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Eduard Bernstein January 6 – December 18 was a German social democratic theoretician and politician, member of the SPD, and founder of evolutionary socialism or reformism.
With the passing of Karl Marx and Friedrich EngelsEduard Bernstein was recognized as a evolutionar socialist thinker and, in many socialist circles, as the founders’ successor.
In the years following Engels’ death, Bernstein took an increasingly critical view of Marx, beginning with his recognition that Marx’s prediction of capitalism’s imminent demise in Das Kapital sharply conflicted with the emerging realities of industrialized European states where market forces gained strength and where the living conditions of workers were gradually improving.
Bernstein rejected key ideological tenets of Marx, including Marx’s economic theories and dialectical materialism.
Bernstein concluded that Marx’s worldview was unfounded; however, he respected and urged fellow socialists to uphold Marx’s intent to improve the living conditions of the laborer. He maintained, however, that violent bbernstein was unnecessary and that social reform could be effected through the ballot box.
He favored advancing the rights of workers and increased state intervention in the economy but in the context of a democratic society based on rule of law.
If Bernstein’s democratic views had prevailed over the partisans of violent revolution such as Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotskythe repression and genocide that characterized totalitarian communist states such as Stalinist RussiaMao Tse-tung Maoist]] China, Pol Edusrd ‘s Cambodiaand North Korea might have been avoided.
Bernstein’s thought did shape the views of today’s pro-democratic social democratic party of Germanythe Socialist Party of France and the Labor Party of the United Kingdom as well as numerous other socialist political parties.
In post-communist societies, communists edduard tended to revert over the past two decades and embrace pro-democratic political positions that parallel Bernstein’s. Bernstein was born in Berlin on January bernstien, His political career began inwhen he became a member of the Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterparteithe so-called Eisenachers named after the German town Eisenach. This initiative was necessary because of the sharp rift that had occurred within the socialist ranks due to Marx’s emphasis on revolution as the means to bring about change, which led to the collapse of the First International by Ecuard andBernstein published socialixm magazine ” Sozialdemokrat ” “Social Democrat”.
Inebrnstein was one of the authors of the Erfurt Program, and from tohe released a series of articles entitled ” Probleme des Sozialismus ” “Problems of Socialism” that led to the revisionism debate in the SPD.
Rosa Luxemburg ‘s essay Reform or Revolution? Inhe returned to Germanyfollowing the lifting of a ban that had kept him from entering the country, and became a member of the Reichstag from to He voted against the armament tabling intogether with the SPD fraction’s left wing. From to Bernstein was again a member of the Reichstag.
He retired from political life in Bernstein died on December 18 in Berlin. A Criticism and Affirmation was Bernstein’s most significant work and was principally concerned with refuting Marx ‘s predictions about the imminent demise of capitalism. In it, Bernstein pointed out simple facts that he took to be evidence that Marx’s predictions were not being borne out: He also pointed out some of the flaws in Marx’s labor theory of value.
Bernstein and his supporters argued against edjard revolution and favored democracy as the vehicle that bernstrin lead to socialism. In its totality, Bernstein’s analysis formed a powerful critique of Marxismand this led to his vilification among many orthodox Marxists.
Bernstein remained, however, very much a socialistalbeit an unorthodox one he was hostile to Trade Unions and Producers Co-operatives ; he believed that socialism would be achieved through capitalism, not through capitalism’s destruction as rights were gradually won by workers, their cause for grievance would be diminished, and consequently, so too would the foundation of revolution.
Although Marx would argue that free trade would be the quickest fulfilment of the capitalist system, bwrnstein thus its end, Bernstein viewed protectionism as helping only a selective few, being fortschrittsfeindlich anti-progressivefor its negative effects on the masses. Germany’s protectionism, Bernstein argued, was only based on political expediency, isolating Germany from the world especially from Britaincreating an autarchy that would only result in conflict between Germany and the rest of the world.
Eduard Bernstein – Wikipedia
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Credits New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: History of “Eduard Bernstein” Note: Philosophy and religion Philosophers Politicians and reformers Credited. Part of the Politics series on Social democracy.