The different styles of socialism, represented by key figures (3)
The different styles of socialism, represented by key figures (3)

The foundation of democratic socialists is a combination of democrats, who strive for political equality and public enterprise and socialists, who strive for material equality. Socialists value democracy as an important principle hence what strings democrats and socialists together is that they both root from of equality. (7-8)

History of Democratic Socialism

The industrialization of the nineteenth century brought great wealth yet not fair distribution in particular to the industrial workers. The socialist ideology began to form during the liberal reformation of economic and social structures. (5)

Concepts (9)

  • Society's changes should be made by free and open elections
  • public enterprise
  • political equality
  • people should not exploit others
  • common interest
  • equality of opportunity
  • social dividend
  • economic planning

Key Figures

Jack Layton
Jack Layton, past leader of the NDP (1)
Jack Layton, past leader of the NDP (1)

Layton was a Canadian social democratic politician. As the leader of the New Democratic Party, the official opposition of the Canadian Conservative Party, Layton worked on holding Stephen Harper up to creating more jobs, better affordability, shorter health care wait times and helping fight global warming. The New Democratic Party had a platform of promoting jobs, improving employment standards and bettering education. Leading the NDP for eight consecutive years, Layton worked for a stronger and better nation.

" My friends, love is better than anger.Hope is better than fear.Optimism is better than despair.So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.And we’ll change the world."

Clement Attlee
Once the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1945-1951), Clement Attlee was known as a British Labour politician. At a young age Attlee began to notice the social problems within the nation and then becoming the leader of the Labour party, gained knowledge of labour's culture and ethos. Having this knowledge on his side, winning the election allowed Attlee's experiment with democratic socialism. Through this Attlee created the National Health Service and nationalization of coal mining and the steel industry.

Karl Marx
Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. One of his most notable books, "Capital" became what is known as Marxism, a term he never used himself. The term Marxism is a radical form of
Karl Marx, Marxist philosopher (2)
Karl Marx, Marxist philosopher (2)

socialism, and to distinguish from other similar socialist theories known as scientific socialism or communism. According to Marx, there was only one way to overthrow capitalism, which was for the working class to fight against the upperclass hence an organized workers revolution action was necessary before any significant changes could be made in society. Marx also believed that economics was the foundation of a society and the means of all production. (6)

Salvador Allende
A Chilean physician and politician who was generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America. In 1933 Allende helped to found the Chilean Socialist Party, a Marxist organization that was opposed to the Soviet Union influenced Communist Party. Allende's decided to take action to redistribute wealth and land in Chile. Wage increases of around 40 per cent were introduced and the copper industry was nationalized. At the same time companies were not allowed to increase prices as were the banks. Allende also restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, China and the German Democratic Republic.

Eduard Bernstein
Bernstein was a German social democratic theoretician and politician and the founder of evolutionary socialism and revisionism. While living in London Bernstein gradually became convinced that the best way to obtain socialism in an industrialized country was through trade union activity and parliamentary politics.

Leon Blum
Following the first world war, two groups were made. The moderate democratic socialists (leon blum) and communists (Marxists). Socialists were non-violent and the communists led followed lenin through revolution. Socialists resulted in successful political parties while the communists had less success in classical liberal parties. They formed a coalition in the 1930’s and Leon Blum became the first French socialists prime minister.

"When Leon Blum became the head of the socialists party, for reasons of party discipline he accepted the doctrine of karl marx… but that does not alter the fact that there is a profound difference between his conception of socialism, in which he sees a force that will bring about the moral regeneration of mankind, and that of the orthodox Marxists who based their beliefs purely on materialistic premises and on the determinism of economic forces”

Key Terms

Socialism: A social organization system that strives for public ownership and control of the means of production and distribution in the community as a whole.
Command economy: Government regulates the supply and demand of an economy and decides the production and distribution numbers. Also known as a planned economy.
Rule of law: The law is applied and enforced to every citizen, meaning that everyone is equal and accountable.
Invisible hand: an unseen force or mechanism that guides individuals to unwittingly benefit society through the pursuit of their private interests.
Democrats: One who advocates equal oppertunities and equal voting within a government.
Socialist: One who supports public enterprise,social ownership and cooperation to strive towards a common goal.
Common Interest: To help or aid towards the common good of a people. Achieving the welbeing by including all, strving for equality, justice and freedom.
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Difference between Socialism and Communism

On a political spectrum, communism is on the far left whereas socialism is moderate left. The most prominent difference is that socialism refers to an ideology where decisions are controlled mainly by the pub
lic for the common interest of the society as opposed to communism, the government makes the decisions for society. Socialism and communism both live on the principles of cooperation and common interests, however it is the government control that separates the ideologies.

Cartoon indicating that socialists strive on 'cooperation' in this case helping others by taking money from others
Cartoon indicating that socialists strive on 'cooperation' in this case helping others by taking money from others

"They also typically believe in the ideal of all members of a society having a voice in the decisions that affect them. This stands in contrast with the communist form of socialism, in which an all-powerful government owns all the resources and industries, and decisions are made for the people instead of by them."

Relation to Classical Liberalism (10-12)

Democratic Socialism and Classic Liberalism have more things that differ from each other than similarities. In 1812 the word "liberal" was first used in its modern political sense, and the word "socialism" originated in roughly in the same period. The timing of this could suggest that two possibilities. Either they are identical to one another or they were meant to be competitors and meet similar conditions where victory of one means defeat for the other. Both believe in that power is for the people, not powerful corporations and the rich. They both share the want of economic equality. Although differing as Democratic Socialism strives for social equality, and Classic Liberalism strived for social freedom.

Explanation Video


(5) Unknown, (2011). Democratic Socialism. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(6) Shaw, Bernard. (1910). Socialism and Superior Brains. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(7) Unknown. (2011). Constitution of the New Democratic Party of Canada.Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(8) Densing, J. (2011). What is Democratic Socialism?. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(9)"The Socialist Party of Wisconsin". (2011). What is Democratic Socialism. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(10) unknown. (2010). What is Democratic Socialism?. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(11) David Schweickart. (2006). Democratic Socialism. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(12) Kunal Patel. (2009). Socialism vs. Liberalism. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.
(13) unknown. (2011). What's the Difference Between Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy?. Available: Last accessed March 5th, 2012.