Marxism Reading Group: Social Democracy as a Historical Phenomenon


March 30, 2022 at 7:00pm - 9pm

Marx famously wrote in his 11th thesis on Feuerbach, "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it." At the same time, Marx's descriptions of society as class society, and of capitalism, are motivated by the idea that a rigorous analysis of social conditions must inform political action capable of changing those conditions. The purpose of this group is to read and discuss works by Marx, Marxists, and other thinkers from the historical materialist tradition that describe historical changes in capitalism leading up to the present and outline the political and strategic problems faced by those who seek to intervene in history.

In this session, we'll be analyzing social democracy, both as a movement and in government. Social democracy has been defined as a "third way" between capitalism and socialism, an alternative path to socialism, or simply a more humane variety of capitalism. Its legacy is alive in the Nordic welfare states that Bernie Sanders often points to, but also in the form of market-friendly politicians like Tony Blair or Gerhard Schröder. For context, we'll be reading from Adam Przeworski's Capitalism and Social Democracy, as well as Michael Harrington, one of the founders of DSA. 

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