- In simple language socialism can be regarded as a movement against the inequality existing in the present social order.
- It is a plan for a new social order based on justice, equality, free from exploitation of man by man, a co-operative commonwealth of mankind.
- Though socialists differ among themselves on a number of points, there are certain basic principles, on which every socialist agrees.
- These are –
- Socialism wants to establish the importance of the society over the individual.
- It wants to abolish competition.
- It wants to abolish private enterprise.
- It wants to establish a proper system of distribution.
Nehru and Socialism
- It is well known that Nehru was vehemently opposed to doctrinaire Socialism, but for almost half a century he was trying to formulate a set of mutually consistent principles and ideas, which, if adopted as a whole, would ensure a socialist reconstruction of society through the democratic process, rather than insurrectionary violence or a cataclysm, and without democracy being undermined in the process of achieving the goal.
- To him the question of method was more important than anything else.
- When some people lost their patience with Nehru's reference to the 'pragmatic approach', they hardly appreciated his anxiety to take account of the compulsions in the objective situation in India, which make radical economic transformation impossible for various reasons, including the lag in social transformation.
- Any general attack on the problem of poverty, any movement in the direction of an egalitarian society, any basic change in the socio-economic institutions concerning the masses of the population, requires the agency and support of a political organisation like the Indian National Congress, which is India in microcosm with its divergent pulls of ideas and interests.
- Any one who thinks of Nehru in the context of Socialism would do well to study how he tried to influence this peculiar political organisation in favour of broad and simple 'socialistic' principles which have become accepted principles of democracy in capitalist countries with free enterprise economies.
Marxian Approach and Socialism
- THE Marxian approach to socialism is based on a philosophy of history where the social order changes as the process of historical progress reveals itself through the dialectical relationship between the means of production and production relations. Socialism here emerges out of capitalism as an objective necessity, not because some people will it as a better and just social order, although once it is established it does prove to be so.
- But there is another approach to socialism which is quite rational, where a socialist makes his value judgment explicit at the very outset and declares his preference for socialism defined in terms of socio-economic categories.
- Socialism may be desirable because it is a rational, just, equitable and least wasteful social order, and in an underdeveloped economy in addition to all these because it is most helpful for rapid economic progress, and not simply because it is the “necessary” outcome of a historical process.
- Having accepted socialism as a preferred system, one has to think of the best means for achieving it and for that one has to study objectively the prevailing economic and social conditions, the role of different classes, their relationships and conflicts, the stage of development of production forces, etc
Fundamental Transformation & SOCIALISM
- SOCIALISM, after all, involves a fundamental transformation of the society and a struggle against the forces of status quo deeply entrenched in the social organisation.
- Reliance on the state or administrative machinery and a bureaucracy, working within the bounds of legal institution cannot bring about a social revolution unless there is a strong sanction of mass movement behind it.
- A political organisation or a party has to enthuse the masses to socialist action, and unite the progressive sections in the struggle against the vested interests to enable the socialist policies to be implemented.
- In a parliamentary system the importance of a strong socialist party is increased, for then in addition to being a vanguard organistion for determined action, it has to explain and justify its action to broad sections of the masses so that they can carry it into power.
- The possibility of peaceful, parliamentary method of achieving socialism does not imply that the state or bureaucracy is neutral or auto-nomous, and that it can function independently of class struggle.
- On the contrary, for any implementation of a socialist policy, it can be effective only when it is aligned with the progressive classes and when a political party, which formalises and upholds the interests of these classes, organises them to united action.
- The germs of the concept of Total Revolution lie deeply embedded in Gandhi’s teachings to which Jayaprakash Narayan, the leader of Total Revolution turned as a result of his disillusionment with what might be called “conventional wisdom of revolution and conventional technique” of change.
- Total Revolution is a further extension of Gandhi’s thought on socio-economic problems and technique of change in the context of contemporary social, economic and political reality.
- Total Revolution is a further extension of the Gandhian approach to social change. Social change in the Gandhian paradigm is a very comprehensive and inclusive term. According to Gandhi, a partial change in any one component of the social matrix is likely to produce disequilibrium in society.
- Society, therefore, will tend to move towards a state of constant instability. In order to ensure that the social organisation maintains a steady and dynamic homeostatic state, an all-round change is needed. By an all-round change Gandhi did not mean only a change in the social framework but also a qualitative change in the behavioural-attitudinal-valuational and psyche texture of the individual. Gandhi, like Hegel, believed that revolution begins in the minds of men. But Gandhi enlarged the Hegelian concept. Gandhi’s primary emphasis was that an individual wanting to change the society must first of all change himself.
- Gandhi’s revolution was evolutionary and a process of purification. Gandhi’s approach was not limited to a change in individual’s lifestyle, thought-structure, and behaviour-pattern only. Thus, together with a revolution in the individual, society must also change. It spans the entire continuum along which values as well as social and institutional structures are ranged. The emphasis is on each one of the elements constituting the continuum.
- Gandhi talked of changing the society, he conceived of far-reaching and novel changes in the entire social organisation which consisted of the economy, polity, technique of production, personnel system of both the polity and economy, and, above all, the means to be adopted for effecting the change.
- There are seven components of Total Revolution –
- These numbers may be increased or decreased. JP himself thought that the cultural revolution could include educational and ideological. Similarly, social revolution, according to him, in the Marxian sense can cover economic and political revolutions and even more than that.