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Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership or regulation of the means of productionwith an emphasis on self-management and democratic management of economic institutions within a market or some form of decentralized planned socialist economy.
Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association. "Rule of the majority" is sometimes referred to as democracy. Democracy is a system of processing conflicts in which outcomes depend on what participants do, but no single force controls what occurs and its outcomes.
Social ownership is any of various forms of ownership for the means of production in socialist economic systems, encompassing public ownership, employee ownership, cooperative ownership, citizen ownership of equity, common ownership and collective ownership. Historically social ownership implied that capital and factor markets would cease to exist under the assumption that market exchanges within the production process would be made redundant if capital goods were owned by a single entity or network of entities representing society, but the articulation of models of market socialism where factor markets are utilized for allocating capital goods between socially owned enterprises broadened the definition to include autonomous entities within a market economy. Social ownership of the means of production is the common defining characteristic of all the various forms of socialism.
In economics and sociology, the means of production are physical and non-financial inputs used in the production of economic value. These include raw materials, facilities, machinery and tools used in the production of goods and services. In the terminology of classical economics, the means of production are the "factors of production" minus financial and human capital.
Democratic socialists hold that capitalism is inherently incompatible with what they hold to be the democratic values of liberty, equality and solidarity; and that these ideals can only be achieved through the realization of a socialist society. Democratic socialism can be supportive of either revolutionary or reformist politics as a means to establish socialism.
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.
Revolutionary socialism is the socialist doctrine that 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 capitalism to socialism. 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. 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.
Reformism is a political doctrine advocating the reform of an existing system or institution instead of its abolition and replacement. Within the socialist movement, reformism is the view that gradual changes through existing institutions can eventually lead to fundamental changes in a society’s political and economic systems. Reformism as a political tendency and hypothesis of social change grew out of opposition to revolutionary socialism, which contends that revolutionary upheaval is a necessary precondition for the structural changes necessary to transform a capitalist system to a qualitatively different socialist economic system.
The term 'democratic socialism' is sometimes used synonymously with 'socialism', but the adjective 'democratic' is sometimes used to distinguish democratic socialists from Marxist–Leninist-inspired socialism which to some is viewed as being non-democratic in practice.Democratic socialists oppose the Stalinist political system and Soviet economic model, rejecting the perceived authoritarian form of governance and highly centralized command economy that took form in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century.
Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.
Soviet-type economic planning (STP) is the specific model of centralized economic planning employed by Marxist–Leninist socialist states modeled on the economy of the Soviet Union. Although there was significant variation among these economies, Soviet-type planning and Soviet-type economies refers to the major structural characteristics common to these economies.
Democratic socialism is further distinguished from social democracy on the basis that democratic socialists are committed to systemic transformation of the economy from capitalism to socialism, whereas social democracy is supportive of reforms to capitalism.In contrast to social democrats, democratic socialists believe that reforms aimed at addressing social inequalities and state interventions aimed at suppressing the economic contradictions of capitalism will only see them emerge elsewhere in a different guise. As socialists, democratic socialists believe that the systemic issues of capitalism can only be solved by replacing the capitalist system with a socialist system—i.e. by replacing private ownership with social ownership of the means of production.
Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and capitalist economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy; measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest; and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties and their influence on socioeconomic policy development in the Nordic countries, in policy circles social democracy has become associated with the Nordic model in the latter part of the 20th century.
Social inequality occurs when resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through norms of allocation, that engender specific patterns along lines of socially defined categories of persons. It is the differentiation preference of access of social goods in the society brought about by power, religion, kinship, prestige, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and class. The social rights include labor market, the source of income, health care, and freedom of speech, education, political representation, and participation. Social inequality linked to economic inequality, usually described on the basis of the unequal distribution of income or wealth, is a frequently studied type of social inequality. Though the disciplines of economics and sociology generally use different theoretical approaches to examine and explain economic inequality, both fields are actively involved in researching this inequality. However, social and natural resources other than purely economic resources are also unevenly distributed in most societies and may contribute to social status. Norms of allocation can also affect the distribution of rights and privileges, social power, access to public goods such as education or the judicial system, adequate housing, transportation, credit and financial services such as banking and other social goods and services.
Economic interventionism is an economic policy perspective favoring government intervention in the market process to correct the market failures and promote the general welfare of the people. An economic intervention is an action taken by a government or international institution in a market economy in an effort to impact the economy beyond the basic regulation of fraud and enforcement of contracts and provision of public goods. Economic intervention can be aimed at a variety of political or economic objectives, such as promoting economic growth, increasing employment, raising wages, raising or reducing prices, promoting income equality, managing the money supply and interest rates, increasing profits, or addressing market failures.
The origins of democratic socialism can be traced to 19th-century Utopian socialist thinkers and the British Chartist movement, which differed in detail but all shared the essence of democratic decision making and public ownership in the means of production as positive characteristics of the society they advocated. In the early 20th century, the gradualist reformism promoted by the British Fabian society and Eduard Bernstein in Germany influenced the development of democratic socialism.
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, and the South Wales Valleys. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842, and 1848, when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons. The strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and in Yorkshire.
Democratic socialism is defined as having a socialist economy in which the means of production (including wealth) are socially and collectively owned or controlled alongside a politically democratic system of government. '". Similarly, about Eugene Debs he writes: "'Debsian socialism' evoked a tremendous response from the heart of the people, but Debs had no successor as a tribune of revolutionary-democratic socialism".Peter Hain classifies democratic socialism, along with libertarian socialism, as a form of anti-authoritarian "socialism from below" (using the term popularized by Hal Draper), in contrast to Stalinism, a variant of state socialism. For Hain, this democratic/authoritarian divide is more important than the revolutionary/reformist divide. In this type of democratic socialism, it is the active participation of the population as a whole and workers in particular in the management of economy that characterizes democratic socialism while nationalization and economic planning (whether controlled by an elected government or not) are characteristic of state socialism. A similar, but more complex argument is made by Nicos Poulantzas. Draper himself uses the term "revolutionary-democratic socialism" as a type of socialism from below in his The Two Souls of Socialism and writes: "[T]he leading spokesman in the Second International of a revolutionary-democratic Socialism-from-Below [was] Rosa Luxemburg, who so emphatically put her faith and hope in the spontaneous struggle of a free working class that the myth-makers invented for her a 'theory of spontaneity
Peter Gerald Hain, Baron Hain, is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Neath between 1991 and 2015, and served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He was the Leader of the House of Commons from 2003 to 2005 and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2005 to 2007 under Blair, and as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Secretary of State for Wales from 2007 to 2008 under Brown. In 2007, he ran for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party, coming fifth out of six candidates, although his failure to declare donations during this contest led to his resignation in 2008. He later returned to the Cabinet from 2009 to 2010 as Welsh Secretary, before becoming Shadow Welsh Secretary in Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet from 2010 until 2012, when he announced his retirement from front-line politics.
Libertarian socialism is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects the conception of socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy.
Socialism from below, founded in 1997 and disbanded in 2007, was one of two socialist groups in France based on the International Socialism tradition of the Trotskyist movement. It was affiliated to the International Socialist Tendency led by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Britain.
