Bourgeois socialism or conservative socialism was a term used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in various pieces, including in The Communist Manifesto. Conservative socialism was used as a rebuke by Marx for certain strains of socialism but has also been used by proponents of such a system.[1] Bourgeois socialists are described as those that advocate for preserving the existing society while only attempting to eliminate perceived evils of the system.[2] Conservative socialism and right-wing socialism are also used as a descriptor, and in some cases as a pejorative, by free-market conservative and right-libertarian movements and politicians to describe more economically interventionist strands of conservatism, such as paternalistic conservatism.[3]

Perspectives and usage

See also: Marx's theory of the state § Bourgeois state

The Marxist view is such that the bourgeois socialist is the sustainer of the state of bourgeois class relations. In The Principles of Communism, Friedrich Engels describes them as "so-called socialists" who only seek to remove the evils inherent in capitalist society while maintaining the existing society often relying on methods, such as welfare systems and grandiose claims of social reform.[2] Opinions vary as to whether if bourgeois socialist is actively protecting or intentionally excusing the current order, but the common thread is that they are in objective fact preserving it. Rather than abolishing social class divisions, they wish to simply raise everyone up to be a member of the bourgeoisie to allow everyone the ability to endlessly accumulate capital without a working class. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels use philanthropists, monks ("temperance fanatics"), and political reformers as examples of this type of socialism that they saw as opposed to their own aims. In expressing their views on the subject, Marx referenced Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's The Philosophy of Poverty, stating the following about bourgeois socialism: "The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom." Bourgeois socialists are considered as working for the enemies of communists by preserving the society that communists seek to overthrow thus Engels claims that communists must continuously struggle against them.[4]

Right-wing socialism is used as a pejorative term by some free-market conservative and right-libertarian movements, politicians, and economists, such as Murray Rothbard and Jesús Huerta de Soto,[3][5] to describe economic interventionist variants of conservatism they see supporting paternalism and solidarity as opposed to commercialism, individualism, and laissez-faire economics.[1][6] They argue that paternalist conservatism supports state promoted social hierarchy and allows certain people and groups to hold higher status in such a hierarchy which is conservative.[7] Right-wing socialism is also used to refer to moderate social democratic forms of socialism when contrasted with Marxism–Leninism and other more radical left-wing alternatives. During the post-war period in Japan, the Japan Socialist Party divided itself into two different socialist parties, usually distinguished into the Leftist Socialist Party of Japan (officially the Japanese Socialist Party in English) and the Rightist Socialist Party of Japan (officially the Social Democratic Party of Japan in English). The latter received over 10 per cent of the vote in the 1952 and 1953 general elections and was a centre-left, moderate social democratic party.[8][9] Agrarian socialism, guild socialism, military socialism, National Bolshevism, national syndicalism,[10][11][12] Peronism,[13][14] Prussian socialism,[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] state socialism, and Strasserism are sometimes termed right-wing socialism by various authors.[3] Historian Ishay Landa has described the nature of right-wing socialism as decidedly capitalist.[23]

Proponents and practice

Monarchical socialism

An early proponent of conservative socialism was 19th-century Austrian politician Klemens von Metternich as early as 1847.[1] Monarchists had begun to use socialism as an antithesis of bourgeois laissez-faire, indicating reliance on a social conscience as opposed to pure individualism.[1] Metternich said the aims of such a conservative socialism were "peaceful, class-harmonizing, cosmopolitan, traditional".[24] Monarchical socialism promoted social paternalism portraying the monarch as having a fatherly duty to protect his people from the effects of free economic forces.[25] Metternich's conservative socialism saw liberalism and nationalism as forms of middle-class dictatorship over commoners.[25]

Johann Karl Rodbertus, a monarchist conservative landowner and lawyer who briefly served as minister of education in Prussia in 1848, promoted a form of state socialism led by an enlightened monarchy supporting regulatory economics through the state.[26] Rodbertus supported the elimination of private ownership of land, with the state in control of national capital rather than redistribution of private capital, a position known as state capitalism.[26] In the 1880s, Rodbertus' conservative socialism was promoted as a non-revolutionary alternative to social democracy and a means to justify the acceptance of Otto von Bismarck's State Socialism policies.[26]

War Socialism

"Military socialism" redirects here. For the policy implemented by the Soviet government during the Russian Civil War, see War communism.

