This book considers the underlying causes of the end of social democracy's golden age. It argues that the cross-national trend in social democratic parties since the 1970s has been towards an accommodation with neo-liberalism and a corresponding dilution of traditional social democratic commitments. The book looks at the impact of the change in economic conditions on social democracy in general, before examining the specific cases of Germany, Sweden and Australia. It examines the ideological crisis that engulfed social democracy. The book also looks at the post-1970 development of social policy, its fiscal implications and economic consequences in three European countries. It considers the evolution of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) from its re-emergence as a significant political force during the 1970s until the present day under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The book also examines the evolution of the Swedish model in conjunction with social democratic reformism and the party's relations to the union movement. It explores the latest debate about what the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) stands for. The SPD became the role model for programmatic modernisation for the European centre-left. The book considers how British socialist and social democratic thought from the late nineteenth century to the present has treated the objective of helping people to fulfil their potential, talents and ambitions. It aims to contribute to a broader conversation about the future of social democracy by considering ways in which the political thought of 'third way' social democracy might be radicalised for the twenty-first century.
would have to be made that the GermanSocialDemocraticParty before 1914 was
critical of German colonialism. The Social Democratic press constantly attacked
the fiscal policy of the Reich, which relied on indirect consumption taxes falling
heavily on the working class to finance a rapidly growing navy, increased army
spending and other expenditure related to colonialism and Germany's imperial
ambitions. Social Democratic politicians were also vocal in exposing human rights
The modernisation of German social
democracy: towards a third way and back?
The GermanSocialDemocraticParty (SPD) has undergone a number of
revisions since its birth in the nineteenth century. This chapter will explore
the latest debate about what the SPD stands for. As a programme party,
the debate about long-term objectives, values and ideological principles
has been of particular importance to party members, its leaders and the
public. Hence the focus of this chapter: it will document and analyse the
programmatic discourse of the SPD
It was virtually impossible to find in Britain before 1914 any national
mass social-democratic or labour cultural organisations of the kind that
existed in imperial Germany, although the Clarion cycling club, based
on a leftist newspaper, did have a national membership of 20,000 by the
outbreak of war. Even this, however, was by German standards relatively
By 1914 the GermanSocialDemocraticParty (Sozialdemokratische Partei
Deutschlands, SPD) had over one million fee-paying members and was
not only the largest party in the Second
workers in 1899.
Mary’s plan was that the working women’s college would be placed
under the same board of management as the men’s college. Members
included Will Thorne, as the first treasurer, Noah Ablett, Mary Bridges
Adams and George Sims. In common with the GermanSocialDemocraticParty’s Berlin educational school, the intent was that whilst the women
students should attend lectures at the men’s college, the women’s college
should be run on its own lines. Jean Quataert has dealt with the educational ideal of socialist women in Imperial Germany and her research
Does European integration contribute to, or even accelerate, the erosion of intra-party democracy? This book is about improving our understanding of political parties as democratic organisations in the context of multi-level governance. It analyses the impact of European Union (EU) membership on power dynamics, focusing on the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party (PS), and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The purpose of this book is to investigate who within the three parties determines EU policies and selects EU specialists, such as the candidates for European parliamentary elections and EU spokespersons. The book utilises a principal-agent framework to investigate the delegation of power inside the three parties across multiple levels and faces. It draws on over 65 original interviews with EU experts from the three national parties and the Party of European Socialists (PES) and an e-mail questionnaire. This book reveals that European policy has largely remained in the hands of the party leadership. Its findings suggest that the party grassroots are interested in EU affairs, but that interest rarely translates into influence, as information asymmetry between the grassroots and the party leadership makes it very difficult for local activists to scrutinise elected politicians and to come up with their own policy proposals. As regards the selection of EU specialists, such as candidates for the European parliamentary elections, this book highlights that the parties’ processes are highly political, often informal, and in some cases, undemocratic.
The need for an open-ended, serious examination of the past, present and future of social democracy was self-evident. Social democrats highlighted the systematic way in which the infant Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was depriving trade unions of independent civil rights and citizens of political freedom. The reality of the dictatorship of the proletariat, they insisted, was a travesty of democratic socialism. British cold war intellectuals and/or politicians who espoused social democracy with zealous rigour found its essence in Kautskyist antagonism to communism and its claim to be the sole heir to the socialist tradition. The underlying similarity between German social democracy and British labourism is undeniable. The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was the dominant party in the Second Socialist International, not only because of its size and the number of MPs in the Reichstag, but also because of the immense prestige it had gained by successfully defying Bismarck.
Social democracy in one country is a contradiction in terms. It is quintessentially outward-looking and at the same time quintessentially European. The oldest social democratic party in the world is the German social democratic party (SPD); the great German revisionist, Eduard Bernstein, learned his revisionism from the British Fabians. Keir Hardie, the first independent Labour MP, was a pall bearer at the funeral of August Bebel, one of the greatest leaders in the long history of German social democracy. For social democrats the choice is between craven acceptance of an alleged fait accompli which need not, in fact, be accepted, and resistance. It remains to be seen whether British social democrats will step up to the plate. In Llais Llafur, Ebenezer Rees preached a magnificent, blood-red socialism, which would make Jeremy Corbyn look pale pink.
in Spain and Sweden respectively difficult
political and economic constraints have necessitated programmatic and
strategic adaptation on the part of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party
(PSOE) and the Swedish Social Democrats (SAP) but that, like the French
socialists, the PSOE and SAP have nonetheless succeeded in pursuing a recognisably social democratic course. The PSOE and the SAP, we might also
note, have probably been the two most electorally successful left parties of
the last thirty years. The verdicts on the GermanSocialDemocraticParty
(SPD) and the
, have interpreted Marx and Engels’s philosophy of history as pointing to the inevitability of socialism. This was the view of the Second International led by the GermanSocialDemocraticParty from the late 1880s until the International collapsed with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. This interpretation led to a politics of passivity in relation to the overthrow of capitalism that emphasized “determination” and downplayed “self-activity,” relying exclusively on parliamentary reforms of the system while waiting for the final crisis of capitalism. This