Tendencies of democratic socialism follow a gradual, reformist or evolutionary path to socialism rather than a revolutionary one.This tendency is often invoked in an attempt to distinguish democratic socialism from Marxist–Leninist socialism as in Donald Busky's Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey, Jim Tomlinson's Democratic Socialism and Economic Policy: The Attlee Years, 1945–1951, Norman Thomas Democratic Socialism: a new appraisal or Roy Hattersley's Choose Freedom: The Future of Democratic Socialism. A variant of this set of definitions is Joseph Schumpeter's argument, set out in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1941), that liberal democracies were evolving from "liberal capitalism" into democratic socialism, with the growth of workers' self-management, industrial democracy and regulatory institutions. For example, the new version of Clause IV of the constitution of the UK Labour Party, though affirming a commitment to democratic socialism, no longer definitely commits the party to public ownership of industry: in its place it advocates "the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition" along with "high quality public services ... either owned by the public or accountable to them."
Scholar Lyman Tower Sargent proposes that:
Democratic socialism can be characterized as follows: Much property held by the public through a democratically elected government, including most major industries, utilities, and transportation systems...A limit on the accumulation of private property...Governmental regulation of the economy...Extensive publicly financed assistance and pension programs...Social costs and the provision of services added to purely financial considerations as the measure of efficiency...Publicly held property is limited to productive property and significant infrastructure; it does not extend to personal property, homes, and small businesses. And in practice in many democratic socialist countries, it has not extended to many large corporations.
Another example is the Democratic Socialists of America who define socialism as a decentralized socially-owned economy, but while ultimately committed to socialism they focus their political activities on reforms within capitalism:
Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives. Democratic socialists favor as much decentralization as possible. While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives.
Democratic socialists have long rejected the belief that the whole economy should be centrally planned. While we believe that democratic planning can shape major social investments like mass transit, housing, and energy, market mechanisms are needed to determine the demand for many consumer goods.
As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people.
For Labour Party (UK) politician and ex MP Peter Hain:
Democratic socialism should mean an active, democratically accountable state to underpin individual freedom and deliver the conditions for everyone to be empowered regardless of who they are or what their income is. It should be complemented by decentralisation and empowerment to achieve increased democracy and social justice...Today democratic socialism's task is to recover the high ground on democracy and freedom through maximum decentralisation of control, ownership and decision making. For socialism can only be achieved if it springs from below by popular demand. The task of socialist government should be an enabling one, not an enforcing one. Its mission is to disperse rather than to concentrate power, with a pluralist notion of democracy at its heart.
The term is sometimes used to refer to policies within capitalism as opposed to an ideology that aims to transcend and replace capitalism, though this is not always the case. For example, Robert M. Page, a reader in Democratic Socialism and Social Policy at the University of Birmingham, writes about "transformative democratic socialism" to refer to the politics of the Clement Attlee government (a strong welfare state, fiscal redistribution and some public ownership) and "revisionist democratic socialism" as developed by Anthony Crosland and Harold Wilson:
The most influential revisionist Labour thinker, Anthony Crosland..., contended that a more "benevolent" form of capitalism had emerged since the [Second World War] ... According to Crosland, it was now possible to achieve greater equality in society without the need for "fundamental" economic transformation. For Crosland, a more meaningful form of equality could be achieved if the growth dividend derived from effective management of the economy was invested in "pro-poor" public services rather than through fiscal redistribution.
Some proponents of market socialism see it as an economic system compatible with the political ideology of democratic socialism.Some tendencies of democratic socialism advocate for revolution in order to transition to socialism, distinguishing it from some forms of social democracy. The term "democratic socialism" can be used even another way to refer to a version of the Soviet model that was reformed in a democratic way. For example, Mikhail Gorbachev described perestroika as building a "new, humane and democratic socialism". Consequently, some former Communist parties have rebranded themselves as democratic socialist, as with the Party of Democratic Socialism in Germany.
Philosophical support for democratic socialism can be found in the works of political philosophers like Charles Taylor and Axel Honneth, among others. Honneth has put forward the view that political and economic ideologies have a social basis, that is they originate from intersubjective communication between members of a society.Honneth criticizes the liberal state because it assumes that principles of individual liberty and private property are ahistorical and abstract, when in fact they evolved from a specific social discourse on human activity. Contra liberal individualism, Honneth has emphasized the inter-subjective dependence between humans, that is, our well-being depends on recognising others and being recognized by them. Democratic socialism with an emphasis on community and solidarity can be seen as a way of safeguarding this dependency.
Socialist models and ideas espousing common or public ownership have existed since antiquity but the first self-conscious socialist movements developed in the 1820s and 1830s. West European social critics, including Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Louis Blanc, Charles Hall, and Saint-Simon were the first modern socialists who criticised the excessive poverty and inequality of the Industrial Revolution. They also, especially in the case of the Owenites, overlapped with a number of other working-class movements like the Chartists in the United Kingdom".The Chartists gathered significant numbers around the People's Charter of 1838, which demanded the extension of suffrage to all male adults. Leaders in the movement also called for a more equitable distribution of income and better living conditions for the working classes. The very first trade unions and consumers' cooperative societies also emerged in the hinterland of the Chartist movement as a way of bolstering the fight for these demands. The first advocates of socialism favoured social levelling in order to create a meritocratic or technocratic society based on individual talent. Count Henri de Saint-Simon is regarded as the first individual to coin the term "socialism". Saint-Simon was fascinated by the enormous potential of science and technology and advocated a socialist society that would eliminate the disorderly aspects of capitalism and would be based on equal opportunities. He advocated the creation of a society in which each person was ranked according to his or her capacities and rewarded according to his or her work. The key focus of Saint-Simon's socialism was on administrative efficiency and industrialism and a belief that science was the key to progress. This was accompanied by a desire to implement a rationally organised economy based on planning and geared towards large-scale scientific and material progress, thus embodied a desire for a more directed or planned economy.
In the United Kingdom, the democratic socialist tradition was represented in particular by William Morris's Socialist League and in the 1880s by the Fabian Society and later the Independent Labour Party (ILP) founded by Keir Hardie in the 1890s, of which writer George Orwell would later be a prominent member.In the early 1920s, the guild socialism of G. D. H. Cole attempted to envision a socialist alternative to Soviet-style authoritarianism, while council communism articulated democratic socialist positions in several respects, notably through renouncing the vanguard role of the revolutionary party and holding that the system of the Soviet Union was not authentically socialist. The Fabian Society is a British socialist organisation which was established with the purpose of advancing the principles of socialism via gradualist and reformist means. The society laid many of the foundations of the Labour Party and subsequently affected the policies of states emerging from the decolonisation of the British Empire, most notably India and Singapore. Originally, the Fabian Society was committed to the establishment of a socialist economy, alongside a commitment to British imperialism as a progressive and modernising force. Today, the society functions primarily as a think tank and is one of fifteen socialist societies affiliated with the Labour Party. Similar societies exist in Australia (the Australian Fabian Society), in Canada (the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation and the now disbanded League for Social Reconstruction) and in New Zealand. In 1889 (the centennial of the French Revolution of 1789), the Second International was founded, with 384 delegates from twenty countries representing about 300 labour and socialist organisations. It was termed the Socialist International and Engels was elected honorary president at the third congress in 1893. Anarchists were ejected and not allowed in, mainly due to pressure from Marxists. It has been argued that at some point the Second International turned "into a battleground over the issue of libertarian versus authoritarian socialism. Not only did they effectively present themselves as champions of minority rights; they also provoked the German Marxists into demonstrating a dictatorial intolerance which was a factor in preventing the British labor movement from following the Marxist direction indicated by such leaders as H. M. Hyndman". Reformism arose as an alternative to revolution. Eduard Bernstein was a leading social democrat in Germany who proposed the concept of evolutionary socialism. Revolutionary socialists quickly targeted reformism: Rosa Luxemburg condemned Bernstein's Evolutionary Socialism in her 1900 essay Social Reform or Revolution? . Revolutionary socialism encompasses multiple social and political movements that may define "revolution" differently from one another. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany became the largest and most powerful socialist party in Europe, despite working illegally until the anti-socialist laws were dropped in 1890. In the 1893 elections, it gained 1,787,000 votes, a quarter of the total votes cast, according to Engels. In 1895, the year of his death, Engels emphasised the Communist Manifesto's emphasis on winning, as a first step, the "battle of democracy".
