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Social Democratic Party Formation and National Variation in Labor Politics

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The model of labor politics—social democracy (quasi-revolutionary, evolutionary), insurrectionism (bolshevism, anarchism-syndicalism), or moderate syndicalism—that emerges as dominant in an industrializing society depends on the choices made by labor elites in response to their case-specific environment of labor inclusion. By developing a systematic account for the interaction between elite agency and constraining environment, this theoretical proposition overcomes both theoretical and empirical limitations of prior structural and overly deterministic approaches. An empirical analysis for all industrialized polities during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reveals that variation in labor inclusion correctly predicts the outcome in seventeen out of twenty cases, representing a significant increase in predictive power over prior approaches.
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Social Democratic Party Formation and National
Variation in Labor Politics
Konstantin Vössing
Why do different models of labor politics emerge as dominant across industrializing
societies? Through the development of a comprehensive theory and an initial empirical
test, this article accounts for the formation of different types of social democratic parties
(quasi-revolutionary, evolutionary) and for the failure of social democracy that coin-
cides with the embrace of either insurrectionism (bolshevism, anarchism-syndicalism)
or moderate syndicalism. The theory extends to all independent and sufciently in-
dustrialized polities during labors case-specic formative stage in the political arena
throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It overcomes theoretical
and empirical limitations of prior structural and overly deterministic approaches (socio-
economic, status system, institutionalist) by integrating socioeconomic background,
political context, and elite agency into a systematic account for the interaction of labor
elites with the environment that constrains and shapes their choices.
Varying degrees of labor inclusion predict national variation in labor politics when
the decision-making process of labor elites occurs along an equilibrium pathunaf-
fected by exogenous inuences that would push outcomes off the equilibrium path.
Whenever the following premises apply, an equilibrium outcome is predicted, and a
particular environment of labor inclusion will lead to the formation of some model of
labor politics that represents the optimal response of labor elites to the given set of
external constraints. First, the primary interest of labor elites is to channel the demands
of their constituency into the political arena through an optimal model that features the
most rewarding cost-benet ratio. Second, strategic preference formation is the result of a
rational evaluation of labor inclusion as the set of external constraints on elite behavior.
Third, the stable and unambiguous nature of this environment provides labor elites with
accurate information about these external constraints.
Labor inclusion is a latent variable derived from a consideration of its six manifest
components: enfranchisement, political liberties, and responsible government, as well as
the behavior of the state executive, the behavior of competing parties toward the labor
constituency, and the behavior of competing parties toward labor elites. Variation in
labor inclusion identies the opportunity structures that exist across polities for the
efforts of labor elites to relay the interests of their constituency into the arena of politics.
A choice for some model of labor politics is optimal when it features the most rewarding
cost-benet ratio for mobilizing labor and channeling its agenda into the political arena
in some given context of inclusion.
A quasi-revolutionary social democratic party combines revolutionary rhetoric,
pragmatic efforts at organization building, and an accommodation with the entrenched
elites. It represents the optimal response to an environment of low inclusion, which is
situated between institutionally inclusive and entirely repressive regimes by providing
limited access to the political arena. An evolutionary social democratic party, just like its
quasi-revolutionary cousin, advocates socialism as the fundamental objective.
But it
abstains from revolutionary rhetoric and pursues its goals gradually in the framework
of the established order. These features make it the optimal response to an environ-
ment of higher inclusion, where labor enjoys access to a consolidated set of liberal
institutions. Moderate syndicalism stands for the integration of labor into an existing
party system, the organization of workers exclusively through unions, and the pursuit
of selective political interventions. It is the optimal response to an environment of
highest inclusion, where on top of inclusive institutions competing parties incorporate
labor elites and succeed in appealing electorally to the worker constituency. Cases of
lowest inclusion are characterized by the complete exclusion of labor on all institu-
tional and behavioral channels. Extremely costly insurrectionist approaches (bolshe-
vism or anarchism-syndicalism) are more rewarding than alternative models only in
this category.
Explanatory Interest
Prior studies have suggested different conceptualizations of variation in labor politics
and social democratic party types. At the most aggregate level, some institutionalist
accounts are geared toward explaining the overall nature of labor politics. Stefano
Bartolini distinguishes four left experiencesof early class mobilization, while Flemming
Mikkelsen refers to overall syndromes.
The explanatory interest of this article is about
actual organizations as the constituent components of those broad labelsit seeks to
explain the emergence of a specic model of labor politics as the dominant organization
across industrializing societies. A disaggregated perspective on specic manifestations of
labor politics allows for a more focused analysis. It is also the prerequisite for understand-
ing how the behavior of one organization shapes the fortunes of competing models, and
how this interaction causes variation in the overall nature of the left.
Some of the existing literature is equally geared at explaining variation in specic
Yet neither socioeconomic nor institutionalist contributions incorporate
an account for alternative models of labor politics that emerged as dominant in cases
where socialist parties failed to become institutionalized. The status system theory
acknowledges instances of social democratic nonformation, but it does not provide a
positive explanation for the embrace of alternative models. Contrary to these approaches,
the comprehensive explanation suggested here is based on an encompassing taxonomy
for variation in models of labor politics.
The institutionalist, socioeconomic, and status system contributions that study
the formation of specic organizations identify variation in their dependent variable by
Comparative Politics January 2011
distinguishing between radical and reformist social democratic parties. This conceptu-
alization is unsatisfactory because the classication of some parties as reformist under-
estimates their programmatic emphasis on socialism, while the labeling of others as
radical evades their pragmatic, legalistic, and reformist features. A sufcient explanation
for the relation between encountered circumstances and labor eliteschoices requires a
more complex typology that spells out ideological variation systematically and that also
includes a description of organizational differences.
Typology for Varying Models of Labor Politics
The typology outlined here conceptualizes variation in models of labor politics as
the explanatory interest of this study through one analytical roster that distinguishes
between function, ideology, and organization. A hierarchical variety of species, types,
and variants is derived on the basis of those three conceptual dimensions.
This produces
a comprehensive taxonomy for all the models of labor politics that occurred before 1919.
Table 1 contains a complete overview, while the focus of this article is on an explanation
for the most fundamental variation between insurrectionism, moderate syndicalism, and
the two social democratic party types. The underpinning functional dimension refers to
the basic raison dêtre of some political association.
A particular ideology is understood
as a tool for social integration that is created through the formulation of goals (or agendas)
and the means (or strategies) to obtain these goals.
Varying approaches to organization
manifest themselves internally through different decision-making procedures, and exter-
nally through different patterns of relations with the labor constituency and the unions.
As manifestations of the same party species, evolutionary and quasi-revolutionary
social democratic parties share a set of key features. They are established to advance the
interests of the emerging industrial working class in the political arena (function). Their
fundamental objective is the implementation of socialism, understood as the collectivi-
zation of the means of production (goals). They are mass based, democratic, and exter-
nally embedded into a broader network of labor associations (organization).
