Core values of British Socialism ‘OLD’ Labour
All but the more moderate socialists have seen social class as a crucial aspect of society. It has been assumed by socialists that most people define their position in society, to some extent, in terms of their social class. This implies that they develop a sense of common interest and common purpose with other members of their class. Marx described this effect as ‘class consciousness’ but most socialists use the more moderate term ‘common class interest’.
Although equality is seen as the central principle of socialism, it is not a simple issue and has created conflict both between socialists and others and within the socialist movement itself. Equality is primarily a belief that we are all born with equal rights. Socialists share this belief with liberals. It suggests we are created equal in terms of both our right to justice and power. Most radical socialists, (Marxists & neo liberals) believe in absolute economic equality – that all should enjoy the same rewards.
The desire for economic and social equality has not been stressed particularly within the Labour Party. Instead British socialists have tended to discuss social justice. The socialist idea of justice argues that there are some who are deprived through no fault of their own (the ‘deserving poor’) and that some have become wealthy through windfalls rather than through their own efforts. Social justice also means that all are entitled to equality of opportunity.
Equality of opportunity
British socialists in the Labour Party have as we have seen, never pursued absolute economic equality. They recognise inequality can be unjust. They have also accepted unequal rewards in a capitalist-based society are inevitable. Socialists belie there are social forces that operate against the interests of some sections of society.
The term collectivism refers to two main ideas first, that...
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