The socialist industrial unionism of Daniel DeLeon in the United States represented another strain of early democratic socialism in this period. It favoured a form of government based on industrial unions, but which also sought to establish this government after winning at the ballot box.The tradition continued to flourish in the Socialist Party of America (especially under the leadership of Norman Thomas) The Socialist Party of America was formed in 1901 by a merger between the three-year-old Social Democratic Party of America and disaffected elements of the Socialist Labor Party of America which had split from the main organization in 1899. Eugene V. Debs twice won over 900,000 votes in presidential elections (1912 and 1920) while the party also elected two Representatives (Victor L. Berger and Meyer London), dozens of state legislators, more than a hundred mayors and countless lesser officials. In Argentina the Socialist Party of Argentina was established in the 1890s led by, among others, Juan B. Justo and Nicolás Repetto, thus becoming the first mass party in the country and in Latin America. The party affiliated itself with the Second International. Between 1924 and 1940 it was a member of the Labour and Socialist International. In 1904, Australians elected Chris Watson as the first Australian Labor Party Prime Minister, becoming the first democratically elected democratic socialist. The British Labour Party first won seats in the House of Commons in 1902. The International Socialist Commission (ISC, also known as Berne International) was formed in February 1919 at a meeting in Bern by parties that wanted to resurrect the Second International. By 1917, the patriotism of World War I changed into political radicalism in most of Europe, the United States and Australia. Other socialist parties from around the world who were beginning to gain importance in their national politics in the early 20th century included the Italian Socialist Party, the French Section of the Workers' International, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, the Socialist Party of America in the United States, the Chilean Partido Obrero Socialista.
In February 1917, revolution exploded in Russia. Workers, soldiers and peasants established soviets (councils), the monarchy fell and a provisional government convoked pending the election of a constituent assembly. Alexander Kerensky was a Russian lawyer and revolutionary who was a key political figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the February Revolution of 1917 he joined the newly formed Russian Provisional Government, first as Minister of Justice, then as Minister of War, and after July as the government's second Minister-Chairman. A leader of the moderate-socialist Trudoviks faction of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, he was also vice-chairman of the powerful Petrograd Soviet. On 7 November, his government was overthrown by the Lenin-led Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. The Constituent Assembly elected Socialist-Revolutionary leader Victor Chernov President of a Russian republic, but rejected the Bolshevik proposal that it endorse the Soviet decrees on land, peace and workers' control and acknowledge the power of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies. The next day, the Bolsheviks declared that the assembly was elected on outdated party listsand the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets dissolved it. Parties which did not want to be a part of the resurrected Second International (ISC) or Comintern formed the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP, also known as Vienna International/Vienna Union/Two-and-a-Half International) on 27 February 1921 at a conference in Vienna. The ISC and the IWUSP joined to form the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) in May 1923 at a meeting in Hamburg Left-wing groups which did not agree to the centralisation and abandonment of the soviets by the Bolshevik Party led left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks—such groups included Socialist Revolutionaries, Left Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and anarchists. Within this left-wing discontent, the most large-scale events were the worker's Kronstadt rebellion and the anarchist led Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine uprising which controlled an area known as the Free Territory. In 1922, the fourth congress of the Communist International took up the policy of the United Front, urging communists to work with rank and file Social Democrats while remaining critical of their leaders, whom they criticised for betraying the working class by supporting the war efforts of their respective capitalist classes. For their part, the social democrats pointed to the dislocation caused by revolution and later the growing authoritarianism of the communist parties. When the Communist Party of Great Britain applied to affiliate to the Labour Party in 1920, it was turned down. On seeing the Soviet State's growing coercive power in 1923, a dying Lenin said Russia had reverted to "a bourgeois tsarist machine... barely varnished with socialism". After Lenin's death in January 1924, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union—then increasingly under the control of Joseph Stalin—rejected the theory that socialism could not be built solely in the Soviet Union in favour of the concept of "socialism in one country".
After World War II social democratic, socialist and labour governments introduced social reform and wealth redistribution via state welfare and taxation. Those parties dominated post-war politics in countries such as France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Norway. At one point, France claimed to be the world's most state-controlled capitalist country. The nationalised public utilities included Charbonnages de France (CDF), Electricité de France (EDF), Gaz de France (GDF), Air France, Banque de France and Régie Nationale des Usines Renault.In 1945, the British Labour Party led by Clement Attlee was elected to office based on a radical socialist programme. The Labour government nationalised major public utilities such as mines, gas, coal, electricity, rail, iron, steel and the Bank of England. British Petroleum was officially nationalised in 1951. Anthony Crosland said that in 1956 25% of British industry was nationalised and that public employees, including those in nationalised industries, constituted a similar proportion of the country's total employed population. The Labour Governments of 1964–1970 and 1974–1979 intervened further. It re-nationalised steel (1967, British Steel) after the Conservatives had denationalised it and nationalised car production (1976, British Leyland). The National Health Service provided taxpayer-funded health care to everyone, free at the point of service. Working-class housing was provided in council housing estates and university education became available via a school grant system.
The Nordic model is the economic and social models of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland). During most of the post-war era, Sweden was governed by the Swedish Social Democratic Party largely in cooperation with trade unions and industry.In Sweden, the Social Democratic Party held power from 1936 to 1976, 1982 to 1991, 1994 to 2006 and 2014 to present. Tage Erlander was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and led the government from 1946 to 1969, an uninterrupted tenure of twenty-three years, one of the longest in any democracy. From 1945 to 1962, the Norwegian Labour Party held an absolute majority in the parliament led by Einar Gerhardsen who was Prime Minister with seventeen years in office. This particular adaptation of the mixed market economy is characterised by more generous welfare states (relative to other developed countries), which are aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, ensuring the universal provision of basic human rights and stabilising the economy. It is distinguished from other welfare states with similar goals by its emphasis on maximising labour force participation, promoting gender equality, egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, large magnitude of redistribution and expansionary fiscal policy.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of the excesses of Stalin's regime during the Twentieth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on 1956as well as the revolt in Hungary, produced ideological fractures and disagreements within the communist and socialist parties of Western Europe. In the United Kingdom, the democratic socialist tradition was represented in particular by William Morris's Socialist League and in the 1880s by the Fabian Society and later the Independent Labour Party (ILP) founded by Keir Hardie in the 1890s, of which writer George Orwell would later be a prominent member.
