II. Principles - Freedom, Justice and Solidarity
12. Democratic socialism is an international movement for freedom, social justice and solidarity. Its goal is to achieve a peaceful world where these basic values can be enhanced and where each individual can live a meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality and talents and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a democratic framework of society.
13. Freedom is the product of both individual and cooperative efforts - the two aspects are parts of a single process. Each person has the right to be free of political coercion and also to the greatest chance to act in pursuit of individual goals and to fulfil personal potential. But that is only possible if humanity as a whole succeeds in its long-standing struggle to master its history and to ensure that no person, class, sex, religion or race becomes the servant of another.
14. Justice and Equality. Justice means the end of all discrimination against individuals, and the equality of rights and opportunities. It demands compensation for physical, mental and social inequalities, and freedom from dependence on either the owners of the means of production or the holders of political power.
Equality is the expression of the equal value of all human beings and the precondition for the free development of the human personality. Basic economic, social and cultural equality is essential for individual diversity and social progress.
Freedom and equality are not contradictory. Equality is the condition for the development of individual personality. Equality and personal freedom are indivisible.
15. Solidarity is all-encompassing and global. It is the practical expression of common humanity and of the sense of compassion with the victims of injustice. Solidarity is rightly stressed and celebrated by all major humanist traditions. In the present era of unprecedented interdependence between individuals and nations, solidarity gains an enhanced significance since it is imperative for human survival.
16. Democratic socialists attach equal importance to these fundamental principles. They are interdependent. Each is a prerequisite of the other. As opposed to this position, Liberals and Conservatives have placed the main emphasis on individual liberty at the expense of justice and solidarity while Communists have claimed to achieve equality and solidarity, but at the expense of freedom.
Democracy and Human Rights
17. The idea of democracy is based on the principles of freedom and equality. Therefore, equal rights for men and women - not only in theory, but also in practice, at work, in the family and in all areas of social life - are part of the socialist concept of society.
18. Democratic socialists strive to achieve equal rights for all races, ethnic groups, nations and denominations. These rights are seriously in question in many regions of the world today.
19. Forms of democracy of course may vary. However, it is only possible to speak of democracy if people have a free choice between various political alternatives in the framework of free elections; if there is a possibility for a change of government by peaceful means based on the free will of the people; if individual and minority rights are guaranteed; and, if there is an independent judicial system based on the rule of law impartially applied to all citizens. Political democracy is an indispensable element of a socialist society. Democratic socialism is a continuing process of social and economic democratisation and of increasing social justice.
20. Individual rights are fundamental to the values of socialism. Democracy and human rights are also the substance of popular power, and the indispensable mechanism whereby people can control the economic structures which have so long dominated them. Without democracy, social policies cannot disguise the dictatorial character of a government.
21. There can be no doubt that different cultures will develop their own institutional forms of democracy. But whatever form democracy assumes - nationally or internationally - it must provide full rights for individuals and for organised minority opinions. For socialists, democracy is of its very nature pluralist, and this pluralism provides the best guarantee of its vitality and creativity.
22. Freedom from arbitrary and dictatorial government is essential. It constitutes the precondition whereby peoples and societies can create a new and better world of peace and international cooperation - a world in which political, economic and social destinies will be democratically determined.