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one of the trends in reformist socialism. According to municipal socialism, the transfer of urban transportation, electric power stations, gas supply, schools, and hospitals to the ownership or control of the bodies of local self-government (municipalities) is the means for the gradual, peaceful “growth” of capitalism into socialism. In the 1880’s and 1890’s the ideas of municipal socialism were defended by reformists in many countries, including the Possibilists in France, the Fabians and the leaders of the Independent Labour Party in Great Britain, Bernstein’s followers in Germany, and the Economists in Russia. The Menshevik program for the municipalization of the land was a variation on municipal socialism. The ideas of municipal socialism are part of the theory of contemporary reformists.
Advocates of “municipal socialism,” striving to distract the workers from the fundamental problems of the class struggle, draw their attention “to the sphere of minor local questions, not the question of the class rule of the bourgeoisie, nor to the question of the chief instruments of that rule, but to the question of distributing the crumbs thrown by the rich bourgeoisie for the ’needs of the population’ “ (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 16, p. 339).
Although the Communist parties in France, Italy, and other countries have paid a great deal of attention, particularly since World War II, to the participation of Communists and all working people in the operations of the municipalities, they reject the opportunist conceptions of municipal socialism.