Romanian Social Democratic Party (1927-1948)

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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. In the early 1920s, the Socialist Party of Romania split over the issue of affiliation with the Third International. The majority, which supported affiliation, evolved into the Communist Party of Romania in 1921, while the members who opposed the new orientation formed various political groupings, eventually reorganizing under a central leadership 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. It published the magazines Socialismul, Lumea Nouă, and Libertatea. After the end of the Communist single-party system in 1989, a group of former members created a new party which proclaimed itself the direct descendent of the PSD.

Foundation 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 first organized party of the Romanian socialists, Romanian Social Democratic Workers' Party was founded in 1893, but was disbanded by the end of the decade after conflicts between the bourgeois leaders, who considered democratic reforms were possible only in alliance with the National Liberal Party, and the proletarian leaders and members, who wanted to continue as a strictly working class party. Lacking material means and organisational experience, the Marxists were only able to re-organise a socialist party in 1910, when the Social Democratic Party of Romania was founded. Outlawed during World War I, the party re-emerged in 1918 with a revolutionary programme, rebranding itself as the Socialist Party of Romania.

As following the war Romania acquired a large extent of new territories, the socialists toned down their objectives in order to accommodate the more reformist-minded Social Democratic Party of Transylvania and Banat and Social Democratic Party of Bukovina. Despite successive declarations in favour of uniting the three parties under a single central leadership, this objective was never completed, as the revolutionary and reformist factions came into open conflict. Unity projects where shattered after the social democrats, including most members of the Bukovina party, an important part of the Transylvanian party, and a minority in old Romania, broke from the party in February 1921, the moment it became clear that the communist faction had gained a majority in the central leadership. The majority of the PSD 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 2 12 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.

Notable members[edit]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]