Democracy and Parliamentarism - Anton Pannekoek

Hier kun je discussieren over Democracy and Parliamentarism - Anton Pannekoek.
4. Democracy and Parliamentarism

Social democratic doctrine never concerned itself with the problem of discovering the political forms its power would assume after having reached its goal. The beginning of the proletarian revolution has provided the practical answer to this question, thanks to the events themselves. This practice of the first stages of the revolution has enormously increased our ability to understand the essence and the future path of the revolution; it has enormously clarified our intuitions and contributed new perspectives on a matter which was previously vaguely outlined in a distant haze. These new intuitions constitute the most important difference between social democracy and communism. If communism, in the points discussed above, signifies faithfulness to and the correct extension of the best social democratic theories, now, thanks to its new perspectives, it rises above the old theories of socialism. In this theory of communism, Marxism undergoes an important extension and enrichment.

Up until now, only a few people were aware of the fact that radical social democracy had become so profoundly estranged from Marx’s views in its concept of the State and revolution—which, furthermore, no one had even taken the trouble to discuss. Among the few exceptions, Lenin stands out. Only the victory of the Bolsheviks in 1917, and their dissolution of the National Assembly shortly afterwards, showed the socialists of Western Europe that a new principle was making its debut in Russia. And in Lenin’s book, The State and Revolution, which was written in the summer of 1917—although it only became available in Western Europe in the following year—one finds the foundations of the socialist theory of the State considered in the light of Marx’s views.

The opposition between social democracy and the socialism we are now considering is often expressed in the slogan, “Democracy or Dictatorship”. But the communists also consider their system to be a form of democracy. When the social democrats speak of democracy, they are referring to democracy as it is applied in parliamentarism; the communists oppose parliamentary or bourgeois democracy. What do they mean by these terms?

Democracy means popular government, people’s self-government. The popular masses themselves must administer their own affairs and determine them. Is this actually the case? The whole world knows the answer is no. The State apparatus rules and regulates everything; it governs the people, who are its subjects. In reality, the State apparatus is composed of the mass of officials and military personnel. Of course, in relation to all matters which affect the entire community, officials are necessary for carrying out administrative functions; but in our State, the servants of the people have become their masters. Social democracy is of the opinion that parliamentary democracy, due to the fact that it is the form of democracy where the people elect their government, is in a position—if the right people are elected—to make popular self-government a reality.

What really happens is clearly demonstrated by the experience of the new German republic. There can be no doubt that the masses of workers do not want to see the return of a triumphant capitalism. Even so, while in the elections there was no limitation of democracy, there was no military terrorism, and all the institutions of the reaction were powerless, despite all this the result was the reestablishment of the old oppression and exploitation, the preservation of capitalism. The communists had already warned of this and foresaw that, by way of parliamentary democracy, the liberation of the workers from their exploitation by capital would not be possible.

The popular masses express their power in elections. On election day, the masses are sovereign; they can impose their will by electing their representatives. On this one day, they are the masters. But woe to them if they do not choose the right representatives! During the entire term after the election, they are powerless. Once elected, the deputies and parliamentarians can decide everything. This democracy is not a government of the people themselves, but a government of parliamentarians, who are almost totally independent of the masses. To make them more responsive to a greater extent one could make proposals, such as, for example, holding new elections every year, or, even more radical, the right of recall (compulsory new elections at the request of a certain number of the eligible voters); naturally, however, no one is making such proposals. Of course, the parliamentarians cannot do just as they please, since four years later they will have to run for office again. But during that time they manipulate the masses, accustoming them to such general formulas and such demagogic phrases, in such a way that the masses are rendered absolutely incapable of exercising any kind of critical judgment. Do the voters, on election day, really choose appropriate representatives, who will carry out in their name the mandates for which they were elected? No; they only choose from among various persons previously selected by the political parties who have been made familiar to them in the party newspapers.

But let us assume that a large number of people are elected by the masses as the representatives of their true intentions and are sent to parliament. They meet there, but soon realize that the parliament does not govern; it only has the mission of passing the laws, but does not implement them. In the bourgeois State there is a separation of powers between making and executing the laws. The parliament possesses only the first power, while it is the second power which is really determinate; the real power, that of implementing the laws, is in the hands of the bureaucracy and the departments of the State, at whose summit is the government executive as the highest authority. This means that, in the democratic countries, the government personnel, the ministers, are designated by the parliamentary majority. In reality, however, they are not elected, they are nominated, behind closed doors with a lot of skullduggery and wheeling and dealing, by the leaders of the parties with a parliamentary majority. Even if there were to be an aspect of popular will manifested in the parliament, this would still not hold true in the government.

In the personnel staffing the government offices, the popular will is to be found only—and there, in a weakened form mixed with other influences—alongside bureaucratism, which directly rules and dominates the people. But even the ministers are almost powerless against the organizations of the bureaucracy, who are nominally subordinate to them. The bureaucracy pulls all the strings and does all the work, not the ministers. It is the bureaucrats who remain in office and are still there when the next batch of elected politicians arrives in office. They rely on the ministers to defend them in parliament and to authorize funding for them, but if the ministers cross them, they will make life impossible for them.

This is the whole meaning of the social democratic concept of the workers being able to take power and overthrow capitalism by means of the normal rule of general suffrage. Do they really think they can make anyone believe that all of these functionaries, office workers, department administrators, confidential advisors, judges and officials high and low, will be capable of carrying out any sort of change on behalf of the freedom of the proletariat at the behest of the likes of Ebert and Scheidemann, or Dittmann and Ledebour? The bureaucracy, at the highest levels, belongs to the same class as the exploiters of the workers, and in its middle layers as well as in its lowest ranks its members all enjoy a secure and privileged position compared to the rest of the population. This is why they feel solidarity with the ruling layers which belong to the bourgeoisie, and are linked to them by a thousand invisible ties of education, family relationships and personal connections.

Perhaps the social democratic leaders have come to believe that, by taking the place of the previous government ministers, they could pave the way to socialism by passing new laws. In reality, however, nothing has changed in the State apparatus and the system of power as a result of this change of government personnel. And the fact that these gentlemen do not want to admit that this is indeed the case is proven by the fact that their only concern has been to occupy the government posts, believing that, with this change of personnel, the revolution is over. This is made equally clear by the fact that the modern organizations created by the proletariat have, under their leadership, a statist character and smell about them, like the State but on a smaller scale: the former servants, now officials, have promoted themselves to masters; they have created a dense bureaucracy, with its own interests, which displays—in an even more accentuated form—the character of the bourgeois parliaments at the commanding heights of their respective parties and groups, which only express the impotence of the masses of their memberships.

Are we therefore saying that the use of parliament and the struggle for democracy is a false tactic of social democracy? We all know that, under the rule of a powerful and still unchallenged capitalism, the parliamentary struggle can be a means of arousing and awakening class consciousness, and has indeed done so, and even Liebknecht used it that way during the war. But it is for that very reason that the specific character of democratic parliamentarism cannot be ignored. It has calmed the combative spirit of the masses, it has inculcated them with the false belief that they were in control of the situation and squelched any thoughts of rebellion which may have arisen among them. It performed invaluable services for capitalism, allowing it to develop peacefully and without turmoil. Naturally, capitalism had to adopt the especially harmful formula of deceit and demagogy in the parliamentary struggle, in order to fulfill its aim of driving the population to insanity. And now the parliamentary democracy is performing a yet greater service for capitalism, as it is enrolling the workers organizations in the effort to save capitalism.

Capitalism has been quite considerably weakened, materially and morally, during the world war, and will only be able to survive if the workers themselves once again help it to get back on its feet. The social democratic labor leaders are elected as government ministers, because only the authority inherited from their party and the mirage of the promise of socialism could keep the workers pacified, until the old State order could be sufficiently reinforced. This is the role and the purpose of democracy, of parliamentary democracy, in this period in which it is not a question of the advent of socialism, but of its prevention. Democracy cannot free the workers, it can only plunge them deeper into slavery, diverting their attention from the genuine path to freedom; it does not facilitate but blocks the revolution, reinforcing the bourgeoisie’s capacity for resistance and making the struggle for socialism a more difficult, costly and time-consuming task for the proletariat.

Good article, thanks for

Good article, thanks for sharing.

The debate here however is mostly not about achieving our goals by taking power in the capitalist parliament and government, or not. (Almost?) everyone agrees this is impossible. Or even about achieving modest reforms, most also see this as a dead end. The discussion is more about whether to use parliament as a stage to spread ideas from, something only very shortly mentioned by Pannekoek here.

