Reformism is an ideological current that defends that political, social and economic changes have to be carried out gradually through reforms.
The reformist current collides head-on with the revolutionary and reactionary movements.
The first for wanting to carry out the change of the system through violence abruptly, without taking into account elements such as consensus or the study of the viability of the changes implemented. The reactionary movement proposes the opposite, not to change anything, the advances and progress are branded as revolutionary and as an attack against the values and traditional society.
Reformism is situated as an intermediate current, advocates for social change that facilitates progress, equality and prosperity of the citizens of a country, but in a consensual manner and after the deliberation of the political forces in charge of developing and implementing said reforms. . In other words, it supports changes as long as they are ordered and through reforms previously agreed upon by the different political forces and experts in the field.
Origin and evolution of reformism
Reformism appears at the end of the 19th century. It arises to respond to the problems of the time, problems that were also identified by Marxist followers and revolutionary leftists. But, unlike these, the reformism rejected violence in its actions and sought to make the most of the legal and institutional framework present in the establishment of its reforms.
Reformism did not play a particularly prominent role due to the social polarization of the time. Events such as the Russian Revolution and other revolutionary outbreaks completely overshadowed the reformist current.
It can be said that, since the end of the Second World War and the expansion of democracy as a form of government, reformism has triumphed and imposed itself, taking the form of social democracy. This model supposes an intermediate scenario between socialism and capitalism, solving problems through consensual interventionist processes.
Social democracy and reformism
Social democracy is the ideology that operates in the functioning of Western countries. Reformism is presented as one of the ideological pillars that sustains it. This is characterized by leaving the market as an allocator of resources, but complements it through public policies that ensure greater justice in the distribution of income. What we call a mixed economy.
Some of its achievements are the following:
Thus, all these achievements and modifications that are to be promoted later are based on reformism as a tool. Dissuading the population from the execution of revolutionary practices.
Criticism of reformism
Reformism, like any ideological current, faces numerous criticisms. These come mainly from the left wing, with which theoretically it has more affinity.
Marxism is the main critic of reformism. The Marxist objective is to end the capitalist system and build a new system based on communism, with total equality, nationalized means of production and the absence of social classes.
For this, the necessary path is revolution. That is why it criticizes reformism, accuses it of collaborating with its executioner (the bourgeois and capitalist actors and institutions), and of not using the appropriate means to give real power to the working class.
Also, within the ideologies themselves, they tend to accuse each other of reformists, understanding the term in a pejorative sense. The Bolsheviks did it with the Mensheviks and Social Democrats; the Marxists with the anarchists; the Stalinists with the Trotskyists, etc. In other words, the most radical accused the most moderate of being a reformist, although the latter did not fully agree with the reformist slogans.