Bourgeois democracy and socialist democracy — The representativeness issue

By Joaquim Marques de Sa

There is probably no concept so manipulated and misrepresented by the bourgeoisie – the historical designation of the capitalist class [1] — as the concept of democracy. The misrepresentation starts out with the representativeness issue.

Bourgeois democracy is one of the political forms of the state in capitalist countries. It is characterized by the existence of a number of political rights of the people, such as the constitution of parties, the free election of representatives to an Assembly with legislative powers and, in the case of republics, the election of the President.

There have been and still are in capitalism political forms of the state virtually empty of rights. In Nazism the law was dictated by the Fuhrer — the “Fuhrer principle”, officially enshrined by the Nazis. Between the bourgeois democracy with the broadest rights one may think of and the Fuhrer principle void of rights, spans a whole spectrum of political forms of capitalism. Bourgeois democracy is a slice of that spectrum.

In the common perception — which reproduces the dominant formation and information in bourgeois democracies — there can be no better democracy than bourgeois democracy. One of the tenets of this perception is precisely that bourgeois or “Western” democracy is “democracy” tout court; i.e., the mentors of capital absolutize bourgeois democracy as the concrete fulfillment of abstract and ideal democracy.

Lincoln defined democracy as the “rule of the people, by the people, and for the people.” This ideal definition was, however, very far from being fulfilled either by Lincoln and his followers or any bourgeois democracy.


In order to answer the question, one has first to take into account that in societies of antagonistic classes, in which one class exploits the work of the others, a “neutral” State, at the service of the “common good”, above the classes, does not and cannot exist. As soon as in the ancient world relations of production arose based on the private ownership of the means of production, and with them classes arose, the State also emerged as an instrument of the ruling class to maintain and reproduce the exploitation of the work of the dominated classes, regardless of the political forms assumed by the State.

In the article “The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It” [2], Lenin raises the question: “And what is the State?” To which he answers: “It is an organization of the ruling class”.

Let us consider ancient Athens, where “democracy” was born, which in Greek means “power of the people,” thus apparently satisfying Lincoln’s definition. A totally idealized and truncated idea of the Athenian democracy, which supposedly inspired the absolute, “Western”, democracy, has been taught to the young people of the “Western democracies” up to this time. There are demographic estimates for 317 BC, in the last phase of the Athenian democracy [3]. From a total population of 493,000 inhabitants, only 63,000 were Athenian citizens; 400,000 were slaves and 30,000 were foreigners. From the citizens, only men, 21,000, had political rights. Slaves, despite being the main producers, had no political rights whatsoever, as they were considered mere instruments of production.

But even the 21,000 men who could participate in the People’s Assembly were divided into four classes according to the amount of land they owned. Only the wealthiest class, of the large landowners (about 3% of the citizens), had all the political rights, and the rank of General was reserved to them. Furthermore, only the members of the two wealthiest classes (about 10% of the citizens) could participate in the Supreme Council of the State (Areopagus) and in other institutions, such as the courts. Military institutions also have the mark of class: the second class in terms of wealth was that of knights; the third class, which corresponded to the middle peasantry, was that of the infantry; the fourth class, of the poor peasants, was that of the oarsmen of the triremes.

At its historical birth democracy already reveals the class limitations of political representativeness: Athenian democracy favored the largest landowners, who drew huge incomes from the labor of multitudes of slaves. These huge incomes afforded the largest landowners to control state institutions and coercive organs: courts and army. It also afforded them a decisive influence on the elections and all state policies, including the colonizing policies of Athens. In short, the Athenian State was the State of the largest land and slave owners. Athenian democracy favored the interests of the exploiters, a very small fraction of the people.

