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Encyclopedia > Dictatorship of the proletariat
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The "dictatorship of the proletariat" is a term employed by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program that refers to a transition period between capitalist and communist society "in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat". The term refers to a concentration of power in which rule by the proletariat (working class) would supplant the current political situation controlled by the bourgeoisie (propertied class). It does not refer to the repressive situation associated with the contemporary meaning of the term "dictatorship." Marxism is the philosophy, social theory and political practice based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century German socialist philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary. ... This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Alienation is a process whereby people come to be estranged from the society around them. ... bourgeoisie is basically a trem that meens middle class. ... Class consciousness is a category of Marxist theory, referring to the self-awareness of a social class, its capacity to act in its own rational interests, or measuring the extent to which an individual is conscious of the historical tasks their class (or class allegiance) sets for them. ... In Marxist theory, commodity fetishism is an inauthentic state of social relations, said to arise in complex capitalist market systems, where social relationships are confused with their medium, the commodity. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Cultural hegemony is the concept that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class, that everyday practices and shared beliefs provide the foundation for complex systems of domination. ... The term exploitation may carry two distinct meanings: The act of utilizing something for any purpose. ... Marxs theory of human nature occupies an important place in his critique of capitalism, his conception of communism, and his materialist conception of history. Marx has sometimes been held to deny the existence of any human nature, though this view is now generally accepted to be mistaken. ... Labor power (in German: Arbeitskraft, or labor force) is a crucial concept used by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. ... The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is proletarian. ... Relations of production (German: Produktionsverhaltnisse) is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx in his theory of historical materialism and in Das Kapital. ... ‘Young Marx’ is one half of the concept in Marxology that Karl Marx’s intellectual development can be broken into two board categories, the other being ‘Mature Marx’. There is disagreement though as to when Marx thought began to mature, Lenin claimed Marxs first mature work as “The Poverty... Marxian economics refers to a body of economic thought stemming from the work of Karl Marx. ... Marxian economics refers to a body of economic thought stemming from the work of Karl Marx. ... The word commodity is a term with distinct meanings in business and in Marxian political economy. ... The law of value is a concept in Karl Marxs critique of political economy. ... The means of production are physical, non-human, inputs used in production. ... In the writings of Karl Marx and the Marxist theory of historical materialism, a mode of production (in German: Produktionsweise, meaning the way of producing) is a specific combination of: productive forces: these include human labor-power, tools, equipment, buildings and technologies, materials, and improved land social and technical relations... For the specific theoretical justifications behind the Great Leap Forward and the Five Year Plans, see Theory of Productive Forces. ... Surplus labour is a concept used by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. ... Surplus value, according to Marxism, is unpaid labour that is extracted from the worker by the capitalist, and serves as the basis for capitalist accumulation. ... In Karl Marxs Economics the transformation problem is the problem of finding a general rule to transform Marx’s values defined and used in Capitals Volume I into the competitive prices (or prices of production) of Capitals Volume III. This problem was first introduced by Marx himself... Wage labour is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer in which the worker sells their labour under a contract (employment), and the employer buys it, often in a labour market. ... The capitalist mode of production is a concept in Karl Marx’s critique of political economy. ... Class struggle is class conflict looked at from a Marxist, libertarian socialist, or anarchist perspective. ... World revolution is a Marxist concept of a violent overthrow of capitalism that would take place in all countries, although not necessarily simultaneously. ... Primitive accumulation of capital is a concept introduced by Karl Marx in part 8 of the first volume of Das Kapital (in German: ursprungliche Akkumulation, literally original accumulation or primeval accumulation). Its purpose is to help explain how the capitalist mode of production can come into being. ... A communist revolution is a social revolution inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, normally with socialism (public ownership over the means of production) as an intermediate stage. ... See also Marxian economics Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory designs work in philosophy which is strongly influenced by Karl Marxs materialist approach to theory or which is written by Marxists. ... See also Marxian economics Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory designs work in philosophy which is strongly influenced by Karl Marxs materialist approach to theory or which is written by Marxists. ... Historical materialism is the methodological approach to the study of society, economics and history which was first articulated by Karl Marx (1818-1883), although Marx himself never used the term. ... It has been suggested that Marxist philosophy of nature be merged into this article or section. ... Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought (Chinese: 毛泽东思想, pinyin: Máo Zédōng Sīxiǎng), is a variant of Marxism-Leninism derived from the teachings of the Chinese communist Mao Zedong. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. ... For other meanings of autonomism, see autonomism (disambiguation) page Raised fist, stenciled protest symbol of Autonome at the Ernst-Kirchweger-Haus in Vienna, Austria Autonomism refers to a set of left-wing political and social movements and theories close to the socialist movement. ... The term Marxist humanism has as its foundation Marxs conception of the alienation of the labourer as he advances it in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844--an alienation that is born of a capitalist system in which the worker no longer functions as (what Marx terms) a... Structural Marxism was an approach to Marxist philosophy primarily associated with the work of the French philosopher Louis Althusser, although the thought of Lucien Goldmann is sometimes seen as a precursor. ... Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ... Western Marxism is a term used to describe a wide variety of Marxist theoreticians based in Western and Central Europe (and more recently North America). ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was an immensely influential German philosopher, political economist, and socialist revolutionary. ... Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820, Wuppertal – August 5, 1895, London) was a 19th-century German political philosopher. ... (Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин, Vladimir Ilič Lenin; IPA:; born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov; April 22 [O.S. April 10] 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a Communist revolutionary of Russia, the leader of the Bolshevik party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union, and the main theorist of what has come to be called... (Russian: Лев Давидович Троцкий; also transliterated Leo, Lev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij, Trockij and Trotzky) (November 7 [O.S. October 26] 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Лев Давидович Бронштейн), was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. ... Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (March 5, 1870 or 1871 – January 15, 1919, in Polish Róża Luksemburg) was a Polish-born German Marxist political theorist, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary. ... Antonio Gramsci Antonio Gramsci (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937) was an Italian writer, politician, leader and theorist of Socialism, Communism and Anti-Fascism. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg. ... Georg Lukács (April 13, 1885 – June 4, 1971) was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic in the tradition of Western Marxism. ... Louis Pierre Althusser (October 16, 1918 - October 23, 1990) was a Marxist philosopher. ... Max Horkheimer (front left), Theodor Adorno (front right), and Jürgen Habermas in the background, right, in 1965 at Heidelberg The Frankfurt School is a school of neo-Marxist social theory (which is more akin to anarchism than communism), social research, and philosophy. ... Praxis school was a Marxist humanist philosophical movement that originated in Zagreb and Belgrade, SFRY, during the 1960s. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was an immensely influential German philosopher, political economist, and socialist revolutionary. ... 1875 (MDCCCLXXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... The Critique of the Gotha Program is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Eisenach faction of the German social democratic movement, with whom Marx and Fredrick Engels were in close association. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... A state is an organized political community, occupying a territory, and possessing internal and external sovereignty, that enforces a monopoly on the use of force. ... The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is proletarian. ... The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is proletarian. ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... bourgeoisie is basically a trem that meens middle class. ... It has been suggested that Dictator be merged into this article or section. ...

