Showing posts with label dictatorship of the proletariat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dictatorship of the proletariat. Show all posts

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Understanding Marx

David McLellan, formerly professor of political theory at the University of Kent wrote: “Marx’s writings have too often been reduced to ill-digested slogans… it is not surprising that Marx still remains so misunderstood.”

The Dictatorship of the Proletariat

“No revolution can be made by a party, But by a nation [i.e. by everybody]” Karl Marx

The “dictatorship of the proletariat" is not a very useful term for socialists to use. It is unnecessary baggage for today’s socialists to carry. For a start when Marx was writing the term “dictatorship” didn't have the tyrannical connotations it does today. Marx didn't mean a dictatorship in the modern sense of the word. He meant a community in which the whole working class would set the political agenda and use the political machinery to act in it's interests. Writers like Hal Draper have addressed the authoritarian distortion of the term.

To-day it is loaded with prejudice and/or misunderstanding. Many now steer clear of employing the phrase because of the way it has been employed to justify despotism.

Marx writes in his Gotha critique “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."

So it is worth noting that he is not talking about an independent stage between capitalism and communism, but rather the period of revolutionary transformation of one into the other, rather than into some other system which is them transformed into communism. It is not yet socialism.

Perhaps the better term for socialists to use is “social democracy” which according to Rosa Luxemburg in Leninism or Marxism? pamphlet “begins simultaneously with the beginnings of the destruction of class rule and of the construction of socialism. It begins at the very moment of the seizure of power by the socialist party."

The dictatorship of the proletariat is the rule of the working class, not over the working class.
The Socialist Party does not seek the 'dictatorship of the proletariat', but the abolition of the proletariat!