6.6 Hyphenated socialisms

Some of the hyphenated socialist alternatives of the 21st Century emphasize what the practices of many "socialist" governments and political parties of the 20th Century lacked (for example, "democratic"-socialism and "eco"-socialism. In contrast to what went wrong within the socialisms of the 20th Century and as attempts to create more worthy 21st century socialist alternatives, these contemporary hyphenated socialist initiatives are steps in the right direction.

But not all hyphenated socialisms have been positive. The government of the world's first enduring "socialist" society and those of many of the countries that followed its lead advertised themselves as examples of "scientific"-socialism, a reference to their use of long-range planning of economic development and to their claim to be based on the application of a scientific theory of society, referenced as Marxism-Leninism. The latter, however, includes philosophy as well as social scientific theory. Without distinguishing science from philosophy, Marxism-Leninism was subscribed to as a secular religion by these states. Bureaucratized management (mislabelled as centralized planning) was heralded as the product of "scientific" socialism, while a philosophy, dialectical materialism, was misrepresented by the leaders of these governments as one of the sciences. In these ways, the so-called "scientific" socialists subverted science and undermined philosophy and ultimately undermined the socialist project itself.

The greatest evil of the 20th century also masqueraded as a hyphenated version of socialism. "National"-socialism was not only a contradiction in terms, it represented outright barbarism, the ultimate denial of human common interest and solidarity.

Largely absent have been hyphenated socialisms that would restore to socialist aims and practices the full liberation of human intelligence. Science (as knowledge and method), education (as content and process) and imagination (of alternatives and possibilities) remain as necessary to the realization of a just, sustainable society as are democracy and respect for nature. Perhaps the large investments of many socialist governments in science, education and the arts have obscured the misdirection of many of those investments by some of those governments. Emphasis on propaganda, indoctrination and constraints on genuine freedom of thought and expression were ultimately destructive of their proclaimed emancipatory aims.

The use of alternative descriptors for the new system we aim to achieve, such as "green social democracy", might help encourage discussion and reflection on alternatives to capitalism. Provided that these new descriptors are not allowed to become further ossified "isms" that substitute ideological adherence for thought and debate, their use may be a way to provide opportunities for us to get it right at last and in time to avert another, this time fatal round of international barbarism. The continuing struggle to achieve a just, sustainable society, including unqualified and unbounded struggles for greater democracy, better and more education and science, and more scope for human imagination, is the path forward. A measure of success in these struggles is the respect accorded thinking outside the box and aversion to conformist, uncritical thought and action.


This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New


Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them


Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement


Charles and Karen McFadden, “The Shape of Water” as an Antidote to the Age of Trump 

Charles McFadden, Decolonizing the U.S. & Canada: The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.


William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class


George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP


Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018



1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism


1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems


2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.