Several characteristics identify them as distinct party types. Most important, they
suggest radically different means to obtain the socialist end. Evolutionary social democ-
racy proposes a gradual transformation of political and socioeconomic conditions
toward socialism, through electoral participation and the legislation of socialist policies.
Quasi-revolutionary social democracy is guided by the deterministic expectation that
the collapse of capitalism is inevitable.
Pragmatic endeavors of organization building
and maintenance are combined with radical rhetoric and justied by a quasi-religious
emphasis on revolutionary salvation.
The most crucial organizational difference occurs through varying patterns of
external relations with the unions. Quasi-revolutionary social democracy sees itself as
one branch of the same movement, within which the political struggle and the party take
precedence over the economic struggle and the unions. The situation is reversed for
evolutionary parties. They were formed by the unions as their vehicle to conduct the
Konstantin Vössing
Table 1 Models of Labor Politics during Labors Formative Stage in the Political Arena before 1919
Comparative Politics January 2011
economic struggle through political involvement, and as a result the unions dominate
the party.
The dening differences between social democracy and alternative models of
labor politics occur in the domains of strategy and organization. Bolshevism advocates
socialism and thus pursues the same goal as social democracy. Its strategy is insur-
rectionist, and hence different because it involves the actual pursuit of uprising and
revolution, while social democratic parties engage in controlled conict with their
opponents. Even quasi-revolutionary social democracy, despite its rhetoric, is not ac-
tually a revolution makingparty. To render their strategy feasible, bolsheviki are
organized from the top down and through secret local cells led by a strong center,
which is maintained by what Lenin referred to as professional revolutionaries.
Anarchism-syndicalism represents a different type of insurrectionism that is equally
committed to socialism but, in contrast to bolshevism, aims to abolish the centralized
exercise of political authority.
Moderate syndicalists focus exclusively on organizing workers through unions,
which are primarily involved in economic activities such as strikes or wage bargaining.
They accept the political integration of their constituency into the existing party system
and refrain from establishing an independent presence in the political arena. Political
involvement occurs through selective interventions into the process of policymaking and
electoral competition, for the achievement of specic reforms.
External Environment
Existing socioeconomic, status system, and institutionalist studies have suggested dif-
ferent environmental factors as causes of national variation in labor politics. Common
to all these approaches are a focus on structural variables in conceptualizing this en-
vironment and overly deterministic arguments about the relationship between context
and outcome.
According to all three perspectives, broad social structures shape the nature of the
working class and translate into a corresponding character of labor politics. The socio-
economic approach suggests that the nature, especially the pace of industrialization,
determines how workersinterests are channeled into politics. More rapid industrial
development is said to cause more radical responses. The status system approach argues
that national differences in the pervasiveness of feudal status differentials cause varia-
tion in labor politics. Greater radicalism is the result of a more pronounced aristocratic
inuence in politics. Institutionalist accounts relate variation in the observed outcome to
differences in institutional circumstances. For instance, Bartolini introduces the insti-
tutional determinants of some politiesopenness toward labor as the key explanatory
variables. Different predictions are made from a broadly conceived institutionalist
perspective, but the most prevalent argument suggests that greater institutional inclu-
siveness and lower degrees of institutional repression will lead to less radical types of
labor politics.
Konstantin Vössing
All these approaches provide important yet incomplete conceptualizations of the
environment that triggers variation in labor politics. First of all, industrialization, taken
as a causal factor by the socioeconomic approach, is understood here as a prerequisite
for the emergence of labor politics, but not as an explanatory variable. Economic depri-
vation of workers resulting from industrialization needs to be taken into account as the
causal mechanism that leads to socioeconomic alienationand a corresponding set of
demands by workers. A functionally equivalent process of political alienation occurs
through labors political exclusion, which results in the formulation of demands for
political-institutional change. Unlike other approaches, which acknowledge either
political or socioeconomic alienation, I understand both as contributing sources to labors
goals. The dening features of competing models, however, manifest themselves
through variation in strategy and organization. These two elements in a typology of
labor politics represent different mechanisms for mobilizing workers and channeling
their goals (both political and socioeconomic) into the political arena.
Second, I treat political institutions and status systems as contributing factors to the
environment of labor inclusion faced by labor elites. The nature of status differentials
should be understood as a historical background condition, but not as an explanatory
variable, because variation in aristocratic strength does not unequivocally determine a
certain degree of labor inclusion. Political institutions, on the other hand, are an imme-
diate causal factor. In and of itself, however, the reference to institutional inclusion or
an understanding of repression in purely institutional terms is insufcient because the
responses of labor elites also depend on the behavior of competing parties and the state
executive. This is why I conceive of the institutional context as one set of determinants
for labor inclusion, in addition to the behavior of entrenched elites.
Labor Inclusion as an Environmental Causal Factor
The environment encountered by labor elites in their decision making about the for-
mation of some model of labor politics can best be conceptualized as varying ordinal
degrees of labor inclusion. Elaborating on institutionalist contributions, I understand
labor inclusion as a latent variable that emerges from the assessment of its institutional
and behavioral manifestations.
The rst of three institutional components of inclusion, enfranchisement, identies
the extent to which workers are effectively included into the electoral process. I conceive
of Goldsteins overview of restrictive techniques as elements of two separate dimensions
of suffrage exclusionrestrictions imposed on the right to vote such as material or edu-
cation requirements, and mechanisms that limit the effectiveness of the workersvote, for
example, class-based voting systems or electoral fraud.
The formal guarantee of political liberties to laborthrough freedoms of speech
and associationrepresents the second institutional channel of inclusion. Restrictions
occur when an explicit constitutional foundation is absent, but also as the result of sim-
ple legislation limiting constitutional guarantees. Freedom of speech can be undermined
Comparative Politics January 2011
directly through censorship or indirectly through the imposition of unfair newspaper
taxes. Labors right of association can either be restricted through explicit legislation
or through legal provisions that allow the state to dissolve meetings or organizations
based on the claim that they present a threat to public security. The third formal institu-
tion of labor inclusion is the principle of responsible government, which identies the
extent to which policymaking and the composition of the executive depend on public
support. An established practice of responsible government functions as an inclusive
mechanism through its institutionalized potential for effective inclusion even when this
does not translate into actual executive power for labor.
The behavior of the state executive is one of three behavioral elements of inclusion.
It identies the degree of repressive or inclusive behavior toward labor by the executive,
its bureaucracy, and its enforcement agencies. Formal institutions reect or constrain
the actions of the state to some extent, but a states behavior can deviate from insti-
tutional provisions. The behavior of competing parties is relevant in two distinct ways.
Electoral inclusion identies the extent to which competing parties appeal to workers
through activities in the electoral arena. Organizational inclusion measures the extent
to which labor elites are incorporated as activists, cooperation partners, or candidates
for public ofce.
Varying latent degrees of inclusion emerge through the identication of critical
junctures resulting from a systematically dened combination of these six manifest com-
ponents. In instances of lowest inclusion, labor is completely excluded from the political
arena through particularly pronounced and permanent repression, evidenced by lowest
inclusion on all institutional and behavioral channels.
