Dictatorship of the proletariat

In Marxist philosophy, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a state of affairs in which the working class hold political power.[1][2] Proletarian dictatorship is the intermediate stage between a capitalist economy and a communist economy, whereby the government nationalises ownership of the means of production from private to collective ownership.[3] The socialist revolutionary Joseph Weydemeyer coined the term "dictatorship of the proletariat", which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels adopted to their philosophy and economics; that the Paris Commune (1871), which controlled the capital city for two months, before being suppressed, was an example of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Marxist philosophy, the term "Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" is the antonym to "dictatorship of the proletariat".[4]

The term "dictatorship" indicates the retention of the state apparatus, but differs from individual dictatorship, the unconstitutional rule of one man. The term 'dictatorship of the proletariat implies the complete "socialization of the major means of production",[5] the planning of material production in service to the social and economic needs of the population, such as the right to work, education, health and welfare services, public housing.

There are multiple popular trends for this political thought, all of which believe the state will be retained post-revolution for its enforcement capabilities:

  • Marxism–Leninism follows the ideas of Marxism and Leninism as interpreted by Vladimir Lenin's successor Joseph Stalin. It seeks to organise a vanguard party, as advocated by Marx, and to lead a proletarian uprising, to assume state power on behalf of the proletariat and to construct a single-party "socialist state" representing a dictatorship of the proletariat, governed through the process of democratic centralism, which Lenin described as "diversity in discussion, unity in action". Marxism–Leninism forms the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam, and was the official ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from the late 1920's, and later of the other ruling parties making up the Eastern Bloc.
  • Libertarian Marxists criticize Marxism–Leninism for perceived differences from orthodox Marxism, opposing the Leninist principle of democratic centralism and the Marxist-Leninist interpretation of vanguardism. Along with Trotskyists, they also oppose the use of a one-party state which they view as inherently undemocratic, although Trotskyists are still Bolsheviks, subscribing to democratic centralism and soviet democracy, seeing their ideology as a more accurate interpretation of Leninism. Rosa Luxemburg, a Marxist theorist, emphasized the role of the vanguard party as representative of the whole class[6][7], and the dictatorship of the proletariat as the entire proletariat's rule, characterizing the dictatorship of the proletariat as a concept meant to expand democracy rather than reduce it - as opposed to minority rule in the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.[8]

Friedrich Hayek argued in the book The Road to Serfdom that the dictatorship of the proletariat, even if democratic, would probably destroy personal freedom as completely as in a autocracy.[9]

Theoretical approaches

Karl Marx

Karl Marx did not write much about the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat, with his published works instead largely focusing on analysing and criticising capitalist society. In 1848, he and Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto that "their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions".[10] In the same year, commenting on the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, he again highlighted the role of the violence, saying that "there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror".[11]

On 1 January 1852, the communist journalist Joseph Weydemeyer published an article entitled "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" in the German language newspaper Turn-Zeitung, where he wrote that "it is quite plain that there cannot be here any question of gradual, peaceful transitions" and recalled the examples of Oliver Cromwell (England) and Committee of Public Safety (France) as examples of "dictatorship" and "terrorism" (respectively) required to overthrow the bourgeoisie.[12] In that year, Marx wrote to him, saying:

Long before me, bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle between the classes, as had bourgeois economists their economic anatomy. My own contribution was (1) to show that the existence of classes is merely bound up with certain historical phases in the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; [and] (3) that this dictatorship, itself, constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society

— Karl Marx, 1852[13]

Marx expanded upon his ideas about the dictatorship of the proletariat in his short 1875 work, Critique of the Gotha Program, a scathing criticism and attack on the principles laid out in the programme of the German Workers' Party (predecessor to the Social Democratic Party of Germany). The programme presented a moderate, evolutionary way to socialism as opposed to revolutionary, violent approach of the "orthodox" Marxists. As a result the latter accused the Gotha program as being "revisionist" and ineffective.[14] Nevertheless, he allowed for the possibility of a peaceful transition in some countries with strong democratic institutional structures (such as the case of the Great Britain, the US, and the Netherlands), suggesting however that in other countries in which workers can not "attain their goal by peaceful means" the "lever of our revolution must be force", on the principle that the working people had the right to revolt if they were denied political expression.[15][16]