This limitation of democracy is present in all socioeconomic formations based on social classes with antagonistic interests — interests that cannot be reconciled within the framework of relations based on private ownership of the means of production and circulation. In feudalism, the existence of Cortes and Parliaments does not alter the situation of economic dominance, therefore political domination, of the high nobility that owns the large dominions of land and, at a later stage, productive and mercantile infrastructures. In capitalism, the existence of parties and elections does not alter the situation of economic domination, therefore political domination, of the bourgeoisie, the ruling class. It is the bourgeoisie who holds the economic levers, financial capital inclusive. She also has the monopoly of the instruments of violence: army, police, etc.

Consequently, when we hear about democracy, the first question to ask is: democracy for whom? Equivalently: Which is the ruling class of the State?

Let us consider the multipartyism of bourgeois democracy. It is postulated by the mainstream media, controlled by big corporations, as the sine qua non stamp of democracy. However, the fact that there are two or more parties in bourgeois democracy does not imply that the respective State can be guided by different ideologies. The ideology of the capitalist State is only one, and its main dogmas turn around the market economy, the private property, the alleged separation of powers — in spite of the fact that all powers act in articulation to defend capitalism — and so on. Multipartyism, even when the party of the proletariat [4] is represented in the parliament, does not ensure the acting expression of different ideologies; it only ensures the acting expression of specific points of view and interests of sectors of the bourgeoisie.

Multipartyism is used by bourgeois politicians to sell the illusion that all wills of the people enjoy equal opportunities of ruling. Yet, in reality, only one will dominates: that of the big bourgeoisie. This is particularly clear in the extreme case of two-party systems as in the US.

The bourgeois parties use the elections of bourgeois democracy to elect representatives of capital in a framework of selling the illusion of multipartyism. In the bourgeois elections there is really no popular mass participation, with grassroots popular assemblies proposing candidates for their merit. It is not the people who elect, but the parties who elect. The electoral campaigns of the bourgeois parties are theatrical shows selling delusions with pompous phrases and demagogic promises, resorting to all the advertising tricks that large companies use to influence consumers. The promises can be made with impunity since deputies in bourgeois democracies are not accountable to the voters and cannot be recalled [5] by them.

The setting up of shows, the mass manipulation of consciences by the media, publicity, propaganda, etc., the corruption of leaders of yellow trade-unions, who are offered jobs and funds to support bourgeois parties, cost money. In bourgeois elections money is frequently a decisive factor. The bourgeoisie understands this perfectly and replicates in the political field what takes place in the economic field. It invests in this or that party in order to sell it to the consumers in the electoral market.

The commodification of politics is inherent to the monopoly of the capitalist view. The bourgeois democracy is democracy for the capitalist class; therefore, the adjective. It stands far away from “the government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

In bourgeois democracy, the bourgeois class dominates all other classes, as in all political forms of the bourgeois State. It is not because it is “democratic” that it will refrain from imposing misery wages on millions of workers, unemployment and precariousness, strenuous work rhythms, unregulated hours and relocation of workplace without respect for families, enriching herself to levels never seen before at the expense of others. Nor does it refrain from applying all the coercive and repressive means she controls whenever democracy or democratic rights are viewed as obstacles or threats to her interests.

Given that every State represents an economic domination — hence, political and social domination — of one class over all other classes and social groups, it does in fact represent a class dictatorship, even if the political form of the State is democratic. The term “dictatorship” does not have here the usual meaning. It does not refer to the tyranny of an individual or a clique (despotism). It instead refers to the exclusive ruling, using all possible levers — economic, political, military, social, etc. — of one class.

On May 28, 1926, the democratic government of the Portuguese bourgeoisie put no opposition to the advance of a military march from Braga to Lisbon to impose “order”; a march supported by an important sector of the Democratic Party (banking, high-trade and industry), large landowners and clergy. Frightened by the rise of proletarian consciousness and proletarian struggle (news of the October Revolution had arrived to Lisbon and the Portuguese Communist Party had been formed in 1921) the military march allowed the bourgeoisie to discard democracy and make way to fascism. She continued doing what she had done before: the repression by the police of the workers’ strikes and by the National Republican Guard of the rural workers’ struggles in the Alentejo fields. But she did it now with greater vigor and with no obstacles: with arbitrary arrests, assassinations, concentration camp, etc. This is one of countless demonstrative examples of why, from a class standpoint, any bourgeois political regime is a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. And of how the bourgeoisie is always ready to discard democracy when she feels that she can no longer govern with it.

