What is Social Democracy?

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[FAQ] [Economics] [Fascism] [ULK Issue 80]

What is Social Democracy?

A Texas Prisoner wrote: “Recently on sum conservative radio show there was a persyn who asserted that amerikkka is a”socialist country and has been for a long time." A pupil and i argued about this because i’m like, amerikkka is the antithesis of socialism, but as i read your reply this debate re-entered my mind along with the conservative ploy to confuse the masses with “red baiting,” equating everything “left” of center as die hard communist/socialist but in essence what the persyn on the radio program was really saying was that amerikkka is a social democratic country and has been for a long time. i still disagree, wat about u? And wat is the difference, if any, between social democracy and democratic socialism?"

Plastick of MIM(Prisons) responds: For us Maoists, social-democracy is the tendency where as opposed to Marxism or communism, they seek to apply a welfare state such as the likes of Sweden while capitalism is the main basis. Democratic socialism is a revisionist Marxist trend where they claim that socialism is the goal where the workers run the world, we must do it through non-violent and reformist means. The confusion could go deeper for some newer comrades as the Bolsheviks of the Russian revolution called themselves as upholders of Social-Democracy. To Lenin and Stalin, social-democracy meant socialism and modern democracy in a backward semi-feudal imperialist Russia, not sharing a section of the imperialist pie to the Russian masses. But the International Communist Movement later abandoned “social-democracy” to those who thought capitalism could be reformed to serve humyn need.

Social-Democracy’s core characteristic is appeasing the masses through reforms and better short-term conditions while preserving bourgeois dictatorship. In an imperialist country, social-democracy can mean better wages and living standards for the labor aristocracy who might be growing tired of inflation. In the Third World there are just as much social-democratic movements as the comprador-bourgeoisie seeks to quell the majority proletarian populations of their respective countries. Ironically, despite its efforts to preserve Liberal bourgeois democracy, social-democracy oftentimes paves the way for fascism, particularly in the exploiter countries. In Germany, social-democracy crushed the revolutionary movement both by appeasing to the workers through oppressor nation chauvinism and militaristically ridding the revolutionary leadership. When economic crisis in Germany deepened to where social-democracy couldn’t govern its masses the way it did before, fascism arose to put forth law and order.

People often talk about social-democratic countries being the middle ground combination between capitalism and socialism: Amerika is a capitalist country, China is a communist country, and Sweden is a social-democratic country. This is a metaphysical view of what a country’s political economic system is – qualitatively all of these countries are run by a bourgeois dictatorship. Out of these countries, Sweden is the most famous for its social-democratic way of governing. There is a similar social-democratic movement in the U.$. that wishes to follow those countries lead, but to say a country is social-democratic is misunderstanding what social-democracy is: it is a trend that arises out of the labor aristocracy/petty-bourgeoisie during times of hardship. If social-democracy fails, the coin will flip to reveal the other side of fascism.

The last two presidential elections demonstrated an increase in pressure from the labor aristocracy for social democratic policies. All advanced imperialist countries have social services paid for off the backs of the Third World proletariat. If we want to split hairs and say some of these countries are social democracies, we’d say the U.$. is not currently one because it has extreme privatization, going so far as to privatize some prisons.