During India's freedom movement, many figures on the left-wing of the Indian National Congress organized themselves as the Congress Socialist Party. Their politics and those of the early and intermediate periods of Jayaprakash Narayan's career combined a commitment to the socialist transformation of society with a principled opposition to the one-party authoritarianism they perceived in the Stalinist revolutionary model. In the post-war years, socialism became increasingly influential throughout the so-called Third World. Embracing a new Third World socialism, countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America often nationalised industries held by foreign owners. The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms on issues such as gay rights, abortion, gender roles and drugsin contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist approach to social justice and focused mostly on labour unionisation and questions of social class. The New Left rejected involvement with the labour movement and Marxism's historical theory of class struggle. In the United States, the New Left was associated with the Hippie movement and anti-war college campus protest movements as well as the black liberation movements such as the Black Panther Party. While initially formed in opposition to the "Old Left" Democratic Party, groups composing the New Left gradually became central players in the Democratic coalition.
The protests of 1968 represented a worldwide escalation of social conflicts, predominantly characterised by popular rebellions against military, capitalist and bureaucratic elites who responded with an escalation of political repression. These protests marked a turning point for the civil rights movement in the United States, which produced revolutionary movements like the Black Panther Party; the prominent civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. organised the "Poor People's Campaign" to address issues of economic justice,while personally showing sympathy with democratic socialism. In reaction to the Tet Offensive, protests also sparked a broad movement in opposition to the Vietnam War all over the United States and even into London, Paris, Berlin and Rome.
Mass socialist or communist movements grew not only in the United States, but also in most European countries. The most spectacular manifestation of this were the May 1968 protests in France in which students linked up with strikes of up to ten million workers and for a few days the movement seemed capable of overthrowing the government. In many other capitalist countries, struggles against dictatorships, state repression and colonisation were also marked by protests in 1968, such as the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City and the escalation of guerrilla warfare against the military dictatorship in Brazil. Countries governed by communist parties had protests against bureaucratic and military elites. In Eastern Europe there were widespread protests that escalated particularly in the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia. In response, Soviet Union occupied Czechoslovakia, but the occupation was denounced by the Italian and Frenchcommunist parties and the Communist Party of Finland.
In Latin America in the 1960s, liberation theology, a socialist tendency within the Roman Catholic Church, developed.In Chile, Salvador Allende, a physician and candidate for the Socialist Party of Chile, was elected president through democratic elections in 1970. In 1973, his government was ousted by the United States-backed military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which lasted until the late 1980s. Michael Manley served as the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992. According to opinion polls, he remains one of Jamaica's most popular Prime Ministers since independence.
Eurocommunism was a trend in the 1970s and 1980s in various Western European Communist parties to develop a theory and practice of social transformation that was more relevant for a Western European country and less aligned to the influence or control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Outside Western Europe, it is sometimes called neocommunism.Some Communist parties with strong popular support, notably the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), adopted Eurocommunism most enthusiastically, and the Communist Party of Finland was dominated by Eurocommunists.
In the late 1970s and in the 1980s, the Socialist International (SI) had extensive contacts and discussion with the two powers of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union, about East-West relations and arms control. Since then, the SI has admitted as member parties the Nicaraguan FSLN, the left-wing Puerto Rican Independence Party, as well as former communist parties such as the Democratic Party of the Left of Italy and the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO). The SI aided social democratic parties in re-establishing themselves when dictatorship gave way to democracy in Portugal (1974) and Spain (1975). Until its 1976 Geneva Congress, the SI had few members outside Europe and no formal involvement with Latin America.
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) was founded in 1983, Michael Harrington and socialist-feminist author Barbara Ehrenreich were elected as co-chairs of the organization. The organization does not stand its own candidates in elections but instead "fights for reforms... that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people".
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement was a social-democraticpolitical party in Greece. PASOK was founded in Greece on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou as a democratic socialist and left-wing nationalist party, following the collapse of the military junta of 1967–1974. As a result of the 1981 legislative election, PASOK became Greece's first left-of-centre party to win a majority in the Hellenic Parliament.
Mikhail Gorbachev wished to move the Soviet Union towards of Nordic-style social democracy, calling it "a socialist beacon for all mankind".Prior to its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet Union had the second largest economy in the world after the United States. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economic integration of the Soviet republics was dissolved and overall industrial activity declined substantially. A lasting legacy remains in the physical infrastructure created during decades of combined industrial production practices, and widespread environmental destruction. The transition to capitalism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc was accompanied by a steep fall in the standard of living; poverty, unemployment, inequality and excess mortality rose sharply which was accompanied by the entrenchment of a newly established business oligarchy in the former. The average post-socialist country had returned to 1989 levels of per-capita GDP by 2005.
Many social democratic parties, particularly after the Cold War, adopted neoliberal market policies including privatisation, deregulation and financialisation. They abandoned their pursuit of moderate socialism in favour of market liberalism. In the United Kingdom, Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock made a public attack against the entryist group Militant at the 1985 Labour Party conference. The Labour Party ruled that Militant was ineligible for affiliation with the Labour Party, and the party gradually expelled Militant supporters. The Kinnock leadership had refused to support the 1984–1985 miner's strike over pit closures, a decision that the party's left wing and the National Union of Mineworkers blamed for the strike's eventual defeat. In 1989 at Stockholm, the 18th Congress of the Socialist International adopted a new Declaration of Principles, saying:
Democratic socialism is an international movement for freedom, social justice, and solidarity. Its goal is to achieve a peaceful world where these basic values can be enhanced and where each individual can live a meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality and talents, and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a democratic framework of society.
In the 1990s, the British Labour Party under Tony Blair enacted policies based on the free market economy to deliver public services via the private finance initiative. Influential in these policies was the idea of a "Third Way" which called for a re-evalutation of welfare state policies.In 1995, the Labour Party re-defined its stance on socialism by re-wording Clause IV of its constitution, effectively rejecting socialism by removing all references to public, direct worker or municipal ownership of the means of production. The Labour Party stated: "The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that, by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create, for each of us, the means to realise our true potential, and, for all of us, a community in which power, wealth, and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few".
The Progressive Alliance is a political international founded on 22 May 2013 by political parties, the majority of whom are current or former members of the Socialist International. The organisation states the aim of becoming the global network of "the progressive", democratic, social-democratic, socialist and labour movement".
The term also became a synonym in US politics more recently for social democracy and has remained despite being a misnomer.
African socialism has been and continues to be a major ideology around the continent. In South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC), although it remains affiliated to the Socialist International, abandoned its socialist allegiances after taking power and followed a neoliberal route.[ citation needed ] From 2005 through to 2007, the country was wracked by many thousands of protests from poor communities. One of these gave rise to a mass movement of shack dwellers, Abahlali baseMjondolo that despite major police suppression continues to work for popular people's planning and against the creation of a market economy in land and housing. In 2013, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the country's biggest trade union , voted to withdraw support from the ANC and South African Communist Party, and form a socialist party to protect the interests of the working class. The resulting party was the United Front (South Africa).