The bourgeois dictatorship does not manifest itself only in major events. It also manifests daily in innumerable «small» events. At the moment of writing, we read from the newspapers of the Portuguese democracy: 1) CT, a woman worker in a cork firm was fired. The Court requires the firm to reinstate her. The firm complies, but punishes the worker by compelling her to load and then unload a pallet with the same 15 kg sacks throughout the day. It also obliges CT to use a toilet other than that of the colleagues, where she has to hold a towel at the door for privacy, and controls the toilet paper she uses. CT goes into stress and becomes debilitated. Following a trade-union complaint, a state agency confirms the facts and fines the firm. The firm’s lawyer says he will appeal to the Labor Court and if need be to the European Court. 2) Two truck drivers are punished by the boss for participating in a workers’ plenary and go on strike. Deprived of the subsidy of risk and overtime payment, their monthly wage lowers to 600 €, barely above the national minimum wage.

In both cases profit dictates the law. While bourgeois dictatorship falls daily on the workers, to the bankers of the Portuguese democracy, who stole millions upon millions, nothing substantial happens. The supposedly independent judiciary power is linked by thousand threads to the defense of capitalist profit. This power is independent, indeed; independent of workers’ intervention.

At the top of the imperialist pyramid are countries with democratic regimes where the bourgeoisie, besides exploiting the work of the autochthonous workers, draws enormous profits from the imperialist plunder of weaker countries, particularly of the Third World, by various means, including financial subjugation. At home, immigrants are compelled to take the harder and worse paid jobs. With the huge profits sucked from emigrant capital and immigrant labor, the bourgeoisie corrupts trade union leaders and maintains well-paid “middle-class” strata (intelligentsia too) and workers’ aristocracy, turning them into staunch defenders of capitalism and replicators of imperialist and anti-communist propaganda. It thus succeeds in maintaining a relative social peace. Although such countries have democratic regimes (in some of them with very little democracy), they also are bourgeois dictatorships. We see this in the police interventions and charges in workers’ strikes and concentrations, in the criminalization of demonstrators in Spain and other countries, in Macron’s expressed will to ban demonstrations of workers, etc.

Although bourgeois democracy is one of the forms of dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, there is an important aspect that should not be overlooked. The existence or non-existence of democratic rights in a bourgeois State is not irrelevant to the workers and other sections of the population.

Democracy in any socio-economic formation is always a conquest of the exploited classes. In ancient Athens, democracy was only achieved after a whole series of struggles of the poor peasantry. The ruling classes always tend to install despotic regimes to ensure maximum exploitation of labor. When constrained to democratic regimes, they seek to restrict and empty democratic rights, and whenever they see their privileges threatened, they do not hesitate to discard democracy and impose tyrannical regimes.

Within bourgeois democracy the proletariat and its vanguard party (the party that brings together the most conscious and politicized members of the proletariat) are vitally interested in striving not only to maintain but also in broadening democratic rights — political, economic and social. In addition to short-term objectives of improving living conditions, the struggle to strengthen democratic rights favors popular intervention and participation, serving as a school for the proletariat and for other classes and social strata interested in allying with the proletariat in the struggle against the bourgeoisie for long-term objectives, namely the conquest of socialism.

For all these reasons, the vanguard party of the proletariat is the most consistent party in the struggle for democracy. It is not only the history of struggle against fascism that abundantly proves this statement. The present reality, with the attack of the neoliberal reaction to the rights of the toiling masses, which in many countries is carried out by pro-fascist regimes, reveals the communist and workers’ parties as parties that are at the forefront of the struggle for democracy.

