Democratic socialism is a political ideology that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production, often with an emphasis on democratic management of enterprises within a socialist economic system. Democratic socialists hold that capitalism is inherently incompatible with the democratic values of liberty, equality, and solidarity, and that these ideals can only be achieved through the realisation of a socialist society, despite the fact that these values are not inherently democratic and are in some cases in conflict with the very concept of democracy. Democratic socialism can be supportive of either revolutionary or reformist politics as a means to establish socialism.
The term “democratic socialism” is sometimes used synonymously with “socialism”; the adjective “democratic” is often added to distinguish it from the Marxist–Leninist brand of socialism, which is widely viewed as being non-democratic in practice. As such, democratic socialism is distinguished from both the Soviet model of centralised socialism, and from social democracy, which seeks to reform capitalism with state interventions in the economy. Democratic socialists believe that the alleged systemic issues of capitalism can only be solved by replacing the capitalist system with a socialist system, that is, by abolishing private property and imposing collectivist ownership of the means of production.