About this, he seems to say:
- yes, when capitalism is firmly in charge
- no, when capitalism can actually be overthrown, because then you misdirect attentions and efforts

Any reasonable, concrete analysis of the situation in the netherlands, leads to the first conclusion. Capitalism is firmly in charge, under those conditions it can be good to use parliament as a stage to spread ideas.

No the discussion is about

No the discussion is about being rigid dogmatic vanguardists who demand purity from the rest of the movement and threaten them if not; or working with a concept of solidarity within a diverse movement. Their choice, being serious and correct and having the only answer all the fucking time, alienating the very people needed to change the world, or taking part intelligently in solidarity with people they disagree with.

While we have substantial

While we have substantial differences with the positions and rhetorical style of the person/s behind OfRoMP, it is our opinion that they are absolutely correct to virulently oppose the participation of anarchist and communist militants in the electoral campaign of BIJ1, an essentially liberal idealist party based around bourgeois identity politics which presents no concrete critique of Capitalism or the Bourgeois State apart from the fact that it is not "inclusive" enough. We support OfRoMP in identifying BIJ1 as a counter-revolutionary force that can only serve to divert the struggle of migrant and marginalized proletarians into the pernicious cause of blunting the most shallow contradictions of capitalist society.

just wanna react here about

just wanna react here about leftist parties and social-democracy used the class movement of abolition of capitalist social relations
here is what class war group wrote and published some years ago about syriza:

Syriza, Podemos, Left Front… May capital's far left die!

Critique of some contemporary far left political parties.

This joke could very well summarize the programmatic lessons to be drawn from the situation that proletarians in Greece, our brothers and sisters of misery and struggle, are subjected to. Indeed since always or at least since the great campaigns of Social Democracy in the early 20th century for the establishment of universal suffrage, which aimed at nothing else than the containment and the destruction of the proletariat’s energy developed to put an end to misery and exploitation, the communist critique (whether the latter expressed itself under the “anarchist” label, the “revolutionary socialist” or another one is not what we are interested in here) has always denounced the electoral circus, parliamentarianism, governmentalism, collaboration with bourgeois institutions, and the almost religious belief that reforms could improve the lot of our class…

In this short contribution we will not further talk about the “Greek sovereign debt” or the rescue of the “euro zone”, and even less about the “Grexit”, so fashionable these last weeks in bourgeois media. We are not going to develop the different strategies of Syriza government to “defy” the financial institutions of the European Commission and the Troika. We leave all these “details” to the fervent followers of political economy. For our part, we consider that the communists do not have to wallow in the biology of Capital, while our task is fundamentally to participate in its necrology! We will also not turn our attention to the Prime Minister Tsipras’ “psychology”, to what he hoped or intended to do, we will not take into account the media show and the incredible statements of his Finance Minister the foppish playboy Varoufakis (self-proclaimed “libertarian Marxist”!) and his gang of leftists, just able to snivel about the “denial of democracy” vis-à-vis the July 5th referendum results and about the “diktat of the euro zone”. What the communists are interested in is not what people say about themselves but what they do and assume in their social practices…

So what’s going on in Greece is just the antepenultimate episode of the always sad and lamentable story of the historical Social Democracy, that is to say the bourgeois party for workers and proletarians, this social force in charge of emptying our movements of struggle from their subversive substance, of diverting their perspectives of radical transformation of the world onto a simple reform, and finally of making us falling back into ranks of social peace. The camp of Social Democracy materializes at two levels: by setting up a militant structure external to our class, a structure directly stemming from leftist and progressive factions of the bourgeois class on the one hand, and by development of a reformist ideological corpus generated within our class and based on the weaknesses, limitations and illusions of the struggle on the other hand, all that in a dialectical back-and-forth movement between both.

So what’s going on in Greece is nothing very different from what the very “radical” Workers Party of Brazil (led by the reformist Lula da Silva and the former “guerrilla” Dilma Roussef) achieved in recent years in terms of attacks on proletarians’ living conditions; what by the way provoked the June 2013 revolt against austerity and misery.