The Weimar Republic, set up in Germany after the First World War, was poor in democratic rights, largely because of the Social Democrat party; a party that had crushed the labor movement in blood and was complacent towards the enemies of bourgeois democracy, monopolists and landowners. In October 1922, Clara Zetkin expressed in the Reichstag the Communists’ attitude to Weimar’s democracy: “We have no illusion about the value of this little democracy for the working class, but though it is little we do not underestimate it.” She then turned to the nationalists and went further: “While you are only reflecting on how you could undo this beginning of democratic construction, we are ready to protect and defend against you this poor democracy; and everyone will see that this little piece of democracy has no more faithful or more determined supporters than the Communists.” The German Communist Party was indeed the only party that fought against Nazism.

Socialism is the first historical stage in the construction of a classless society. In socialism there are still classes — the proletariat and the peasantry – and social strata – e.g., the intelligentsia –, but they are not antagonistic. As the main means of production (including land, mines, energy, etc.) and circulation become property of the workers’ State, become social property, the bourgeoisie and landlords cease to exist. Socialism, therefore, breaks away with the past, with the existence of antagonistic classes, with the exploitation of man by man.

In opposition to capitalism, the socialist State is able to represent and secure the interests of the laboring masses, the overwhelming majority of the people. This is so, because: a) in socialism the surplus labor is socially appropriated, is owned by all and not by a few (as in capitalism where the capitalist draws the profit from surplus labor); economic planning, which is only possible with socialism, affords freeing society from economic crises and increase economic development and social welfare at high rates. The only major opposition to concretizing these benefits comes from imperialism: wars (physical and economic), aggressions, subversion and economic blockades.

Whereas in capitalism democracy is something exogenous to the system of the bourgeoisie – if not imposed by the exploited classes, from outside and against the logic of the system, bourgeoisie can live without it –, democracy is an endogenous condition of socialism. Socialism can only exist with the support, participation and commitment of the overwhelming majority of the people. In socialism what counts are the people, the social needs, not money. The stronger the socialist democracy, with the participation and commitment of the people led by the proletariat and its party, the better socialism will achieve its objectives and will stand better against imperialist aggressions.

In socialism there are classes, but they are not antagonistic. There is also State. This is the State of the proletariat and its allies. With variations, according to the concrete conditions of each socialist country, we find among the allies the peasantry and the progressive intelligentsia. What are the tasks of the socialist State and government? They can be grouped into two broad groups: (1) economic, organizational, and administrative construction, as in any State, but now serving the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people rather than a tiny minority of exploiters; 2) the defense of socialism against internal and external enemies.

The rupture of socialism with the past will occupy an entire historical epoch. It is not in half a dozen years or in a few decades that the weight of centuries is over. After the full overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat and its allies — in a struggle headed by the proletariat, the most revolutionary class since it has nothing to lose and has a world to gain [6] –, there will stay for a long time remnants of the exploiting classes and monetary-mercantile relations which may foster the emergence of a new bourgeoisie. Imperialism strives to mobilize these remnants and this new bourgeoisie to defeat socialism. The socialist state has therefore to repel the threat of internal and external enemies. Democracy for the people but subduing of the bourgeoisie. As in other socio-economic class formations, socialist democracy is also a class dictatorship: the dictatorship of the proletariat. [7]

The dictatorship of the proletariat refers not only to the tasks of group 2, but also those of group 1, as Lenin observes [8]: “But the essence of proletarian dictatorship is not in force alone, or even mainly in force. Its chief feature is the organisation and discipline of the advanced contingent of the working people, of their vanguard; of their sole leader, the proletariat, whose object is to build socialism, abolish the division of society into classes, make all members of society working people, and remove the basis for all exploitation of man by man.”

