Romanian Social Democratic Party (defunct)

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The Romanian Social Democratic Party (Romanian: Partidul Social Democrat Român, or Partidul Social Democrat, PSD) was a social-democratic political party in Romania. It was formed in 1910, but banned in 1916 when Romania joined World War I. Reorganized after the war, it evolved into the Communist Party of Romania in 1921. A minority of the members opposed the new orientation and formed various political groupings, eventually reorganizing themselves under the original name in 1927. From 1938 to 1944, the party was outlawed but remained active in clandestinity. After 1944, it allied with the Romanian Communist Party and eventually merged with it into the Romanian Workers' Party in 1948. The party was revived after the end of the Communist single-party system in 1989. In 2001 it merged with the Party of Social Democracy in Romania to form the Social Democratic Party. It published the magazine România Muncitoare, and later Socialismul, Lumea Nouă, and Libertatea.

Early party[edit]

Created under the name of Social Democratic Party of Romania (Partidul Social Democrat din România, PSDR) in February 1910, it viewed itself as a successor to the Romanian Social-Democratic Workers' Party, the latter having disbanded in April 1899 after a conflict between its reformist wing (deemed "generoșii" - "the generous ones"), which left in order to join the National Liberal Party, and the Marxist groups - which survived only in Bucharest as the Socialist Union of Romania (Uniunea Socialistă din România).

The PSDR affiliated with the Second International, and was noted for its activism in favor of the labour movement and internationalist pacifism, as well as its denunciation of the Romanian campaign in Bulgaria during the Second Balkan War. These policies got the party banned when Romania entered World War I (August 1916). Its members reunited after the war, and founded the Socialist Party of Romania (November 1918).

Refoundation and World War II[edit]

Criticism among socialist groups, as illustrated in a December 1922 caricature by Nicolae Tonitza. The mine owner to the miner: "A socialist, you say? My son is a socialist too, but without going on strike..., that is why he already has his own capital..."

The majority of the new party became increasingly favorable to the Bolshevik option, reforming itself as the Communist Party of Romania (PCdR, later PCR), in May 1921. A minority wing formed the Federation of Romanian Socialist Parties (Federația Partidelor Socialiste din România), which reformed as the Social Democratic Party in May 1927 and affiliated with the 2½ International. The leader of the PSD in the following period was Constantin Titel Petrescu.

The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1923 and 1940.[1]

Beginning with the late 1920s several groups left the party dissatisfied with what they perceived as the turn of the PSDR leadership to right-wing politics. Such groups included the Socialist Workers Party of Romania, founded in 1928 by a group around Leon Ghelerter (joined in 1931 by former communist leader Gheorghe Cristescu), and the Socialist Party (Partidul Socialist) created in 1933 by a group around Constantin Popovici. Shortly after the latter's creation, the factions joined to form the Unitary Socialist Party, only to split again in 1935.

Banned in 1938 by the personal dictatorship of King Carol II, the PSD remained active in clandestinity, peacefully resisting to the rise of Fascism, condemning the Iron Guard and the National Legionary State proclaimed in 1940. With the ascendancy of Ion Antonescu and Romania's participation in World War II alongside the Axis Powers (see Romania during World War II), the PSD, who remained favourable to the Allies, joined King Michael and other political groups in open resistance to the regime, becoming part of a clandestine National Democratic Bloc which included the National Peasants' Party, the National Liberals, and the Soviet Union-backed Communists.

In 1944, the PCR and the PSD formed a Singular Workers' Front (Frontul Unic Muncitoresc), which was meant to coordinate actions from the Left. The united fronts succeeded in overthrowing Antonescu's government on August 23, and backed the government of Constantin Sănătescu which declared war on the Axis.

Late 1940s[edit]

Subsequently, PSD entered talks with PCR representative Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu, leading to the creation of National Democratic Front (Frontul Naţional Democrat, FND) in February 1945 (which grouped the two parties together with Petru Groza's Ploughmen's Front, Mihai Ralea's Socialist Peasants' Party, and Mitiță Constantinescu's Union of Patriots). Meant as an electoral alliance of the Left, the FND faced accusations from the PSD that it was becoming a tool for the PCR (especially after it had passed resolutions reflecting democratic centralism). An internal struggle ensued between the pro-communist wing and Titel Petrescu's supporters; Petrescu's faction (including Lazăr Măglaşu) left the PSD in March 1946 to found the Independent Social Democratic Party (Partidul Social Democrat Independent, PSDI), which presented itself as an independent faction in the November 1946 general election - these were won by the FND after a large-scale electoral fraud engineered by the Groza government.

Under pressure from the PCR to create "a single party of the working class", the PSD accepted Marxism-Leninism and united with the Communists in February 1948, to create the Romanian Workers' Party (Partidul Muncitoresc Român, PMR), official name of the PCR as the ruling party of Communist Romania until 1965 (when it returned to its former title). PSD members, including Titel Petrescu, were victims of political repression and many died in communist prisons.


After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the party reformed itself under the name Social Democratic Party of Romania, and rejoined the International. After entering alliances with the Democratic Party (forming Uniunea Social-Democrată during the 1996 legislative election), and taking part in the Romanian Democratic Convention governments of Victor Ciorbea, Radu Vasile, and Mugur Isărescu (briefly leading the coalition government with Alexandru Athanasiu in 1999), the PSDR adhered to the Social Democratic Pole of Romania, and fused into the Social Democratic Party on January 16, 2001.

A minority wing opposed to the merger survived as Partidul Social Democrat "Constantin Titel Petrescu", later reforming itself as the Social-Democratic Workers' Party.

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 321

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