First, I know Russia is no longer the USSR, but I used it because people always bring up the former Soviet Union.
My challenge: point out the passage where Marx claimed a one man dictator was to rule over a society forevermore. Since you claim the idea is directly from Marx, there should be a direct quote on the subject.
Some works to investigate (not exhaustive):
-The Communist Manfiesto
-The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844
-The German Ideology
I look forward to being enlightened.
The term "communist society" should be distinguished from "communist state", the latter referring to a state ruled by a party which professes the communist ideology.
Russia is probably about as close to a communist state as the US is to a true capitalism. Not very, but closer that most countries.
I partially agree.
Marx/Engels claimed the state was a tool of oppression. For them, the capitalists were oppressing, so the first step was to take control of the state and "oppress" the capitalists in a revolution. This is where the "dictatorship of the proletariat" comes into play. Even still, it is not the tyranny of a single dictator. It would be more of a group activity.
Marx/Engels saw this as completely temporary and existed simply to aid the transition to a communist society. Once that transition occurred, there would be no "state" because there would be no oppressive class, for how could there be in a classless society? There would simply be "the administration of things."
You can criticize the phrase "the administration of things" for being vague, but nowhere does Marx/Engels call for the dictatorship of one person to perpetually rule over a society.
The critical flaw with Communism is that it depends upon people to not be greedy arse-monkeys.
Whereas the critical flaw with Capitalism depends on people to be greedy arse-monkeys.
The critical flaw with communism is actually that it has no mechanism for knowing how scare resources are because its price system is not subject to the free-market. The only reason the Soviet Union lasted as long as it did was because they simply set the same prices as the Western market! If there was world communism, we'd have to invest heavily in space exploration to find a planet with a free-market to copy from, or an infinitely intelligent alien race that can know every individual's preferences immediately.
(State) Communism is not only immoral, it is useless.
How is communism any more immoral than capitalism? I agree with the pricing structure flaw.
I'm specifically talking about state communism here. Simply put, state communism argues for the aggressive appropriation of person and property. It is a violation of the non-aggression principle writ-large.
Capitalism has to be considered a more moral economic system as it builds itself only on voluntary action.
Note - I don't have a problem with anarcho-communism because, with no state, there would be nothing anybody could do about people voluntarily coming together and forming a free-market.
When you're arguing for the collectivisation of resources, you're going to have to do a lot of persuading - otherwise, you're going to need an agent of force to do it. This is where the government steps in. I'm sure communists see the state at least as a necessary evil to create communism, and then go away once the bourgeoisie are in power. However, and the libertarians see this just fine, state power begets state power. The more the state gets power, as is necessary for the collectivisation of resources and the persecution of the capitalists, more state power is necessary to protect it (Hayek's 'Road to Serfdom'). You eventually find yourself in totalitarianism. This is kind of inevitable, as is evidenced by the fact that no communist state has given up its power as yet.
So, the communist doctrine might not be explicitly in favour of totalitarianism, but it's easy to see why nearly every communist state has been one so far.
The flaw you have made is to think that one man ruled or rules in any of those countries. They are ruled by the single party, not the single person. In the USSR even Stalin did not have supreme power. Remember he offered his resignation multiple times and it was rejected by the central committee, There were numerous debates and votes between the government and opposition, the Trotskyites, Bukharinites etc. Khrushchev was removed from power by the collective leadership.
When a dictator decides on policy, it happens. When Stalin or a Soviet leader had a policy idea it often took years to implement due to having to win the support of central committee members. If you take the time to read any of Stalin or Lenin's works from when they were in power, you will see they are fighting a constant ideological battle against leading opponents in the party, men who held great power. I'll give one example. All throughout 1935 and 1936 work was being done on drawing up the new Soviet constitution. Opponents like Bukharin and Radek participated in this. In 1936 the first draft was published and received 2 million amendments (what dictator allows this) after 500,000 meetings had been conducted. Nikita Khrushchev was one leading party figure who opposed the new constitution as it allowed "non working and exploiting elements" to participate in Soviet democracy. In response Stalin said in his report to the 8th congress of soviets November 25 1936
"But what is there to be afraid of? If you are afraid of wolves keep out of the woods...If the people in some place or other do elect hostile persons, that will show our propaganda work was very badly organised, and we shall deserve such a disgrace: if, however, our propaganda work is conducted in a Bolshevik way, the people will not let hostile persons slip into the supreme governing bodies"
Eventually Stalin got the new constitution enacted, but not without party leaders who were afraid of being scrutinised and unelected had been dragged along kicking and screaming.