In addition to those who reject the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat out of their class positions and elitism, there are many who do not accept it because they take the term “dictatorship” out of the class context and, in addition, conceive democracy as bourgeois democracy. We have already seen, however, that bourgeois democracy is only one of the political forms of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Socialist, proletarian democracy is the political form of proletarian dictatorship. For this reason, the expression “democratic dictatorship of the proletariat” is correct, though it may seem an incongruity. It is democracy for the proletarian class (and its allies) which exercises dictatorship over the bourgeoisie. Democracy is always democracy for one class (and its allies) and dictatorship over another (or others). In fact, there can only be either bourgeois dictatorship or proletarian dictatorship. He who rejects one necessarily accepts the other, though he may not be aware of it.

The tasks of surveillance and combat against internal and external enemies, as well as the tasks of building socialism, are rather complex. They demand the unity of action of the proletariat, of the people around the proletariat, and in mobilizing and conducting wills engaged in correctly solving those tasks by an experienced party, vanguard of the proletariat, armed with a scientific theory. This theory is Marxism-Leninism. History has proved that it is only possible to build socialism with the leading role of the proletarian vanguard party, the communist party (may have other names) faithful to Marxism-Leninism.

In the capitalist countries the bourgeois parties direct the State in the interests of the bourgeoisie and against the proletariat. In socialism the communist party directs the State in the interests of the proletariat and working masses against the bourgeoisie.

One of the frequent criticisms of capitalist mentors against socialism is that it is impossible to have democracy with a single party. Yes, that is impossible in capitalism. In socialism is possible. The question, in fact, boils down to what is meant by “party”. The understanding of “party” in capitalism is necessarily different from the understanding in socialism.

In capitalism the exploiters have parties which express different opinions on the best way to exploit the toiling masses. Moreover, capitalism has antagonistic classes, needing antagonistic parties to represent them. Socialism has no exploiters and no antagonistic classes. There are in socialism no antagonistic, irreconcilable interests that need representation.

In socialism the interests of the workers are unified: to defend socialism, to improve living conditions, to progress socially (more education, more culture, etc.), to better apply science and technology, to make life more dignified defending moral values based on work. The communist party directs and guides decision-making towards these goals. It does so because the communist party itself comes from the toiling masses; the overwhelming majority of its militants are proletarians. Communist militants are not paid for the tasks of leading and guiding the popular masses, unlike the bourgeois parties. The communist party is not a “political party” in the “common sense”, the bourgeois sense of the term. It is simply the advanced and militant guard of the proletariat and the toiling masses. The communist party only directs and guides as far as it defends the interests of the people and enjoys their confidence. If it loses the distinctive features of a communist party, socialism is in danger, capitalist restoration lurks.

In capitalism the bourgeois parties conceal from the people their leading role. In socialism the leading role of the communist party is openly stated because it enjoys the support and confidence of the people. A Cuban Professor said in this respect that in the capitalist world there are many parties, but only a small group governs, whereas “In Cuba there is a single party that directs the policies, but it is the population who governs from the social and mass organizations in democratic structures.”

Cuba offers an example of socialist democracy. Democracy with direct representativeness of the toiling masses.

There are several websites about elections in Cuba and the Cuban political system. In addition to the central organ of the Cuban Communist Party (CCP), and wikipedia (this one with usable information on a pro-US background), we will quote citations from an article of the Australian GreenLeft Review website.

In Cuba there are several parties [9] but only the CCP, revolutionary party of the toiling masses, is enshrined in the Constitution as a leading party. The CCP (or any other party) does not participate in the electoral process. It does not nominate or propose candidates, nor does it campaign for candidates. “This system avoids many inequities and imbalances inherent in its party-political based counterparts and ensures a fairer and more – rather than less – democratic electoral process.”

In Cuba, all members of representative bodies are elected, accountable to grassroots organizations and subject to having the mandate revoked for poor performance. The masses control the activity of state agencies, deputies and officials.

There are only a few deputies whose job is solely state tasks. With the exception of those few, no member of any body receives money for serving the people. Every deputy goes on with his/her life and his/her work. “Participation in politics in Cuba is essentially a part-time (but nonetheless time-consuming), unpaid and voluntary act of public service, rather than a materially motivated career choice. It involves self-sacrifice and effort.”