Historically we got used to the “betrayals” of Capital’s left and far left (even if only gullible fools believing that any bourgeois alternative will solve the fundamental problems of our class, of humanity can consider themselves to be “betrayed”)… Already in 1871, during the significant proletarian movement known as the “Paris Commune”, the left and the far left took over its leadership and set up a government that had never taken any revolutionary measure to counter the bourgeois forces of Versailles or to internationally extend the militant efforts underway. All the measures of this “Paris Commune’s government” had resulted to only one thing: disarming (both military and programmatic) of our class confronted with our historical enemy that could after it had been defeated for a short time, reconstruct itself…

Going back to 1914, we can notice the same phenomenon when leftists, who had declared to be openly opposed to war, changed the side before you could say knife. For example, the French “revolutionary socialist” militant Gustave Hervé who had originally written in the newspaper “La Guerre Sociale” (“The Social War”) that we have to “plant the national flag on the dunghill” quickly joined the defense of “the country in danger”… Ditto for the French anarcho-syndicalist CGT which after years of antimilitarist propaganda joined in serried ranks of war supporters and sacred union, allowing thus the feasibility of general mobilization or at least contributing to its smooth course…

In 1917, while soldiers were getting increasingly angry on all fronts against the capitalist slaughter, the “Bolshevik Party” went at the head of the war refusal movement in order to better bring it in the dead end of a “radical” change of government, toppling the reign of the millennial Tsar, and it ultimately participated in the reconstruction of the capitalist State in Russia, roughly shaken by our class in struggle, what resulted in Stalinism and its “socialism in one country”…

In 1918 in Germany, after several years of open collaboration with the headquarters of the imperial army, which resulted in the mobilization on the front as well as in the participation of industrial workers in the war effort, a significant faction of Social Democracy (the SPD) was directly called to the political management (and thus set up a government), and it was militants of the left who directly participated in crushing of the proletarian struggle while forming of “Freikorps” under the aegis of the “worker” and “socialist deputy” Noske…

Finally, to conclude here this non-exhaustive list, in 1936 in Spain it was thanks to the “critical support” and the votes of the CNT militants that the Popular Front won the elections. It was thus able to develop an “antifascist” republican politics which practically opposed the proletariat’s boosts in its struggle for social revolution, all that with an active help of the CNT-FAI’s “comrades-ministers”. Once again, the revolution was sacrificed on the altar of the defense of one bourgeois camp considered as a “lesser evil”!

Anyway we could fill up in this way dozens of pages with the horrors that our class has experienced in diversion of its struggles and in deepening of its weaknesses. As we can see, the left and the far left (all factions taken into account) have always been and will continue to be predominant elements in structuring and maintaining the capitalist dictatorship. The proletariat is historically forced and determined to fight against them in the same way as it fights all the other factions of the bourgeoisie if it wants to put once and for all an end to misery, exploitation and wars…

But let’s come back to the present events and to how the current leftist managers of our misery claim to solve the problem… All those who criticized (rightly so moreover) the referendum organized by Tsipras’ government missed the whole point: their critics did not go beyond the endless sniveling according to which the “Yes” would mean a tough austerity and the “No” a less harsh austerity. In fact, and what followed proved it, (anyway could it be otherwise?), the “No” has never meant anything else (as in every election) than giving to the government a “free hand” and letting it to develop an austerity even stronger than the one originally imposed by the European authorities and their capitalist gangsters. You would really have to be a first-rate “useful idiot” to believe for a single second that the election or referendum show can be anything else than a farce which the proletarians fool themselves with… Capital’s far left historically accustomed us to its leftist policy, which is never anything else than a facelift more or less “radical” according to the circumstances and needs of the moment, the whole finally being only a red-painted version of the same capitalist dictatorship. In this case of Greece, there is an “originality” – a leftist party and government apply word for word the structural adjustment plan and the relentless austerity measures concocted in the headquarters of what people call decision-making centers of capitalism’s liberal policies. But finally beyond the differences of forms and speeches, all that directly and intrinsically partakes in the very logic of the capitalist system. Or, better said, it is not Syriza which is the actor of history but the history of capitalism that finds in Syriza an actor up to the task, an actor able to perform its dirty work, that is to say to frontally attack the proletariat in its means of existence and struggle.

Because what is the principal point in the “Greek crisis” is not the “debt”, which anyway amounts “only” to € 324 billion (more than three-quarters being repayable in only several years); for comparison the debt of France is € 2,089 billion, that of Italy 2,194 billion and 9,293 billion for the “euro zone”, not to mention that of the largest debtor nation-state in the world and in history: the USA with a colossal and abyssal debt of $ 18,152 billion! Capitalism clearly needs to produce the debt, anyway it cannot do anything else than to race out of control and to always more rest its expanded reproduction on fictitious capital, on a not yet produced value which will probably never be realized… No, what’s really the point is the practical implementation of a program to contain the proletariat, not only in Greece but also in other parts of Europe where Capital needs to hit even harder and to discipline a surplus labor power, to always more divide proletarians into different categories, whites and “darkies”, nationals and migrants, the good hard-working citizens who accept the austerity without too much fuss and those who raise their heads, those who show their teeth and organize, struggle, revolt… And in this sense, Greece is a social laboratory for the bourgeoisie and its far left servants!

