I want to use this post to explore the idea that Barry has propounded, that socialist reforms cannot come about through the parliamentary democratic system.
I don't believe thsi is true. Such a stance can only be defended by looking solely at the United States, which is indeed a very capitalistic state. However, there are many democracies which are far more socialist. The US is a bourgeois democracy. Nicaragua was a people's democracy. India, the world's largets democracry, is a half-bourgeois, half people's democracy.
In the state of bangla, formerly West Bengal, governed by Communists since 1977, the labor laws heavily favor teh union over the boss. If the workers in some company are being exploited, or are not being paid what they deserve, they have the right to go to their employer'sw home, set up picket lines outside, and harass him incessantly whenever he comes out. They are allowed to followe him wherever he goes, making their demands and trying to pressure him to accede. This can go on als long as necessary till he finally accedes.
Second example: general strikes are ery common, and are encouraged by law as a legitimate use of free speech. During a general strike, the entire city including all busiensses must shut down. If you do not shut down, or if you drive down teh street, you can legally be harassed by teh striking workers ofr have things thrown at you. Hospitals and other essential services contoinue to operate. This type of general strike poccured some years ago in Mumbai 9formerly Bombay) when some unknown vandals desecrated a staue of the famous social democrat and low-caste hero B.R. Ambedkar, trigerring a brief class struggle.
As tehse examples show, laws in India, or at leats in much of teh countrie, favor the workers and mass political action, while the laws in America do not. this demonstares that there is p[lenty fo possiblilty for social change to come about through the parliamnetary system.