Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy, doctrine and tradition within socialism which stresses the idea that a social revolution is necessary in order to bring about structural changes to society. More specifically, it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for a transition from the capitalist mode of production to the socialist mode of production. Revolution is not necessarily defined as a violent insurrection; it is defined as seizure of political power by mass movements of the working class so that the state is directly controlled or abolished by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class and its interests.
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Revolutionary socialists believe such a state of affairs is a precondition for establishing socialism and orthodox Marxists believe that it is inevitable but not predetermined. Revolutionary socialism encompasses multiple political and social movements that may define "revolution" differently from one another. These include movements based on orthodox Marxist theory such as De Leonism, impossibilism and Luxemburgism as well as movements based on Leninism and the theory of vanguardist-led revolution such as Maoism, Marxism–Leninism and Trotskyism. Revolutionary socialism also includes other Marxist, Marxist-inspired and non-Marxist movements such as those found in democratic socialism, revolutionary syndicalism, social anarchism and social democracy.
Revolutionary socialism is contrasted with reformist socialism, especially the reformist wing of social democracy and other evolutionary approaches to socialism. Revolutionary socialism is opposed to social movements that seek to gradually ameliorate the economic and social problems of capitalism through political reform.