The dictatorship of the proletariat is not the dictatorship of one man, it never has been. It is the vanguard party leading the proletarian masses to new levels of consciousness, so that in the future when the balance of forces switches enough in our favour, when the means of production have been fully developed and socialised on a global scale that the workers have been prepared and readied for self rule. The dictatorship of the proletariat is interchangeable with socialism, it is the transitory stage before communism.
Now the next thing to remember is that Marx died before completing his works. Das Kapital was to serve as a first volume of economic theory. For things like political organisation we only have his essays and articles etc. Now I and most communists are Marxist-Leninists. That is because Lenin through his works, primarily the State and Revolution linked up and almost completed Marxian economics with a proletarian politics. He followed Marx arguments to their logical conclusions and ideologically defeated the so called Marxists of the 2nd International, who were nothing but social democrats intent on reforming capitalism. He showed that only proletarian dictatorship would suffice, something that history has confirmed - all 'democratic socialism' rests on the bourgeois state and economy and proves vulnerable to bourgeois wreckers working for the state and foreign agents.
All dictatorships have an "inner power structure" they must deal with. You are quibbling with the term "dictator."
I'm not under the pretense that it literally means one man or woman rule. But the dictator's choices are only constrained by balancing the power relations around them (whether people will agree with his decisions and whether someone may try to assassinate him).
The dictatorship of the proletariat and a one man dictatorship are simply not the same. You started the discussion by asking "My challenge: point out the passage where Marx claimed a one man dictator was to rule over a society forevermore." - The point is that the Soviet Union never had "a one man dictator". That is the point I made, and it is entirely valid. Your entire point is rested on an entirely erroneous premise.
Once Stalin's power was secure, it wasn't group rule. An oligarchy is not a dictatorship. The dictatorship of the proletariat is an oligarchy. Stalin was a straight dictator.
We're having a factual disagreement, and not on Marx's words, but whether Stalin was a true dictator or not, as your opening, " The flaw you have made is to think that one man ruled or rules in any of those countries" shows.
So I do appreciate your response because, as a communist, you highlight the fact that I am right in the essence of what Marx advocated, even if flawed on where it should apply/applied.
In the times of Kennedy and Kruschev, the two formed a close bond out of the missle crisis for they both realized how close they had come to greatly damaging and partially destroying the world with nuclear holacaust. In the aftermath, they exchanged informal letters on many occasions often carried by secret courier or trusted officials whose focus was in other capacities. Both men, while agreeing in their perspectives on their responsibilities to the world admitted that their hands were tied by the powers of the ruling party...Krushchev moreso than Kennedy. If they were to accomplish anything, it would have to be done in total secrecy. Kruschev would have been looked on as a traitor to the Soviet Union while Kennedy was seen by the military and the CIA as soft on communism. All of that ended on November 23, 1963. The man with the most flexibility in the equation was conveniently eliminated and the act was charged on a fame-seeking patsy allowing those with a greater axe to grind to go forward in their efforts. Vietnam was no accident nor was it the choice of one man. If you attempt to sort socialism and communism into a bin that is described by the ruling power of one man, you will miss all the real characteristics of such a flawed approach to governing. ~WB
In any society, the consent of the governed must be had. Whether that consent is obtained through fear or persuasion, it must exist. Otherwise, mass revolts and an overthrow are inevitable.
Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong Un and the United States all need the consent (and indifference is a form of consent) of the people and the powerful interests in society. I'm not trying to overlook this state of affairs at all. I'm contesting a point about the characterizations of communism.
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