Other democratic socialist parties in Africa include the Movement of Socialist Democrats, Congress for the Republic, Movement of Socialist Democrats and Democratic Patriots' Unified Party in Tunisia, the Berber Socialism and Revolution Party in Algeria, the Congress of Democrats in Namibia, the National Progressive Unionist Party, Socialist Party of Egypt, Workers and Peasants Party (Egypt), Workers Democratic Party, Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt) and Socialist Popular Alliance Party in Egypt, and the Socialist Democratic Vanguard Party in Morocco. Democratic socialists played a major part in the Arab Spring of 2011, especially in Egypt and Tunisia.
In Japan, the Japanese Communist Party does not advocate violent revolution, instead it proposes a "democratic revolution" to achieve "democratic change in politics and the economy". There has been a resurgent interest in the Japanese Communist Party among workers and youth due to the financial crisis of the late-2000s.
In Malaysia, the Socialist Party of Malaysia got its first Member of Parliament, Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj, after the 2008 general election.
In the Philippines, the main party campaigning for democratic socialism is Akbayan Citizens' Action Party, founded by Joel Rocamora in January 1998 as a democratic socialistand progressive political party. The party has consistently won seats in the House of Representatives, with Etta Rosales as its first representation. It won its first Senate seat in 2016 when its chairwoman, senator and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Risa Hontiveros, was elected.
In 2010, there were 270 kibbutzim in Israel. Their factories and farms account for 9% of Israel's industrial output, worth US$8 billion and 40% of its agricultural output, worth over $1.7 billion.Some Kibbutzim had also developed substantial high-tech and military industries. Also in 2010, Kibbutz Sasa, containing some 200 members, generated $850 million in annual revenue from its military-plastics industry.
Other democratic socialist parties in Asia include the National United Party of Afghanistan in Afghanistan, April Fifth Action in Hong Kong, the All India Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Samta Party, Sikkim Democratic Front in India, the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon, the Federal Socialist Forum, Nepal and Naya Shakti Party, Nepal, the Labor Party (South Korea), and the Syrian Democratic People's Party and Democratic Arab Socialist Union in Syria.
The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, where the Nordic model of social democracy is employed, with Denmark topping the list. This is at times attributed to the success of the Nordic model in the region. The Nordic countries ranked highest on the metrics of real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption.Indeed, the indicators of Freedom in the World have listed Scandinavian countries as ranking high on indicators such as press and economic freedom.
The objectives of the Party of European Socialists, the European Parliament's socialist and social democratic bloc, are now "to pursue international aims in respect of the principles on which the European Union is based, namely principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, democracy, respect of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and respect for the Rule of Law". As a result, today the rallying cry of the French Revolution— Liberté, égalité, fraternité —is promoted[ by whom? ] as essential socialist values. To the left of the PES at the European level is the Party of the European Left (PEL), also commonly abbreviated "European Left"), which is a political party at the European level and an association of democratic socialist, socialist and communist political parties in the European Union and other European countries. It was formed in January 2004 for the purposes of running in the 2004 European Parliament elections. PEL was founded on 8–9 May 2004 in Rome.
Elected MEPs from member parties of the European Left sit in the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European parliament. The socialist Left Party in Germany grew in popularitydue to dissatisfaction with the increasingly neoliberal policies of the SPD, becoming the fourth biggest party in parliament in the general election on 27 September 2009. Communist candidate Dimitris Christofias won a crucial presidential runoff in Cyprus, defeating his conservative rival with a majority of 53%. In Denmark, the Socialist People's Party (SF) more than doubled its parliamentary representation to 23 seats from 11, making it the fourth largest party. In 2011, the Social Democrats, Socialist People's Party and the Danish Social Liberal Party formed government, after a slight victory over the main rival political coalition. They were led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and had the Red-Green Alliance as a supporting party. In Norway, the Red-Green Coalition consists of the Labour Party (Ap), the Socialist Left Party (SV) and the Centre Party (Sp) and governed the country as a majority government from the 2005 general election until 2013. In the Greek legislative election of January 2015, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) led by Alexis Tsipras won a legislative election for the first time while the Communist Party of Greece won 15 seats in parliament. SYRIZA has been characterised as an anti-establishment party, whose success has sent "shock-waves across the EU".
In the United Kingdom, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers put forward a slate of candidates in the 2009 European Parliament elections under the banner of No to EU – Yes to Democracy, a broad left-wing alter-globalisation coalition involving socialist groups such as the Socialist Party, aiming to offer an alternative to the "anti-foreigner" and pro-business policies of the UK Independence Party.In the following May 2010 United Kingdom general election, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, launched in January 2010 and backed by Bob Crow, the leader of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT), other union leaders and the Socialist Party among other socialist groups, stood against Labour in 40 constituencies. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition contested the 2011 local elections, having gained the endorsement of the RMT June 2010 conference, but gained no seats. Left Unity was also founded in 2013 after the film director Ken Loach appealed for a new party of the left to replace the Labour Party, which he claimed had failed to oppose austerity and had shifted towards neoliberalism. In 2015, following a defeat at the 2015 United Kingdom general election, self-described socialist Jeremy Corbyn took over from Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour Party.
In France, Olivier Besancenot, the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) candidate in the 2007 presidential election, received 1,498,581 votes, 4.08%, double that of the communist candidate.The LCR abolished itself in 2009 to initiate a broad anti-capitalist party, the New Anticapitalist Party, whose stated aim is to "build a new socialist, democratic perspective for the twenty-first century".
On 25 May 2014, the Spanish left-wing party Podemos entered candidates for the 2014 European parliamentary elections, some of which were unemployed. In a surprise result, it polled 7.98% of the vote and thus was awarded five seats out of 54while the older United Left was the third largest overall force obtaining 10.03% and 5 seats, 4 more than the previous elections.
The current government of Portugal was established on 26 November 2015 as a Socialist Party (PS) minority government led by prime minister António Costa. Costa succeeded in securing support for a Socialist minority government by the Left Bloc (B.E.), the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Ecologist Party "The Greens" (PEV).
The U.S. city of Milwaukee has been led by a series of socialist mayors, namely Frank Zeidler, Emil Seidel and Daniel Hoan.
In Canada, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the precursor to the social democratic New Democratic Party (NDP), had significant success in provincial politics. In 1944, the Saskatchewan CCF formed the first socialist government in North America. At the federal level, the NDP was the Official Opposition, from 2011 through 2015.
The U.S. senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, described himself as a "democratic socialist".In 2016, Sanders made a bid for the Democratic Party presidential candidate, thereby gaining considerable popular support, particularly among the younger generation, but lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton. However, his praise of the Nordic model indicated focus on social democracy as opposed to views involving social ownership. Therefore, the Cato Institute's Marian Tupy has argued that the term "democratic socialism" has become a misnomer for social democracy in U.S. politics.
In Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) was elected in the 2018 presidential election. Many of his policy proposals include traditionally labor based and decentralized democratically socialist reforms such as increases in financial aid for students and the elderly, universal access to public colleges, a referendum on energy reforms that ended Pemex's monopoly in the oil industry, stimulus of the country's agricultural sector, delay of the renegotiation of NAFTA until after the elections, increased social spending, slashing politicians' salaries and perks and the decentralization of the executive cabinet by moving government departments and agencies from the capital to the state.
