Published: The Vanguard, July 13, 1988.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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At the moment attention is focused on a debate, the fundamental essence of which concerns the dictatorship of the proletariat and the concepts of “freedom and democracy”.
Whilst all international experience is watched and examined with interest, the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) subscribes to the view that in the final analysis, the people of every country under the leadership of the Communist Party will determine their own road to socialism. They will do so free from all outside interference, and by the correct application of the principles of dialectical materialism to their own national characteristics, background and traditions.
Socialism is incompatible with external interference or aggression.
It is our belief that there is no such thing as democracy in general or dictatorship in general.
Under capitalism the form of state is in reality the dictatorship of the ruling capitalist, class. This dictatorship can be expressed through a parliamentary democracy or the open violence of fascism.
Within the parliamentary form an illusion of freedom is created. This freedom is limited to the few who own the means of production. It is freedom for the rich to accumulate profits and the poor to starve. Nevertheless every avenue of freedom should be utilised by the people to further their struggle for a better life.
Freedom of expression for the majority of people is virtually impossible when literally a handful of millionaires own the press, radio, TV, halls. In Australia Murdoch, Bond, Skase exercise this monopoly. The law courts, police and army ensure that any opposition expressed by the majority does not get out of hand.
The right to elect parliament creates the illusion that the majority determine policy. In reality an enlightened public opinion, vital for the operation of democracy, is denied by the manipulation of the previously mentioned millionaires who are upholders of the present system. In addition bribery and corruption are a common feature of parliamentary institutions preventing the will of the majority; from determining events.
When it is no longer possible for the capitalist class to suppress the majority and at the same time allow certain democratic freedoms, the illusion of freedom is cast aside. Democratic rights are abolished. Outright violence, a fascist regime is substituted for parliamentary democracy. Irrespective of what form of the state apparatus operates, both uphold the economic, political rule of capitalism.
Sooner or later people’s experience in struggle will lead them to conclude that their problems cannot be resolved within the system and that capitalism must be abolished. Guided by the principles of Marxism, the Communist Party will take an appropriate part in every action.
The people will develop their own forms of struggle against the old regime.
This broad front of struggle will constitute the framework for and determine the form of a new state apparatus which will organise production, build a people’s army to stamp out any attempts by the few to reinstate the old order and introduce widespread democracy for the majority.
The ownership of the means of production, access to the press, radio, all forms of propaganda and education will be in the hands of the majority of people. The concept of power in the hands of the people stands opposed to any form of bureaucratic control.
In essence this state apparatus will also be a dictatorship. But it will substitute the dictatorship of the majority of the people over the minority (the dictatorship of the working class and its allies) for the dictatorship of the minority over the majority. It will ensure the widest democracy. It will create a state apparatus to give expression to this democracy. Real representative bodies fully accountable to the people and with the right to recall unsatisfactory elected representatives will come into being. By dong away with the division between legislative and executive bodies, the illusion of freedom characteristic of bourgeois parliamentary democracy will be replaced by people’s control over every facet of their lives.
Every fundamental change in the history of the people has consisted of the suppression of the previously dominant class. In England in 1649 the monarchists, kings and noble barons who endeavoured to restore feudalism were suppressed by the representatives of the newly developing system.
In Russia in 1917, under the correct leadership of V.I. Lenin at the head of the Communist Party, the majority of the workers and peasants rose to sweep away the old system of exploitation. They established a new state apparatus expressed in the Soviets – elected councils of workers, peasants and soldiers.
They successfully repelled the armed resistance of the old exploiters who were joined by armies of intervention from around the world in an effort to restore the power of the landlords and capitalists.
It is regrettable but inevitable that in the process of unprecedented upheavals some excesses occur. Excesses experienced during the dictatorship of the people can in no way compared with the excesses of the dictatorship of the capitalists, which is responsible for incalculable horrors. Starvation, torture, destruction of millions in imperialist and colonial wars are the hall mark of the old system.
In the process of struggle the form of state which best coincides with the characteristics of each country and the tasks undertaken by the people to build a society in which production is for use, and not the profit of a few, will be found.
The ruling class never lets-up in its attacks upon the people’s struggles for peace and freedom.
They seize every opportunity, to undermine the basic principles of Marxist theory even at times utilising the very name of Marxism, to create confusion around the general aims and objectives of communism and the position occupied by the dictatorship of the proletariat in that struggle.
The Communist Party, relying upon the broadest possible support from the majority of people in action, plays an essential role. Leadership in revolutionary struggle cannot be proclaimed. It must be won.
Each Communist Party continually sums up practice. It sets out to master fundamental Marxist principles and the essential characteristics of its own country. It has no interests separate and apart from the majority of its people.
Again it is almost inevitable that in determining the correct road for building a new socialist system, mistakes in the relationship between the people and the communist party will occur. All practice, positive and negative, needs to be continuously summed up and proper conclusions drawn. Collective responsibility must be accepted both for victories and defeats.
Providing the Communist Party listens to the wishes of the people, ensures that its policy gives expression to their every mood, such mistakes will be short-lived and easily rectified.
Throughout this socialist stage of society many new problems will confront the people.
Tackled from the standpoint of dialectical materialism we can have complete confidence that finally such problems will be resolved in favour of a Communist society guaranteeing freedom for all.