Low inclusion polities feature a less repressive state executive, and the opening
of one institutional avenue for labor. This can occur through enfranchisement, while
political liberties and responsible government remain precarious, or through at least
the minimal guarantee of political liberties and responsible government, while en-
franchisement remains at the lowest possible level. Both higher and highest inclusion
polities are characterized by liberal constitutional institutions and a state executive that
behaves in a more neutral fashion. But competing parties in cases of highest inclu-
sion make signicantly more pronounced attempts to incorporate labor elites and the
worker constituency.
The Agency of Labor Elites
Labor inclusion represents a set of circumstances that only provides an environment for
choices about strategies of political mobilization made by labor elites. This is a point of
departure that is not sufciently acknowledged by existing socioeconomic, status sys-
tem, and institutionalist approaches. The role of agency and the conditions under which
agents translate a given environment into a corresponding choice are not spelled out
My account shares the concern of historical institutionalism with broad
processes of political development. But I develop a systematic argument about the agency
Konstantin Vössing
of labor elites that considers the rational choice variant of the new institutionalism.
This article thus responds to the call for a systematic consideration of agency by scholars
lamenting the structural bias of institutionalist approaches.
Reference to rational choice institutionalism facilitates the outline of scope condi-
tions for the occurrence of an equilibrium path, but contributions from that perspective
rarely study the factors that move outcomes off that path. The theory developed here
extends to those outcomes as well and details their causal determinants. Whenever labor
elites act in a suboptimal fashion and fail to translate the external constraints of some
given environment of inclusion into an optimal model of labor politics, the observable
outcome moves off the equilibrium path,and a model is adopted that would not have
been predicted on the basis of considering the encountered environment.
The equilibrium path rests on a set of three premises, which should be under-
stood as scope conditions for the validity of the causal relation between labor inclu-
sion and the formation of a particular model of labor politics. An environment of
inclusion is only translated into the expected outcome when these assumptions apply.
Whenever the effect exercised by any one or a combination of three exogenous vari-
ables on the decision-making process of labor elites alters one or more of these premises,
outcomes move off the equilibrium path. Each of the three assumptions of the equi-
librium scenario, along with its inversion resulting from the effect of an according
exogenous factor, is related to a different stage in labor elitesdecision-making process
the availability of information about the constraining environment, the primary interest of
labor elites, and their process of strategic preference formation.
Access to sufcient information about the external environment of labor inclusion
represents the rst premise of the equilibrium scenario. Whenever this is the case, labor
elites know enough about the existing constraints on their behavior to make an informed
decision about the optimal response. The more stable and clear an environment presents
itself, the better the quality of information based on which labor elites make their
choices, which increases the potential for making an optimal choice and the likelihood
of an equilibrium outcome.
By contrast, an unclear or uctuating environment of labor inclusion decreases
the quality of information about the existing constraints that labor elites have at their
disposal. Whenever this is the case, a suboptimal choice and an outcome off the equi-
librium path become more likely. The misperception of objective degrees and congu-
rations of labor inclusion as the consequence of imperfect information occurs whenever
a politys institutions and political approaches to labor are subject to frequent changes,
or when the nature of the regime altogether is not quite clear.
Following Peter Hall, I distinguish strategic preference formation from the con-
cept of interest, which is sometimes referred to as an actors preference.
I under-
stand strategic preference formation as the process through which actors make a
decision that best serves their fundamental interest under a given set of external con-
straints. As the second premise of the equilibrium scenario, the fundamental interest
of labor elites is assumed to be about providing a model of labor politics that repre-
sents the most rewarding cost-benet ratio for mobilizing the labor constituency and
Comparative Politics January 2011
channeling its demands into the political arena. This assumption explicates at the
level of elite agency the implicit behavioral foundation of structural approaches to
political mobilization.
However, labor elites might be motivated by different sets of interests, most impor-
tantly the desire to maximize their own personal gains, for example, through parliamen-
tary representation. If this is the case, an optimal model of labor politics can be a
different one than the model that would be expected on the basis of the equilibrium path
assumption about labor elitesprimary interest. I argue that the most important deter-
minant for labor elitesbeing motivated by other interests than the one posited for the
equilibrium scenario is their class or status group background. When labor elites emerge
from the labor movement, have close ties to it, or are equally alienated from the
entrenched social and political mainstream, the predominance of an interest in most
effective constituency mobilization becomes more probable. If this does not apply, an
outcome is more likely to move off the equilibrium path.
The third premise of the equilibrium scenario posits that strategic preference for-
mation proceeds through a rational evaluation of labor inclusion and that this process
remains unaffected by external inuences. Knowledge diffusion is the exogenous factor
that can undermine an instrumentally rational formation of preferences. The diffusion of
some paradigmatic model of labor politics can lead to the adoption of that model in a
domestic context, where it does not represent an optimal choice. The presence of strong
diffusion pressure toward the adoption of a suboptimal model thus increases the like-
lihood of an outcome off the equilibrium path, whenever this pressure is not counter-
acted by a pronounced domestic tradition of knowledge productionin labor politics or
related areas. This would raise the probability of resistance to the diffusion item or the
potential for its adaptation to the domestic environment.
Strategic Preference Formation and Predicted Outcomes
Whenever the three equilibrium path premises apply and therefore no exogenous vari-
ables have a signicant effect on the decision making of labor elites, their actual process
of strategic preference formation will lead to an outcome that represents the optimal
response to some given environment. I regard a choice for some model of labor politics
as optimal when it entails the most rewarding ratio of costs and benets for channeling
labors interests into the political arena. Different environments of labor inclusion pro-
vide different sets of opportunity structures, within which different models of labor
politics are more or less effective and rewarding. The extent of their effectiveness
can be established by analyzing the costs and benets that would accrue to labor elites
from making a choice for a specic model of labor politics in a particular environment
of inclusion.
On the cost side, personal risks for labor elites through criminal persecution rise
with a decrease in inclusiveness. The overall amount of investment in organization
building varies across models, and it increases with a decline in inclusion. These costs
Konstantin Vössing
have to be set in relation to the according benets expected from varying choices. The
potential for institutionalization is determined by the extent to which decisions for ideol-
ogy and organization suit their environment. The organizational features of varying
models nd themselves in an almost mechanic relation to their context of inclusion,
while the utility of more radical ideology and its appeal to the labor constituency in-
crease with a rise in repression.
Different environments also provide varying oppor-
tunities for labor elites to inuence the exercise of political authority. Evolutionary social
democracy, for example, can only realistically expect to shape policies and the composi-
tion of the executive branch when it nds itself in an institutionally inclusive context.
Table 2 summarizes the substantive expectations derived on this background. It de-
tails the model of labor politics that is predicted to emerge as dominant in some given
environment of labor inclusion, provided that the premises of the equilibrium scenario
apply. Social democratic party formation is expected to fail in an environment of highest
inclusion, where moderate syndicalism represents the optimal choice. The potential ben-
ets of evolutionary social democracy and moderate syndicalism are the same in this
context, but the responsiveness of entrenched elites makes the more costly establishment
of an independent presence in the political arena unnecessary, and therefore favors
less costly moderate syndicalist approaches. Access to political power and the ability
of labor elites to shape policies as well as the mobilization success of moderate syn-
dicalism depend on the existence of entrenched elites that respond effectively to the
political interventions from moderate syndicalist organizations. Only in highest inclu-
sion cases have entrenched elites accomplished such an extent of labor integration.