For the Encyclopedia Britannica , "the attempt by Salvador Allende to unite Marxists and other reformers in a socialist reconstruction of Chile is most representative of the direction that Latin American socialists have taken since the late 20th century. [...] Several socialist (or socialist-leaning) leaders have followed Allende's example in winning election to office in Latin American countries".Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa refer to their political programmes as socialist and Chávez adopted the term "socialism of the 21st century". After winning re-election in December 2006, Chávez said: "Now more than ever, I am obliged to move Venezuela's path towards socialism". Chávez was also reelected in October 2012 for his third six-year term as President, but he died in March 2013 from cancer. After Chávez's death on 5 March 2013, Vice President from Chavez's party Nicolás Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the President. A special election was held on 14 April of the same year to elect a new President, which Maduro won by a tight margin as the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. He was formally inaugurated on 19 April.
"Pink tide" is a term being used in contemporary 21st-century political analysis in the media and elsewhere to describe the perception that leftist ideology in general and left-wing politics in particular are increasingly influential in Latin America.
Foro de São Paulo is a conference of leftist political parties and other organisations from Latin America and the Caribbean. It was launched by the Workers' Party (Portuguese : Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) of Brazil in 1990 in the city of São Paulo. The Forum of São Paulo was constituted in 1990 when the Brazilian Workers' Party approached other parties and social movements of Latin America and the Caribbean with the objective of debating the new international scenario after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequences of the implementation of what were taken as neoliberal policies adopted at the time by contemporary right-leaning governments in the region, the stated main objective of the conference being to argue for alternatives to neoliberalism. Among its member include current socialist and social-democratic parties currently in government in the region such as Bolivia's Movement for Socialism, Brazil's Workers Party, the Ecuadorian PAIS Alliance, the Venezuelan United Socialist Party of Venezuela, the Socialist Party of Chile, the Uruguayan Broad Front, the Nicaraguan Sandinista National Liberation Front and the salvadorean Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front.
Australia has seen a recent increase in interest of socialism in recent years, especially among young adults. [ citation needed ]It is strongest in Victoria, where three socialist parties have merged into the Victorian Socialists, who aim to address problems in housing and public transportation. New Zealand has a small socialist scene, mainly dominated by Trotskyist groups. Melanesian Socialism developed in the 1980s, inspired by African Socialism. It aims to achieve full independence from Britain and France in Melanesian territories and creation of a Melanesian federal union. It is very popular with the New Caledonia independence movement.
Democratic socialists have promoted a variety of different models of socialism ranging from market socialism where socially-owned enterprises operate in competitive markets and are in some cases self-managed by their workforce to non-market participatory socialism based on decentralized economic planning.
Historically, democratic socialism has been committed to a decentralized form of economic planning where productive units are integrated into a single organization and organized on the basis of self-management as opposed to Stalinist-style command planning.For example, Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas, both of whom were United States presidential candidates for the Socialist Party of America, understood socialism to be an economic system structured upon production for use and social ownership in place of the profit system and private ownership.
Contemporary proponents of market socialism have argued that the major reasons for the economic shortcomings of Soviet-type planned economies was their failure to create rules and operational criteria for the efficient operation of state enterprises and the lack of democracy in the political systems that the Soviet-type economies were combined with.
The following is a list of parties which are democratic socialist or partly democratic socialist currently having representation in the legislature of their country.
|Party||Country||Date established||% of popular vote|
in the latest election
|Seats in the lower house|
|Sandinista National Liberation Front||1961||65.9% (2016)|
71 / 92 (77%)
|Movement for Socialism||1998||61.4% (2014)|
88 / 130 (68%)
|PAIS Alliance 1||2006||39.07% (2017)|
74 / 137 (54%)
|Broad Front||1971||49.5% (2014)|
50 / 99 (51%)
145 / 300 (48%)
|Labour Party 1||1900||40.0% (2017)|
262 / 650 (40%)
|Inuit Ataqatigiit||1976||25.5% (2018)|
8 / 31 (26%)
|United Socialist Party||2007||40.9% (2015)|
52 / 165 (32%)
|Sinn Féin||1905||27.9% (2017)|
27 / 90 (30%)
|Party of Socialists||1997||20.5% (2014)|
25 / 101 (25%)
|Unidos Podemos||2016||21.2% (2016)|
67 / 350 (19%)
|Plaid Cymru 1 [ not in citation given ]||1925||20.8% (2016)|
10 / 60 (17%)
|Left-Green Movement||1999||16.9% (2017)|
11 / 63 (17%)
|Broad Front||2013||13.9% (2016)|
20 / 130 (15%)
|Sinn Féin||1905||13.8% (2016)|
21 / 158 (13%)
|New Democratic Party 1||1961||19.71% (2015)|
41 / 338 (12%)
|Democratic Socialist Left||2017[ citation needed ]||12.11% (2016)|
14 / 60 (23%)
|Workers' Party||1980||10.3% (2018)|
56 / 513 (11%)
|Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)||2012||11.70% (2018)|
67 / 550 (12%)
|The Left (Die Linke)||2007||9.2% (2017)|
69 / 709 (10%)
|Socialist Party 1||1971||9.1% (2017)|
14 / 150 (9%)
|Socialist Party 1||1990||10.9% (2016)|
20 / 250 (8%)
|Red–Green Alliance||1989||7.8% (2015)|
14 / 179 (8%)
|Party of Socialists and Democrats 1||2005||7.17% (2016)|
3 / 60 (5%)
|The Left||2014||9.33% (2018)|
9 / 90 (10%)
|Left Alliance||1990||7.1% (2015)|
12 / 200 (6%)
|Left Party||1917||8.00% (2018)|
28 / 349 (8%)
|A Just Russia 1||2006||6.34% (2016)|
16 / 225 (7%)
|Free and Equal (Italy) 1||2017||3.39% (2018)|
14 / 630 (2%)
|Labourists – Labour Party 1||2010||0.26% (2016)|
0 / 151 (0%)
|Socialist Left||1975||6.0% (2017)|
11 / 169 (7%)
|The Left||1999||5.48% (2018)|
2 / 60 (3%)
|La France insoumise||2016||11.03% (2017)|
17 / 577 (3%)
|Armenian Revolutionary Federation||1890||0.96% (2018)|
3 / 128 (2%)
|Movement of Socialist Democrats||1978||0.17% (2014)|
1 / 217 (0.5%)
Some politicians, economists, and theorists have argued that "socialism" and "democracy" are incompatible. History is full of instances of socialist regimes that at one point were committed to the values of personal liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of association but then find themselves clamping down on such freedoms as they end up being viewed as inconvenient or contrary towards their political or economic goals. For instance, economist Milton Friedman stated that "a society which is socialist cannot also be democratic, in the sense of guaranteeing individual freedom".Sociologist Robert Nisbet argued in 1978 that there is "not a single free socialism to be found anywhere in the world".
Irving Kristol argued: "Democratic socialism turns out to be an inherently unstable compound, a contradiction in terms. Every social-democratic party, once in power, soon finds itself choosing, at one point after another, between the socialist society it aspires to and the liberal society that lathered [sic – fathered?] it". He added: "[S]ocialist movements end up [in] a society where liberty is the property of the state, and is (or is not) doled out to its citizens along with other contingent 'benefits'".
