Social democracy experienced a dramatic growth in the four decades prior to World War I. In this period, the era of the Second International, orthodox Marxism was the official ideology for most social democratic and labour parties. As these parties sought effective parliamentary representation, increasing tension developed between social democratic theory and practice. One of the greatest expressions of the contradiction between theory and practice was the social democratic approach to the peasantry and the rural sector in general.
The eighteen contributions to this volume examine the attitudes of social democratic parties in Australia and Europe towards the peasantry and the agrarian issue. The contributors show how these attitudes varied greatly among the different countries, depending on the socioeconomic and political structure, the role of radical populism and the situation within the social democratic party in the countries in question.