democracy and dictatorship

Paul_Cockshott wpc at
Mon Jun 19 02:25:19 MDT 1995

Ron writes that the government systems of both
the USSR and the the USA are pyramidal, which
I would not dispute. He goes on to say that this
does not apply to south africa because it has
a coalition government.

This surely only determines who sits on top of
the pyramid, not whether that exists.

I think that you slide over the class character
of the state in south africa.
Remember, according to Marx, as a step to socialism,
democracy is only useful so far as it is a way of
introducing a worker's dictatorship.

To establish a democracy you need to have direct
rule by the people. This is incompatible with the
continued existence of the institutions of the
class state: the presidency, the parliament,
the judiciary and the standing army. So long as these
persist you can not have a democracy.

Ron points out the need for some form of centralised
decision making, and questions whether models of
democracy that apply to small local groups can
extend to it. Probably not. What one requires is
some means by which a representative body can
be created that:
1) Is truely representative in terms of class race
   and gender to whom decisions can be delegated.
2) Which can not be allowed to become a new class
   of rulers.
There are, it seems to me, two appropriate mechanisms
to ensure this.

a) The representative body must be a random sample of
   the population, of a size sufficient to even out
   sampling error.
b) The members of it must serve only for a short
   time, at the very most a year. To ensure some
   continuity, one could replace a 12th of the
   members each month.

It seems to me that the classic Leninist solution
to the two problems - a hierarchy of delegation
with the right of recall, can not function
where well developed parties exist.

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