Is the Labour Party a Socialist Party?
Starter: Watch the videos - What did the Labour party stand for in 1945-51?
Clause 4 of the Labour Party constitution identifies its aims. This was rewritten by Tony Blair in the early 1990's. Compare the two clause 4's below
Original Clause 4
" To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service. "
Blair's Clause 4
"The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many and not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live tgether, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect."
1.Use the presentation and hyperlinks below to establish an understanding of what is meant by democratic socialism.
2.Write a short Case Study for 2 democratic Socialists from; Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Eduard Bernstein, Fenner Brockway, Nye Bevan, Tony Benn, George Orwell, Michael Foot
3. Write 3-4 paragraphs explaining what you understand by the "Third Way"
4. Then use the links in the button bar to try to assess how far the modern British Labour Party can be considered a socialist party. The first two links are from Blair's Labour Party and third link is from a group critical of New Labour - be prepared to feedback what you think
Democratic socialism is a broad political movement propagating the ideals of socialism within the context of a democratic system. In many cases, its adherents promote the ideal of socialism as an evolutionary process resulting from legislation enacted by a parliamentary democracy. Other democratic socialists favor a revolutionary approach that seeks to establish socialism by creating a non-parliamentary democratic system, usually based on workers' councils or similar organizations.
Thinkers, writers and activists such as Robert Owen, Karl Marx, George Orwell, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb can all be said to have contributed to "democratic socialist philosophy". However, popular movements such as the growth of trade unionism, the Chartists and the Labour Party (UK) (a "democratic socialist party" according to the first line of its constitution) or the SPD in Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) are equally critical to understanding Democratic Socialism.