The first phase of the elections begins at the assemblies of neighborhood. Each neighborhood assembly, “in an open and transparent community process”, selects candidates to run for the election of the Municipal Assembly of the respective neighborhood. “Candidates can neither – nor do they need to – raise nor spend any funds or offer any favours on election campaigns. All candidates – regardless of their political, social or economic status – are granted equal access to all voters and media.” Information about each candidate (experience, qualifications, ability, etc.) is posted in public spaces to which all voters have access. Let us also note that, given the size of a neighborhood, the merits of the candidates are or can easily be known to voters.

“People are encouraged to participate in the democratic process, which is very well organized, supervised and secure. Voting is not obligatory, but more than 90% of the electorate have traditionally participated voluntary in the polls.” In fact, electoral participation reaches levels above 95%, contrasting to what happens in bourgeois democracies (e.g. 49% in the USA and 55% in Portugal).

Voters may vote for one, for some, or all of the candidates in the ballot paper. Each candidate must have more than 50% of the votes to be elected. If the quota of elected candidates is not reached, a second round is held.

In the second phase, the Provincial Assemblies and the National Assembly of People’s Power (NAPP) are elected. Provincial and national candidacy commissions prepare lists of candidates based on the elected neighborhood candidates.

The candidacy commissions are composed of qualified members of mass organizations: Cuban Congress of Trade Unions, Federation of Cuban Women, National Association of Small Farmers, student federations, etc. The selection of candidates is based on merit, popular acceptance, patriotism, ethical values and dedication to socialism. In the case of the NAPP, mass organizations can nominate candidates in less than half of the total number.

Voters can veto a candidate, because if a candidate does not have more than 50% votes, a new candidate will have to be chosen. All elections are held by secret ballot. Suffrage is granted to citizens over the age of 16 who have not been found guilty of any crime. Candidates must be 18 years or older.

The NAPP elects by secret ballot the President (who must be a candidate elected by a neighborhood and by a Municipal Assembly) and, on proposal of the President, a Council of State of 31 members, with specific executive and legislative powers, among which the definition of the economic plan. The President presides over the Council of State.

The highest executive power resides in the Council of Ministers, formed by members of the Council of State and ministers appointed by the President. The Council of Ministers implements policies discussed and authorized by the NAPP, which is the supreme body of People’s Power to which the Council of State and the Council of Ministers are accountable.

“Prior to approving any significant new laws, the legislators often consider thousands of proposals, suggestions and concerns, raised by millions of citizens at hundreds of nationwide grassroots meetings and internal consultations of mass organisation. Informed popular opinion does not determine political decision-making, but it is given a degree of due consideration absent in most other supposedly “superior” systems ” Citizens can also propose laws as long as the proposal is made by at least 10,000 citizens with the right to vote.

“Cuba’s unique and sovereign electoral model ensures that no elected deputy or appointed official is in a position to offer political or administrative favours in return for monetary or material reward. The Cuban model is probably more corruption-free than any global counterpart […] It is a democratic and electoral process from which a lot can be learned and within which there is a lot to be lauded.”

It should be noted that if the majority of the people were against socialism they could very simply propose and vote for their anti-socialist candidates. As Fidel Castro said, “Who prevents them from doing so? This means that our democratic-revolutionary system inexorably presupposes the majority of the people. ”

Cuban socialist democracy is incomparably closer to the “government of the people, by the people and for the people” than any bourgeois democracy.

The direction and orientation of the CCP is made through the activity of its militants in the factories and popular organizations, through the discussion of proposals, civic example, study, explanation, and the connection to the masses to know what their problems are in order to propose just solutions. This is the only way to win the confidence of the masses in the CCP and in their own strength to solve problems and manage the State. How different all this is from the power of the money of a scarce minority, exercised through the bourgeois parties!

