Democracy and the Communist Party

14 03 2010

This paper, rather preliminary note towards a full paper, attempts to look at the troubled history of democracy (both as a concept as well as a practice) and parties claiming affiliation to Marxism-Leninism. It tries to understand the historical paradox of parties and movements influenced by Marxism being among the more important contributors to democratising our world, but States ruled by parties owing allegiance to Marxism denying democratic rights to their own citizens. It then tries to identify some of the reasons for this large democratic deficit.

But before I begin, two short points about the structure of the paper may be in order. First, I have been fairly hesitant to write on this topic. I can hardly lay any claim to expertise on theoretical debates among Marxists as well as on the details of the history of countries ruled by communist parties. That apart, I am also conscious of my weakness in political theory, specially that relating to democracy and related ideas of liberty and representation. Therefore, the stress will remain more on the historical experience rather than the theoretical arguments. Second, and following from my hesitation laid out above, this paper is basically structured around three writings by two Marxists: Karl Marx himself[1], and Rosa Luxemburg. You may say I am merely paraphrasing them, or you may say that they are the burqa I wear during this excursion into unfamiliar territory. Read the rest of this entry »

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The False Promise of Multi-Polarity in International Relations

16 09 2008

 

With the collapse of the USSR and other socialist States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, multipolarity became the much sought after ideal for almost all progressives as they sought resources to counter the rampant global strides of the sole superpower, the USA. Today when a return of the former socialist States is neither possible nor perhaps even desirable, multipolarity is seen as perhaps the only option to hedge in the arrogant brutality of the US war machine. I would like to argue that multipolarity is like the “opium of the masses”, it is merely a “sigh of the oppressed creature” which provides fleeting relief in times of trouble, but like opium it is a poison which may even prove fatal in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »