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Political Principles of the Social Democratic Party (May 1946)

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III. “Only one Democracy”

German Social Democracy sees its political mission as making the masses aware of the revolutionary changes in social life that are both necessary and inevitable. Their goal is to win the majority of the population over to socialism.

The only path to this goal is a strong democracy that is ready to fight. There is only one kind of democracy. There is no such thing as a bourgeois or a proletarian democracy, just as there is no such thing, for present-day Social Democracy, as a reformist or a revolutionary socialism. Every form of socialism is revolutionary if it pushes forward and helps reshape society.

Democracy is the best form of the political struggle for all workers. For us socialists, it is a necessity, both in terms of morals and power-politics. Social Democracy wants people to participate voluntarily and on the basis of personal conviction, yet it also wants its followers to have the right to voice criticism.

There can be no socialism without democracy, without freedom of thought, and without the freedom to criticize. By the same token, there can be no socialism without humanity and respect for the human individual.

Just as democracy is a prerequisite for socialism, so, too, is it constantly under threat in a capitalist system. German democracy needs socialism because of Germany’s special historical conditions and because of the special nature of German intellectual development. German democracy must be socialist; otherwise counter-revolutionary forces will destroy it once again.

Freedom and Socialism

The character of German Social Democracy lies in its uncompromising commitment to freedom and socialism. The Social Democratic Party of Germany is proud that it was the only German party that stood up for the ideals of democracy, peace, and freedom, at great sacrifice. It is also the party of democracy and socialism in Germany today.

German Social Democracy firmly rejects any return to totalitarian thinking and behavior. In accordance with this basic stance, it will pursue a policy of independence and autonomy vis-à-vis all forces at home and abroad, and it will regulate its relationship with other parties.

Social Democracy is not content with the historical legitimacy it has acquired through the grand history of its struggle for freedom. It intends to continue demonstrating its claim to being a leading force in German politics through its outstanding achievements for the state and the people, and through its honest, upstanding, and practical policies.

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