Revolutionary socialists have many political enemies. We have only a few allies in our struggle against capitalism and imperialism. It is ironic that both revolutionary socialists, moderate socialists, stalinists, maoists and social democrats come from the same roots. 100 years ago in the year 1914, all socialist/communist ideologies were called social democratic. Between the death of Karl Marx and the first world war, there were many debates inside social democracy between revolutionary socialists and evolutionary socialists. The evolutionary socialists rejected the Marxist road to socialism. They wanted to work with the parliamentary democrats and progressive members of the ruling class. Socialism had to be build by evolution not by revolution, according to social democrats like Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky!
The evolutionary socialists were however still believers in socialism, unlike the social democrats of 2014 who are fully supportive of capitalism and its institutions. By 1914, most workers parties in Europe were led by evolutionary/reformist socialists. When the imperialist nations of Europe started with the first world war, most of these reformist leaders became nationalistic and told the working class to support their nation against the enemy nation. German social democrats supported the rearming of the Imperial German Army and British social democrats told their workers to fight for king and country!
Russian social democracy had split in 1912, in a revolutionary socialist party and a reformist socialist party. The majority of the Russian social democrats supported the revolutionary socialists led by Vladimir Lenin. A minority supported Julius Martov, they became known as ''Mensheviks'' ( minority in Russian ). The majority took the name ''Bolsheviks'' ( majority in Russian ). In February 1917, the czar was forced to abdicate. A capitalist government made up of rightist ''socialist'' revolutionaries, Mensheviks and bourgeois democrats was installed. This provisional government became very unpopular because it continued the first world war. In November 1917, the workers-council of Petrograd ( capital of Russia ) called for a socialist revolution. Red Guards captured the ministers and ended the provisional government. All political power was transferred to the Congress of Soviets, in which the Bolshevik Party and leftist socialist revolutionaries had a majority!
As a result of this second Russian revolution, the Menshevik Party and most reformist socialists turned against revolutionary socialists. They supported their local capitalist governments in preventing workers from taking power. In Germany, Friedrich Ebert was installed as president of the Weimar Republic. His Social-democratic Party of Germany opposed the workers councils who wanted a socialist republic. Together with right-wing nationalists, the social democrats destroyed the councils and killed 21.000 German revolutionaries. Famous revolutionary socialists like Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were murdered because of SPD betrayal!
Most social democratic parties started to enter capitalist governments. Right-wing conservatives rejected the moderate socialists, because they saw socialism as a danger to their capitalist masters. Only liberals wanted to work with the reformists which led to the formation of social democratic/liberal governments. These new governments were very progressive but still capitalistic in nature and imperialist. Because although some social gains were made in the years before world war two, most European nations still believed in the superiority of the white race. Ethnic racism was no typical German, most British were racists too. British imperialism ruled over many African nations and behaved very cruel to the black working class!
The second world war ended in 1945, a victory for the allied nations. However the end of the world war marked the start of a cold war, between the capitalist-imperialist western world and the anti-imperialist eastern nations. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was a degenerated ''workers'' state, created in 1922 after the Russian Civil War. Although the economy of the Soviet-Union was nationalized, the workers did not had political power. Joseph Stalin made sure that all opposition to his ''socialism in one nation'' theory was silenced. Not only did Stalin enforced a totalitarian system, he also murdered most revolutionary socialists who worked with Lenin. It was Vladimir Lenin who called himself and his movement; communist. New revolutionary socialist parties were called communist parties. These communist parties enforced the ideology of ''Marxism-Leninism'' as Joseph Stalin called it. However this so called ''Marxism-Leninism'' had nothing to do with the views of Marx and Lenin. It was a cover-up for Stalin's own political system we revolutionary socialists call: Stalinism!
Social democrats also rejected the USSR because of its authoritarianism and later totalitarianism. But these same social democrats supported the authoritarian rulers of their bourgeois-democratic nations. Also by joining capitalist governments, social democrats took responsibility for capitalist politics, carried out by European governments. Although social security improved in Western Europe, workers never held political power. The social democrats favoured a mixed market economy, with state ownership of key sectors. But these state owned enterprises were not run by the workers, but by the capitalist state managers. Managers who still favoured profits over people's needs. This we also saw in the USSR. There was no democratic participation from the working class and no workers self-management. Workers were slaves to the Stalinist state who even used prisoners are salve labourers. Between 1930 and 1960, more then 14 million Soviet workers were used as slave labourers in concentration-camps!
