Resolved: European socialism would not have happened without fear of a Red Revolution

Western Europe is, apparently, happily socialist, in a small way: no Total Confiscation, no Ideological State, just heavily Green, well-unionized economies with Socialized Medicine & the like.

This is the happy ending. This is what I, as an American, envy.

I contrast that to Leninism. I don’t want to live in a régime like Stalinist Russia, & generally feel that the Bolsheviks did a lot of damage.

But then I think, perhaps “socialist” reform only ever happened in Western Europe because of the fear that without placating the masses, the Revolution Could Happen–there. Perhaps it is only because a Lenin succeeds, somewhere, & not so far away, that the ruling classes concede Anything at All.

And maybe this tells us something about what’s been happening in the USA over the last few decades. The USA was the birthplace & wellspring of Wobblies & Organized Labor, but they never overthrew & slaughtered the owners, & Russia was a long way away. And all that was a long time ago. Maybe their is no real fear of the masses here, now, not for the last generation. And those who never understood the need of the New Deal, for they never personally profited from it, now think that they can safely throw it off.

Socialized Medicine will not happen here after all; no matter how many times you show people in this country how well it works for the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world, it will be rejected as foreign & unnecessary by a majority. And any movement toward real reform will require a return to riots & mob violence. So long as the masses go along quietly with the decisions of the rulers, the rulers will choose to take whatever they can.

But if someone “like us” were dying at the hands of their proletarians, then reform would be embraced in the interest of self-preservation. But our self-image gets in the way: If we are America, God’s Chosen People, tempered in the fires of something-or-other; who is like US?

And real equality? We would have to be the revolutionaries ourselves. There would have to be imminent, no, immanent threat of loss of life.

Pretty much, I think.

Quite likely. Americans, for all their rhetoric about Freedom and Independence and so on, are sheep. Easily exploited, easily dominated; willing to put up with treatment that would probably cause major civil unrest elsewhere. A passive, spineless nation of perfect victims.

I’ve lived in Western Europe as well as the US, and I’d say that I envy some of the European “happy ending”.

I do think they’ve got a lot of valuable features in their system that we would do well to emulate, and which I think we’ll end up emulating. However, I also think there’s some value to the experimentation we’re doing with a somewhat different system, whose capitalist basis is less diluted (not undiluted by any means, but less diluted) by mild socialism.

I’m less convinced of that now that I’ve seen what our looser, deregulated financial markets have recently done to the national and world economy, but I still feel there’s a point to it somewhere. If only to illustrate some of the limitations of the less-diluted-capitalism model.

The US as the birthplace of Organized Labor??? Am I missing something here? Try reading some of the history of organized labor in Britain, for example. It goes back one hell of a lot longer than the USA…

Try Travelling Brothers.

And I suppose you’re the dashing hero in the beret ready to lead us to the promised land?

Socialism started over here in 1215 with Magna Carta.
Throw in the English Civil War, Peasants Revolt, Tolpuddle Martyrs and Suffragettes (for example) and you can see how Socialism developed over the centuries.

Since we still have Communist parties in Western Europe (and some are Italian members of parliament, I believe), there is no such fear of ‘Reds under the bed’ causing Socialism.

By the way, the Americans I’ve met have all been jolly pleasant and intelligent. :smiley:

Nevertheless there seems to be various obsessions in the US:

  • Government is itching to become a Dictatorship and must be resisted by force of arms
  • Liberal is a dirty word
  • Socialism equals Communism
  • the Protestant religion is essential

I agree with the general idea, I just want to point out that the foundations were laid long before Lenin. Take for example Bismarck and his social legislation.

No. America is too warped to save, and too evil to be worth the effort anyway. Let it die by it’s own hand; I won’t bother trying to stop it.

Yeah! Lousy sheeple Amerikkkans

And who would that someone be that let it happen and who placated the masses? The ruling classes? What is that? Do you think we had some kind of super secret and very manipulative power group who has steered us ignorant masses like a puppeteer through all these decades? Dump masses and stupid sheeple. I don’t know where some people get the arrogant and condescending attitudes from, but real life isn’t like that. There is no direction and nobody is in control. Also – I don’t know if it ties into your little conspiracy theory of not – but the social democrats have often been even more antagonistic towards communists than any other group.