Marx stated that in a proletarian-run society the state should control the "proceeds of labour" (i.e. all the food and products produced) and take from them that which was "an economic necessity", namely enough to replace "the means of production used up", an "additional portion for expansion of production" and "insurance funds" to be used in emergencies such as natural disasters. Furthermore, he believed that the state should then take enough to cover administrative costs, funds for the running of public services and funds for those who were physically incapable of working. Once enough to cover all of these things had been taken out of the "proceeds of labour", Marx believed that what was left should then be shared out amongst the workers, with each individual getting goods to the equivalent value of how much labour they had invested.[17] In this meritocratic manner, those workers who put in more labour and worked harder would get more of the proceeds of the collective labour than someone who had not worked as hard.

In the Critique, he noted that "defects are inevitable" and there would be many difficulties in initially running such a workers' state "as it emerges from capitalistic society" because it would be "economically, morally and intellectually... still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges", thereby still containing capitalist elements.[17]

In other works, Marx stated that he considered the Paris Commune (a revolutionary socialism supporting government that ran the city of Paris from March to May 1871) as an example of the proletarian dictatorship. Describing the short-lived regime, he remarked:

The Commune was formed of the municipal councilors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible, and revocable at short terms. The majority of its members were naturally workers, or acknowledged representatives of the working class. The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary body, executive, and legislative at the same time.[18]

This form of popular government, featuring revocable election of councilors and maximal public participation in governance, resembles contemporary direct democracy.

Friedrich Engels

Force and violence played an important role in Friedrich Engels's vision of the revolution and rule of proletariat. In 1877, arguing with Eugen Dühring, Engels ridiculed his reservations against use of force:

That force, however, plays yet another role in history, a revolutionary role; that, in the words of Marx, it is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one, that it is the instrument with the aid of which social movement forces its way through and shatters the dead, fossilised political forms

— Friedrich Engels, Anti-Duhring, 1877[19]

In the 1891 postscript to The Civil War in France (1872) pamphlet, Engels said: "Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat"; to avoid bourgeois political corruption:

[...] the Commune made use of two infallible expedients. In this first place, it filled all posts—administrative, judicial, and educational—by election on the basis of universal suffrage of all concerned, with the right of the same electors to recall their delegate at any time. And, in the second place, all officials, high or low, were paid only the wages received by other workers. The highest salary paid by the Commune to anyone was 6,000 francs. In this way an effective barrier to place-hunting and careerism was set up, even apart from the binding mandates to delegates [and] to representative bodies, which were also added in profusion.

In the same year, he criticised "anti-authoritarian socialists", again referring to the methods of the Paris Commune:

A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois?

— Friedrich Engels, On Authority, 1872[20]

Marx's attention to the Paris Commune placed the commune in the centre of later Marxist forms.

This statement was written in "Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League", which is credited to Marx and Engels:

[The workers] must work to ensure that the immediate revolutionary excitement is not suddenly suppressed after the victory. On the contrary, it must be sustained as long as possible. Far from opposing the so-called excesses – instances of popular vengeance against hated individuals or against public buildings with which hateful memories are associated – the workers’ party must not only tolerate these actions but must even give them direction.

— Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League", 1850[21]

Vladimir Lenin

In the 20th century, Vladimir Lenin developed Leninism—the adaptation of Marxism to the socio-economic and political conditions of Imperial Russia (1721–1917). This body of theory later became the official ideology of some Communist states.

The State and Revolution (1917) explicitly discusses the practical implementation of "dictatorship of the proletariat" through means of violent revolution. Lenin denies any reformist interpretations of Marxism, such as the one of Karl Kautsky's. Lenin especially focused on Engels' phrase of the state "withering away", denying that it could apply to "bourgeois state" and highlighting that Engels work is mostly "panegyric on violent revolution". Based on these arguments, he denounces reformists as "opportunistic", reactionary and points out the red terror as the only[22] method of introducing dictatorship of the proletariat compliant with Marx and Engels work.[23]

In Imperial Russia, the Paris Commune model form of government was realised in the soviets (councils of workers and soldiers) established in the Russian Revolution of 1905, whose revolutionary task was deposing the capitalist (monarchical) state to establish socialism—the dictatorship of the proletariat—the stage preceding communism.

