Email to a Professor: On the Question of Lenin's Democracy

in communism •  5 months ago

Hey, [professor's name].

I recently finished reading The State and Revolution (https://www.marxists.org/ebooks/lenin/state-and-revolution.pdf) and found a possible or, more accurately, solid explanation regarding Lenin’s democracy, which, if you recall, I suggested he seems to be conflating with the state. If you read the end of Chapter 4, specifically the last section titled “Engels on the Overcoming of Democracy,” you’ll see that Lenin acknowledges that yes, at first look, it’s strange and incomprehensible to say that democracy is abolished or withers away, and that some may even suspect him of “expecting the advent of a system of society in which the principle of subordination of the minority to the majority will not be observed,” like you did if I remember correctly, to which he says, “No, democracy is not identical with the subordination of the minority to the majority. Democracy is a state which recognizes the subordination of the minority to the majority, i.e., an organization for the systematic use of force by one class against another, by one section of the population against another.” So yes, democracy and the state are conflated, and, in spite of my reluctance to agree with Lenin for doing this, I know, or at least I think I know, why he does it, bringing me to my next finding.

From the couple of chapters that we read [together], it seemed as though Lenin was the first to mention the overcoming or disappearance of democracy. But, reading the end of Chapter 4, I found it was Engels that first mentioned the overcoming or disappearance of democracy, not Lenin, who cites the passage where Engels does this: “a party whose economic programme is not merely socialist in general, but downright communist, and whose ultimate political aim is to overcome the whole state and, consequently, democracy as well,” thus explaining the title of the section “Engels on the Overcoming of Democracy” and, most likely, the reason Lenin conflates democracy and the state. Ultimately then, I found that Lenin was simply interpreting Engels, an interpretation I think I have to agree with, lest I can’t explain—nor would Lenin either—why Engels would say what he said.

Anyway, I just thought you should know this since we talked about it. See you later.

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regarding democracy i think the biggest distinction to make is between democracy in itself, that is, a process by which members of the group participate have some kind of equivalence in decision making, and democracy in a class society.

That latter can be split further. Bourgeois democracy and proletarian democracy.

I'm less concerned with the definition of "subordination of the minority to the majority" and more concerned with the means of the democracy as a political mechanism to consolidate proletarian class power.

Democratic centralism was supposed to be a means of doing this. Whereby members of the party all have an equal say in terms of input and criticism, but they remain centralized in their tasks for the party. This was one form of proletarian democracy.

Another was the soviet system. But again, the soviets were not politically neutral, and many were diverse in their political makeup. Some were even against the bolsheviks.

Point being that democracy is a means and it only goes so far. Bourgeois society loves it because it meant power to the capitalist over the monarch. They imbue with the cult of the individual.

State and Revolution is a great text and one of my favorites. But it's important to remember Lenin's own forward. If memory serves me correct, he left the book unfinished as he joined the revolution in Russia. Theory of revolution is vital, but practice and history offer their own lessons. Mainly, the socialism is the process of proletarian dictatorship, that class warfare continues under socialism, that its a transitional stage capable of reverting back to the old ways and maintaining bourgeois elements within it.

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Oj me Flyin' Dutchman, at this point I am now just asking why don't I have you in my community's Discords. Because yah seem like a valuable person at hand, with your frequency and what not of posting, and to discuss with. And if yah got a Discord and are interested to joining, then I can provide links for such occasion.

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whats the discord group about?

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giving out our plans on the blockchain might not be the best idea, you can find me through the steemstem discord (or tell me when you are active on the steemit.chat thing).

I run one of the discords he is talking about

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ok Max

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max?

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oh yeah, i forgot lmao

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https://discord.gg/8tFFB
forgot about them single use links

(discord invite link)

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So may I have your Discord account name so I can provide the link to you from there?

lest I can’t explain—nor would Lenin either—why Engels would say what he said.

In the democratic state the interests of the wealthy (as we now know through many studies) are getting more reaction then the interests of the poor (working class).

As such, democracy always includes class warfare (and battles between different groups that may not belong to a single class), may it be at the ballot or (more likely) outside, through e.g. lobbyism.

I wrote a letter like this to my history professor...my b quickly turned into a big fat d. :(
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