Social democracy was not ready for the massive neoliberal wave that started in 1979. New-liberalism became the dogma of the right-wing. The market is to be God, competition is to be King. Neoliberals demand that the government does not intervene in the economy. State enterprises are to be privatized and markets deregulated, this would create a ''healthy'' economy as they claim. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan became the faces of neoliberal capitalism. When we speak about neoliberalism we speak about economic liberalism. Because neoliberalism can be used by all political parties. The Chinese ''Communist'' Party is a neoliberal party too. They have privatized a lot of state enterprises and the last party congress has called for more deregulations!
Today in the year 2014, social democratic parties not leftist. The old workers parties who used to be Marxist around 1914, have now become the thing they opposed 100 years ago. This is the result of their betrayal of Marxist principals. They choose compromises and coalitions with the right-wing. Now workers see little difference between a social democratic party, a liberal party and a conservative party. Fewer people choose to vote and we see this in the turnout. In Great Britain 1/3 of all people refused to vote. In Germany the turnout was higher, but still 29% all Germans did not vote in the 2013 federal elections!
We revolutionary socialists can understand why people refuse to vote. They see no difference between social democrats, liberals and conservatives. The propaganda of the social democrats is leftist, progressive and all about social justice. But when in power, social democrats do not behave leftist. 100 years ago, a social democrat said he was a socialist and fought for the establishment of a socialist world. 50 years ago this changed from fighting for socialism, into fighting for a democratic and fair world. Now the propaganda is all about fairness and justice, but the people who claim to support this are not longer trusted. Their neoliberal actions of the last 24 years have proven this. Social democrats have allied themselves with the reactionary forces and carry out massive austerity plans. In Greece, the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement support massive tax cuts and privatisations, because the neoliberal European Union demanded this. Greek workers have punished them for this. But because social democrats still have a monopoly on the political left-wing in most nations, many workers keep voting for them in the hope of voting for the lesser evil!
Some social democratic parties are challenged by new leftist formations. In Greece you have the Coalition of the Radical Left called Syriza. In the Netherlands you have the Socialist Party and Germany has The Left. But these formation lack a genuine socialist program and are guided by classic social democratic demands like government regulations and progressive politics. Very few leftists parties struggle for socialism in today's world. Even the old communist parties call for fairness and social justice instead of a socialist workers state. Some are still fighting for Marxist socialism, yet these communist parties are limited by Stalinist dogmatism. Like the Communist Party of Greece ( KKE ) who refuses to work with Syriza to establish a socialist republic in Greece. The Greek KKE thinks they are the only true leftist party and because of their sectarianism, they limit the changes of building socialism!
On the political spectrum we see the true face of social democracy. If the working class would realize this, then they might not vote for social democrats today. Because most social democratic parties have betrayed their leftist ideals. Just look at these nations and see were social democratic parties are positioned, all of them are on the right-wing side of the spectrum!