Democratic socialism is a political movement propagating the ideals of socialism within the framework of a parliamentary democracy. Thinkers, writers and activists such as Robert Owen, Karl Marx, George Orwell,Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb can all be said to have contributed to "democratic socialist philosophy". However, popular movements such as the growth of trade unionism, the Chartists and the Labour Party (UK) (a "democratic socialist party" according to the first line of its constitution) or the SPD in Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, are equally critical to understanding Democratic Socialism.
It should be noted, however, that many of those who describe themselves as "socialists" often argue that socialism necessarily implies democracy, thus making "democratic socialism" a redundant term. The fact that one specific movement is called Democratic Socialism does not mean that other branches of socialism must be any less democratic.
The terms "Democratic Socialism" and "Social Democracy" have often been used interchangeably, and, indeed, they could be considered synonymous until recently. Today, however, they usually denote two different things: Social Democracy is more centrist and supports a broadly capitalist system, with just a few socialist elements to make it more equitable and humane. Meanwhile, Democratic Socialism is more left-wing and it supports a fully socialist system, seeking to establish that socialist system by gradually reforming capitalism from within. Thus, Democratic Socialism is an evolutionary socialist movement
uphold and defend civil liberties.
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Fenner Brockway, a leading British democratic socialist of the Independent Labour Party, wrote in his book Britain's First Socialists: The Levellers were pioneers of political democracy and the sovereignty of the people; the Agitators were the pioneers of participatory control by the ranks at their workplace; and the Diggers were pioneers of communal ownership, cooperation and egalitarianism. All three equate to democratic socialism. indian prime minster Jawaharlal Nehru was a important proponent of democratic socialism. The tradition of the Diggers and the Levellers was continued in the period described by EP Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class by Jacobin groups like the London Corresponding Society and by polemicists such as Thomas Paine. Their concern for both democracy and social justice marks them out as key precursors of democratic socialism.
The term "socialist" was first used in English in the British Cooperative Magazine in 1827 and came to be associated with the followers of the Welsh reformer Robert Owen, such as the Rochdale Pioneers who founded the co-operative movement. Owen's followers again stressed both participatory democracy and economic socialisation, in the form of consumer co-operatives, credit unions and mutual aid societies. The Chartists similarly combined a working class politics with a call for greater democracy. Many countries have this.
The British moral philosopher John Stuart Mill also came to advocate a form of economic socialism within a liberal context. In later editions of his Principles of Political Economy (1848), Mill would argue that "as far as economic theory was concerned, there is nothing in principle in economic theory that precludes an economic order based on socialist policies".
In North America, Henry George promoted the Single Tax Movement, which sought a form of democratic socialism via progressive taxation, with tax only on natural resources. George remained an advocate of the free market for the allocation of all other goods and services.
A advocate of democratic socialism was the china democratic socialist party a party which advocated democratic socialism.
The CDSP's platform was to promote democratic socialism in China, world peace, individual freedoms, economic development, a narrowing of the gap between rich and poor, and equal rights for women. The party also sought the implementation of a social welfare system for public health and social security.After the ROC Government's retreat from mainland china key members including elected representatives and party leaders followed the Kumointang to Taiwan.The party dissovled in the 1980s
In America, a similar tradition continued to flourish in Debs' Socialist Party of America, especially under the leadership of Norman Thomas. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont is a self-described democratic socialist, and is the only socialist to ever be elected to the United States Senate
During India's freedom movement, many figures on the left 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 Democratic socialist transformation of society with a principled opposition to the one-party authoritarianism they perceived in the Stalinist revolutionary model. This political current continued in the Praja Socialist Party, the later Janata Party and the current Samajwadi Party which describes it self as a democratic socialist party.
In Britain, the democratic socialist tradition was represented in particular by the William Morris' Socialist League in the 1880s and by the Independent Labour Party (ILP) founded by Keir Hardie in the 1890s, of which George Orwell would later be a prominent member
The Levellers were pioneers of political democracy and the sovereignty of the people; the Agitators were the pioneers of participatory control by the ranks at their workplace; and the Diggers were pioneers of communal ownership, cooperation and egalitarianism. All three equate to democratic socialism.
in vietnam the Vietnamese Nationalist Party a revolutionary democratic socialist party political party that sought independence from French colonial rule in Vietnam during the early 20th century.Modelling itself on the Modelling itself on the Republic of China's Kuomintang.
In the Middle East, the biggest democratic socialist party is the Organization of Iranian People's Fedaian (Majority).
This is a list of parties and organizations that are either explicitly democratic socialist or include significant numbers of democratic socialist members (although many do not specifically include the term "Democratic Socialist" in their name).
Due to the recent divergence away from traditional socialism in many western left-wing parties, the ideologies expressed in the policies of many of the parties is also listed. Some of these parties listed, such as the British Labour Party, Parti Québécois, Socialist Party (Portugal) and Social Democratic Party of Germany now advocate neo-liberal policies, despite once having a strong socialist character, and are not considered to be truly socialist by many on the left. On the other hand in many nations new leftwing Democratic socialist parties with a strong Democratic Socialist agenda have emerged and grown such as the Left Party of Germany or the Socialist Party of Ireland, siphoning off substantive votes from disenchanted supporters of the traditional leftwing parties.