It is precisely the lack of effective integration that signicantly reduces the benets of
a moderate syndicalist strategy in higher inclusion cases, where the failure of entrenched
elites to respond to labors claims has manifested itself as a precursor to party formation.
Evolutionary social democracy represents the optimal response to higher inclusion, be-
cause access to all institutional channels allows for the piecemeal legislation of socialism,
access to executive power, and the establishment of a union-dominated party. Revolution-
ary rhetoric and deterministic appeals to salvationthat make quasi-revolutionary parties
attractive in low inclusion polities would be counterproductive for a labor constituency
that has been shaped by exposure to an environment of higher inclusion.
In lowest inclusion polities, essentially all models of labor politics that demand
political change are met with erce resistance by the state. Activists propagating
independent political organizations of labor face heavy repression, persecution, and
Table 2 Predicted Outcomes on the Premises of the Equilibrium Scenario
Labor Inclusion Predicted Outcome
Highest No Social Democratic Party Moderate Syndicalism
Higher Evolutionary Social Democratic Party
Low Quasi-revolutionary Social Democratic Party
Lowest No Social Democratic Party Insurrectionism
Comparative Politics January 2011
severe punishment. Costs of organization building are also unusually high because
every organizational effort is under constant supervision by the authorities. As a result,
the costs for all three independent models of labor politics are at a maximum, regard-
less of the extent of their radicalism. Insurrectionism emerges as the most rewarding
model under lowest inclusion because it entails the highest benets, while the costs are
equally high for all these models. The maximalist promise of actual insurrection and
revolutionary turnover in political power is particularly appealing in an environment
characterized by the complete absence of institutional inclusion and a permanently
repressive state. Moreover, the possibility of establishing a mass-based party with an
open organization is much more precarious in the context of lowest inclusion. The
organizational models suggested by insurrectionist approaches either rely entirely, in
the case of bolshevism, or signicantly, in the case of anarchism-syndicalism, on
secrecy and underground activities, and are therefore much better suited for this envi-
ronment than the open and democratic organization favored by social democracy.
In low inclusion cases, quasi-revolutionary social democracy is perceived as the
same kind of threat to the established order as the evolutionary party type. The prag-
matic and legalistic practices of quasi-revolutionary parties function as an important
signaling device vis-à-vis the state to prevent outright dissolution of the organization.
As a consequence, the costs of quasi-revolutionary parties are not higher than those of
evolutionary social democracy. The embrace of more radical rhetoric, on the other hand,
functions as an appealing social integrative mechanism for the partys constituency. As a
result, the potential for mobilization success of quasi-revolutionary social democracy,
and thereby the expected benets of the model, are signicantly higher than for the
evolutionary party type in an environment of low inclusion.
Empirical Assessment of Competing Explanations and Their Predictive Power
The following initial empirical test for the suggested causal relation between labor in-
clusion and national variation in labor politics also provides a brief explanation for off
equilibriumcases and a comparative assessment for the predictive power of all com-
peting environmentalvariables. The analysis is comprehensive because it includes all
countries where the formation of labor politics is possible. For that, two prerequisites
have to be metthe presence of a sufciently large industrial working class as the sine
qua non condition for labor politics and the existence of an at least internallysover-
eign state, which controls for the potential effects of labors involvement in broader
anticolonial movements.
The investigated time period extends to the case specic formative stage of labors
entry into the political arena, beginning with the rst organizational manifestation of a
nationally organized labor movement in the arena of party politics to the accomplishment
of organizational and ideological institutionalization by some dominant model. All ensu-
ing developments are considered stages in the transformation of labor politics. The overall
cut-off point is the year 1919, when a number of new developments changed the context
Konstantin Vössing
for the choices of labor elites, most importantly the emergence of corporatist forms of
labor inclusion, the wide diffusion of communism, and the effects of World War I.
I identied forty-nine states, which were internally sovereign for at least thirty years
before 1914, and which continued to be independent after that date.
I then used har-
monized data on the sectional structure of economic activities derived from national
census reports to determine varying levels of industrialization.
Sufcient industrializa-
tion requires a signicant share of industrial workers in the economically active popula-
tion. The specic threshold, which had to be reached between 1910 and 1919, is set at
a level of 15 percent to delineate an adequately large social group for the purpose of
political contestation. Table 3 shows the twenty cases that were selected, because they
meet the two prerequisites for the possibility of labor politics.
National Variation in Labor Politics
Variation in the formation of social democratic parties or alternative models of labor
politics as the dominant approach is determined on the basis of the previously outlined
taxonomy. Informed by that typological underpinning, a model of labor politics needs to
pass minimum thresholds in three different domains to be considered institutionalized
or successfully formed: systemness (organizational institutionalization), social inte-
gration (through a dominant ideology), and external institutionalization.
The nature of a dominant model of labor politics is determined primarily through an
assessment of its founding documents, including substantive platforms, organizational
statutes, and programmatic contributions of leaders. Actual political practice is consid-
ered an afrmation or qualication of formal statements. External institutionalization
requires the party to achieve at least 10 percent of the vote in two consecutive elections.
Whenever the electoral route was inaccessible, the party needed a record of continuous
and signicant extraparliamentary forms of mobilization or a leading role in the orga-
nization of transformative events.
The variety of observable outcomes presented in Table 3 is the result of a compre-
hensive, in-depth analysis. Quasi-revolutionary social democratic parties became the
dominant model of labor politics in thirteen out of twenty cases, while evolutionary social
democracy emerged as dominant in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. The absence of a
successfully institutionalized social democratic party characterizes four countries. This
coincided with the embrace of moderate syndicalism in the United States and Canada.
In the remaining two cases, social democratic party formation failed in favor of insur-
rectionist approachesbolshevism in Russia and anarchism-syndicalism in Japan.