See also: Military Keynesianism

During World War I, the German government issued total mobilization of the economy and social sphere for war, resulting in government regulation of the private and public sector.[27] This was referred to as the war economy (Kriegswirtschaft) or War Socialism (Kriegssozialismus).[27] War Socialism was coined by General Erich Ludendorff, a prominent proponent of the system.[28]

In War Socialism, the militarized state exercised controls and regulations over the entire economy.[29] In Germany, the War Socialist economy was operated by conservative military men and industrialists, who had historically been hostile to socialism.[30] Its goal was to maximize war production and to control worker discontent that was growing amongst the organized labour movement.[31] A leading proponent in Germany of War Socialism was General Wilhelm Groener, who insisted against objections of business leaders that labour union representatives be included in factory labour committees as well as regional food and labour boards. This was achieved and gave German unions collective bargaining rights and official functions in the German state for the first time in history.[32]

War Socialism existed in other European countries involved in the war. In the United Kingdom, a number of public figures promoted the adoption of War Socialism, including Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George.[33] Tsarist Russia had War Socialism.[34] Sociologist Pitirim Sorokin argues that War Socialism had existed for two hundred years in support of the Russian tsarist regime until their overthrow in 1917.[34] The War Socialist economy of Russia was based upon that in Germany and was supported by non-socialist and socialist parties alike.[35]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Viereck (2006), p. 74.
  2. ^ a b Engels, Frederick (1847). The Principles of Communism.
  3. ^ a b c Huerta de Soto 2010, p. 80.
  4. ^ Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich (1848). The Communist Manifesto. "Chapter III. Socialist and Communist Literature". "2. Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism".
  5. ^ Rothbard, Murray (2010). Left, Right, and the Prospects for Liberty. Auburn, Alabama: Mises Institute. p. 19.
  6. ^ Huerta de Soto 2010, pp. 79–80.
  7. ^ Huerta de Soto 2010, p. 79.
  8. ^ Ware, Alan (1996). Political Parties and Party Systems. Oxford University Press. p. 395.
  9. ^ Moask, Carl (2007). Japanese Economic Development: Markets, Norms, Structures. Taylor & Francis. p. 239.
  10. ^ Sternhell, Ze'ev (1986). Neither Right Nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France. (2nd ed.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  11. ^ Sternhell, Ze'ev; Sznajder, Mario; Ashéri, Maia (1994). The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  12. ^ Sternhill, Ze'ev (1998). "Fascism". In Griffin, Roger, ed. International Fascism: Theories, Causes, and the New Consensus. London; New York City: Arnold Publishers.
  13. ^ Christian, Shirley (13 January 1990). "Buenos Aires Journal; Carlos, Carlos, How Does Your Economy Sink?". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  14. ^ Servetto, Alicia (1999). "El derrumbe temprano de la democracia en Córdoba: Obregón Cano y el golpe policial (1973-1974)". Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Estudios Sociales (in Spanish). 17: 19. Revised paper of a 1997 Conference at the National University of La Pampa.
  15. ^ Harris, Abram Lincoln (1989). Race, Radicalism, and Reform: Selected Papers. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
  16. ^ Hughes, H. Stuart (1992). Oswald Spengler. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 108.
  17. ^ Hüppauf, Bernd-Rüdiger (1997). War, Violence, and the Modern Condition. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co.
  18. ^ Kitchen, Martin (2006). A History of Modern Germany, 1800-2000. Malden, Massaschussetts; Oxford, England; Carlton, Victoria: Blackwell Publishing.
  19. ^ Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul (2006). World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 628.
  20. ^ Winkler, Heinrich August; Sager, Alexander (2006). Germany: The Long Road West (English ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 414.
  21. ^ Rohkrämer, Thomas (2007). "A Single Communal Faith?: The German Right from Conservatism to National Socialism". Monographs in German History. 20. Berghahn Books.
  22. ^ Weitz, Eric D. (2007). Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  23. ^ Landa, Ishay (2012). The Apprentice's Sorcerer: Liberal Tradition and Fascism. Haymarket Books. pp. 60–65.
  24. ^ Viereck (2006), pp. 74–75.
  25. ^ a b Viereck (2006), p. 75.
  26. ^ a b c Shatz, Marshall S. (1989). Jan Waclaw Machajski: A Radical Critic of the Russian Intelligentsia and Socialism. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 86.
  27. ^ a b Waite, Robert George Leeson (1993) [1977]. The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. Da Capo Press. p. 304.
  28. ^ Paxton (1997), p. 106.
  29. ^ Waite, Robert George Leeson (1993) [1977]. The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. Da Capo Press. pp. 304–305.
  30. ^ Findley, Carter Vaughn; Rothney, John Alexander (2011). Twentieth-Century World (7th ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. p. 66.
  31. ^ Paxton & Hessler (2011), p. 89.
  32. ^ Paxton & Hessler (2011), pp. 89, 95.
  33. ^ Corporation, Marshall Cavendish (2002). History of World War I, Volume 3. Tarrytown, New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation. p. 697.
  34. ^ a b Pons, Silvio; Romano, Andrea (2000). Russia in the Age of Wars, 1914–1945 (English trans.). Feltrinelli. p. 68.
  35. ^ Raleigh, Donald J. (2002). Experiencing Russia's Civil War: Politics, Society, and Revolutionary Culture in Saratov, 1917–1922. Princeton, New Jersey; Oxfordshire, England: Princeton University Press. p. 24.

Works cited