In Marxist theory
, a new democratic society will arise through the organised actions of an international working class enfranchising the entire population and freeing up humans to act without being bound by the labour market
There would be little, if any, need for a state, the goal of which was to enforce the alienation.Karl Marx
and Friedrich Engels
stated in The Communist Manifesto
and later works that "the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle for democracy" and universal suffrage, being "one of the first and most important tasks of the militant proletariat".
As Marx wrote in his Critique of the Gotha Program
, "between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat
He allowed for the possibility of peaceful transition
in some countries with strong democratic institutional structures (such as Britain, the US and the Netherlands), but suggested that in other countries in which workers can not "attain their goal by peaceful means" the "lever of our revolution must be force", stating that the working people had the right to revolt if they were denied political expression.
In response to the question "What will be the course of this revolution?" in Principles of Communism
, Friedrich Engels
Above all, it will establish a democratic constitution, and through this, the direct or indirect dominance of the proletariat.
While Marxists propose replacing the bourgeois state with a proletarian semi-state through revolution (dictatorship of the proletariat
), which would eventually wither away, anarchists
warn that the state must be abolished along with capitalism. Nonetheless, the desired end results, a stateless, communal society, are the same.
Soviet Union and Bolshevism
During the revolutionary ferment of the Russian Revolution
of 1905 and 1917, there arose working-class grassroots attempts of direct democracy
(Russian for "council"). According to Lenin and other theorists of the Soviet Union, the soviets represent the democratic will of the working class and are thus the embodiment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin and the Bolsheviks saw the soviet as the basic organizing unit of society in a communist system and supported this form of democracy. Thus, the results of the long-awaited Constituent Assembly election in 1917
, which Lenin's Bolshevik Party
lost to the Socialist Revolutionary Party
, were nullified when the Constituent Assembly was disbanded in January 1918.
In November 1917, Lenin issued the Decree on Workers' Control, which called on the workers of each enterprise to establish an elected committee to monitor their enterprise's management.
That month they also issued an order requisitioning the country's gold,
and nationalised the banks, which Lenin saw as a major step toward socialism.
In December, Sovnarkom established a Supreme Council of the National Economy
(VSNKh), which had authority over industry, banking, agriculture, and trade.
The factory committees were subordinate to the trade unions, which were subordinate to VSNKh; thus, the state's centralised economic plan was prioritised over the workers' local economic interests.
In early 1918, Sovnarkom cancelled all foreign debts and refused to pay interest owed on them.
In April 1918, it nationalised foreign trade, establishing a state monopoly on imports and exports.
In June 1918, it decreed nationalisation of public utilities, railways, engineering, textiles, metallurgy, and mining, although often these were state-owned in name only.
Full-scale nationalisation did not take place until November 1920, when small-scale industrial enterprises were brought under state control.
A faction of the Bolsheviks known as the "Left Communists
" criticised Sovnarkom's economic policy as too moderate; they wanted nationalisation of all industry, agriculture, trade, finance, transport, and communication.
Lenin believed that this was impractical at that stage, and that the government should only nationalise Russia's large-scale capitalist enterprises, such as the banks, railways, larger landed estates, and larger factories and mines, allowing smaller businesses to operate privately until they grew large enough to be successfully nationalised.
Lenin also disagreed with the Left Communists about economic organisation; in June 1918, he argued that centralised economic control of industry was needed, whereas Left Communists wanted each factory to be controlled by its workers, a syndicalist
approach that Lenin considered detrimental to the cause of socialism.
Adopting a left libertarian
perspective, both the Left Communists and other factions in the Communist Party critiqued the decline of democratic institutions in Russia.
Internationally, many socialists decried Lenin's regime and denied that he was establishing socialism; in particular, they highlighted the lack of widespread political participation, popular consultation, and industrial democracy.
In late 1918, the Czech-Austrian Marxist Karl Kautsky
authored an anti-Leninist
pamphlet condemning the anti-democratic nature of Soviet Russia, to which Lenin published a vociferous reply.
German Marxist Rosa Luxemburg
echoed Kautsky's views,
while the Russian anarchistPeter Kropotkin
described the Bolshevik seizure of power as "the burial of the Russian Revolution".
- ^ a b Calhoun 2002, p. 23
- ^ Barry Stewart Clark (1998). Political economy: a comparative approach. ABC-CLIO. pp. 57–59. ISBN 978-0-275-96370-5. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
- ^ How To Read Karl Marx
- ^ [The Class Struggles In France Introduction by Frederick Engels https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/class-struggles-france/intro.htm]
- ^ Marx, Engels and the vote (June 1983)
- ^ "Karl Marx:Critique of the Gotha Programme".
- ^ Mary Gabriel (October 29, 2011). "Who was Karl Marx?". CNN.
- ^ "You know that the institutions, mores, and traditions of various countries must be taken into consideration, and we do not deny that there are countries – such as America, England, and if I were more familiar with your institutions, I would perhaps also add Holland – where the workers can attain their goal by peaceful means. This being the case, we must also recognise the fact that in most countries on the Continent the lever of our revolution must be force; it is force to which we must some day appeal to erect the rule of labour." La Liberté Speech delivered by Karl Marx on 8 September 1872, in Amsterdam
- ^ Hal Draper (1970). "The Death of the State in Marx and Engels". Socialist Register.
- ^ Lih, Lars (2005). Lenin Rediscovered: What is to be Done? in Context. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-13120-0.
- ^ Tony Cliff (1978). "The Dissolution of the Constituent Assembly". Marxists.org.
- ^ The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought Third Edition (1999) pp. 476–477.
- ^ The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition. (1994), p. 1,558.
- ^ Rigby 1979, pp. 45–46; Pipes 1990, pp. 682, 683; Service 2000, p. 321; White 2001, p. 153.
- ^ Rigby 1979, p. 50; Pipes 1990, p. 689; Sandle 1999, p. 64; Service 2000, p. 321; Read 2005, p. 231.
- ^ Fischer 1964, pp. 437–438; Pipes 1990, p. 709; Sandle 1999, pp. 64, 68.
- ^ Fischer 1964, pp. 263–264; Pipes 1990, p. 672.
- ^ Pipes 1990, pp. 681, 692–693; Sandle 1999, pp. 96–97.
- ^ Pipes 1990, pp. 692–693; Sandle 1999, p. 97.
- ^ a b Fischer 1964, p. 236; Service 2000, pp. 351–352.
- ^ Fischer 1964, pp. 259, 444–445.
- ^ Sandle 1999, p. 120.
- ^ Service 2000, pp. 354–355.
- ^ Fischer 1964, pp. 307–308; Volkogonov 1994, pp. 178–179; White 2001, p. 156; Read 2005, pp. 252–253; Ryan 2012, pp. 123–124.
- ^ Shub 1966, pp. 329–330; Service 2000, p. 385; White 2001, p. 156; Read 2005, pp. 253–254; Ryan 2012, p. 125.
Last edited on 25 January 2021, at 01:14
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