In Russia, the Bolshevik Party (described by Lenin as the "vanguard of the proletariat") elevated the soviets to power in the October Revolution of 1917. Throughout 1917, Lenin argued that the Russian Provisional Government was unrepresentative of the proletariat's interests because in his estimation they represented the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie". He argued that because they continually put off democratic elections, they denied the prominence of the democratically constituted soviets and all the promises made by liberal bourgeois parties prior to the February Revolution remained unfulfilled, the soviets would need to take power for themselves.

Proletarian government

Lenin argued that in an underdeveloped country such as Russia the capitalist class would remain a threat even after a successful socialist revolution.[24] As a result, he advocated the repression of those elements of the capitalist class that took up arms against the new soviet government, writing that as long as classes existed a state would need to exist to exercise the democratic rule of one class (in his view, the working class) over the other (the capitalist class).[24] He said:

[...] Dictatorship does not necessarily mean the abolition of democracy for the class that exercises the dictatorship over other classes; but it does mean the abolition of democracy (or very material restriction, which is also a form of abolition) for the class over which, or against which, the dictatorship is exercised.

— Vladimir Lenin[25][26]

The use of violence, terror and rule of single communist party was criticised by Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg and Mikhail Bakunin. In response, Lenin accused Kautsky of being a "renegade" and "liberal"[27] and these socialist movements that did not support the Bolshevik party line were condemned by the Communist International and called social fascism.

Soviet democracy granted voting rights to the majority of the populace who elected the local soviets, who elected the regional soviets and so on until electing the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. Capitalists were disenfranchised in the Russian soviet model. However, according to Lenin in a developed country it would be possible to dispense with the disenfranchisement of capitalists within the democratic proletarian dictatorship as the proletariat would be guaranteed of an overwhelming majority.[28]

The Bolsheviks in 1917–1924 did not claim to have achieved a communist society. In contrast the preamble to the 1977 Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the "Brezhnev Constitution"), stated that the 1917 Revolution established the dictatorship of the proletariat as "a society of true democracy" and that "the supreme goal of the Soviet state is the building of a classless, communist society in which there will be public, communist self-government".[29]

Banning of opposition parties and factions

During the Russian Civil War (1918–1922), all the major opposition parties either took up arms against the new Soviet government, took part in sabotage, collaboration with the deposed Tsarists, or made assassination attempts against Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders. When opposition parties such as the Cadets and Mensheviks were democratically elected to the Soviets in some areas, they proceeded to use their mandate to welcome in Tsarist and foreign capitalist military forces. In one incident in Baku, the British military, once invited in, proceeded to execute members of the Bolshevik Party (who had peacefully stood down from the Soviet when they failed to win the elections). As a result, the Bolsheviks banned each opposition party when it turned against the Soviet government. In some cases, bans were lifted. This banning of parties did not have the same repressive character as later bans under Stalin would.[30]

Internally, Lenin's critics argued that such political suppression always was his plan. Supporters argued that the reactionary civil war of the foreign-sponsored White movement required it—given Fanya Kaplan's unsuccessful assassination of Lenin on 30 August 1918 and the successful assassination of Moisei Uritsky the same day.

After 1919, the Soviets had ceased to function as organs of democratic rule as the famine induced by forced grain requisitions led to the Soviets emptying out of ordinary people. Half the population of Moscow and a third of Petrograd had by this stage fled to the countryside to find food and political life ground to a halt.[30]

The Bolsheviks became concerned that under these conditions—the absence of mass participation in political life and the banning of opposition parties—counter-revolutionary forces would express themselves within the Bolshevik Party itself (some evidence existed for this in the mass of ex opposition party members who signed up for Bolshevik membership immediately after the end of the Civil War).