Richard Pipes wrote:
The merger of political and economic power implicit in socialism greatly strengthens the ability of the state and its bureaucracy to control the population. Theoretically, this capacity need not be exercised and need not lead to growing domination of the population by the state. In practice, such a tendency is virtually inevitable. For one thing, the socialization of the economy must lead to a numerical growth of the bureaucracy required to administer it, and this process cannot fail to augment the power of the state. For another, socialism leads to a tug of war between the state, bent on enforcing it's economic monopoly, and the ordinary citizen, equally determined to evade it; the result is repression and the creation of specialized repressive organs.
One of the major scholars who have argued that socialism and democracy are compatible is the Austrian-born American economist Joseph Schumpeter, who was hostile to socialism.In his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (first published in 1942), he "emphasize[s] that political democracy was thoroughly compatible with socialism in its fullest sense, noting that he didn't believe that democracy was a good political system, but rather advocated to republican values.
In a 1963 address to the All India Congress Committee, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru stated: "Political Democracy has no meaning if it does not embrace economic democracy. And economic democracy is nothing but socialism".
Political historian Theodore Draper wrote: "I know of no political group which has resisted totalitarianism in all its guises more steadfastly than democratic socialists".
Robert Heilbroner: "There is, of course, no conflict between such a socialism and freedom as we have described it; indeed, this conception of socialism is the very epitome of these freedoms", referring to open association of individuals in political and social life; the democratization and humanization of work; and the cultivation of personal talents and creativities.
Bayard Rustin wrote:
For me, socialism has meaning only if it is democratic. Of the many claimants to socialism only one has a valid title—that socialism which views democracy as valuable per se, which stands for democracy unequivocally, and which continually modifies socialist ideas and programs in the light of democratic experience. This is the socialism of the labor, social-democratic, and socialist parties of Western Europe.
Kenneth Arrow argued: "We cannot be sure that the principles of democracy and socialism are compatible until we can observe a viable society following both principles. But there is no convincing evidence or reasoning which would argue that a democratic-socialist movement is inherently self-contradictory. Nor need we fear that gradual moves in the direction of increasing government intervention will lead to an irreversible move to "serfdom" [referring to The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek]".
William Pfaff wrote: "It might be argued that socialism ineluctably breeds state bureaucracy, which then imposes its own kinds of restrictions upon individual liberties. This is what the Scandinavians complain about. But Italy's champion bureaucracy owes nothing to socialism. American bureaucracy grows as luxuriantly and behaves as officiously as any other".
Leninism is the political theory for the organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party and the achievement of a dictatorship of the proletariat as political prelude to the establishment of socialism. Developed by and named for the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, Leninism comprises socialist political and economic theories, developed from Marxism and Lenin's interpretations of Marxist theories, for practical application to the socio-political conditions of the Russian Empire of the early 20th century.
In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR), the political parties of the Communist International, and of contemporary Stalinist political parties. Combining Leninist political praxis and Marxist socio-economics, the purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the two-stage revolutionary development of a capitalist state into a socialist state, guided by the leadership of a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries from the working class and the proletariat. The socialist state is instituted and governed by way of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy with democratic centralism.
State capitalism is an economic system in which the state undertakes commercial economic activity and where the means of production are organized and managed as state-owned business enterprises, or where there is otherwise a dominance of corporatized government agencies or of publicly listed corporations in which the state has controlling shares. Marxist literature defines state capitalism as a social system combining capitalism with ownership or control by a state—by this definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production. This designation applies regardless of the political aims of the state and some people argue that the modern People's Republic of China constitutes a form of state capitalism and/or that the Soviet Union failed in its goal to establish socialism, but rather established state capitalism.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany.
The Third Way is a position akin to centrism that tries to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of some centre-right economic and some centre-left social policies. The Third Way was created as a re-evaluation of political policies within various centre-left progressive movements in response to doubt regarding the economic viability of the state and the overuse of economic interventionist policies that had previously been popularized by Keynesianism, but at that time contrasted with the rise of popularity for economic liberalism and the New Right. The Third Way is promoted by social liberal movements and some social-democratic movements.
The Communist Party of Great Britain is a political group which publishes the Weekly Worker newspaper. The CPGB (PCC) claims to have "an internationalist duty to uphold the principle, 'One state, one party'. To the extent that the European Union becomes a state then that necessitates EU-wide trade unions and a Communist Party of the EU". In addition, it is in favour of the unification of the entire working class under a new Communist International. It is not to be confused with the former Communist Party of Great Britain, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist), or the current Communist Party of Britain.
Adam Przeworski is a Polish-American professor of political science. One of the main important theorists and analysers of democratic societies, theory of democracy and political economy, he is currently a full professor at the Wilf Family Department of Politics of New York University.
While Marxists propose replacing the bourgeois state with a proletarian semi-state through revolution, which would eventually wither away, anarchists warn that the state must be abolished along with capitalism. Nonetheless, the desired end results, a stateless, communal society, are the same.
In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.
This article gives an overview of socialism in the Netherlands, including communism and social democracy. It is limited to communist, socialist, and social-democratic parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ means a reference to another party in that scheme.
State socialism is a classification for any socialist political and economic perspective advocating state ownership of the means of production either as a temporary measure in the transition from capitalism to socialism, or as characteristic of socialism itself. It is often used interchangeably with state capitalism in reference to the economic systems of Marxist–Leninist states such as the Soviet Union to highlight the role of state planning in these economies, with the critics of said system referring to it more commonly as "state capitalism". Libertarian and democratic socialists claim that these states had only a limited number of socialist characteristics. However, Marxist–Leninists maintain that workers in the Soviet Union and other Marxist–Leninist states had genuine control over the means of production through institutions such as trade unions.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) is a socialist political party in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1904 as a split from the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), it advocates using the ballot box for revolutionary purposes and opposes both Leninism and reformism. It holds that countries which claimed to have established socialism had only established 'state capitalism' and was one of the first to describe the Soviet Union as state capitalist. The party's political position has been described as a form of impossibilism.
A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country is a sovereign state constitutionally dedicated to the establishment of socialism. The term "Communist state" is often used interchangeably in the West specifically when referring to single-party socialist states governed by Marxist–Leninist political parties despite being officially socialist states in the process of building socialism; these countries never describe themselves as communist nor as having achieved a communist society. Additionally, a number of countries which are not single-party states based on Marxism–Leninism make reference to socialism in their constitutions; in most cases these are constitutional references alluding to the building of a socialist society that have little to no bearing on the structure and development paths of these countries' political and economic systems.
The history of socialism has its origins in the 1789 French Revolution and the changes which it wrought, although it has precedents in earlier movements and ideas. The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels in 1848 just before the Revolutions of 1848 swept Europe, expressing what they termed "scientific socialism". In the last third of the 19th century, social democratic parties arose in Europe, drawing mainly from Marxism. The Australian Labor Party was the world's first elected socialist party when it formed government in the Colony of Queensland for a week in 1899.
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Democratic socialism is the wing of the socialist movement that combines a belief in a socially owned economy with that of political democracy.
Some have endorsed the concept of market socialism, a post-capitalist economy that retains market competition but socializes the means of production, and in some versions, extends democracy to the workplace. Some holdout for a nonmarket,participatory economy. All democratic socialists agree on the need for a democratic alternative to capitalism.
