View Full Version: Democratic Socialism vs. Social Democracy

Kasama Threads > Glossary > Democratic Socialism vs. Social Democracy

Title: Democratic Socialism vs. Social Democracy
Description: What's the difference?

AndreiMazenov - January 6, 2009 05:34 PM (GMT)
In understanding other trends on the left, I've always wondered: what's the distinction between social democracy and democratic socialism? What makes the SP-USA different from the Social Democrats of countries like Sweden? Often times they seem to be used as synonyms, but in other places I have heard of struggles between democratic socialist and social democratic forces.

chegitz guevara - January 7, 2009 12:57 AM (GMT)
Democratic Socialism has never been adequately defined. The only place I've come across a definition of it is on wikipedia, and even there, it is not clear.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the term because it is so undefined. Were I to use it, I would add a qualifier, such as revolutionary democratic socialism (like Hal Draper).

What makes the SPUSA different from a social democratic party is that, at the very least, the SPUSA is officially a revolutionary party, i.e., it holds that only a revolution can abolish capitalism, and that capitalism must be abolished. The SPUSA rejects social democracy officially, as well as the Nordic and Benelux social democracies as examples of socialism. (It also rejects states like the USSR, PRC, and Cuba.) The SPUSA, however, leaves the definition of revolution undefined, so that people who would argue for an urban guerrilla war would be as justified as claiming to be holding to party principles as would those who call for a peaceful revolution, like the revolutions that overthrew the Communist states in Central Europe.

I think it's fairly obvious where I stand on revolution, communism, and our history, i.e., that I'm a communist, and proud of it. I'm also an elected officer of both the Socialist Party of Florida and the SPUSA. I'm open about my work/"membership" in Kasama, and the SPUSA is fine with it. The 9L have even had some favorable mentions. I'm not sure any social democratic organization could say the same. Which is not to say that the party doesn't have a social democratic wing. It does, but it's in the minority for now and my impression is that it's a trend that is going to continue.

Midwestrevolutionary - July 14, 2010 12:27 AM (GMT)
When i think of democratic socialism, i think of people like Allende and Chavez. The difference is that social democracy is the combination of socialism and capitalism, which does work and then there is democratic socialism, which is a peaceful method to revolution and ending capitalism. but that does not work also because 1973 chile folks.

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