Social democracy has evolved through several historical and intellectual phases since it emerged in the mid-19th century, when many of its proponents were Marxists who urged revolution to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism. At the time, the working class had not been given the vote, so securing change through the ballot box and parliamentary politics was not possible. However, when the franchise was extended from the late-19th century onward, splits emerged within social democracy. The Marxist wing broadly insisted that this new “bourgeois democracy” was a sham to prevent radical change, by incorporating socialist parties and the working classes into the capitalist system, and neutralizing them through the endless political compromises and dilution of principles that parliamentary politics entailed. Moreover, even if a socialist government ...

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