Social Legislation

Social Legislation


in capitalist countries, the aggregate of legal norms regulating the conditions of hired workers and measures to assist persons without means of support. The principal elements of social legislation are labor laws and social security. Along with laws reflecting the gains of the working class, social legislation also includes antilabor laws. In Soviet books on law, the term “bourgeois social legislation” is sometimes used to designate only the aggregate of legal norms that protect the interests of the proletariat, in contrast to antilabor laws. In bourgeois legislation, progressive social norms are closely associated with reactionary antilabor laws.

Modern social legislation has consolidated a number of compromises that the bourgeoisie was compelled to make as a result of the intensified struggle of the working class for its rights. The success of this struggle has depended largely on the theory and practice of socialism. The bourgeoisie tries to use social compromises in its own interests to perfect its methods of exploiting hired labor and to undermine the workers’ class struggle. Ideologists of right-wing Social Democracy exaggerate the importance of social legislation, presenting it as a means that has allegedly radically changed social relations, liquidated the worst evils of capitalism, eliminated exploitation, and ensured the equality of all men. On the other hand, leftist elements believe that the working class in capitalist countries have not attained any social achievements.

Communist and workers’ parties, stressing the limitations of bourgeois social legislation and denouncing its antilabor aspects, attach great importance to the proletariat’s struggle to protect and further the social achievements it has won. The prospects of this struggle are reflected in statements of policy of the communist and labor movements. Workers who originally supported partial reforms of social legislation now tend to demand fundamental democratic reforms to undermine the absolute power of monopolies and increase the role of the working class in society.


Usenin, V. I. Reformism i burzhuaznoe sotsial’noe zakonodatel’stvo. Moscow, 1967.
Usenin, V. I. Sotsial’noe partnerstvo Hi klassovaia bor’ba? Moscow, 1968.
Baglai, M. V. Kapitalizm i “sotsial’naia demokratiia.” Moscow, 1970.
Kiselev, I. la. Sovremennyi kapitalizm i tmdovoe zakonodatel’stvo. Moscow, 1971.
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