Reading George Bernard Shaw articles for the fabian society in the early 20th century has made me reflect on what I think should be the principles of social democracy. No one has all the answers I am sure others can improve on these principles.
Social democracy must be based on democracy. We must be the greatest supporters of democracy. Where a democracy exist we must insure that democracy should be more democratic. We mustn’t support any dictatorships even those claiming to be socialist. Supporting countries like Cuba has done great harm to the cause of social justice.
As supporters of democracy we support the democratic rule of law. We are supporters of law and order. Claiming to reject the rule of law in the name of a higher vision of democracy will only lead society towards a greater tyranny.
We support and advance the liberal vision. Liberty of the individual should be the hope of all people who love democracy.
We are rooted in reality. The economic needs of the people or putting bread on the table should be the basic concern of social democrats. Trying to put utopian visions into practice as the revolutionaries do will lead to the mess that communist countries faced. Reactionary desires of the past are just as dangerous. Trying to re create feudal models of society or the liberal market of the 19th century will fail and people will suffer.
I hope you will have a happy Christmas and a good new year.
John O Brien.