Empirical Assessment of Competing Explanatory Variables
The causal factor suggested as the determinant for variation in labor politics by the
socioeconomic approach is the pace of industrialization. The empirical distinction
Comparative Politics January 2011
between rapid and gradual patterns (see Table 3) is derived through the calculation of
growth rates per decade for the number of industrial workers in the economically active
The juncture between gradual and rapid development occurs at an average
of 29.44 percent. Due to the lack of a comparative data point, the classication for
Russia, Argentina, and Denmark was derived from the standard economic history lit-
Given the strong regional concentration of industry, Italy and Spain are treated
Table 3 Empirical Assessment of Observable Outcomes and Competing
Explanatory Variables
Model of
Labor Politics
Degree of
United States 1868-1919 Moderate
Rapid Weak Highest Highest
Canada 1894-1919 Moderate
Gradual Weak Higher Higher
Australia 1890-1908 Evolutionary SD Rapid Weak Highest Higher
New Zealand 1900-1918 Evolutionary SD Gradual Moderate Highest Higher
Great Britain 1893-1918 Evolutionary SD Gradual Moderate Higher Higher
France 1879-1905 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Gradual Moderate Higher Higher
Switzerland 1870-1904 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Gradual Weak Highest Higher
Germany 1863-1891 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Strong Low Low
Denmark 1871-1888 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Gradual Strong Low Low
Netherlands 1878-1894 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Gradual Weak Higher Low
Belgium 1875-1894 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Gradual Weak Higher Low
Norway 1885-1891 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Strong Low Low
Sweden 1883-1897 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Strong Low Low
Italy 1877-1895 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Moderate Low Low
Argentina 1882-1896 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Moderate Low Low
Spain 1878-1888 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Moderate Low Low
Austria 1863-1889 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Strong Low Low
Hungary 1868-1903 Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Rapid Strong Low Low
Japan 1898-1919 Insurrectionism Rapid Strong Lowest Lowest
Russia 1883-1917 Insurrectionism Rapid Strong Lowest Lowest
Konstantin Vössing
as examples of rapid industrialization, even though they fall slightly below the average
growth rate. If this biases the analyses, it does so in favor of the socioeconomic approach
and against my theoretical expectation that the nature of industrialization is unrelated to
qualitative variation in models of labor politics.
The status system approach holds differences in the continuing pervasiveness of feu-
dal status differentials accountable for national variation in labor politics. The determina-
tion of empirical variation across cases for the extent of aristocratic strength is based
specically on John Kautskysordinalinstead of Seymour Martin Lipsets more com-
plex categoricalargument. Weak status systems are the result of a lasting liberal trans-
formation, moderate status systems are characterized by the presence of conservative
elites as one contender among others in a system of constitutional governance, and strong
status systems feature an aristocracy that exercises political control through a monarchical-
bureaucratic state. The classication of particular cases (see Table 3) is derived from my
analysis of labor inclusion and the assessments provided by Kautsky and Lipset.
The institutionalist argument tested here represents my own effort to translate
general accounts for national syndromesor experiences of labor politics into an
explanation for variation in specic dominant organizations. As a precursor to the
suggested theory, I test the causal argument that more institutional openness results in
more moderate versions of labor politics. In order to arrive at a classication of cases, I
use the institutional manifestations of labor inclusion introduced in this article (enfran-
chisement, responsible government, political liberties). Akin to the determination of
overall degrees of labor inclusion, I distinguish four ordinal levels of institutional open-
ness resulting from a combination of these constituent dimensions (see Table 3).
Based on the previously outlined conceptualization of labor inclusion, the empiri-
cal classication of cases is the result of a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative
analysis of constitutional and other legal documents as well as enfranchisement data and
secondary literature. The United States stands out as the only polity that has accom-
plished highest labor inclusion. On the background of an institutionally inclusive polity,
varying coalitions of actors succeeded in incorporating labor organizationally and elec-
torally: the Jacksonian Democrats between the 1820s and 1840s, and both major parties
until the end of the nineteenth century. During the following Progressive Era, inclusion
occurred through a loose coalition of progressive politicians from both parties and
entrenched elites in the executive branch.
Higher inclusion polities are also dened by the presence of institutional inclusiveness,
but they lack the successful inclusion of labor through competing parties. Britain, Canada,
and France did not accomplish highest inclusiveness on all institutional dimensions during
labors formative stage in the political arena, but the trend was toward a full embrace of
liberal democratic principles. The extent to which competing parties appealed to labor also
varied across higher inclusion cases, but all of them fell short of the U.S. highest inclusion.
The greatest amount of within-group variation can be observed for the low inclu-
sion category, where the provision of limited access to the political arena has occurred in
two distinct ways: either through the opening of the electoral channel, while limits on
political liberties and responsible government persisted (Germany and Denmark), or
Comparative Politics January 2011
through the at least minimal guarantee of political liberties and responsible government,
while the electoral channel remained closed (all remaining cases). This second type of
low inclusion also features differences across cases regarding the relative quantity of
inclusion: the extent of responsible government and political liberties was signicantly
higher in Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. Labor was subject to re-
pression in all industrializing societies, but complete exclusion during its formative
stage in politics and a permanently hostile state executive occurred only in Japan and
Russia. These two manifestations of lowest inclusion have no signicant channel for
incorporationinclusion is lowest on all six dimensions.
Predictive Power of Competing Explanations
Table 4 displays the substantive expectations of different approaches for national varia-
tion in labor politics, based on the empirical assessment of their explanatory variables
summarized in Table 3. These predictions are paired with the observable outcomes to
determine their accuracy. To enable a comparative assessment of the socioeconomic and
status system explanations, their terminology is adjusted to the typology introduced
here: radical is treated as the equivalent of quasi-revolutionary, and reformist as the
equivalent of evolutionary social democracy. The comparison reveals that the explicit
consideration of elite agency and the introduction of labor inclusion as a causal factor
lead to a signicant increase in predictive power. The socioeconomic and status system
explanations predict the outcome in only ten out of twenty countries. A general argument
based on institutional openness, which I developed into a specic explanation for national
variation in labor politics, predicts thirteen cases. Labor inclusion as an environmental
causal determinant predicts the observable outcome in seventeen out of twenty cases.
The socioeconomic approach predicts quasi-revolutionary to emerge from rapid and
evolutionary social democracy from gradual industrialization. It does not expect outcomes
other than social democratic party formation. The status system explanation expects the
absence of social democracy in those cases that are characterized by weak feudalism, but it
makes no specicpositiveprediction about an alternative. It is implied here, to the ben-
et of the status system approach, that some form of moderate syndicalist strategy will
emerge. Moderate status systems are predicted to cause the formation of evolutionary
social democracy, and strong status systems should lead to quasi-revolutionary social
democratic parties. My adapted institutionalist argument would predict that more radical
forms of labor politics will emerge, the less institutionally inclusive a particular polity pre-
sents itself. More specically, highest institutional inclusiveness would lead to the embrace
of moderate syndicalism, higher institutional inclusiveness to evolutionary, low to quasi-
revolutionary social democracy, and lowest institutional inclusiveness to insurrectionism.
While the socioeconomic perspective suggests a spurious causal relationship, the status
system approach provides a plausible account for its correctly predicted cases. However,
it remains an incomplete explanation because it fails to consider that labor also responded
in a radical manner to repression from liberal parties, as, for example, in Belgium and the
Konstantin Vössing
Netherlands. The insurrectionist cases of Japan and Russia cannot be explained because
the status system theory does not distinguish between different degrees of repression.
