democracy and dictatorship

Scott Marshall Scott at
Mon Jun 19 06:13:02 MDT 1995

Paul says:

>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.
I don't think either of these methods can work alone as mechanical solutions
to the problem. Nor does the structure of the state exist as a
thing-in-itself. Surely the political content (workers control and
representation) and the level of political awareness of the problem is much
more important than the mechanism. I would say that the key factor is what
does the well developed party intend in this regard - it can certainly find
a way to circumvent term limits politically also.

In fact Ron probably doesn't believe that the SA gov't is a pyrimid, in
part, because he believes the political awareness of the mistakes of the
past are learned etc. Of course it *is* a pyrimid with all the attributes
that Paul describes, army, police, parliment etc.

Having said that, my choice for a correcting mechanism is the workers
inspectorates that Lenin envisioned but never got to put into place. Bodies
of workers and everyday people, with extra parlimentary powers to observe,
investigate and expose all levels of government and all structures of

Interesting enough under Gorby (boo, hiss - my emphasis) a similar system
was being somewhat implimented until 1988, and had begun to deal with
corruption (Lenin saw them as having a much wider scope than rooting out
corruption). After 1988 with Gorby's clear shift to the
destroy-socialism-to-save mode these fledgling committees and the workplace
committees were the first to go as impediments to the rush to restore

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