Despite the principle of democratic centralism in the Bolshevik Party, internal factions were banned. This was considered an extreme measure and did not fall within Marxist doctrine. The ban remained until the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991.[31] In 1921, vigorous internal debate and freedom of opinion were still present within Russia and the beginnings of censorship and mass political repression had not yet emerged. For example, the Workers Opposition faction continued to operate despite being nominally dissolved. The debates of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union continued to be published until 1923.

Stalinism and "dictatorship"

Elements of the later censorship and attacks on political expression would appear during Lenin's illness and after his death, when members of the future Stalinist clique clamped down on party democracy among the Georgian Bolsheviks and began to censor material. Pravda ceased publishing the opinions of political oppositions after 1924 and at the same time, the ruling clique (Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and Joseph Stalin) admitted large numbers of new members into the party in order to shout down the voices of oppositionists at party meetings, severely curtailing internal debate. Their policies were partly directed by the interests of the new bureaucracy that had accumulated a great deal of social weight in the absence of an active participation in politics by the majority of people. By 1927, many supporters of the Left Opposition began to face political repression and Leon Trotsky was exiled.

Some modern critics of the concept of the "dictatorship of the proletariat"—including various anti-communists, libertarian Marxists, anarcho-communists and anti-Stalinist communists and socialists—argue that the Stalinist Soviet Union and other Stalinist countries used the "dictatorship of the proletariat" to justify the monopolisation of political power by a new ruling layer of bureaucrats, derived partly from the old Tsarist bureaucracy and partly created by the impoverished condition of Russia.

However, the rising Stalinist clique rested on other grounds for political legitimacy rather than a confusion between the modern and Marxist use of the term "dictatorship". Rather, they took the line that since they were the vanguard of the proletariat, their right to rule could not be legitimately questioned. Hence, opposition parties could not be permitted to exist. From 1936 onward, Stalinist-inspired state constitutions enshrined this concept by giving the various communist parties a "leading role" in society—a provision that was interpreted to either ban other parties altogether or force them to accept the Stalinists guaranteed right to rule as a condition of being allowed to exist.

This justification was adopted by subsequent communist parties that built upon the Stalinist model, such as the ones in China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba (initially the 26th of July Movement).


At the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev declared an end to the "dictatorship of the proletariat" and the establishment of the "all people's government".[32]