The proletariat all over the world is condemned to always get its face smashed…

If the law-abiding and pacified proletariat in Europe and North America, addicted to always more terrorist State campaigns of citizenship attitude development, believe to escape its fate without struggling, it is kidding itself as never before…

We will have to put an end to all these illusions about the parliamentary circus, about the game of political parties, but also that of trade unions which do nothing but saving social peace and negotiate the sale of our labor power to the highest bidder.

We have nothing to gain either in new beliefs that would guarantee the “purity” of our struggles against the scoria of bourgeois politics: self-management (that is to say the management of our own misery), “popular assemblies” open to all and where everyone can speak freely (including “scabs”, strikebreakers, “moderates”, good citizens…), production cooperatives where the essence of Capital (money, exchange and therefore the value!) is never eliminated…

In a declaration issued on July 1st an “Antiauthoritarian Movement” from Thessaloniki says seriously: “We do not care about the currency that will be part of a national reawakening and we cannot support of course a currency that is part of the financial intrusion into every aspect of our lives. We prefer to think of the currency in its normal dimension as an instrument for exchange with its main function being social needs and facilities.” Pitiful leftism and its lack of understanding of what capitalism is!

In short all this fashionable democratic jumble that has never ever been any guarantee for the development of our struggles and the deepening of our ruptures with the society of Capital and its staunch defenders.

Comrades, against the capitalist catastrophe made of more misery, austerity, repression and wars, against the environmental destruction of the planet generated by a social relation that does not care about humans, there is no other alternative but the revolutionary struggle to the death for the destruction of what destroys us…

The only alternative is as follows: either communism or the end of humanity! In between, there is nothing!

# Class War – July 2015 #


Glad you enjoyed the text.

Glad you enjoyed the text. You are correct that in it Pannekoek affirmed that there can be some benefits for revolutionary participation in bourgeois parliamentarism in the form of conscience-raising and agitation during historical times when capitalist rule is firmly rooted. However in the Netherlands there are currently no parties that are even close to representing the historical program of the proletariat apart from (arguably) the Communistisch Platform tendency of the SP/ROOD, to which this article would be best addressed if it was written in current times.

Anton pannenkoek is tussen de

Anton pannenkoek is tussen de wormen en pieren; Jezus is al 2000 jaar opgestaan en "ergens".

Fanon ook overleven is. En

Fanon ook overleven is. En wat?

Doe op je minst je best om het te vertalen...

Mijn complimenten voor de bijdrage omdat discussie broodnodig is en waarom niet leesbaar voor iedereen? Hoewel de historische context gedateerd is blijft het belangrijk om over parlementarisme te discussiëren, daarvoor dank.

Democratie en parlementarisme - Anton Pannekoek
di, 16/03/2021 - 09:42 - nn
Hier kun je discussiëren over Democratie en Parlementarisme - Anton Pannekoek.
4. Democratie en Parlementarisme

De sociaal-democratische doctrine heeft zich nooit beziggehouden met het probleem, welke politieke vormen haar macht zou aannemen, nadat zij haar doel had bereikt. Het begin van de proletarische revolutie heeft het praktische antwoord op deze vraag gegeven, dankzij de gebeurtenissen zelf. Deze praktijk van de eerste fasen van de revolutie heeft ons vermogen om de essentie en de toekomstige weg van de revolutie te begrijpen enorm vergroot; het heeft onze intuïties enorm verhelderd en nieuwe perspectieven bijgedragen aan een zaak die voorheen vaag in een verre waas was geschetst. Deze nieuwe intuïties vormen het belangrijkste verschil tussen de sociaal-democratie en het communisme. Betekent het communisme, op de hierboven besproken punten, trouw aan en de juiste uitbreiding van de beste sociaal-democratische theorieën, nu stijgt het, dankzij zijn nieuwe gezichtspunten, uit boven de oude theorieën van het socialisme. In deze theorie van het communisme ondergaat het marxisme een belangrijke uitbreiding en verrijking.

