Social Democracy and Democratic Socialism Essay

1113 Words Jun 9th, 2013 5 Pages
‘An ideological battle between social democracy and democratic socialism.’ Discuss with reference to the policies and programs pursued by the Labour Party.
Democratic socialism was popular in the first half of the 20th century and proposed that socialism could be achieved through peaceful, parliamentary means; like the ballot box. It puts emphasis on the promotion of working class and collective movements like the trade unions. Democratic socialism also believes in state ownership, an extensive welfare state and equality of outcome over liberty. Social democracy on the other hand became popular after the support of democratic socialism had faded; this was partly due to the decline in the working class but also because of the economic boom
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Clement Attlee is a big democratic socialist figure within the Labour party since when he came into power in 1945 he formed the ‘cradle to the grave’ welfare state with the actual creator William Beveridge. The welfare state is a major democratic socialist idea as it promotes the idea of re distributing wealth in society through peaceful parliamentary ways. Attlee also formed the NHS and nationalised major industries like the Coal and Steel industry, The Bank of England, electricity and gas companies. These policies advocate along the lines of state regulation, and a publicly owned economy with no private ownership. Arguably this was the last true, active socialist achievements of the labour party.
In the 1960s Labour moved away from democratic socialism and into the social democratic stance as they introduced many liberal social reforms such as the amendments of divorce laws, legislation for male homosexuality and abortion. They also made legislation for racial discrimination as well; all these liberal policies promote fairness, equality and justice which are views that social democrats take. Democratic socialists are more concerned about equality of outcome over fairness and liberty in society though social democracy is the opposite and these polices portray this. Controversy within the labour party occurred in the 1960’s regarding Harold Wilson's support for the Vietnam war, and his introduction of the ‘Place of Strife’

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