See also


  1. ^ "On Authority". Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  2. ^ Karl Marx; Frederick Engels. "Manifesto of the Communist Party". Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Critique of the Gotha Programme—IV". Critique of the Gotha Programme. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  4. ^ Lenin, Vladimir (1918). "Class society and the state". The State and Revolution. Lenin Internet Archive (marxists.org).
  5. ^ O.P.Gauba (2015). An introduction to political theory. New Delhi: Mayur paperbacks. pp. 607, 608.
  6. ^ Luxemburg, Rosa (1906). "Co-operation of Organised and Unorganised Workers Necessary for Victory". The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions. Marxist Educational Society of Detroit. "The social democrats are the most enlightened, most class-conscious vanguard of the proletariat. They cannot and dare not wait, in a fatalist fashion, with folded arms for the advent of the “revolutionary situation,” to wait for that which in every spontaneous peoples’ movement, falls from the clouds. On the contrary, they must now, as always, hasten the development of things and endeavour to accelerate events."
  7. ^ Luxemburg, Rosa (1918). "That is what the Spartacus League wants!". What Does the Spartacus League Want?. Die Rote Fahne. "The Spartacus League is only the most conscious, purposeful part of the proletariat, which points the entire broad mass of the working class toward its historical tasks at every step, which represents in each particular stage of the Revolution the ultimate socialist goal, and in all national questions the interests of the proletarian world revolution."
  8. ^ Luxemburg, Rosa (1918). "Democracy and Dictatorship". The Russian Revolution. New York: Workers Age Publishers.
  9. ^ Hayek, Friedrich (1944). The Road To Serfdom. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-226-32061-8.
  10. ^ Communist Manifesto, 1848, Chapter IV
  11. ^ Karl Marx (1848). "The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna". Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  12. ^ Joseph Weydemeyer (1962). "The dictatorship of the proletariat". Labor History. 3 (2): 214–217. doi:10.1080/00236566208583900.
  13. ^ See the letter from Marx to Joseph Weydemeyer dated March 5, 1852 in Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, Collected Works Vol. 39 (International Publishers: New York, 1983) pp. 62–65.
  14. ^ "The Gotha and Erfurt Programs". 1875. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  15. ^ Mary Gabriel (October 29, 2011). "Who was Karl Marx?". CNN.
  16. ^ "You know that the institutions, mores, and traditions of various countries must be taken into consideration, and we do not deny that there are countries – such as America, England, and if I were more familiar with your institutions, I would perhaps also add Holland – where the workers can attain their goal by peaceful means. This being the case, we must also recognise the fact that in most countries on the Continent the lever of our revolution must be force; it is force to which we must some day appeal to erect the rule of labour." La Liberté Speech delivered by Karl Marx on 8 September 1872, in Amsterdam
  17. ^ a b Marx 1875. Chapter One.
  18. ^ Marx, Karl (1986). "The Civil War in France". Marx & Engels Collected Works. 22. New York: International Publishers. p. 331.
  19. ^ Engels, Friedrich (1877). "Theory of Force (Conclusion)". Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  20. ^ Engels, Friedrich (1872). "On Authority". Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  21. ^ Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich (1850). "Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League". Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  22. ^ The supersession of the bourgeois state by the proletarian state is impossible without a violent revolution (The State and Revolution, Chapter 1)
  23. ^ "The theory of Marx and Engels of the inevitability of a violent revolution refers to the bourgeois state. The latter cannot be superseded by the proletarian state (the dictatorship of the proletariat) through the process of 'withering away", but, as a general rule, only through a violent revolution. The panegyric Engels sang in its honor, and which fully corresponds to Marx's repeated statements". (The State and Revolution, Chapter 1).
  24. ^ a b "www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/prrk/equality.htm".
  25. ^ V. I. Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky. Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 235.
  26. ^ Marx Engels Lenin on Scientific Socialism. Moscow: Novosti Press Ajency Publishing House. 1974.
  27. ^ Vladimir Lenin (1918). "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky". Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  28. ^ Notes on Plenkhanov's Second Draft Programme. Lenin Collected Works. Vol. 6, p. 51.
  29. ^ 1977 Constitution of the USSR, Part 1.
  30. ^ a b Marcel Leibman (1980) Leninism under Lenin
  31. ^ "A Country Study: Soviet Union (Former). Chapter 7—The Communist Party. Democratic Centralism". The Library of Congress. Country Studies. Retrieved October 24, 2005.
  32. ^ Law, David A. (1975). Russian Civilization. Ardent Media. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8422-0529-0.

External links

Berne International

The Berne International was a Socialist International formed in Berne, Switzerland 3–9 February 1919. Its goal was to re-establish the Second International. However it did not support World Revolution and rejected involvement with the Communist International.

The initiative grew out of the failure of a group of social democratic parties to hold a conference in Stockholm in 1917.

Hjalmar Branting rejected any role for the dictatorship of the proletariat arguing it could not lead to socialism. Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein urged the conference to condemn the Bolsheviks and their seizure of power in Russia. Branting moved a resolution which supported the ideology of bourgeois democracy and greeted the revolution in Soviet Russia, but which also denounced the dictatorship of the proletariat. Whilst this gained much support, a group of delegates led by Friedrich Adler and Jean Longuet proposed a resolution calling on the conference to avoid taking a definite stand on Soviet Russia, as there was a lack of information about the situation there. To remedy this they proposed that a commission should be sent to Russia to study the economic and political situation there so that the question of Bolshevism could be discussed at the next Congress.

The commission was to be led by Adler, Kautsky, and Rudolf Hilferding. The Soviet regime agreed to admit the commission, but in return requested the admittance of the Soviet commission to those countries whose representatives were on the Berne commission. The Soviet government received no reply to this request and the commission proposed at the conference never visited Russia.

Class consciousness

In political theory and particularly Marxism, class consciousness is the set of beliefs that a person holds regarding their social class or economic rank in society, the structure of their class, and their class interests. According to Karl Marx, it is an awareness that is key to sparking a revolution that would "create a dictatorship of the proletariat, transforming it from a wage-earning, property-less mass into the ruling class".