Contrary to bourgeois democracy, which whenever it can removes or empties democratic rights — this is observed at a global level in the present time –, in socialist democracy the will of the communists is always to improve socialist democracy, leading the working masses to increasingly participate in state administration.

In the USSR, the Constitutions of 1918 and 1924 — at a time when the proletariat and poor peasants were engaged on a titanic struggle against the bourgeoisie, large landowners, kulaks and foreign interventionists – prevented certain categories of people from voting: capitalists of any kind, priests and monks of any religion who took religion as a profession, and servants and agents of the repressive organs of Tsarism. The Constitution of 1936 — in a phase of consolidation of socialism –, on the proposal of Stalin supported by other leaders (Molotov, Kirov, Kaganovitch and others), enshrined the universal suffrage. In addition, Stalin proposed the improvement of electoral democracy (e.g., with the introduction of alternative lists of candidates) but his proposal was rejected by the First Secretaries of the CPSU [10].

In Cuba, the new Project of Constitution, available on the Internet, is currently being submitted to discussion by the Cuban people. The Project mentions the CCP in only 2 of 755 articles:
“ARTICLE 5. The Communist Party of Cuba, unique, Martian [11], Fidelist [12] and Marxist-Leninist, the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, sustained on its democratic character and the permanent connection with the people, is the superior leader of the society and the State.
It organizes and guides the common efforts for the construction of socialism. It works to preserve and strengthen the patriotic unity of the Cubans and to develop ethical, moral and civic values.
ARTICLE 6. The Union of Young Communists, an organization of the Cuban vanguard youth, counts on the recognition and encouragement of the State, contributes to the formation of young people in the revolutionary and ethical principles of our society and promotes their active participation in the construction of socialism.”


[1] V.I. Lenin, A Great Beginning. Heroism of the Workers in the Rear (“Communist Subbotniks”), June 28, 1919: “Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated in law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it. Classes are groups of people one of which can appropriate the labour of another owing to the different places they occupy in a definite system of social economy.”

[2] V. I. Lenin, The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It, October 1917.

[3] J. M. Williams, Solon’s Class System, the Manning of Athens’ Fleet, and the Number of Athenian Thetes in the Late Fourth Century, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik Bd. 52 (1983), pp. 241-245; Miriam Valdés Guía, Julián Gallego, Athenian “Zeugitai” And The Solonian Census ClassesNew Reflections And Perspectives, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte Bd. 59, H. 3 (2010), pp. 257-281.

[4] In capitalism, “The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labour power and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labour…” Fredrick Engels, Principles of Communism, 1847

Usually, proletariat is understood to be the working class, and this is the interpretation in socialism when there is neither capitalist profit nor unemployment.

We use “party of the proletariat” in the sense of the proletariat’s vanguard party, armed with Marxism-Leninism for the revolutionary transformation of society.

[5] The right to recall representatives was first proposed by Antoine de Saint-Just, a Jacobin revolutionary.

[6] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, February 1848

“Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”

[7] From: The Programme of the Communist International. Comintern Sixth Congress, 1929 (MIA):

The dictatorship of the proletariat is a stubborn fight-bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, pedagogical and administrative-against the forces and traditions of the old society, against external capitalist enemies, against the remnants of the exploiting classes within the country, against the upshoots of the new bourgeoisie that spring up on the basis of still prevailing commodity production.

[8] Lenin, Greetings to the Hungarian Workers, 27 May, 1919.

[9] Besides the CCP, there are: Christian Democratic Party, Democratic Socialist Current, Democratic Social-Revolutionary Party, Democratic Solidarity Party, Liberal Party and Social Democratic Co-ordination.

[10] See detailed discussion in: Grover Furr, Stalin and the Struggle for Democratic Reform. Part One and Part Two in: Cultural Logic, volume 8, 2005 (

[11] Martian: faithful to the principles of popular sovereignty of the Cuban hero José Martí.

[12] Fidelist: faithful to the revolutionary principles and connection to the people of Fidel Castro, principles which have been guiding the Communist Party of Cuba since its birth.

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