proposed that the unions should unite and in " 1834 the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union was formed. " The ethos behind the Trade Union being that: "National arrangements shall be formed to include all the working classes in the great organisation" (Web Page, Robert Owen, 18 / 04 / 02) During the birth of the Trade union movement Marx initially appeared to be in favour stating that "Unions are ramparts for the workers in their struggle for social revolution against employers. " (Web Page, Hymen, 18 / 04 / 02, pg 6) However, Marx later began to criticise trade unions implying that the "trade union movement was in the hands of leaders who were corrupt in a material and ideological sense. (Web Page, Hymen, 18 / 04 / 02, pg 9) Whilst it could be argued that Marx placed much emphasis on the organisation of the working class it would appear that his criticism of the utopians in their failure to promote class-consciousness is somewhat unfair. Indeed, it could be argued that the membership of the trade union movement within Britain alone could challenge the membership for any Marxist revolutionary movement. In Britain in 1999 there were 7. 9 million people that were members of trade unions. (Web page, Number of Trade Union Members, 18 / 0402). By any stretch of the imagination, these figures would seem to be over and above the number of supporters of the Marxist movement.

During the course of my research, I contacted the Revolutionist Communist Party of Britain in order to give comparative figures, this is the replay I received. "Thanks for your interest. We are a relatively small force, but we don't think the obsession with who is large and who is small is very productive. Some organisations grow, some shrink. The main issue is whether an organisation addresses the concerns of the masses of the people, or whether it is focuses on the narrow concerns of a few.

Our Party is concerned to end its marginalisation from political affairs, in the sense that this marginalisation represents the sidelining of the concerns of the masses of the people and their collectives. Meanwhile the prevailing Student ID No 11039772 Modern European Thought Why was Karl Marx so disparaging of the utopian socialists? agenda is set by the rich and powerful. We encourage everyone to join in, in ending their own political marginalisation!" (Roger Nettle ship for National Office RCPB, 20 / 04 / 02) In concluding this essay, I have come to realise the importance of one's political beliefs and values and how, to some of us it is not just important to have a voice but also to attempt to make our voices heard in practical ways. As a complete novice to the works of men like Marx and Owen I have found this assignment to be extremely thought provoking. Not only have I examined the theories of Marx and Owen and men like them but I have also delved into the depths of my own moral consciousness to try and determine if I agree with one particular theory or another.

In examining Marx disparagement of the utopian socialists I found myself being somewhat critical of both. On the one hand I can fully appreciate Owens dedication to improving the conditions of the working man. I can understand his thinking that if we change the environment around us that we can therefore change our lifestyle. However, this is not scientific fact and my criticism with the utopian approach would be that this gradualist approach has failed to bridge the huge chasms that exist within our society. Equality in my opinion only exists within a utopian ideal. On the other hand, even though I can agree with the ethos behind Marx's revolutionary ideology, and I can see that his theories are based on scientific fact I have determined that the majority of society is so socially conditioned to living within a capitalist society that the revolution that Marx predicts will never manifest itself because people of all classes are too content to live with the comforts which capitalism provides and are either conditioned to ignore, or choose to ignore the hardships and poverty that goes hand in hand with capitalism.

Therefore they will never be capable of discarding the chains which Marx believed binds them. I do however feel that I can safely conclude that Marx's disparagement of the utopian socialists can be justified. Word Count 1874 Modern European Thought Why was Karl Marx so disparaging of the utopian socialists? Bibliography Eddy W. H. C, Understanding Marxism, Basil Blackwell Ltd, (1979) Australia Enter J, An Introduction to Karl Marx, The Press Syndicate, University of Cambridge, (1995) Cambridge Gamble A, Marsh D and Tant T, Marxism and Social Science, Macmillon Press Ltd, (1999) Hampshire Marx K and Engels F, The Communist Manifesto, (1848) Payne G, Social Divisions, Macmillon Press Ltd, (2000) Hampshire Sargent, W.

L Robert Owen and his Social Philosophy, (New York AMS Press, (1971) New York Smith Roger, the Fontana history of the HUMAN SCIENCES, HarperCollins Publishers, (1997) London web web web web web web web web web

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