Class traitor

Class traitor is a term used mostly in socialist discourse to refer to a member of the proletariat class who works directly or indirectly against their class interest, or what is against their economic benefit as opposed to that of the bourgeoisie. It applies particularly to soldiers, police officers, workers who refuse to respect picket lines during a strike and anyone paid a wage who actively facilitates the status quo. According to Barbara Ehrenreich: "Class treason is an option at all socioeconomic levels: from the blue-collar man who becomes a security guard employed to harass striking workers, to the heirs of capitalist fortunes who become donors to left-wing causes".In Russia before and during the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks and other socialist revolutionary organizations used it to describe the Czarist Army and any working class citizen who directly opposed their notion of the "dictatorship of the proletariat". The term was later extended to include the Menshevik Russians and other supposedly counter-revolutionary socialist organizations under Joseph Stalin.

The motives behind becoming a traitor to one's class can include the necessity of survival (taking up whatever wage is available), the belief that the person is of a higher class and so has political views that work against the working class, the pressure of conformity, or a rejection of the view that society is divided up into antagonistic classes.

Critique of the Gotha Program

The Critique of the Gotha Program (German: Kritik des Gothaer Programms) is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP), with whom Marx and Friedrich Engels were in close association.Offering perhaps Marx's most detailed pronouncement on programmatic matters of revolutionary strategy, the document discusses the "dictatorship of the proletariat", the period of transition from capitalism to communism, proletarian internationalism and the party of the working class. It is notable also for elucidating the principles of "To each according to his contribution" as the basis for a "lower phase" of communist society directly following the transition from capitalism and "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" as the basis for a future "higher phase" of communist society. In describing the lower phase, he states that "the individual receives from society exactly what he gives to it" and advocates remuneration in the form of labour vouchers as opposed to money.

The Critique of the Gotha Program, published after his death, was among Marx's last major writings. The letter is named for the Gotha Program, a proposed party platform manifesto for a forthcoming party congress that was to take place in the town of Gotha. At the party congress, the SDAP ("Eisenachers", based in Eisenach) planned to unite with the General German Workers' Association (ADAV, "Lassalleans", from Ferdinand Lassalle) to form a unified party. The Eisenachers sent the draft program for a united party to Marx for comment. He found the program negatively influenced by Lassalle, whom Marx regarded as an opportunist willing to limit the demands of the workers' movement in exchange for concessions from the government. However, at the congress held in Gotha in late May 1875 the draft program was accepted with only minor alterations by what was to become the powerful Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Marx's programmatic letter was published by Engels only much later, in 1891 when the SPD had declared its intention of adopting a new program, the result being the Erfurt Program of 1891.

The Gotha Program presented a moderate, evolutionary way to socialism as opposed to the revolutionary approach of the orthodox Marxists. As result, the latter accused it of being "revisionist" and ineffective.

Degenerated workers' state

In Trotskyist political theory, a degenerated workers' state is a dictatorship of the proletariat in which the working class's democratic control over the state has given way to control by a bureaucratic clique. The term was developed by Leon Trotsky in The Revolution Betrayed and in other works.

Democracy in Marxism

In Marxist theory, a new democratic society will arise through the organised actions of an international working class enfranchising the entire population and freeing up humans to act without being bound by the labour market. In such a utopian world there would also be little if any need for a state, the goal of which was to enforce the alienation. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels stated in The Communist Manifesto and later works that "the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle for democracy" and universal suffrage, being "one of the first and most important tasks of the militant proletariat". As Marx wrote in his Critique of the Gotha Program, "between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat". He allowed for the possibility of peaceful transition in some countries with strong democratic institutional structures (such as Britain, the US and the Netherlands), but suggested that in other countries in which workers can not "attain their goal by peaceful means" the "lever of our revolution must be force", stating that the working people had the right to revolt if they were denied political expression. In response to the question "What will be the course of this revolution?" in Principles of Communism, Friedrich Engels wrote: Above all, it will establish a democratic constitution, and through this, the direct or indirect dominance of the proletariat.

