Workers Hammer No. 233

Winter 2015-2016


Quote of the issue

Soviet power v parliament

The October 1917 revolution in Russia created the first workers state in history, based on the rule of elected workers soviets (councils). In his classic polemic against the German social democrat Karl Kautsky, Lenin counterposed the system of soviet power to the “democracy” of even the most democratic capitalist parliamentary government.

The Soviet government is the first in the world (or strictly speaking, the second, because the Paris Commune began to do the same thing) to enlist the people, specifically the exploited people, in the work of administration. The working people are barred from participation in bourgeois parliaments (they never decide important questions under bourgeois democracy, which are decided by the stock exchange and the banks) by thousands of obstacles…

The Soviet form of organisation automatically helps to unite all the working and exploited people around their vanguard, the proletariat. The old bourgeois apparatus — the bureaucracy, the privileges of wealth, of bourgeois education, of social connections, etc. (these real privileges are the more varied the more highly bourgeois democracy is developed) — all this disappears under the Soviet form of organisation. Freedom of the press ceases to be hypocrisy, because the printing-plants and stocks of paper are taken away from the bourgeoisie. The same thing applies to the best buildings, the palaces, the mansions and manorhouses. Soviet power took thousands upon thousands of these best buildings from the exploiters at one stroke, and in this way made the right of assembly — without which democracy is a fraud — a million times more democratic for the people.

—VI Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918)