Another major anti-imperialist power became the People's Republic of China. The radical Chinese Communist Party was led by Mao Zedong and soon started to compete with the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy. After Joseph Stalin died in 1953, Mao Zedong saw himself as the heir of radical revolutionary ''socialism''. His supporters rejected the moderate Soviet leaders like Nikita Khrushchev who criticized the Stalin cult of personality and the cruelty of classic stalinism. Maoism became a popular trend in the late 1960's and 1970's. Many students embraced the revolutionary dogma's of chairman Mao Zedong. Social democrats were seen as capitalist and not leftist. In a way the maoists were right about that. Social democracy moved more to the right-wing as they entered more capitalist governments. By 1980, most social democratic workers parties had abandoned Marxist socialism. The German SPD was among the first who fully rejected Marx. The Spanish Socialist Workers Party followed in 1979, others would embraced capitalism fully by 1989!
As stalinism collapsed between 1989 and 1991, social democracy fully embraced capitalism and neoliberalism. This new economic liberalism was created in the 1980's and called for deregulations and privatisations of state owned enterprises. Champions of this radical free market idea were Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Reagan came to power in the USA and Thatcher was the prime minister of the United Kingdom. Both were economic liberals, although in their propaganda they were called; conservatives. Social democrats denounced their support for a mixed economy and embraced the neoliberal dogma: The Market is God, Competition is King!
The most famous right-wing social democratic leader was Tony Blair. He led the British Labour Party and was elected in 1997. He did not changed the politics of Margaret Thatcher, Blair remained loyal to the neoliberal model. In 2001, he supported the invasion of Afghanistan by George W Bush, a conservative American president and a close ally of British imperialism. Tony Blair also supported the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, another imperialist plan of the American government. But Blair was not the only social democratic leader who betrayed his leftist ideals. Wim Kok was the Dutch prime minister between 1994 and 2002. His led a coalition made up of social democrats, conservative liberals and progressive liberals. Although two parties in his ''Purple'' Cabinets called themselves progressive, the main ideology supported by Kok was neoliberalism!
25 years after the collapse of stalinism, many social democrats are losing support. Some try to return to their old leftist roots. Workers may be fooled by their leftist propaganda, but we revolutionary socialists warn the proletariat, not to vote on social democratic parties. They cannot be trusted as they have betrayed us so many times. 100 years years ago this betrayal started when social democratic leaders supported the first world war. When German social democrats allied with the ruling class to destroy the workers councils. Because of social democratic betrayal in 1918, Soviet Russia was isolated and this aided the rise of stalinism. Had Germany become socialist, it would have been very difficult for Stalin to take over. German workers had more class consciousness and Germany was industrialized, while Russia was a agrarian society!
Dutch social democrats are using old leftist rhetoric for the European elections of 2014. The Party of Labour ( PvdA ) is losing popularity, since they entered a coalition government with the liberal conservatives of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy ( VVD ). The VVD is led by Mark Rutte, a neoliberal and supporter of massive austerity. Both social democrats and conservative liberals say that austerity is necessary to balance the state budget. Billions of euro's will be cut according to the government parties, yet billions are missed because of tax evasion by big business. Also the income tax for the super rich has decreased. Before 1990 it was normal that people with a very high income paid 70% of their income to the state. This was reduced to 61% in 1990 and finally to 51% in 2001. The parties of capitalism say that this was done to keep capitalists and rich people in the Netherlands. Yet the state lost money and because of the fact that the Netherlands is a tax heaven, billions of euro's are missed each year. Now Mark Rutte wants to enforce austerity, by cutting social security and forcing local governments to take care of people's health. The government wants to decentralize special health care ( AWBZ ) and give local governments control over who is getting this health care. They receive only 70% of today's state budget for the AWBZ. In other words: the local governments must decide who is losing special health care, this is done by a government in which the PvdA participates!