Variation in the institutional inclusiveness of different polities is a better predictor
for national variation in labor politics than the socioeconomic and status system theories,
Table 4 Observable Outcomes and the Predictive Power of Competing Explanations
Dominant Model of Labor
Politics Before 1919
Status System
Labor Inclusion
United States Moderate
revolutionary SD
Canada Moderate
Evolutionary SD Moderate
Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD
Australia Evolutionary SD Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD
New Zealand Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD Moderate
Evolutionary SD
Great Britain Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD
France Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD Evolutionary SD
Switzerland Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Moderate
Evolutionary SD
Germany Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Denmark Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Netherlands Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Moderate
Evolutionary SD Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Belgium Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Moderate
Evolutionary SD Quasi-
revolutionary SD
Norway Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Sweden Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Italy Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Argentina Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Spain Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Evolutionary SD Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Austria Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Hungary Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Japan Insurrectionism Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Insurrectionism Insurrectionism
Russia Insurrectionism Quasi-
revolutionary SD
revolutionary SD
Insurrectionism Insurrectionism
Cases correctly
predicted 10 / 20 10 / 20 13 / 20 17 / 20
Comparative Politics January 2011
yet a signicant number of cases remain unexplained. This stems from an incomplete
conceptualization of the external environment that is said to trigger variation in labor
politics and from the lack of a systematic account for elite agency. An exclusive focus
on institutions prevents the detection of variation within democratic polities, where dif-
ferent degrees of inclusion depend on the behavior of entrenched elites. A purely insti-
tutionalist approach is also not equipped to explain the Belgian and Dutch cases, where
overall higher institutional inclusiveness is combined with the exclusion of labor by
dominant liberal parties through a denial of labor enfranchisement and oppressive ex-
ecutive behavior. Incorrect predictions for Canada, Switzerland, and France are not due
to an insufcient conceptualization of external constraints. These cases fundamentally
defy the causal logic suggested by an exclusively structural approach.
Causal Mechanisms
Canada, Switzerland, and France also are examples for the off-equilibrium scenario in the
theory suggested here because labor elites in these countries made choices for a model
of labor politics that would not be predicted by the given degree of labor inclusion. The
proposed theory explains these off equilibrium cases through the three previously intro-
duced exogenous variables.
Knowledge diffusion emerges as the most inuential factor in moving outcomes
off the equilibrium path. The suboptimal choice for moderate syndicalism in Canada can
be explained through the intellectual transfer of that model from the United States and
the transplantation of unions across the border by the AFL. Quasi-revolutionary social
democracy was embraced as the dominant model in Switzerland, even though the evo-
lutionary party type would have been the optimal response to the Swiss environment of
higher inclusion. Diffusion pressure from Germany, Austria, and through the presence
of socialist émigrés is the single most important variable to explain this outcome.
The same kind of suboptimal choice in France was also inuenced by the diffusion
of the paradigmatic quasi-revolutionary party model through the German SPD and the
Second International, but the unclear and uctuating nature of labor inclusion gures
as the most important exogenous factor. Labor was under the impression of frequent
regime changes, from the short lived Second Republic (18481852) to the repressive
Second Empire (18521870), and then the Third Republic, which was only consolidated
as a higher inclusion polity by the mid1880s. A more radical response thus seemed
justied as a result of accumulated memory and the fear that liberal concessions might soon
be reversed again.
Limited institutionalization is an indicator for the presence of a suboptimal
choice. Deciencies in organizational strength, ideological commitment, and electoral
mobilizationyet above a minimum level of institutionalizationcan be observed for
the adopted suboptimal models in all these cases. A divided or weak left is another
consequence of limited mobilization through a suboptimal model, when a contender is
successful in exploiting this weakness.
Konstantin Vössing
The three premises of the equilibrium scenario apply in all those cases, where labor
elites made optimal choices and thereby translated an existing degree of labor inclusion
into the predicted model of labor politics. However, beyond the illustrative examples to be
discussed now, there is some signicant variation within this group of cases with respect
to the relative absence of exogenous variables and according degrees of optimality.
Information about the nature of the external environment was excellent in the case
of Germany, since the attitude of Prussia after 1848 and the German Empire from 1871 to
1890 toward labor were readily apparent. Quasi-revolutionary social democracy emerged
as dominant over incipient evolutionary and protoanarchist challengers because there
was little diffusion pressure from the outside and a pronounced tradition of domestic
knowledge production that turned the SPD into the model party of Marxist socialism.
The leading party theoreticians did not emerge from the labor movement, but they
managed to establish a symbiotic relationship with the partys working class leaders,
exemplied by the cooperation between Karl Kautsky and August Bebel. A similar
scenario also characterized Britain, where the evolutionary social democratic Labor Party
developed out of a merger between a number of unions, the working-class ILP, and the
middle class Fabian Society. The presence of a socialist think tank and a long tradition of
active unions also favored a rational evaluation of domestic conditions over the uncritical
import of paradigmatic foreign models.
Moderate syndicalism, which became dominant in the United States through the
formation of the AFL, was an optimal choice in the U.S. environment of highest inclu-
sion. Strategic preference formation was not unaffected by external diffusion, but
throughout the nineteenth century a pronounced domestic tradition emerged that became
distinct from foreign paradigms. The insurrectionist bolshevik model is an intellectual
merger of the older Russian populism and the modern tenet of Marxism. The diffusion
of Marxism was necessary for bolshevism to emerge, but it was not imported without
adjustment. This intellectual effort prevented the embrace of the quasi-revolutionary
social democratic model that would have been suboptimal in the Russian case of lowest in-
clusion. Even though Russian labor elites were almost without exception from the educated
middle classes, this did not affect the premise of the equilibrium scenario because they were
as alienated and excluded from the social and political mainstream as their constituency.
The nature of labor inclusion in a given polity explains the emerging dominant model
of labor politics, whenever labor elites make an optimal choice. Empirical analysis
shows that labor elites translated their environment of inclusion into the theoretically
expected model of labor politics in seventeen out of twenty cases. The nature of labor
inclusion is therefore a signicantly better environmental predictor for national variation
in labor politics than prior socioeconomic, status system, and institutionalist variables.
However, the suggested explanation extends further by detailing the causal factors that
triggered suboptimal choices of labor elites in the three remaining cases.
Comparative Politics January 2011
The suggested theory can be linked to a more fundamental theoretical concern for
the conditions under which some transcendent rationalitytrumps other determinants
for the behavior of political actors in the embrace of organizational forms and proce-
This study can also directly contribute to various adjacent areas of research. The
transformation of social democracy has often been understood as a mechanic response
to changing circumstances. A competing argument already shows that social democracy
is capable of responding creatively to external developments.
Elaborating on this body
of work, the research on the formative stage of labor politics outlined here allows for
an analysis of the effects of formation experiences on party transformation. Varying
patterns of party formation may create a point of departure for path dependency by
limiting the decisional autonomy of party elites in later stages of party development.
The author expresses his gratitude to Richard Gunther for his feedback on this article as well as for his support
for the broader underlying project and beyond. I would also like to thank Tony Mughan, Herbert Kitschelt, and
Richard Hamilton for a multitude of valuable suggestions. I am grateful for comments on earlier versions of
this article and helpful advice from Nicoleta Bazgan, Sam Decanio, Ellen Immergut, Roman Ivanchenko, Seth
Jolly, Justin Lance, Dag Mossige, Srdjan Vucetic, and Lorenzo Zambernardi. I have also beneted greatly
from the feedback provided by three anonymous reviewers and the editors of Comparative Politics.
