Help needed on FAQ

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Dec 4 13:03:31 MST 1999

At 08:58 AM 12/4/99 -0800, you wrote:
>Louis, what type of articles/entries are you looking for? General
>overviews or entries that argue for a specific theory? Say, for
>'historical materialism' a short overview of the major theories of
>historical materialism or a presentation of a particular type of HM? I'd
>be willing to write up a couple if done in the 'overview' format. When
>do you need them by?
>Sam Pawlett

It should be written in the spirit of an 'overview'. Sort of like the kind
of thing you find in Bukharin's "ABC's of Communism" but with less jargon.
Bukharin's audience was already pro-communist. Carlos Rebello's answer to
"what is bourgeois democracy" is what I have in mind. I would really
appreciate it, Sam, if you'd tackle the historical materialism question, if
you could. If folks could whip something together in the next 3 or 4 days,
it would be great. The FAQ is not etched in granite, but will be an ongoing
project. You will always be able to modify you answer to a FAQ if you think
of new things.

Carlos Rebello:
As regards historical existing forms, Bourgeois Democracy is a democracy
built on the basis of a formalized competition between rival private
interests for economic/political support from the state apparatus, which
therefore fills the role of "an executive comitee for managing the
affairs of the bourgeoisie as a whole" (Communist Manifesto). That's is
to say that, opposed to the notion of a common civic club partaking of
the revenues of the civic community, which was the foundation around
which Ancient Democracy was built (therefore explaining, viz., the role
played by bread and circus in Roman history,where the notion behind
bread distributions and circus spectacles was to perpetuate, albeit in a
degraded "democratic" form, the notion of the communal club of free man
being provided with some distribution in common of staples and/or of
luxuries) Bourgeois Democracy is, therefore, above all, the granting of
institutional protection for private property _in general_, and, at the
same time, under this common framework, the formalization of (more or
less)ruthless competition between the many _particular_ private
capitals, which explains much of the institutional unstability of the
said bourgeois democracy - specially in 3rd World conditions...

Louis Proyect
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