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On the Worker, In the Worker, and Over the Worker

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The article entitled "On Democratic Centralism" describes an incoherent, contradictory, and rather childish utopia, with little to no focus or reason expended for the illustration. With no input from Madison at all, it is easy to spot the hapahazard conflicts implied by this author's fantasy of "Democratic Centralism." In the thesis line, the "Communists," (second person, inclusive-'We') "bitterly oppose...bourgeois democracy."

Later, the author has ventured aimlessly into the realm of Bolshevik apologetics, suggesting that the party had banned competing political parties with the justification that "all the other parties were wielded by [capitalists,]" as if that were anything short of historical nonsense (not less than the same nonsense that sold the whole Bolshevik movement), and going on to state clearly that the proper response to the emergence of any new party revisionist movement  would be to "split the party, and establish a  party dedicated to the violent over throw of the revisionist party." Toward the end, the author crudely attempts to relegate the audience into either of what becomes a simplistic, binary system of "class enemies," further on described as "ruthless" in each others opposition.

     While I admit that I not quick to fully trust or believe any president or elected official that has served at the federal level in my lifetime; and while I don't really agree with the behavior of my government or it's moral and financial habits, I am pretty sure that "periodic elections," and  "secret ballots," aren't the sources of misdeeds on the part of the American Government. I'm quick to point the finger at lobbyists, with pretty good reason I think, but I don't quite see the difference between "bourgeoisie Democracy" and "[elected] clubs that meet regularly" for the purpose of evaluating progress, each other, and the crucial issues of the day, especially if we are implying that "bourgeoisie" in this sense means that the political party at hand(especially in the Reagan era) takes it's marching orders from elite, wealthy land owning few. I can see the stark contrast, however, between the author's consecutive claims that capitalism "forces dog-eat-dog individualism" and "[forces] most people to be passive..."

   I don't even know what that means!

     For a more sober perspective, we turn to Madison's Federalist #10, written 95 years prior. A random 1st choice, admittedly, but one that admirably (and luckily) suits the task at hand. Madison argues for a republican form of democratic rule on the premise that factionalization is a product of Man's nature, and that a majority in a ruling body composed of widespread and varied "competing interests" would be "less likely to invade the rights of others" in pursuit of the interests of any few. Madison accurately predicts that it would be "in vain to say that the enlightened statesman (think Lenin) will be able to adjust these clashing interests."

     To paraphrase another section, Madison rightly argues on the causes of factioning that people use resources for different ends, thus not just land ownership but simply land occupation will lead to circumstances from which "ensues a division of society into different interests." Any effort to extinguish any of these by use of force is rightly defined as violence, and no self respecting government worthy of it's citizens' vote should promote or endorse violence against it's own people. Thus when domestic terrorists full of bad history and worse ambition emerge to assume "pre-Eminence" over the rest of us, we are better suited by a system of government whose fabric is impenetrable to small, hostile bands of thieves and raiders as well as wayward trends in public sentiment.

     Bush's foreign policy approval rating fell to less than 30% during the Iraq war, but like drunken rapists, we refused to pull out until we were finished. It's hard to argue around the fact that our government doesn't really listen to us, and it's even harder to find positive ways to combat the apathy that restrains us, but the "Us and Them" strategy of class warfare has failed too many times in history. The fact is, as bad a decision as direct participation majority rule may have seemed, Americans are equally capable in making bad decisions, "intrigued and betrayed," and courting destructive political habits in a representative democracy. If we are to delegate authority to anyone, it should be done so purposefully, and with informed consent. We should not be misled by the "erroneous assumption that by reducing all of mankind to political equality" is the same as causing the instantaneous "assimilation of equal possessions and passions."

     In the case of Russia's proletariat revolution, 'workers everywhere' were just as rapidly confounded by divergent priorities as they were subdued by regionalism and other deviations. From soviet to Soviet, there were complex conflicts regarding the trade of resources and supplies, the administration of official responsibilities, the lines between borders, the taxes and tariffs, the disruption of long held foreign alliances(the execution of the Romanovs didn't sit well with the rest of the European ruling class), and the appropriation of 'neccessarry goods and services and personell' for the exclusive use by the Bolshevik Party, or more often, the Red Army. These disputes could not, with even the most remote possibility for exception, be sufficiently arbitrated by some detached autocratically controlled third party, at least not one whose primary concern was the extermination of all rival political competitors.

     In the case of both Russia and America, in the historical sense, no matter how prolific our systems of government may some day become, in each case, it began in violence and chaos that simply had to occur, and had to pass before better intentions could rush in to fill the void. Washington's idealization of the "second president" as a sign of the peaceful transition of power and control glosses over the perils of the Revolutionary War and the iniquities of slavery in its implication of optimism. The Socialists didn't fail necessarily because of a fallacious ideology, but rather like every other instance of unsuccessful power grabs, because there was a limit to how many competing interests could be overcome. The three year revolution did a fine job of rooting out capitalists and autocratic sympathizers across the massive stretches of Russian soil. The problem was that when those efforts had exhausted them, they still had the rest of the capitalist world with which to contend.

Had the revolution occurred in a similar fashion just 500 years prior, the entire course of our global history would have ran differently. Had they succeeded then with the vigor they achieved in the 1900's, Russia would have been the New World, Moscow would be modern day New York City, and capitalism would carry the weighted negative context that communism now holds in our lexicon. The 1920's and 30's, however, with the 20th century pace of technological and economic warfare by long established world powers, provided very little fertile ground for the spread of half cooked hardliner fanaticism. This is exactly what Madison was trying to explain about how the inclusion of varied opinions and viewpoints would limit the expansion of divisive influences. The sheer scope and scale of the task of "eliminating capitalism" is a strong enough obstacle to deter most beings rational enough to take seriously the challenge.

     In the real world, outside the textbook, it should astonish any of us to observe the many kinds of maladjusted methods of rulership as have been permitted by the masses under subjugation. It should shock us to see how quickly and yet how inhumanely new regimes are formed, and more so how long these ill-gotten empires can stand. It is difficult to say with any certainty that any proposed system "won't work" or will; people will surprise you. On a long enough time line, all civilizations will fall, and inasmuch they are each reduced to equality in the difficulty with which one must contend when trying to discern in any universal way what actually works without some universal agreement on what the descriptions actually means. Madison would be appalled at a $16 trillion national debt. Conversely, there must still be some old Russian cold war cronies out there having a good laugh as Americans venture into the realm of socialized health-care.

    What separates us the most is our tendency to alienate one another for our own ends. I agree that this is a valid complaint, but making the practise a party policy doesn't seem a very solid recipe for a successful alternative. After all, a one party system is just another way of saying autocracy, and that is what the Bolsheviks were trying to escape in the first place. In America, the push and pull of Blue and Red can be aggravating in its perpetual inertia, but that was kind of the point in the first place. Madison's best line in #10 is easily this: "where impulse and opportunity should be suffered to coincide, neither moral nor religious motives can be relied upon for constraint." For constraint, we rely upon our own tendency to disagree and the liberty to openly challenge each other's conclusions.

     For the purpose of appealing to common sense, the disregard of these principles in the consideration of rulership makes as much sense as just saying one is in charge because that is how God wants it. Where common sense prevails, such systems shall surely come to nothing. As the Bolshevik revolution illustrates, and as Madison surely would agree, whether or not common sense enmasse can be relied upon (long term)as a protector of basic civil liberties, without exclusion, is a matter best left to pure speculation.

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