Ariel Sharon and Stalin

wpc at wpc at
Thu Mar 23 05:38:30 MST 1995

 I suppose my response should be a Catholic one.  Look, there is simle question
that you need to confront.  Will there or won't there be politics after the
revolution.  I imagine a post-revolutionary society, socialist or transitional,
will contain legitimate (not only the "upper class" tryying to assert its
interests) political differences, differences about say trade offs between
development and sustainability.  Citizens' groups will want to organize around
these differences.  This is politics and it's healthy.  To preserve it there
nedds to be some form of majority rule, representation, parlimentary structure,
and the array of liberal freedoms (of assembly, speech etc.).


There certainly is politics in a socialist society. I would contend
that this will for a considerable period continue to be class politics
rather than the classless examples you cite. If politics could be
divorced from class then electoral politics might not be so harmful,
though even in these circumstances they would be inferior to democratic

I take democracy in its literal sense - rule by people - nuanced by
the original greek meaning of demos as the poor people. There is
a widespread misconception, spread by existing states that electoral
politics has something to do with democracy, whereas it is in fact
just a legitimation procedure to lend authority to particular
members of the upper classes. In feudal society, that authority
might plausibly be claimed to come from God, in bourgeois society
the parallel fiction is that it comes from the people, but what
in fact exists is a special body of armed men, prisons etc
under the command of one ( presidential ) or more ( parliamentary )
members of the upper classes.

In any socialist country the major political issue will  be
whether to continue with socialism, reduce class inequalities, resist
the pressure of external propertarian states and progress towards
comunism. If the state form is one based on election to parliaments
rather than some form of direct democracy one will soon end up with
the elected representatives being drawn predominantly from higher
social groups whose interest is in halting progress towards communism.
This characteristic of elected bodies as comming from higher social
strata has been well understood for millenia.

>This is politics and it's healthy.  To preserve it there
>nedds to be some form of majority rule, representation, parlimentary structure,
>and the array of liberal freedoms (of assembly, speech etc.).

Direct democracy does not negate the idea of majority rule nor
of ideological struggle. In direct democracy either the whole
of the working people would decide on legislation by plebiscites or
if the matter were of less central importance, the issue could be
decided by a randomly selected jury of ordinary working people.
The laws of statistics then ensure that the majority opinions in
such a jury, of large enough size, will correspond to the majority
opinion in the class as a whole.

Paul Cockshott

     --- from list marxism at ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list