I don’t wish to mislead by over simplifying the branch, but it is essentially socialism founded on materialism, atheism and violence. Each was to be embraced in Marx’s vision of socialism, and has made it one not appealing to the vast majority of people. These things, I believe, are negative ideals to embrace in a social movement and have, in addition to other rigid aspects of Marxism, stiffled the movement toward socialism.
What then do I see as the core and noble aspects of socialism? Sincere egalitarianism, philanthropy and compassion are the framework I see as essential to socialism. These are human virtues that we should always work to promote in the world and in ourselves.
Where, other than in socialism would you find these virtues espoused? Spirituality comes to mind immediately for me. Whether one believes in Christianity, Buddhism, any number of other organized religions, or professes personal spirituality, the majority of us in this world hold these ideals as highly noble, and would like to bring them into the world to a greater extent. Despite many doctrinal differences and flaws, most spirituality is based upon this.
Does it serve either spirituality or socialism to not embrace the other? In most instances, I believe not. Of course there is a danger of religious figures influencing socialism to meet their own desires, and the reverse, of misinterpreted socialism using religion as a tool, but I feel that such turns could be avoided with the proper care structure. The cause should be kept free from religious influence, but welcoming to those who are compelled to support it because their spirituality is enhanced by such an act.
Marxism involved allowing non-athiests to join and serve the cause, but saw an ultimate conversion to atheism as the religious end. Socialism movements that promote atheism or any other religion will invariably divide people greatly, an act that is directly in opposition to the goal of uniting humanity in fellowship to improve all lives.
Materialism is the basis of capitalism. Selfishness, fulfillment of personal desires and personal wealth are the goals and drives of the capitalist system. Why then would a socialistic system be based on this? In fact, this is not the definition that is implied in the Marxist theories. Rather, the belief that all things are physical, that our minds and souls have no existance outside our brains, that all things can be explained only through sciense is what anchors Marxism. This is not entirely a negative theory. Any system should be based upon scientific knowledge and insight, but science is not without great flaws, and even science lends support to various spiritual beliefs. This not only alienates the vast majority of the world who have spiritual beliefs, but prevents the continuation of cultural and spiritual knowledge that has great benefit for humanity, but which sits outside mainstream science. Meditation, for instance, may be lost in a materialist belief system, even though it has proven benefits for those who us it.
Violence always breeds more violence. This is a truth I hold as true as any other, and I believe opposition to violence is a core spiritual belief. Sometimes we are forced into employing it, but it is never a positive act, and should always be a last resort. Marx believed that violence was inherent in his version of socialism, and that it was necessary to maintain it. I firmly believe that violence should be opposed as much as possible, both for practical, scientific reasons, and because of deep spiritual directives.
I obviously believe that Marxism has slowed progress toward socialism, and have outlined some of the reasons related to spirituality here. There are other flaws I see in Marx’s proposals that have harmed the movement toward socialism, but they are not within the scope of this entry. I recommend a personal exploration of the Marxist system in order to discover these other flaws, as I do not feel I have explored them enough myself.
How do I wish to see socialism progress in the future? I see many steps that need to be taken to ensure that socialism will eventually be adopted. Discussion among all interested parties must be encouraged so that new ideas can be tested and possibly included in the plans of the movement. We can not allow it to stagnate, because in all things there will be change. Flexibility and evolution are essential. The happiness of all peoples should be the goal, and any way to accomodate that while holding to the core ideals should be explored.
Socialism must put the primary emphasis on the good it can do for all people, and appeal to the humanitarian and spiritual aspects of our society. By embracing egalitarianism, compassion and philanthropy as the central goods of socialism, we will be able to open up the movement to people of all walks of life, and unite peoples in a sincere movement to better our world.
The real personal benefits can not be ignored. In order to advance our societies toward socialism, we need to clearly show its benefits, not only for the whole of humanity, but for the individual. The presentation of a more effiecent system should appeal to most people, who could work fewer hours and attain a higher standard of living. Also, stressing the personal freedom and security allowed by guaranteed education, healthcare, nourishment and housing should be considered.
Overall, I see a great need for change in the socialist movement, and society in general. I believe this shift to be vital to a positive future for the world, and will explore ways to promote it and work with like-minded individuals to develope further plans. I encourage you to do the same.