Social democracy is a political ideology that considers itself to be a form of reformist democratic socialism. It advocates for a peaceful, evolutionary transition of the economy to socialism through progressive social reform of capitalism It asserts that the only acceptable constitutional form of government is representative democracy under the rule of law. It promotes extending democratic decision-making beyond political democracy to include economic democracy to guarantee employees and other economic stakeholders sufficient rights of co-determination.
Common social democratic policies include advocacy of universal social rights to attain universally accessible public services such as education, health care, workers' compensation, and other services including child care and care for the elderly. Social democracy is connected with the trade union labour movement and supports collective bargaining rights for workers. Most social democratic parties are affiliated with the Socialist International.Social democracy originated in 19th century Germany from the influence of both the internationalist revolutionary socialism and doctrine of communism advanced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; and the reformist socialism of Ferdinand Lassalle.
The Marxists and Lassallians were in rivalry over political influence in the movement until 1868-1869 when Marxism became the official basis of Germany's Social Democratic and Labour Party. In the Hague Congress of 1872, Marx modified his stance on revolution by declaring that there were countries with democratic institutions where reformist measures could be advanced, saying that "workers may achieve their aims by peaceful means, But this is not true of all countries". Marx stressed his support for the Paris Commune due to its representative democracy based on universal suffrage.