Contents


Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat"

Before 1875, Marx said little about what in practice would characterize a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” believing that planning in advance the details of a future socialist system constituted the fallacy of "utopian socialism." Thus, Marx used the term very infrequently. Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. ... Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern Socialist thought. ...


When he did use it, the term "dictatorship" describes control by an entire class, rather than a single sovereign individual (dictator rei gerendae causa), over another class. In this way, according to Marx, the bourgeois state, being a system of class rule, amounts to a 'dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.' In the same sense, when the workers take state power into their hands, they become the new ruling class. The workers, in other words, rule in their own interest, using the apparatuses of the courts, schools, prisons, and police in a manner required to prevent the bourgeoisie from regrouping and mounting a counterrevolution. Marx expected the victorious workers to be democratic and open in dealings with one another. Theirs is to be a dictatorship of and by, not over, the proletariat. bourgeoisie is basically a trem that meens middle class. ... In Marxian political economics, the ruling class refers to that segment or class of society that has the most economic and political power. ... A counterrevolutionary is anyone who opposes a revolution, particularly those who act after a revolution to try to overturn or reverse it, in full or in part. ...


According to Marx, after the proletariat would take state power, it will aim to eliminate the old social relations of production, and replace these relations by placing the means of production and state apparatus under proletariat control, thus paving the way for the abolition of class distinctions and a classless communist society. He viewed the "dictatorship of the proletariat" as only an intermediate stage, believing that the need for the use of state power of the working class over its enemies would disappear once the classless society had emerged. Relations of production (German: Produktionsverhaltnisse) is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx in his theory of historical materialism. ... The means of production are physical, non-human, inputs used in production. ...


Although Marx did not plan out the details of how such a dictatorship would be implemented, earlier in The Civil War in France (1871), his analysis based upon the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871, Marx pointed to the Commune as a model of transition to communism. 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Le Père Duchesne face to the statue of Napoleon I on top of the Vendome column: Eh ben ! bougre de canaille, on va donc te foutre en bas comme ta crapule de neveu !… (Here! savage rascal, we will put you down just as your crook of a nephew!… The... 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


Later, Friedrich Engels, in his 1891 postscript to the Civil War in France stressed the dismantling of the state apparatus, the decentralization of power and popular democratic control over and management of civil society. The pamphlet praised the democratic features of the Paris Commune, arguing that the working class, once in power, had to "do away with all the old repressive machinery previously used against it itself," and that it must "safeguard itself against its own deputies and officials, by declaring them all, without exception, subject to recall at any moment." [1] The 1891 postscript qualified the 1871 Commune as the first "dictatorship of the proletariat". 1891 (MDCCCXCI) was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ...