Tot nu toe waren slechts weinigen zich bewust van het feit dat de radicale sociaal-democratie in haar opvatting over staat en revolutie zozeer vervreemd was geraakt van de opvattingen van Marx - en dat bovendien niemand zelfs maar de moeite had genomen daarover te discussiëren. Onder de weinige uitzonderingen, springt Lenin eruit. Alleen de overwinning van de bolsjewieken in 1917, en hun ontbinding van de Nationale Vergadering kort daarna, toonden de socialisten van West-Europa dat in Rusland een nieuw principe zijn intrede deed. En in Lenins boek, De staat en de revolutie, dat in de zomer van 1917 werd geschreven - hoewel het pas het jaar daarop in West-Europa beschikbaar kwam - vindt men de grondslagen van de socialistische theorie van de staat beschouwd in het licht van de opvattingen van Marx.

De tegenstelling tussen de sociaal-democratie en het socialisme dat wij nu bespreken, wordt vaak uitgedrukt in de slogan: "Democratie of Dictatuur". Maar ook de communisten beschouwen hun systeem als een vorm van democratie. Wanneer de sociaal-democraten over democratie spreken, bedoelen zij de democratie zoals die in het parlementarisme wordt toegepast; de communisten verzetten zich tegen de parlementaire of bourgeois-democratie. Wat bedoelen zij met deze termen?

Democratie betekent volksbestuur, zelfbestuur van het volk. De volksmassa's moeten zelf hun zaken besturen en bepalen. Is dit werkelijk het geval? De hele wereld weet dat het antwoord nee is. Het staatsapparaat regeert en regelt alles; het regeert het volk, dat zijn onderdanen zijn. In werkelijkheid bestaat het staatsapparaat uit de massa van ambtenaren en militairen. Natuurlijk zijn voor alle aangelegenheden die de gehele gemeenschap aangaan, ambtenaren nodig om bestuurstaken uit te voeren; maar in onze staat zijn de dienaren van het volk hun meesters geworden. De sociaal-democratie is van mening dat de parlementaire democratie, omdat zij de vorm van democratie is waarin het volk zijn regering kiest, in staat is - mits de juiste mensen worden gekozen - om het zelfbestuur van het volk tot werkelijkheid te maken.

Wat er werkelijk gebeurt, blijkt duidelijk uit de ervaringen met de nieuwe Duitse republiek. Het lijdt geen twijfel dat de massa's arbeiders niet de terugkeer van een triomferend kapitalisme willen zien. Maar hoewel er bij de verkiezingen geen sprake was van een beperking van de democratie, er geen sprake was van militair terrorisme en alle instellingen van de reactie machteloos waren, was het resultaat desondanks de herinvoering van de oude onderdrukking en uitbuiting, de instandhouding van het kapitalisme. De communisten hadden hier al voor gewaarschuwd en voorzagen dat de bevrijding van de arbeiders van hun uitbuiting door het kapitaal via de parlementaire democratie niet mogelijk zou zijn.

De volksmassa's drukken hun macht uit in verkiezingen. Op de dag van de verkiezingen zijn de massa's soeverein; zij kunnen hun wil opleggen door hun vertegenwoordigers te kiezen. Op deze ene dag zijn zij de meesters. Maar wee hen als zij niet de juiste vertegenwoordigers kiezen! Gedurende de gehele periode na de verkiezingen zijn zij machteloos. Eenmaal verkozen, kunnen de afgevaardigden en parlementariërs alles beslissen. Deze democratie is geen regering van het volk zelf, maar een regering van parlementariërs, die bijna volledig onafhankelijk zijn van de massa. Om hen meer responsief te maken zou men voorstellen kunnen doen, zoals bijvoorbeeld het houden van nieuwe verkiezingen elk jaar, of, nog radicaler, het recht van recall (verplichte nieuwe verkiezingen op verzoek van een bepaald aantal van de kiesgerechtigden); maar natuurlijk doet niemand dergelijke voorstellen. Natuurlijk kunnen de parlementsleden niet doen wat zij willen, want vier jaar later moeten zij zich opnieuw kandidaat stellen. Maar in die tijd manipuleren zij de massa's door hen te laten wennen aan zulke algemene formules en zulke demagogische frasen,
op zo'n manier dat de massa absoluut niet in staat is tot het uitoefenen van enige vorm van kritisch oordeel. Kiezen de kiezers op de verkiezingsdag werkelijk de geschikte vertegenwoordigers, die in hun naam de mandaten zullen uitvoeren waarvoor zij gekozen zijn? Neen, zij kiezen slechts uit de verschillende personen die vooraf door de politieke partijen zijn gekozen en die hun in de partijkranten bekend zijn gemaakt.