While Marxists propose replacing the bourgeois state with a proletarian semi-state through revolution (dictatorship of the proletariat), which would eventually wither away, anarchists warn that the state must be abolished along with capitalism. Nonetheless, the desired end results, a stateless, communal society, are the same.

Grigori Kromanov

Grigori Kromanov (8 March 1926 in Tallinn – 18 July 1984 in Lahe, Lääne-Virumaa) was an Estonian theatre and film director. He directed some of the best known Estonian movies, including Viimne reliikvia (The Last Relic) and Dead Mountaineer's Hotel.

His 1976 film Brillianty dlya diktatury proletariata (Diamonds for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat) is based on the homonymous 1974 detective novel by Yulian Semyonov.

Grigory Isayev

Grigory Zinovyevich Isayev (Russian: Григорий Зиновьевич Исаев; born 1943) is a Russian politician and labor activist. He is the leader of the Samara Stachkom (Strike Committee) and the Party of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Isayev was arrested and sentenced to a prison camp in 1981 for his role in organizing workers' strike and an underground communist organization in the Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev rule. He was arrested twice under Boris Yeltsin in 1998 for leading the successful two-month-long strike of the 5,000 ZIM (Zavod imeni Maslennikova) factory's workers and the blockade of the main street of Samara which paralyzed the center of the city.

Ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was Marxism–Leninism, an ideology of a centralised, planned economy and a vanguardist one-party state, which was the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Soviet Union's ideological commitment to achieving communism included the development socialism in one country and peaceful coexistence with capitalist countries while engaging in anti-imperialism to defend the international proletariat, combat capitalism and promote the goals of communism. The state ideology of the Soviet Union—and thus Marxism–Leninism—derived and developed from the theories, policies and political praxis of Lenin and Stalin.

Intensification of the class struggle under socialism

The theory of aggravation of the class struggle along with the development of socialism was one of the cornerstones of Stalinism in the internal politics of the Soviet Union. Although the term "class struggle" was introduced by Marx and Engels, and "aggravation of class struggle" was an expression originally coined by Vladimir Lenin in 1919 to refer to the dictatorship of the proletariat, the theory of "class struggle under socialism" was put forward by Joseph Stalin in 1929 and supplied a theoretical base for the claim that ongoing repression of "capitalist elements" is necessary. Stalin believed that residual bourgeois elements would persist within the country and that, with support from Western powers, they would try to infiltrate the party. A variation of the theory was also adopted by Mao Zedong in China.

Killdozer (band)

Killdozer was an American rock band, formed in Madison, Wisconsin in 1983, with members Bill Hobson, Dan Hobson and Michael Gerald. They took their name from the 1974 TV movie, directed by Jerry London, itself based on a Theodore Sturgeon short story. They released their first album, Intellectuals are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite, in the same year. The band split in 1990 but reformed in 1993, losing guitarist Bill Hobson and gaining Paul Zagoras, and continued until they split up in 1996. Their farewell tour was officially titled "Fuck You, We Quit!", and included Erik Tunison of Die Kreuzen in place of Dan Hobson on drums and Jeff Ditzenberger on additional guitar. The band released nine albums, including a post-breakup live CD, The Last Waltz.

Killdozer was notable for its slow, grinding song structures and blackly humorous lyrics, growled ominously by singer/guitarist Michael Gerald at the top of his lungs. Many of their songs were disturbing narratives of small-town life gone awry, and later had a jaded, left wing political perspective. Killdozer is regarded by many to have helped set the foundation for grunge music, despite that genre's association with the city of Seattle.The band also became famous for its cover songs, an example being Don McLean's "American Pie". A version exists on their 1989 all-covers album For Ladies Only. Gerald also did a cover of Jessi Colter's "I'm Not Lisa" for the band's 1986 EP Burl, dedicated "in loving memory of" the still-living-at-the-time Burl Ives. The EP in its entirety can be found on the CD version of their 1994 album Uncompromising War on Art Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.


Leninism is the political theory for the organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party and the achievement of a dictatorship of the proletariat as political prelude to the establishment of socialism. Developed by and named for the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, Leninism comprises socialist political and economic theories, developed from Marxism and Lenin's interpretations of Marxist theories, for practical application to the socio-political conditions of the Russian Empire of the early 20th century.