The "dictatorship of the proletariat" since Lenin

The Paris Commune was short-lived, and no other serious attempt at implementing Marx's ideas was made during his lifetime. After Marx, Vladimir Lenin discussed the concept of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" in The State and Revolution (1917), elaborating his proposals for putting it into practice. Lenin believed that the political form of the Paris Commune was revived in the councils of workers and soldiers that appeared after the 1905 Russian Revolution that called themselves soviets. Their task, according to Lenin, was to overthrow the capitalist state and establish socialism, the stage preceding communism. (Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин, Vladimir Ilič Lenin; IPA:; born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov; April 22 [O.S. April 10] 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a Communist revolutionary of Russia, the leader of the Bolshevik party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union, and the main theorist of what has come to be called... State and Revolution was a brochure written by Vladimir Lenin in August - September, 1917. ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... The Russian Revolution of 1905 was an empire-wide spasm of both anti-government and undirected violence. ... A soviet (Russian: сове́т) originally was a workers local council in late Imperial Russia. ...


Meanwhile, the role of the revolutionary party, in his case the Bolsheviks, was to serve as a "vanguard of the proletariat," which would start the revolution when the time was right and lead the soviets to victory. Like Marx and Engels, Lenin did not think that a liberal democracy could represent the interests of the proletariat because it would inevitably lead to the aforementioned "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie." Lenin argued that since trade unions are inevitably reformist, seeking only an accommodation with capitalists to improve the lot of their members, revolutionary activity on behalf of the proletariat requires the vanguard of a revolutionary party. The party will then impose a "dictatorship of the proletariat," assisting the workers to transcend their "trade-union consciousness" by developing a "true revolutionary class consciousness", and thus eliminate the intra-class divisions that impede the development of communism. Lenin believed that, even after a successful proletarian revolution overthrows capitalism in one country, the bourgeoisie still remains stronger than the proletariat, because: Leaders of the Bolshevik Party and the Communist International, a painting by Malcolm McAllister on the Pathfinder Mural in New York City and on the cover of the book Lenin’s Final Fight published by Pathfinder. ... Vanguard can mean: A vanguard is the forward division in an army. ... This article or section is missing references or citation of sources. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...

For a long time after the revolution the exploiters inevitably continue to retain a number of great practical advantages: they still have money (since it is impossible to abolish money all at once); some movable property — often fairly considerable; they still have various connections, habits of organisation and management; knowledge of all the “secrets” (customs, methods, means and possibilities) of management; superior education; close connections with the higher technical personnel (who live and think like the bourgeoisie); incomparably greater experience in the art of war (this is very important), and so on and so forth. [2]

For these reasons, Lenin argued that a "class dictatorship" was necessary in Russia. Lenin advocated the use of force to suppress the former ruling class and the removal of their voting rights, while quoting statements by Marx and Engels to support his policies against the criticism of other Marxists (such as Karl Kautsky), who argued that Lenin was being overly undemocratic. At the same time, however, Lenin stated that the system of soviet democracy did guarantee voting rights to the majority of the population. The principle of soviet democracy was that the local workers' soviets would elect representatives that would go on to form regional soviets, which would in turn elect representatives that would form higher soviets, and so on up to a Supreme Soviet, the highest legislative body of the entire country. Karl Kautsky Karl Kautsky (October 18, 1854 - October 17, 1938) was a leading theoretician of social democracy. ... Soviet democracy is a form of democracy in which workers elect representatives in the organs of power called soviets (councils). ... The Supreme Soviet (Russian: , Verhovniy Sovet, literally the Supreme Council) comprised the highest legislative body in the Soviet Union in the interim of the sessions of the Congress of Soviets, and the only one with the power to pass constitutional amendments. ...


Later, during the Russian Civil War, non-Bolshevik political parties - including socialist ones - were banned one by one on charges of sabotage, attempted assassination of Bolshevik leaders and cooperation with the enemy. Critics of Lenin argue that he intended to ban opposition parties all along and was merely looking for excuses to do so, while supporters argue that this measure was made necessary by wartime conditions and that the charges brought against the various opposition parties were genuine (citing, for example, the attempt on Lenin's life by Fanya Kaplan on August 30, 1918, and the successful assassination of Moisei Uritsky the same day). What is certain is that the Bolsheviks were the only political party left standing by the end of the Civil War, and Lenin died shortly thereafter. The Russian Civil War was fought from 1918 to 1922. ... Fanya Yefimovna Kaplan, in 1907 Faina Yefimovna Kaplan (Фаина Ефимовна Каплан; 1883–September 3, 1918), a. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary leader whose assassination helped precipitate the Red Terror. ...


