September 24, 2015
The concept of “democratic socialism” is a metaphysical “system creation,” or capitalist upgrade with a bit of Marxist flavor. To be more blunt, it is an attempt to strip Marxism of its proletarian content by ignoring the antagonistic relation between capital and labor. It serves the interest of the petite bourgeoisie, who want more equality, but ultimately will not break with the capitalist class. “Democratic socialism” doesn’t challenge or overturn capitalism, and is therefore not socialist. It is in fact in the interests of capitalists. At best, it is a slightly reformed capitalism with a few “socialistic tendencies.”
Marx and Engels first demarcated from these kind of utopian schemes by clarifying that proletarian science is not political economy. This was a warning that it would be totally impossible and undesirable for proletarian science to fix capitalism or make it work better. The sole purpose of proletarian science, which is based on historical and dialectical materialism, is to analyze all the different forms of capital accumulation for the defeat of capital, by realizing the dictatorship of the proletariat. That is Scientific Socialism.
Scientific Socialism is the general foundational concept of the proletariat to defeat capital and capitalism. It is the only socialism that exists. It is the application of the science of the proletariat, in any specific social formation, to destroy all forms of concentration of capital and, in the process, construct a higher form of societal organization: Communism.
The working class, the proletariat, is the only class in society that can achieve this goal, by leading an alliance of other dominated classes. Other dominated classes cannot, by their struggle for emancipation, lead society to socialism. Slavery transitioned [not mechanically] either to feudalism or capitalism, other exploitative forms of societal organization. Feudalism transitioned to another exploitative type and form of societal organization under the leadership of the capitalist class, even if it was an objective advancement.
Today, the only class within capitalism that can end that vicious cycle of transitioning to new types and forms of exploitative systems is the proletariat. The proletariat is the only class that produces the foundation for all forms of concentration of capital: surplus value. The surplus value extracted from the labor power of workers in the production process is what allows capital to reproduce.
Since that extraction is in a relation of antagonism, the proletariat has no interest in its reproduction, but rather seeks its abolition. By achieving this, the proletariat will achieve the most historically advanced form of society, making possible the breakdown and elimination of all class divisions, along with their many wretched consequences.
Scientific socialism is the applied science of the proletariat for the abolition of the antagonistic relation between labor and capital, through the defeat of capital. It also recognizes that in scientific socialism, class struggle still exists. It deals with the fact that the possibility for the proletariat to lose power is still present, as history has already proven in Russia and China. In both cases the proletariat was defeated due to the internal contradiction that manifested in their respective social formations.
For us, what it means to be a socialist (sorry if I disappoint the bulk of the radical petite bourgeoisie) is the practice of investing time and energy to realize proletarian revolution for the destruction of all forms of concentration of capital. It is to advance scientific socialism, to realize a higher form of societal organization: communism.
What is wrong with democratic socialism?
It’s most obvious problems are the rejection of working class leadership, and the replacement of revolutionary struggle with electoral politics in the bourgeois arena. Capitalism can’t be defeated by voting it away.
In addition, democratic socialism is a metaphysical scam because there is no historical evidence of its manifestation in objective reality. It is the practice of borrowing concepts, in this case historical materialism, and reducing it to populism in order to kick the proletariat out as a leading force.
In scientific socialism the historical concept of democracy is already integrated, since it is internal to any mode of production. For example, democracy (for the bourgeoisie) is a characteristic of the capitalist mode of production in the process of its reproduction.
In any mode of production we find two elements: the base and superstructure. The base is the economy: production and circulation in their various forms. The super-structure is the political and ideological fields, in their forms, guaranteeing the constant reproduction of the economy.
Democracy is a model that indicates, in the context of class struggle, the bloc of classes that dominates and manages any particular mode of production. Under slavery it was the democracy of the slave owners. Under feudalism it was the democracy of the feudal landlords. Under capitalism it is the democracy of the capitalist class. And in scientific socialism, it is the democracy of the proletariat in alliance with other dominated classes, under the leadership [hegemony and autonomy] of the working class.
Democracy is power. Dictatorship is power, political power. Each is the expression of a dynamic type and form of power for power’s reproduction. This conception synthetizes and asserts the ultimate goal of class struggle: CLASS POWER. In the case of the working class, that power is actually for the destruction of power, since the objective of the proletariat is to dismantle all forms of capital for the interest of the collective.
The ultimate objective of class struggle is for one class to realize political power. Power will never be egalitarian or equal as long as societal antagonism exists. This is a dynamic the radical petit bourgeois seems never to understand and appropriate. Power is never about individuals; it is always class based. This is the case even if that power is concentrated in the hands of individuals—still it will always be class based and determined by class interests.
Democracy and democratic practices are two different phenomena. Democratic and scientific practices are both forms of their respective models. In fact both are contradictory effects, forms or tendencies that are being produced in the contradiction internal to that model. Bourgeois democracy, as a model, produces in each mode of production its specific democratic practices. Proletarian democracy will also produce its own notion of democratic practices based on the relation of power, determined by class struggle.
For example, in China, one of the most advanced experiences of scientific socialism, proletarian dictatorship was implemented in a contradictory duality that produced a proletarian concept: New Democracy. This was socialism within capitalist units of industrial production, and democratic in relation to the peasantry for the socialization of agricultural production. This was a demarcation from the revisionist political line of stages (the erroneous theory that a bourgeois revolution must precede a proletarian one). New Democracy is political line in the interest of the proletariat for the realization of scientific socialism.
Democratic socialism is a total absurdity, a concept produced by a class that really has no direct capacity to offer a societal alternative except metaphysical system-creation schemes. The only alternative is scientific socialism.