On Democratic Socialism

Posted on January 15, 2012 by

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by ~The-Liberator (Alex Garrett)

In a world filled with violence, there is an ongoing trend of pacifism. Many people on the left seem to believe that violence is never acceptable under any circumstances. Although many of them are of socialist and communist tendencies, there is a growing belief that an end to capitalism can come without a revolution! Despite the inherent idiocy of many of the claims of democratic socialism and social democracy, there seems to be a belief that massive changes can come from the gradual reformation of capitalism, something which we will show is obviously false.

Firstly, let’s point out that there is a difference between social democracy and democratic socialism. Social democrats are content with keeping some capitalist elements alive, while reforming some elements creating a welfare state. Democratic socialists want to destroy all of capitalism, but in a peaceful, democratic fashion, however, both ideologies meet the same end (will be shown later). It is also noteworthy to point out that socialism is by definition democratic, so democratic socialism is a bit redundant.

For now, I will simply unite democratic socialists and social democrats into one term: reformists. The first major fallacy in the arguments of reformists is that many (especially Bernsteinians) completely deny the existence of a class struggle in a system that is controlled by the will of the majority. They claim that since the US, Canada, and Europe are all “democracies,” the majority rules, and therefore the different classes of society are not locked in a struggle, and that class collaboration is the key to success.

First, it is important to point out that no supposedly “democratic” country is controlled by the will of the majority. In any representative democracy, a bourgeois dictatorship will ultimately form. Capitalism puts a price on everything, including positions of power, so eventually, only the bourgeois control the government. So if democratic socialism is correct, then the proletarians must all seek positions of power in the government, but to do so they must become bourgeois themselves!

Not only will these bourgeois “socialists” be completely disconnected from the will of the workers (whom they supposedly support), but they will have lots of money and be in a position of power. No one, no matter how noble, can resist abusing a position of power in whatever way he/she can, especially when he/she has completely lost touch with the people that he/she supposedly represents!

However, despite this fact, reformists stubbornly argue that a revolution is not necessary and that in a democratic system, gradual reform is the only way to achieve true success. Unfortunately, “gradually reforming” a bourgeois system by using a bourgeois system makes absolutely no logical sense and will inevitably lead to absolute failure. In other words, democratic socialism will inevitably turn into social democracy, and all that will be achieved is a corrupt welfare state (which is why I have combined the two into “reformism”).

But then, the reformists claim that they DO acknowledge that a class struggle exists, and that they ARE genuinely Marxist. However, there is a difference between what these reformists say and what they actually advocate. Didn’t Marx say that the only way to ensure successful communism (or socialism) is if the communists (or socialists) were workers themselves, so that they would be able to organize a successful labor movement, while keeping in touch with the will of the workers? Furthermore, didn’t he say that the communists shouldn’t organize themselves into political parties, and that a labor movement should be genuinely of the workers and for the workers?

So, if the reformists are “genuinely Marxist,” then why have the reformists stopped working, organized themselves into bourgeois political parties, completely lost touch with the labor movement, and conformed to the “bourgeois dictatorship” that is representative democracy? Isn’t that the exact opposite of what Marx advocated? Then how can these reformists even call themselves socialists? On what basis do they make their claims?

Moreover, sympathizers for their movement have asked, or rather, demanded freedom of criticism from the revolutionary socialists and communists. Then, they have complained when these revolutionaries completely rejected them! The revolutionaries realize that uniting with (and inevitably being criticized by) these reformists will lead the class struggle to end in bourgeois victory! They also realize that these reformists cannot see what is going on around them, since they seem to deny the possibility of class struggle, and in turn the possibility of a workers’ state! Why would one choose to unite with such people who are oblivious to their surroundings!?

But then again, the reformists would argue that they HAVE been successful. They would direct us to the supposedly “socialist” European countries. Although the democratic socialists have slightly hindered the effects of capitalism, some fundamental flaws exist. There is still money, goods are still bought, there isn’t much public property, the workers do not control the means of production, and every moment in this society is an opportunity for a capitalist rebound.

In fact, capitalism has never left these nations; it has simply transformed into a partial state capitalism! The reformists would argue that there is still time for change and that it will happen eventually, but there is only so far you can reform capitalism, because like any system, it is set up to preserve itself. Therefore, “reform” will hit a road block, and a complete removal of the system will still be necessary. In other words, you can’t remove the system by using the system!

And think about this: what happens if you lose an election! If the right wing has more money than you do (and it is highly likely that they do), then they could easily take power back from you! What are you to do to prevent this from happening? Are you to become a dictatorship? In fact, one could argue that the state that “democratic socialism” is in now, the only way to have it progress further without a workers’ revolution is to become a dictatorship!

So now it is time for the potential revolutionaries among us to wake up, because in any case, the supposedly “democratic socialism” will end in failure, either with the continuation of capitalism or with a social dictatorship. I believe we have established why revolution is necessary, but now we must be clear on how to carry out this revolution, and what our universal ideals must be. But that I leave for another time.

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Posted in: Freelance