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Socialism and Democracy

Book Review: 'Social Democracy Versus Communism'

'Social Democracy Versus Communism', by Karl Kautsky (Rand School of Social Science. New York)

Editorial: What is Democracy?

In all probability the most distorted and misused word in common use today is the word democracy.

The attempt to make world-wide capitalism and political democracy compatible, is a major exercise in deception and futility.

Capitalism is a class structured society, divided between the working and capitalist classes, whose interests are always in a state of conflict (hidden or open) with one another. Strikes, lock-outs etc prove it.

The capitalist system is economically and politically organized so that the means of life—the natural resources, the industries and the wealth produced (goods and services) are owned and controlled by a minority, and not by all the people.

Democracy and the Class Struggle

Ever since the Bolshevik's coup of 1917, the idea has been widely fostered by their would-be imitators that "democracy" is nothing but a bourgeois snare and a delusion. In the mouths of these so-called Communists, however, the term has meant nothing more than the sham article offered to the workers by the political parties which trade upon delusions.

Conservative, Liberal and "Labour" politicians have all paid lip-service to the popular will and have just as readily ignored it and resorted to the use of force whenever it has suited their purpose. The war of 1914-18 was a glaring example of the contempt which these leaders of the people entertain for their followers.

Marx Against the State

In 1988 Alan Carter wrote a criticism of Marx's views from what he called a "libertarian communist" position under the title Marx: A Radical Critique. His basic argument was that Marx's theories of history, economics and politics all paved the way for the emergence, not of a stateless, classless communist society, but of a new class society ruled by a new exploiting class similar to what was then about to collapse in east Europe and the USSR. His conclusion was that radical critics of capitalist society should actively oppose Marx's ideas.

Marx of course is not above criticism—and we have our own criticisms of some of the things he said and did—but to see him as nothing more than the precursor of a state capitalist society is inaccurate and unjustified.

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