1. The term labor elitesidenties individuals that engage in the political mobilization of workers,
regardless of whether they are workers or union activists themselves.
2. Margaret Levi, A Model, a Method and a Map,in Mark Lichbach and Alan Zuckerman, eds.,
Comparative Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 31.
3. Evolutionary and quasi-revolutionary social democracy emerged during the formative stage investigated
here; other types occurred later through party transformation. Social democracy is an analytical category that
encompasses different party names such as socialist,”“social democratic,or labor.
4. Stefano Bartolini, The Political Mobilization of the European Left, 18601980 (Cambridge: University Press,
2000). Flemming Mikkelsen, Working-Class Formation in Europe,Labor History, 46 (August 2005), 277306.
5. Socioeconomic: Edvard Bull, Die Entwicklung der Arbeiterbewegung in den drei skandinavischen
Ländern 19141920,Archiv für die Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung 10 (1922), 32961;
Walter Galenson Scandinavia,in Galenson, ed., Comparative Labor Movements (New York: Russell, 1952).
Status system: Seymour Martin Lipset, Radicalism or Reformism: The Sources of Working-class Politics,
American Political Science Review, 77 (March 1983), 118; John Kautsky, Social Democracy and the
Aristocracy (Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2002). Institutionalist: Gary Marks et al., Radicalism or
Reformism? Socialist Parties before World War I,American Sociological Review, 74 (August 2009), 61435.
6. For the terminology of party species, see Richard Gunther and Larry Diamond, Species of Political
Parties,Party Politics, 9 (March 2003), 16799.
7. Herbert Kitschelt, The Logics of Party Formation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989).
8. Erich Matthias, Kautsky und der Kautskyanismus,Marxismusstudien 2 (1957), 15197.
9. Karl Kautsky, Der Weg zur Macht (Berlin: Bloch, 1906).
10. V. I. Lenin, What is to be Done? [1902] in Collected Works 5 (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing
House 1961), 347531.
11. Embedded in his underlying concern with status systems, Lipset emphasizes universal suffrage. Marks
et al. highlight civil liberties. Many additional pieces, institutionalist in the broadest sense, have related yet
different explanatory interests. For a groundbreaking study, see Charles Tilly, From Mobilization to Revolution
(Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1978).
12. Robert Goldstein, Political Repression in 19
century Europe (London: Croom, 1983).
13. Some contributions, most notably Marks et al., 61819, outline general rationales regarding the
behavior of labor that sustain a structural argument. But they do not formulate a systematic theory that
would, among other things, also have the capacity to explain the actual agency of individual labor elites.
Konstantin Vössing
14. See Ira Katznelson and Barry Weingast, eds., Preferences and Situations (New York: Sage, 2005).
15. Peter Hall, Preference Formation as a Political Katznelson and Weingast, eds., 12960.
16. This establishes the most important link between elite choices and worker constituency. Successful
mobilization is crucial for the institutionalization of any organization, and it depends on the ability of labor
elites to devise a model that appeals to their constituency, whose demands are shaped by the given environment
of inclusion.
17. Data from Kristian Gleditsch, A Revised List of Wars between and within Independent States,
18162002,International Interactions, 30 (September 2004), 23161.
18. Data from Paul Bairoch et al., La Population active et sa structure,(Brussels: 1968).
19. James Mahoney and Gary Goertz, The Possibility Principle: Choosing Negative Cases in Comparative
Research,American Political Science Review, 98 (November 2004), 65369. Some cases were excluded
because no data are available. Given this lack of attention to industrialization in census reports, it is
extremely likely that the prerequisite was not met. Other than Gleditsch, I treat Hungary and Austria as
two separate cases because each of them enjoyed domestic autonomy.
20. This assessment is rooted in the party institutionalization literature. Vicky Randall and Lars Svasand,
Party Institutionalization in New Democracies,Party Politics, 8 (January 2002), 529; Samuel Huntington,
Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968). Akin to Huntington, I
distinguish minimum institutionalization thresholds that need to be crossed for considering an organization
successfully formedfrom varying degrees of institutionalization, and as one element of that broader
concept, variation in mobilization success. The choice for an optimal model of labor politics is one
determinant of mobilization success. Other determinants are the features of the working class: number of
workers, regional concentration of industry, and size of rms. My argument implies that these factors
inuence mobilization success, but not qualitative variation in labor politics.
21. Data assembled by Bairoch et al.
22. Rondo Cameron, A Concise Economic History of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).
23. Peter Hall and Rosemarie Taylor, The Potential of Historical Institutionalism,Political Studies,
46 (December 1998), 961.
24. Herbert Kitschelt, The Transformation of European Social Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1994).
Comparative Politics January 2011
... Violence then defies institutionalised 'conflict' because grievances and claims cannot extract concessions by elites (see also Hobsbawm 2007, 234). This explains why terrorism and the revolutionary left first developed in states where protesters lacked access to legitimate politicalparticipation and clandestinity or insurrection was their only means of mobilisation and resistance (Seferiades and Johnston 2016, 5-7;Vössing 2011;Tarrow 1998, 95). Violence overall, including its relation with the radical left, cannot be separated from the context of global neoliberal system deficiencies. ...
The aim of this article is to identify and discuss a number of labels that have been increasingly used to describe, categorise and study the contemporary radical left – the movements and parties of the socialist tradition and its contemporary derivatives – pointing to the deeply political implications of these trends. More specifically, ‘extremism’, ‘populism’ and ‘nationalism’ as signifiers of what left radicalism looks like are scrutinised in terms of both the political logic and the historical background behind their use, and the challenges they raise for emancipatory, progressive politics. A plea for recasting contemporary social and political struggles for equality and rights is subsequently articulated, the central conviction advanced being terminological: the left’s struggles today must rise above the verbal smoke of the predominant discourse about this political space. It is a key task to appropriately qualify those terms that taint contemporary radicals with colours which do not represent them or fall far short from defining them. Put simply, if the radical left is to succeed electorally and channel its vision into society effectively it needs to reclaim its chief identity trait in the public sphere: left radicalism itself. Reclaiming radicalism entails a number of strategic tasks. These are laid out in terms of imperative discursive articulations, which are, however, paralleled by particular political actions on the ground that can either confirm or undermine any terminological claims.
... Archer (2007) suggests that repression in the United States was higher than in Australia, but the differences he finds are relatively insignificant compared to severely See text for an extensive discussion of environments (limited, inclusive), choice alternatives (SD ¼ Social Democracy, MS ¼ Moderate Syndicalism) and the logic of decision-making. Vössing 3 repressive Russia or semi-liberalized Germany (Vössing, 2011). It should also be kept in mind that repressive acts against labour were frequently performed by private security forces on behalf of corporations, or by state militias and local law enforcement agencies (Adams, 1995: 201). ...
