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Socialist Democracy is the successor to People's Democracy, a left wing current which emerged in Belfast in 1968 during the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. During the 1970s it evolved towards Trotskyist positions and, by merging with the Dublin-based Movement for a Socialist Republic, became a sympathising section of the Fourth International.

In the early 1990s the remaining members of People's Democracy initiated the Irish Committee for a Marxist Programme as an attempt to regroup socialists and left wing republicans. This project ended in 1996 when PD dissolved and reconstituted itself as Socialist Democracy, adopting the programme put forward by the ICMP.

Socialist Democracy has a small membership mainly based in Belfast. In 2004 it fused with the International Socialists, a group of former members of the Socialist Workers Party in that city.

It does not currently contest elections, and remains affiliated to the Fourth International. It is the sympathising Irish section of the International, within which it has been critical of tactics take by its sister organisations in Brazil and France. Like the majority in the Fourth International, it was critical of the evolution of the Socialist Democracy current of the Workers Party in Brazil. It was also critical of the Revolutionary Communist League's call for a vote against Le Pen in the 2002 French presidential election, rather than for a boycott.


Socialist Democracy also publishes a series of pamphlets on left-wing subjects, including:

  • Ireland: The Promise of Socialism by Joe Craig, John McAnulty and Paul Flannigan (1996).
  • The Real Irish Peace Process by Joe Craig, John McAnulty and Paul Flannigan (1998).
  • Prisoners of Social Partnership by Joe Craig (2002)
  • Marxism and the National Question by Pietro Tresso (Blasco) –(Introduction and Notes by D.R.O’Connor Lysaght (2006)).
  • The Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde (Introduction and Notes by Lysaght (SD 2005)).
  • The Great Irish Revolution: Myths and Realities by D.R. O’Connor Lysaght (A Marxist critique of R. F. Foster and other Irish historians in the revisionist movement (2006)).

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