Social democracy is a centre-left socialist political ideology. Social democrats until about the 1950s were reformists who believed that socialism could be achieved through electoral means, before eventually embracing liberal captialism. However, the majority of modern social democrats do not support the overthrowing of the bourgeois state and creation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, or the bringing about of socialism, and as such modern social democracy has been classified as a petit bourgeois ideology. Social democrats are often anti-communists, and are considered by many Marxists to be more of a threat to socialism than other more right-wing ideologies.
Social democrats have held power in a number of capitalist countries, notably the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries. Social democratic governments have sometimes nationalized key national industries while maintaining mixed economies which maintained private ownership of capital and private business enterprise. Social democrats also promote tax-funded welfare programs and regulation of markets.
- "DECLARATION of PRINCIPLES Adopted by the XVIII Congress, Stockholm, June 1989" note that Marx is not mentioned, "The crimes of stalinism, mass persecution and the violation of human rights, as well as unsolved economic problems, have undermined the idea of communism as an alternative to democratic socialism or as a model for the future."