Socialism has historically passed through four main phases.
The early 19th century socialism of the utopians, Robert Owen, Fourier and St Simon. The early trade unions and co-operativists – the Rochdale pioneers, Chartism, the Paris Commune, the First international Working Men’s Association. The founding of the early socialist parties.The socialism of Proudhon and Bakunin and Lassalle.In England the founding of the Labour Party.
The Second International led by Engels. Marxism and Scientific Socialism.20th century socialism.
The Communist International.The Soviet Revolution of 1917.Socialist construction in the Soviet Union.Defence of the socialist homeland.The German Revolution of 1918 and uprising of 1919.
In Britain the Glasgow uprising in George Street 1919, in Ireland the 1916 Easter uprising led by James Connoly.Civil war in Ireland in 1922 and independent Eire.The war against fascism and Nazism.The first Labour Government in 1924,the Miners strike and General Strike of 1926 and the formation of the Minority movement. The founding of the communist Party of Great Britain in 1920.The Spanish civil war of 1936. Liberation of China, DPRK (North Korea), the Eastern European Socialist Bloc.Bulgaria received its new Communist premier, Georgi Dimitrov, in November 1946, a Communist government under Boleslaw Bierut had been established in Poland already in 1945, and by 1947, Hungary and Romania had also come under full communist rule. Czechoslovakia, became communist in 1948, and in 1949 the German Democratic Republic under Walter Ulbricht.
1960’s National liberation and independence movements in third world countries.Social change in Asia, Vietnam. Revolutionary changes in Angola,Mozambique,Zimbabwe,Namibia.Liberation of Ethiopia.change in South Africa (ANC Government and Nelson Mandela).
In Britain, the advent of the National Health Service, the development of the Welfare State,Public education, Transport and Communications. Development of new workers’ co-operatives in failed capitalist enterprises like Norton-Villiers, Occupation of the Clyde shipyards (Jimmy reed), Nationalisation of the failing capitalist car industry (British Leyland).The Student movement, anti-apartheid, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmement.The establishment of anti-imperialist organisation and the establishment of the new Marxist-Leninist Communist movement.The struggle against the re-emergence of fascist and Nazi organisation like the National Front.Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 1974.The Greek military dictatorship fell in Greece, PASOK arose at first with a strong socialist outlook, and in Spain, the Franco dictatorship fell in a period of rising struggle.
Each phase has marked a new quality of socialism at a higher level.Each phase is paused by ebbs and flows of the socialist movement between each phase.The collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and Albania represented the retreat of revolution and Socialism. In Britain the Thatcherites marked the emergence of the neo-liberal agenda and privatisation and dismantling of the manufacturing base.The miners strike and destruction of the coal and steel industry were reactionary turning points for socialism. The new turnaround was to begin.
The present is marked by a brand new phase.
Since the late nineties of the last century into the new millenium, the new phase of Socialism has begun.In this new era the international scene has been set by the movements that have initiated and maintained the new momentum. Cuba and the DPRK have developed their specific socialist systems and influenced the politics of their respective continents. China has grown as the largest economic power in the world, influencing developments in Asia, Africa in particular and also the rest of the world.
The turn of the century saw Brazil as a centre of change with the Communist party of Brazil,de Silva and the workers’ Party and the World Social Forum making advances in new Alternative ideology and political movement. The movement spread across Global barriers in places like Seattle and in Europe where the European Social Forum came about.
Socialist movements against the EU and NAFTA in Latin America also came into effect.
Latin America has seen the Bolivarian revolution with Venezuela at the fore,Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez as President. Venezuela was supported by Cuba and Fidel Castro, along with De Silva in Brazil. The movement also has seen great changes in Argentina and Mexico. The Socialist movement in Bolivia has been led by Evo Morales. and Correa in Ecuador. The Sandanistas of the ’70’s have re-emerged in Nicaragua along with changes in El Salvador. The Farc emerged as the revolutionary force in Columbia.
In Nepal following the end of the Civil War, the formerly militant Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) have emerged as the two most powerful opposition parties in the country.
Europe has been developing with Socialist Parties too. The most obvious today is the emergence of the Socialist and anti-Austerity Syriza in Greece. Similar organisations are emerging in Spain (Podemos) and Italy. There is growth of the anti-fascist forces, and pro-socialist movements in Germany, particularly centred around opposition to the nazi Pergida. mostly the new anti-fascist and resurrected socialist movement is in the East, in Dresden and Leipzig.
In the eastern Ukraine, centred on Donetsk is the movement for the liberation of the Ukraine leading the anti-fascist anti-Kiev coup,supported by the West,the main leadership of the struggle and liberation war being the communists.
In Canada the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is the main Socialist and Communist influence and leadership in Canada.
Britain has also seen the emergence of new anti-war movements always tied to Socialism,which is fundamentally against war.The Stop the war coalition and Respect Party came out of the Socialist Alliance and Stop the War. Also Tony benn who was involved in these as well as the Peoples Parliament along with Owen Jones and other radical journalists such as John Pilger and Marc Curtis were all involved. The Trade union and Socialist coalition with RMT’s Bob Crowe were instigators in these movements as part of the Labour Representation tradition.The resurgence of Socialism at the turn of the millennium saw the anti-privatisation of auxiliary services start in Dudley, West Midlands with socialist activist candidates emerging from working class women in particular employed in the NHS.
In recent times the students have engaged in political activities around tuition fees.Students have merged their occupations of campuses with workers in struggle and have fought for education as a right and not a privilege. The early part of the new millennium saw young workers occupy a key factory, Vestas, on the Isle of Wight, many of the workers took up the socialist cause. Oil workers in the refineries and Gate Gourmet workers introduced a new militancy into the movement. Public sector workers engaged in generalised strike activity.RMT and the underground workers in London have waged many militant strike actions. London bus drivers have struck work.These actions have encouraged the socialist movement.
In Scotland the movement for independence and the referendum has seen a resurgence of socialist interest and the SNP leaders have formulated much of their policy around the working class and its socialist tradition.
The movement against Austerity is developing around the Alternative and socialist strategy and tactics.New political fora and alliances of remnant Labour Party activists, communists,socialists, independents and Trades Unionists have come together to fight elections around Alternative policies.What is emerging is the new socialist realignment on a sustainable basis.Soon the organisational form and political mechanism will arrive out of this trend.
Various political parties have increased their influence in the emerging new socialist movements. The green socialists have become the dominant trend in the Green Party. An NHS party has emerged out of the ‘keep the NHS public’ movement.The Marxist-Leninist movement has seen the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) become more influential with its interventions around the Alternative and the emerging Workers’ Opposition.NHS workers fighting hospital and A&E closures in London at Barts and Lewisham, struggles for the NHS around the country have become a key part in the fight for a different political direction and in favour of socialism.
Phase four has begun for socialism, the new socialism will be of a new quality and will be victorious in a far wider and greater way than ever before.
The point is to join in the movement and share in its glorious future.