The Split Between Asian and Western Socialism

Courtesy Reuters

THE dominating ideology in the international labor movement in the West is still Socialist, but a Socialism with a new look. Marxism has been discarded, although more by force of circumstances than conscious design, and the movement is still influenced by some Marxian reasoning; but, in general, Western Socialism has ceased to be class conscious and become reformist. It seeks the welfare state, but not revolution. The growing Christian (predominantly Catholic) labor movement in Western Europe has also arrived at maturity, and its social philosophy is likewise oriented toward the welfare state.

The old controversy over the interpretation of Marx was not revived in the labor movements in continental Europe after this war, as it was after World War I. This tacit abandonment of Marxism became fully apparent when the Socialist International was revived as a permanent organization in Frankfurt during the summer of 1951. The program and pronouncements of the convention used none of the Marxian terminology so characteristic of prewar Socialist literature, and this momentous omission was not challenged in the discussions there. The 1952 Milan Conference of the Socialist International followed the precedent established at Frankfurt, and at the 1953 Stockholm Conference it was repeated. Such clichés as the materialistic or economic conception of history, exploitation of the workers, expropriating the expropriators, the class struggle, are no longer mentioned. The former sacred tenet that the workers are the class chosen to fulfill the holy mission of bringing about the inevitable capitulation of capitalism has fallen into limbo. The central theme of the new official pronouncements revolves about problems of social justice, economic planning, full employment, democracy and human rights. Emphasis is placed on the need to avoid deflation with its consequent depression and unemployment, and, of course, on the rôle of the trade union movement in promoting social justice.

To be sure, differences exist on policy, with the British Socialists still clinging to nationalization, the Germans featuring "codetermination" in industry and the Scandinavians empirically emphasizing efficiency and production, with

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