From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
is a broad political movement propagating the ideals
of socialism within the context of a democratic system. In many cases, its
adherents promote the ideal of socialism as an evolutionary process
resulting from legislation enacted by a parliamentary democracy. Other
democratic socialists favor a revolutionary approach that seeks to establish
socialism by creating a non-parliamentary democratic system, usually based
on democracy rooted at the local level as well as at the national level,
including broadbased popular associations such as workers' councils,
community groups, and other similar organizations.
Thinkers, writers and activists such as Robert Owen, Karl Marx, Eduard
Bernstein, George Orwell, Bertrand Russell, 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) are equally critical to
understanding democratic socialism.
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. However, the term is often used by those who wish
to contrast this form of socialism with Communism or other ideologies that
Democratic Socialists consider dictatorial ideologies in practice that, in
theory, also claim to be socialist.
The terms "Democratic Socialism" and "Social Democracy" have often
been used interchangeably, and, indeed, many have considered them
synonymous until recently. Today, however, they usually denote two
different things: Social Democracy is more centrist and supports a broadly
capitalist system, with only some social reforms (such as the welfare state),
intended 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, either by gradually reforming
Part of the Politics series
History of socialism
Equality of outcome
Criticisms of socialism
People and organizations
List of socialists
Social democratic parties