In accordance with the principle of democratic centralism, the Communist (Bolshevik) Party contained numerous factions with significant differences of opinion at the time of Lenin's death, and this continued for a few years afterwards. However, following the ascension of Joseph Stalin in the late 1920s, dissent was gradually suppressed and freedom of speech was abolished. Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party. ... (Russian: Ио́сиф Виссарио́нович Ста́лин, Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin; December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), also spelled Josef Stalin, was the leader (Premier) of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s to his death in 1953 and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Social issues of the 1920s. ...


Critics, including anti-communists but also Trotskyist communists (which defends the historical need of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat), Marxists, anarcho-communists, and virtually all [communists] and socialists who were/are anti-Stalinist contend that Stalin's Soviet Union and the countries that followed its Stalinist model used the notion of a "dictatorship of the proletariat" to justify what was in effect a dictatorship of a new ruling elite, although of a different nature than the previous ruling elite. Some also say that the degeneration of the russian revolution began before lenin's death, and that he and Trotsky played a crucial role in it (for example, by crushing the Kronstadt uprising and eliminating opposing factions like the workers opposition). Anti-communism is an ideology of opposition to communist organization, government and ideology. ... Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... Anarchist communism is a form of anarchism that advocates the abolition of the State and capitalism in favor of a horizontal network of voluntary associations through which everyone will be free to satisfy his or her needs. ... Socialism is any economic system in which the means of production are owned and controlled collectively or a political philosophy advocating such a system. ... Stalinism is a brand of political theory, and the political and economic system named after Josef Stalin, who implemented it in the Soviet Union. ...


Quotations

  • "The dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the organization of the vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the purpose of suppressing the oppressors, cannot result merely in an expansion of democracy. Simultaneously with an immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the money-bags, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of restrictions on the freedom of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. We must suppress them in order to free humanity from wage slavery, their resistance must be crushed by force; it is clear that there is no freedom and no democracy where there is suppression and where there is violence." - V.I. Lenin, The State and Revolution
  • "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." - Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program

State and Revolution was a brochure written by Vladimir Lenin in August - September, 1917. ... The Critique of the Gotha Program is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Eisenach faction of the German social democratic movement, with whom Marx and Fredrick Engels were in close association. ...

See also

Marxism is the philosophy, social theory and political practice based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century German socialist philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is a branch of Marxism (and it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920s). ... The Critique of the Gotha Program is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Eisenach faction of the German social democratic movement, with whom Marx and Fredrick Engels were in close association. ... State and Revolution was a brochure written by Vladimir Lenin in August - September, 1917. ... Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) is the current President of Cuba. ... (Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин, Vladimir Ilič Lenin; IPA:; born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov; April 22 [O.S. April 10] 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a Communist revolutionary of Russia, the leader of the Bolshevik party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union, and the main theorist of what has come to be called... (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) (also Mao Tse-Tung in Wade-Giles transliteration) was a Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier, and statesman who led Chinas communist revolution after decades of foreign occupation and civil war in the 20th century. ... Official portrait of Hồ Chí Minh Hồ Chí Minh (May 19, 1890 – September 2, 1969) was a Vietnamese revolutionary and statesman, who later became Prime Minister (1946-1955) and President (1955-1969) of North Vietnam. ...

External links

  • Critique of the Gotha Programme
  • The Civil War in France
  • Marxists.org glossary term

  Results from FactBites:
 
dictatorship of the proletariat : QuicklyFind Info (536 words)
The dictatorship of the proletariat is defined by Marxist theory as the forceful use of state power by the working class against its enemies during the passage from capitalism to communism, entailing control of the state apparatus and the means of production.
This doctrine was used in Communist countries, which claimed to implement a dictatorship of the proletariat, to justify the state exercise of its power, ostensibly on behalf of the workers, to suppress all opposition (see totalitarianism).
Thus Marx called capitalism the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, which he believed would be superseded by socialism (the dictatorship of the proletariat), which in turn would be superseded by a classless and stateless society known as communism.
Reference.com/Encyclopedia/Dictatorship of the proletariat (1561 words)
The proletariat will gain from its political domination by gradually tearing away from the bourgeoisie all capital, by centralizing all means of production in the hands of the State, that is to say in the hands of the proletariat itself organized as the ruling class.
Lenin: The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is rule won and maintained by the use of violence by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, rule that is unrestricted by any laws.
"The ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ in Marx and Engels" by Hal Draper
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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