Though some democratic socialists reject the revolutionary model and advocate a peaceful transformation to socialism carried out by democratic means, they also reject the social democratic view that capitalist societies can be successfully reformed through extensive state intervention within capitalism. In the view of democratic socialists, capitalism, based on the primacy of private property, generates inherent inequalities of wealth and power and a dominant egoism that are incompatible with the democratic values of freedom, equality, and solidarity. Only a socialist society can fully realize democratic practices. The internal conflicts within capitalism require a transition to socialism. Private property must be superseded by a form of collective ownership.
Sometimes simply called socialism, more often than not, the adjective democratic is added by democratic socialists to attempt to distinguish themselves from Communists who also call themselves socialists. All but communists, or more accurately, Marxist-Leninists, believe that modern-day communism is highly undemocratic and totalitarian in practice, and democratic socialists wish to emphasize by their name that they disagree strongly with the Marxist-Leninist brand of socialism.
Democratic socialism is a term meant to distinguish a form of socialism that falls somewhere between authoritarian and centralized forms of socialism on the one hand and social democracy on the other. The rise of authoritarian socialism in the twentieth century in the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence generated this new distinction.
It is perhaps less clearly understood that advocates of democratic socialism (who are committed to socialism in the above sense but opposed to Stalinist-style command planning) advocate a decentralized socialism, whereby the planning process itself (the integration of all productive units into one huge organization) would follow the workers’ self-management principle.
So too with ‘democratic socialism’, a term coined by its adherents as an act of disassociation from the twentieth-century realities of undemocratic socialism…but also, at least in some modes, intended to reaffirm a commitment to system transformation rather than a merely meliorist social democracy.
...the division between social democrats and democratic socialists. The former had made peace with capitalism and concentrated on humanizing the system. Social democrats supported and tried to strengthen the basic institutions of the welfare state--pensions for all, public health care, public education, unemployment insurance. They supported and tried to strengthen the labor movement. The latter, as socialists, argued that capitalism could never be sufficiently humanized, and that trying to suppress the economic contradictions in one area would only see them emerge in a different guise elsewhere. (E.g., if you push unemployment too low, you'll get inflation; if job security is too strong, labor discipline breaks down.)
Still, the origins of contemporary democratic socialism are best located in the early to mid-nineteenth century writings of the so-called utopian socialists, Robert Owen (1771-18588), Charles Fourier (1772-1837), Claude-Henri Saint-Simon (1760-1825), and Etienne Cabet (1788-1856). All these writers proposed village communities combining industrial and agricultural production, owned in varying ways, by the inhabitants themselves. Thus the essence of early socialism was public ownership of the means of production. These theorists also included varying forms of democratic political decision making, but they all distrusted the ability of people raised under capitalism to understand what was in their own best interest.
Sometimes simply called socialism, more often than not, the adjective democratic is added by democratic socialists to attempt to distinguish themselves from Communists who also call themselves socialists. All but communists, or more accurately, Marxist-Leninists, believe that modern-day communism is highly undemocratic and totalitarian in practice, and democratic socialists wish to emphasize by their name that they disagree strongly with the Marxist-Leninist brand of socialism.
In addition to the desire for historical exculpation, however, I argue that the current push for commemorations of the victims of communism must be viewed in the context of regional fears of a re-emergent left. In the face of growing economic instability in the Eurozone, as well as massive anti- austerity protests on the peripheries of Europe, the “victims of communism” narrative may be linked to a public relations effort to link all leftist political ideals to the horrors of Stalinism. Such a rhetorical move seems all the more potent when discursively combined with the idea that there is a moral equivalence between Jewish victims of the Holocaust and East European victims of Stalinism. This third coming of the German Historikerstreit is related to the precariousness of global capitalism, and perhaps the elite desire to discredit all political ideologies that threaten the primacy of private property and free markets.
Some have endorsed the concept of market socialism, a post-capitalist economy that retains market competition but socializes the means of production, and in some versions, extends democracy to the workplace. Some holdout for a nonmarket, participatory economy. All democratic socialists agree on the need for a democratic alternative to capitalism.
It is perhaps less clearly understood that advocates of democratic socialism (who are committed to socialism in the above sense but opposed to Stalinist-style command planning) advocate a decentralized socialism, whereby the planning process itself (the integration of all productive units into one huge organization) would follow the workers' self-management principle.
..market socialism's contemporary supporters argue that planned socialism failed because it was based on totalitarianism rather than democracy and that it failed to create rules for the efficient operation of state enterprises.
Sinn Féin is a 32-County party striving for an end to partition on the island of Ireland and the establishment of a democratic socialist republic.
The pro-Kurdish democratic socialist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)...
Die Linke describe themselves as the party of democratic socialism...
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation in its world outlook and traditions is essentially a socialist, democratic, and revolutionary party.
In Chile, where a large democratic socialist movement was in place for decades, a democratic socialist, Salvadore Allende, led a popular front electoral coalition, including Communists, to victory in 1970.
...in Allende's democratic socialism.
The Allende government that Pinochet overthrew in 1973 had been elected in 1970 on a platform of pioneering a democratic road to a democratic socialism.
The last years of Attlee's democratic socialist regime...
Attlee's goal was a democratic socialist society...
Chileans elected Michelle Bachelet as their new president ... Because her advocacy of democratic socialism.
Ben-Gurion, Zionist and socialist-democrat...
...Mapai, the democratic socialist party of David Ben Gurion.
Blum declared that he was what Nazis "hated most, . . . a democratic socialist and a Jew."
Campaigning as a democratic socialist, Chávez...
In a broad historical sense Chávez has undoubtedly played a progressive role but he is clearly not a democratic socialist...
Palme: Why I am a Democratic Socialist, 1982.
During his six years of rule, Gorbachev was intent on renovating Soviet socialism through peaceful and democratic means.
The more socialist democracy there is, the more socialism we will have.[ permanent dead link ]
...a democratic Socialist success, such as President Mitterrand's...
Ramos Horta during his December 1974 trip to Australia was careful to distinguish between Fretilin and Frelimo, arguing that his own party was a democratic socialist party....
Sjahrir...called the ideology he had thought up and that he followed 'democratic socialism'...(sosialisme kerakyatan).
"We already are in democratic socialism. It will never be much different from this", Sorsa had said ten years earlier.
...a democratic socialist group Synaspismós, which current Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras led.
Tony Benn's socialism is distinctive in the importance he places in combining socialism with radical democracy.
Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone can be depicted as two of the leaders of the democratic socialist (or 'hard') left...
The lawmaker, who is possibly the most liberal of all members of Congress — and the only one to call himself a democratic socialist...
...identifies as a member of Socialist Alternative, an anti-capitalist, democratic-socialist party.
None the less Russell joined the ILP [Independent Labour Party] and declared himself a democratic socialist, then and thereafter.
For the rest of his life Einstein would expound a democratic socialism that had a liberal, anti—authoritarian underpinning.
He committed himself to the democratic- socialist goals that became popular among intellectuals in Europe at the time.
The essay argues that King was in fact a democratic socialist...
King's democratic socialism...
For King the answer was democratic socialism.
Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. [italics from printed source]
He also advocated the integration of the communist and capitalist systems to form what he called democratic socialism.
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