Maar laten we eens aannemen dat een groot aantal mensen door de massa's wordt gekozen als de vertegenwoordigers van hun ware bedoelingen en naar het parlement wordt gestuurd. Zij komen daar bijeen, maar beseffen al gauw dat het parlement niet regeert; het heeft alleen tot taak wetten uit te vaardigen, maar voert ze niet uit. In de burgerlijke staat is er een scheiding van machten tussen het maken van wetten en het uitvoeren ervan. Het parlement bezit slechts de eerste macht, terwijl het de tweede macht is die werkelijk bepalend is; de werkelijke macht, die van de uitvoering van de wetten, is in handen van de bureaucratie en de departementen van de Staat, aan de top waarvan de regeringsleider als hoogste autoriteit staat. Dit betekent dat in de democratische landen het regeringspersoneel, de ministers, worden aangewezen door de parlementaire meerderheid. In werkelijkheid worden zij echter niet gekozen, maar achter gesloten deuren met veel bedriegerij en gesjacher voorgedragen door de leiders van de partijen met een parlementaire meerderheid. Zelfs al zou de volkswil in het parlement tot uiting komen, dan zou dat nog niet het geval zijn in de regering.

In het personeel van de regeringsposten is de volkswil alleen te vinden - en daar, in een verzwakte vorm vermengd met andere invloeden - naast het bureaucratisme, dat het volk rechtstreeks regeert en overheerst. Maar zelfs de ministers staan bijna machteloos tegenover de organisaties van de bureaucratie, die nominaal aan hen ondergeschikt zijn. De bureaucratie trekt aan alle touwtjes en doet al het werk, niet de ministers. Het zijn de bureaucraten die in functie blijven en er nog steeds zijn wanneer de volgende lichting verkozen politici in functie komt. Zij rekenen op de ministers om hen te verdedigen in het parlement en om financiering voor hen goed te keuren, maar als de ministers hen dwarszitten, maken zij het leven voor hen onmogelijk.

Dit is de hele bedoeling van het sociaal-democratische concept dat de arbeiders de macht kunnen grijpen en het kapitalisme omver kunnen werpen door middel van de normale regel van het algemeen kiesrecht. Denken zij werkelijk dat zij iemand kunnen doen geloven dat al deze functionarissen, kantoorbedienden, afdelingsbestuurders, vertrouwenspersonen, rechters en hoge en lage ambtenaren in staat zullen zijn om in opdracht van mensen als Ebert en Scheidemann of Dittmann en Ledebour ook maar enige verandering ten gunste van de vrijheid van het proletariaat tot stand te brengen? De bureaucratie behoort op de hoogste niveaus tot dezelfde klasse als de uitbuiters van de arbeiders, en zowel in de middenlagen als in de laagste rangen genieten de leden ervan een zekere en bevoorrechte positie ten opzichte van de rest van de bevolking. Daarom voelen zij zich solidair met de heersende lagen die tot de bourgeoisie behoren, en zijn zij met hen verbonden door duizend onzichtbare banden van opvoeding, familiebanden en persoonlijke connecties.

Misschien zijn de sociaal-democratische leiders gaan geloven dat zij, door de plaats in te nemen van de ministers van de vorige regering, de weg naar het socialisme konden effenen door nieuwe wetten aan te nemen. In werkelijkheid is er echter niets veranderd in het staatsapparaat en het machtssysteem als gevolg van deze verandering van regeringspersoneel. En dat deze heren niet willen toegeven dat dit inderdaad het geval is, blijkt wel uit het feit dat hun enige zorg is geweest de regeringsposten te bezetten, in de overtuiging dat met deze personeelswisseling de revolutie voorbij is. Dit wordt evenzeer duidelijk gemaakt door het feit dat de moderne organisaties die door het proletariaat in het leven zijn geroepen, onder hun leiding een statistisch karakter hebben en ruiken als de Staat, maar dan op kleinere schaal: de vroegere dienaren, nu ambtenaren, hebben zichzelf tot meesters gepromoveerd; zij hebben een dichte bureaucratie geschapen, met haar eigen belangen, die - in nog geaccentueerdere vorm - het karakter vertoont van de burgerlijke parlementen op de commanderende hoogten van hun respectieve partijen en fracties, die alleen maar uitdrukking geven aan de onmacht van de massa's van hun achterban.