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This article explains the outcome of American labour’s formative stage in politics between 1860 and 1921 by modelling the decision-making process of labour elites under limited and full labour inclusion. Several countries featured limited inclusion through a neutral executive and democratic institutions, but full inclusion – the incorporation of labour into the party system through entrenched partisan elites – occurred only in the United States. An analytic narrative illustrates the conclusion from my decision analysis that the failure of social democracy and the embrace of moderate syndicalism in the United States occurred as the rational response of labour elites to this unique environment.
Throughout American history, some social movements, such as organized labor and the Christian Right, have forged influential alliances with political parties, while others, such as the antiwar movement, have not. When Movements Anchor Parties provides a bold new interpretation of American electoral history by examining five prominent movements and their relationships with political parties. Taking readers from the Civil War to today, Daniel Schlozman shows how two powerful alliances-those of organized labor and Democrats in the New Deal, and the Christian Right and Republicans since the 1970s-have defined the basic priorities of parties and shaped the available alternatives in national politics. He traces how they diverged sharply from three other major social movements that failed to establish a place inside political parties-the abolitionists following the Civil War, the Populists in the 1890s, and the antiwar movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Moving beyond a view of political parties simply as collections of groups vying for preeminence, Schlozman explores how would-be influencers gain influence-or do not. He reveals how movements join with parties only when the alliance is beneficial to parties, and how alliance exacts a high price from movements. Their sweeping visions give way to compromise and partial victories. Yet as Schlozman demonstrates, it is well worth paying the price as movements reorient parties' priorities. Timely and compelling, When Movements Anchor Parties demonstrates how alliances have transformed American political parties.
This study investigates the three main waves of political regime contention in Europe and Latin America. Surprisingly, protest against authoritarian rule spread across countries more quickly in the nineteenth century, yet achieved greater success in bringing democracy in the twentieth. To explain these divergent trends, the book draws on cognitive-psychological insights about the inferential heuristics that people commonly apply; these shortcuts shape learning from foreign precedents such as an autocrat's overthrow elsewhere. But these shortcuts had different force, depending on the political-organizational context. In the inchoate societies of the nineteenth century, common people were easily swayed by these heuristics: jumping to the conclusion that they could replicate such a foreign precedent in their own countries, they precipitously challenged powerful rulers, yet often at inopportune moments - and with low success. By the twentieth century, however, political organizations had formed. As organizational ties loosened the bounds of rationality, contentious waves came to spread less rapidly, but with greater success.
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ABSTRACT While the literature already includes a large number of party typologies, they are increasingly incapable of capturing the great diversity of party types that have emerged worldwide in recent decades, largely because most,typologies were based upon,West European,parties as they existed in the late nineteenth through,mid-twentieth centuries. Some new,party types have been advanced, but in an ad hoc manner and on the basis of widely varying and often inconsistent criteria. This article is an effort to set many,of the commonly,used conceptions,of parties into a coherent framework, and to delineate new party types whenever the existing models,are incapable,of capturing,important,aspects of contemporary parties. Weclassify,each of 15 ‘species’ of party into its proper,‘genus’ on the basis of three criteria: (1) the nature of the party’s organization (thick/thin, elite-based or mass-based, etc.); (2) the programmatic orien- tation of the party (ideological, particularistic-clientele-oriented, etc.); and (3) tolerant and pluralistic (or democratic) versus proto-hegemonic (or anti-system). While this typology lacks parsimony, we believe that it captures more,accurately the diversity of the parties as they exist in the contemporary democratic world, and is more conducive to hypothesis- testing and,theory-building than others. KEY WORDS � party organization,� party programmes,� party systems � party types For nearly a century, political scientists have developed typologies and
Gleditsch and Ward (1999) examined the criteria for membership in the international system employed by the Correlates of War (COW) project and developed a revised list of independent nation states since 1816. These revisions in turn have implications for other datasets based on the COW system membership classification. This article suggests various revisions to the COW project's list of wars to create a dataset compatible with the revised list of independent states. It identifies additional wars that qualify as interstate or civil wars as well as additional participating states to these wars. I show how the COW project's criteria, based on recognition by France and the UK to identify states as system members in the Nineteenth century and early Twentieth century, understate the total amount of conflict between and within the independent states identified by the Gleditsch and Ward list. An appendix to the article displays a revised list of wars since 1816, with updates for 1997 to 2002 based on data compiled by the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, and details several changes to the current release of the COW war data over the previous 1994 ICPSR release. The article concludes by outlining an agenda for future collection and improvement of data on wars.
From my work on my doctoral dissertation (Lipset 1950, 1968) down to the present, I have been interested in the problem of “American exceptionalism.” That curious phrase emerged from the debate in the international Communist movement in the 1920s concerning the sources of the weakness of left-wing radical movements in the United States (Draper 1960, pp. 268-72; Lipset 1977a, pp. 107-61). The key question repeatedly raised in this context has been, is America qualitatively different from other industrial capitalist countries? Or, to use Sombart's words, “Why is there no Socialism in the United States?” (Sombart 1976). In a forthcoming book, I evaluate the hypotheses advanced by various writers from Karl Marx onward to explain the absence of an effective socialist party on the American political scene. (For a preliminary formulation, see Lipset 1977b, pp. 31-149, 346-63.) If any of the hypotheses are valid, they should also help to account for the variation among working-class movements in other parts of the world. In this article, therefore, I shall reverse the emphasis from that in my book and look at socialist and working-class movements comparatively, applying elsewhere some of the propositions that have been advanced to explain the American situation.
The literature on democratisation emphasises the contribution of political parties, and in that context the importance of party institutionalization. But this concept remains relatively unexplored. Our article first considers the relationship between party institutionalization and party system institutionalization, pointing out that they are not necessarily convergent. We then review the existing literature on part), institutionalization, indicating weaknesses and contradictions, before offering our own analytic model. In the final section we identify some of the key considerations arising when this model is applied to the particular circumstances of democratic transition in the Third World.
Within the parameters of a class model this paper seeks to explain how the European labor movements developed against a background of expanding capitalist labor markets, rural - urban split, liberal political hegemony, conflicting and competing religious, ethnic and linguistic affiliation and state repression, from the mid nineteenth century until World War II. Stating that solidarity, organization and militancy are functions of urbanism, the paper raises the question of how different societies overcame the rural urban split. Besides noting that most countries in East and South Europe did not manage to cross the bridge, one may point out that extensive urbanization resulted from the exodus from the countryside simultaneous with the growth of industrial labor markets in towns and cities, and next, how the labor movement managed to expand trade unions outside the urban sector, and seeking electoral support among the agrarian population. Provided labor had considerable national political power, this turned out to be an effective policy; otherwise this organizational expansion would be confronted with violent opposition. Early industrialization often went hand in hand with liberal political domination, which occupied the social space and hence obstructed further diffusion by other organizations. Only external events such as a major war or an economic crisis were able to break these ties effectively. In West and North Europe repression was moderate and temporary, whereas the working classes in South and East Europe were exposed to repression and harassment by landlords, industrialists and state bureaucracies. Only fundamental changes in international and national power structures could bring advantages to the labor movement. From a theoretical angle it is the interaction between mode of production, political organization and state structure that best explains different forms of working-class integration in Europe.