I am confused by tim's great answer to this question on Bernie Sanders's political orientations. To summarize the answer, though Sanders labels himself as a socialist, it seems that social democrat suits him better.
Definitions are often blurry in politics, so here are the definitions used in the answer (formulation is mine):
- Socialism: policy that promotes public ownership of the means of production (either through direct ownership by workers, or through state ownership). With this definition, communism is a particular form of socialism.
- Social democracy: ideology that advocates mixed economy, where the market is regulated towards social and economical justice.
Note that I am not considering that the socialist is intrinsically revolutionary, or that it has to be implemented through a dictatorship or a unique party.
Now consider Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Red Revolution in Russia in 1917. He promoted a Communism of War during the Russian Civil War (1917-1922) but when the communists finally won, the country was ruined. He then decided to reform the country through the New Economic Policy (NEP). In a few words, the NEP is a mixed economy were private ownership of small businesses is accepted while the State controls the banks and big industries.
This seems to suit better the definition of social democracy than the definition of communism. It is strange to me as Lenin was the founder of USSR, the big evil empire that (try to) spread communism all around the world.
Is it appropriate to call Lenin a social democrat? Or am I misunderstanding the NEP?
Note: from the definition, it seems that social democracy has nothing to do with democracy, the system where the political power is given to citizen. Am I wrong in my definition of social democracy?