Who said anything about secret ? It’s the ruling class, of course. The political and financial elite; the people who essentially own and control the country. Nothing secret about them. The people who go to the same schools, the same clubs, the same parties; who hire each other and protect each other from the consequences of their actions.

I see it as rather socialism can do a fairly good job of adapting its ideals to the real world and adapting its platform to modern politics. It is not, nor ever was, some monolithic ideology that demanded unblinking obedience. The reformers were just as active as the revolutionaries and the Marxists, but the formers’ voices were drowned out by the latters success in Russia and elsewhere. Since the reformers believed in working within the system to create change, it obviously took longer to achieve fruition. The reformers also argued as much among themselves as with the opposition (on the right and left) about its ideals and its platform.

I do agree there may have been some latent fear that the reformers would join the revolutionaries, but the reformers were often the harshest critics of the revolution, and such fear more often hindered any adoption of socialist policies as such policies were seen more often as encouraging the revolution, than placating the masses.

Even now, the ‘socialist’ countries do not even try to abolish private ownership and free enterprise, only that social interests are as important as private interests, and should take precedence when those interests clash, and that government is the best provider for those social interests. And the reformers always believed in democratic government comprised of all citizens, not just those of the party and its vanguard.

And I take it this cohesive group is supposed to have manipulated and steered us stupid common men like puppets all these years? Anyway, nope. We haven’t had such a group. One day, one guy is is top dog. Next day, it’s another.

It’s not like it takes much effort, when people are so willing to be fooled.

And the day after that, it’s the buddy of the first, or his son; and then the same for the other guy. Just because you refuse to believe in the ruling class doesn’t mean they refuse to believe in themselves, or to recognize a commonality of interest against us commoners. And, you exemplify part of what makes the American public so weak and sheeplike; the refusal to believe in class, or that it matters. No matter how hard the elite stomps on the rest of us, how much they loot or how many privileges they hand themselves.

[shrug] I’m free this weekend.

I’ll bring fruit punch for the revolution.

I won’t be able to make it. And I hear it won’t be televized either.

The premis of the OP is very dramatic but nothing like the truth as far as the U.K. is concerned.
Socialism in government came about at the end of WW2 in Great Britain.
There was a general election and one group of politicians said lets have some decent quality of life(Like UHC for eample) for those in the population who ARE’NT members of the hereditary upper class or the rich…

And being a democracy the majority, who surprisingly enough were none of the above, voted those politicians into government.

There were no riots,arson attacks,assasinations of prominent figures or of the rich or the nobility.

There were no threats of revolution, tacit or otherwise.

No appeals to the Soviet Union for armed intervention,just one person,one vote.
Boring isn’t it?

And when you look around the U.K. today there seems to be a surprising number of nobility un guillotined,ditto Royalty,in fact not only is the Queen still in possession of her head but she’s the Head of State.
Ah what about Rich people though?

Amazingly they haven’t all fled abroad after being stripped of all their money and possessions, we not only appear to have rather a large amount of them but we have foreign Billionaires and Millionaires queing up to live in our country .

Yet we still have UHC and a welfare state and we are still one of the most powerful Capitalist centers in the world.

I can understand wealthy Americans not wanting UHC for example .
But the mind set of those who aren’t very well off at all,not even compared with me!who are so vehemently against UHC is an impenetrable mystery to me.

In the old days we had forehead knuckling serfs who though they had nothing would fight to the death to preserve their Lords power and lifestyle.

Maybe its the same mindset of Americans with very average incomes who are so dead set against anyone trying to improve their quality of life.

I really dont know …
After all who needs" Heavys" to keep the the exploited down when they’ll do the job to themselves and thank you while they’re doing it.
Before anyone wonders I am totally against Communism/Marxism and totally for Capitalism ,but not to the point of masochism.

I totally agree with this. The socialist - communist movements were at their strongest before WWII while the welfare state was implemented after WWII.

And I have to add that the “Resolved” thing in the titles has always seemed particularly stupid to me.