Functionally, the Leninist vanguard party was to provide the working class with the political consciousness (education and organisation) and revolutionary leadership necessary to depose capitalism in Imperial Russia. After the October Revolution of 1917, Leninism became the dominant hegemonic force within the Russian revolutionary current, and in establishing further Bolshevik supremacy, the Bolsheviks had defeated the socialist opposition such as the Mensheviks and factions of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and also suppressed soviet democracy. The Russian Civil War (1917–1922) thus included left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks (1918–1924) that were suppressed in the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR) before incorporation to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922.

At the Fifth Congress of the Communist International in July 1924, Grigory Zinoviev popularized the term "Leninism" to denote "vanguard-party revolution". From 1917 to 1922, Leninism was the Russian application of Marxist economics and political philosophy, effected and realised by the Bolsheviks, the vanguard party who led the fight for the political independence of the working class. In the 1925–1929 period, Joseph Stalin established his interpretation of Leninism as the official and only legitimate form of Marxism in Russia by amalgamating the political philosophies as Marxism–Leninism, which then became the state ideology of the Soviet Union.

Maoism (Third Worldism)

Maoism (Third Worldism), often stylized as Maoism–Third Worldism or simply MTW and not to be confused with Third Worldism generally, is a broad tendency which is mainly concerned with the infusion and synthesis of Marxism—particularly of the Marxist–Leninist–Maoist persuasion—with concepts of non-Marxist Third Worldism, namely dependency theory and world-systems theory.

There is no general consensus on part of Maoist–Third Worldists as a whole. However, the majority of proponents typically argue for the centrality of anti-imperialism to the victory of global communist revolution as well as against the idea that the working class in the First World is majority-exploited (sometimes arguing that it experiences no exploitation at all) and therefore it is not a part of the international proletariat.

In academic discourse, Maoism–Third Worldism is sometimes synonymous with dependency theory or dependencism.

Party of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

The Party of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (Partiya Diktaturi Proletariata) is a communist political party in Russia.

PDP was founded in 1990.

The party is based in the city of Samara and it is led by Grigory Isayev.

PDP publishes Zabastovka.


The proletariat ( from Latin proletarius "producing offspring") is the class of wage-earners in an economic society whose only possession of significant material value is their labour-power (how much work they can do). A member of such a class is a proletarian.

In Marxist theory, a dictatorship of the proletariat is for the proletariat, of the proletariat, and by the proletariat. On the Marxist view, this will endow the proletarian with the power to abolish the conditions that make a person a proletarian and, thus, build communism.

Social fascism

Social fascism was a theory supported by the Communist International (Comintern) during the early 1930s, which held that social democracy was a variant of fascism because—in addition to a shared corporatist economic model—it stood in the way of a dictatorship of the proletariat. At the time, the leaders of the Comintern, such as Joseph Stalin and Rajani Palme Dutt, argued that capitalist society had entered the "Third Period" in which a working class revolution was imminent, but could be prevented by social democrats and other "fascist" forces. The term "social fascist" was used pejoratively to describe social democratic parties, anti-Comintern and progressive socialist parties and dissenters within Comintern affiliates throughout the interwar period.

The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky

The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (most frequently published as The Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Renegade Kautsky) is a work by Vladimir Lenin written in October and November 1918 defending the Bolsheviks against criticisms being made against them by Karl Kautsky who was then the intellectual leader of moderate Marxists


Spurred by Kautsky's 1918 pamphlet The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Lenin's pamphlet was part of an ongoing polemic between various Bolshevik leaders and the social democrat Kautsky about the role of democracy and force in the transition to socialism.

The State and Revolution

The State and Revolution (1917), by Vladimir Lenin, describes the role of the State in society, the necessity of proletarian revolution, and the theoretic inadequacies of social democracy in achieving revolution to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Uncompromising War on Art Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Uncompromising War on Art Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is the fifth album by Killdozer, released on March 14, 1994 through Touch and Go Records. The CD version includes all the tracks from their 1986 Burl EP, except with the EP's vinyl release sides reversed.

Marxist phraseology and terminology
Philosophy and politics
Economics and sociology

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