DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM by Sesa Gill at LexCliq

Democratic Socialist philosophy saw its rise basically in the twentieth century.

Democratic socialism is actually taking the concept of Democracy and Socialist Philosophy together. It believes that democracy and socialism are not antagonistic, but both the concepts combined together will result into a happy harmonization of the social control of economic process with the liberty of the individual in political and intellectual spheres. It believes that Socialism can be brought about by means of ‘social legislation’. Constitutional and democratic means should be applied for the realization of the goals of Socialism. The method through which Democratic Socialism proposes to effect the change in the existing State is; the State being influenced by gradual alteration in public opinion; brought about by extensive social measures and exercised through the ballot box.

The Chief Characteristics of Democracy

  1. Democracy means equal participation of all in the political affairs of the country.
  2. Along with political participation Democracy also advocates the concept of liberty, equality and certain rights of the individuals.
  3. Democracy also supports economic freedom for its citizens.

 The Chief Characteristics of Socialism

  1. Socialism is a protest against capitalism.
  2. It has firm belief in human equality, especially equality of opportunities for everyone.
  3. Wants social control of the mean of production and thus for that gives enormous powers in the hands of the state.

Democratic socialism is a political philosophy supporting political democracy within a socially owned economy, with a particular emphasis on economic democracy, workplace democracy and workers’ self-management within a market socialist economy or some form of a decentralised planned socialist economy.

Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.

Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well.

The Main Features of Democratic Socialism are-

  • It aims at a peaceful change in the present socio – economic structure.
  • It believes that Capitalism has outlived its day and the victory of Political democracy is the rule of the present time.
  • Further, it is of the opinion that the economic institutions of capitalism have become out of date.
  • But Democratic Socialism is also not in favour of extreme socialism.
  • It thus, has a vision of a socialist society aiming at equitable distribution of wealth in a democratic set up.

Criticism

Democratic socialism is a contradiction in terms. Edward Burns draws our attention to another shortcoming of democratic socialism. In his estimate the concept is almost a contradiction in terms. Democracy and socialism are opposite terms and they can be achieved separately not combinedly.

If there is socialism the basic democratic values and principles are to be sacrificed and vice-versa. Peaceful coexistence between the two is just like a daydream. Socialism entails a drastic economic and political transformation of society and in that situation democratic lives, principles and values are completely disrupted.

The theory of Democratic Socialism aims at amalgamating the doctrine of Socialism and the principles of Democracy. Socialism aims at bridging the gap between the rich and the poor and if this could be attained through democratic means; it is Democratic Socialism. Harold J.Laski and J.Lal Nehru were supporters of Democratic Socialism.

 

 

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