Zeggen wij dan dat het gebruik van het parlement en de strijd voor de democratie een valse tactiek van de sociaal-democratie is? Wij weten allemaal dat onder de heerschappij van een machtig en nog onaangetast kapitalisme de parlementaire strijd een middel kan zijn om het klassenbewustzijn op te wekken en wakker te schudden, en dat heeft hij ook gedaan, en zelfs Liebknecht heeft het tijdens de oorlog op die manier gebruikt. Maar juist daarom kan het specifieke karakter van het democratisch parlementarisme niet worden genegeerd. Het heeft de strijdlustige geest van de massa's tot bedaren gebracht, hen het valse geloof bijgebracht dat zij de situatie onder controle hadden en elke gedachte aan rebellie die bij hen zou zijn opgekomen, de kop ingedrukt. Zij heeft het kapitalisme onschatbare diensten bewezen door het in staat te stellen zich vreedzaam en zonder beroering te ontwikkelen. Natuurlijk moest het kapitalisme in de parlementaire strijd de bijzonder schadelijke formule van bedrog en demagogie toepassen, om zijn doel te bereiken, de bevolking tot waanzin te drijven. En nu bewijst de parlementaire democratie het kapitalisme een nog grotere dienst, omdat zij de arbeidersorganisaties betrekt bij de pogingen om het kapitalisme te redden.

Het kapitalisme is tijdens de wereldoorlog zowel materieel als moreel aanzienlijk verzwakt en zal alleen kunnen overleven als de arbeiders zelf het weer op de been helpen. De sociaal-democratische arbeidersleiders worden tot regeringsministers gekozen, omdat alleen het van hun partij geërfde gezag en de fata morgana van de belofte van het socialisme de arbeiders rustig konden houden, totdat de oude staatsorde voldoende kon worden versterkt. Dat is de rol en het doel van de democratie, van de parlementaire democratie, in deze periode waarin het niet gaat om de komst van het socialisme, maar om het voorkomen ervan. Democratie kan de arbeiders niet bevrijden, zij kan hen slechts dieper in slavernij dompelen, hun aandacht afleiden van de ware weg naar de vrijheid; zij vergemakkelijkt de revolutie niet, maar blokkeert haar, versterkt het verzet van de bourgeoisie en maakt de strijd voor het socialisme tot een moeilijkere, kostbaardere en tijdrovendere taak voor het proletariaat.

Indien de auteur dit pleidooi

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De zoveelste preek voor eigen

De zoveelste preek voor eigen parochie maar WAAR BLIJFT DE ANALYSE WAAROM BIJ1 NAUWELIJKS GENOEG STEMMEN HAALT VOOR EEN ZETEL ? is het omdat er alleen mensen van kleur op propaganda van BIJ! staan ? Dat anti racisme raakt de meerderheid niet white privilege bijv. De meerderheid is wit zonder die " witte " stemmen geen zetel of met moeite een zetel. Dat is bekend lijkt me toch is er gekozen voor die aanpak. Ik vraag me af wat de evaluatie van BIJ1 zelf zal zijn zo iets als we beginnen pas ? Ik heb BIJ1 gestemd als "witte " persoon op Sylvana Simons maar ik vraag me af of ik dat wel mocht van een aantal bekende BIJ1 mensen . Verder NL " kleurt blauw " opnieuw . VVD dus. Moet toch ook te denken geven . De analyses vd gevestigde orde stellen dat dat komt door het Covid19 beleid van Rutte. De rest lijkt vergeten bijv. toeslagen affaire raakt VVD stemmers niet word er gesteld.
Partij politiek Links lijkt am ende. Kijk naar de SP bijv. en Groen Links. Mensen met alleen FASCISTEN roepen word het niks. Hoe voorkom je bijv. als radicaal Links dat je grote groepen niet verder van je vervreemd ? Welke opinie makers bij radicaal Links zouden een stap terug moeten overwegen om anderen een kans te geven die wel effectief zijn tegen al dat Rechtse geweld ??


Links heeft zich van de werkende klasse vervreemd met hun zwarte pieten gezever en genderneutrale wc's.

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