Full Text


Peter Beilharz

Subject Sociology » Government, Politics, and Law, Work, Management, Occupations, and Organizations

Key-Topics labor

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Laborism refers to the theory and practice of the labor movement, articulated as its own kind of socialism or social protection. Laborism is best understood as the project which seeks to defend and extend the interests of workers and their families under capitalism. Laborism is peculiar to Anglo imperial cultures, such as Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Its intellectual advocates are often associated with the ideological trend of reformism called Fabianism in these countries, or progressivism in the United States. The peculiarity of laborism as an Anglo phenomenon is that it results from the shift a hundred years ago of the labor movement into politics. Laborism, or labor socialism, as the defensive cliché indicates, is what labor parties do. Laborism, then, indicates a distinct path of development in contrast to European socialism, or social democracy. Classical social democratic parties on the European continent were based on the German model, which was not only socialist but also explicitly Marxist. Laborism is less doctrinal than this, often seeking as a maximum program universal health care provision and free schooling or decent public housing. This is not to say that laborism is always meek in its reformism. Certainly the British, Australian, and New Zealand labor parties were home to various radicals and Marxists, though the rise of organized communism after 1917 took ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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