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Is "electoral socialism" possible?

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Hispida
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Is "electoral socialism" possible?

Postby Hispida » Sun Jan 23, 2022 8:34 pm

To start off with a basic definition:

Electoral socialism:

The idea that the dictatorship of the proletariat and a socialist society can be achieved through liberal democratic means, i.e. getting elected on a socialist platform


The idea that socialism could be achieved via elections was originally professed by Marx. He initially wrote that

Democracy is the road to socialism.

and
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.


but later in his life began to move away from that idea. Later he professed that

All forms of the state have democracy for their truth, and for that reason are false to the extent that they are not democracy.

and
The program is not to be relinquished, but merely postponed–for some unspecified period. They accept it–not for themselves in their own lifetime but posthumously, as an heirloom for their children and for their children’s children. Meanwhile they devote their "whole strength and energies" to all sorts of trifles, tinkering away at the capitalist social order so that at least something should appear to be done without at the same time alarming the bourgeoisie....


Engels, for his credit, wrote the following:

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[...]

The modern representative state is an instrument for exploiting wage labor by capital.


Lenin would write in arguably his most famous work The State and Revolution the most scathing criticisms of electoral socialism and electoral politics in general:

Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich – that is the democracy of capitalist society.

In capitalist society, under the conditions most favorable to its development, we have more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always restricted by the narrow framework of capitalist exploitation and consequently always remains, in reality, a democracy for the minority, only for the possessing classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave owners.


And he would write in 1912 on the American elections of the same year:

This so-called bipartisan system prevailing in America and Britain has been one of the most powerful means of preventing the rise of an independent working-class, i.e., genuinely socialist, party


By contrast, democratic socialist Eduard Bernstein would write in Evolutionary Socialism:

The task of social democracy is to organize the working classes politically and develop them as a democracy and to fight for all reforms in the State which are adapted to raise the working classes and transform the State in the direction of democracy.


And Karl Kautsky, a German social democrat, would write in 1912:

The objective of our political struggle remains what it has always been up to now: the conquest of state power through the conquest of a majority in parliament and the elevation of parliament to a commanding position within the state. Certainly not the destruction of state power.


So, socialists of NationStates, here's my question:

Is "electoral socialism" a possibility?

It is impossible to "vote in" socialism. There has been no example of the dictatorship of the proletariat being voted in; every truly socialist government -- in Chiapas, Kurdistan, Russia (before 1956), China (before 1978), Catalonia -- has been created because of revolution, violent or otherwise.
Last edited by Hispida on Sun Jan 23, 2022 8:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Washington Resistance Army
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:17 pm

In short, no. Socialists could be elected and implement some manner of reform, but at a certain point revolution becomes impossible regardless. What, for example, would be the proper path for socialists to take if they win an election but lose the next one? Should it be respected or should the system be toppled to maintain socialist rule and begin doing the things it couldn't within a multiparty democratic system?

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Hemakral
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Postby Hemakral » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:18 pm

Why all the spoiler text?
._.

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Genivaria
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Postby Genivaria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:19 pm

Washington Resistance Army wrote:In short, no. Socialists could be elected and implement some manner of reform, but at a certain point revolution becomes impossible regardless. What, for example, would be the proper path for socialists to take if they win an election but lose the next one? Should it be respected or should the system be toppled to maintain socialist rule and begin doing the things it couldn't within a multiparty democratic system?

Indeed, what billionaire would just sit by as more of their power and priveledge is stripped away slowly each election cycle?
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Umeria
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Postby Umeria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:25 pm

Hispida wrote:It is impossible to "vote in" socialism. There has been no example of the dictatorship of the proletariat being voted in; every truly socialist government -- in Chiapas, Kurdistan, Russia (before 1956), China (before 1978), Catalonia -- has been created because of revolution, violent or otherwise.

You're thinking of this as a binary "socialism" vs. "not socialism". But it turns out that the conditions of the working class improved tremendously when - in capitalist countries! - they organized and demanded it. Democracy is about more than just elections. Strikes, protests, etc. all put pressure on the powerful. You don't need to overthrow the government to accomplish these things.
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Hispida
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Postby Hispida » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:25 pm

Hemakral wrote:Why all the spoiler text?

to make it so it's not just a giant wall of boxes
le epic pomp and circumstance
i now have a basic overview factbook
leninist, revolutionary socialist, non-denominational trinitarian universalist. he/they
"Like a blind puppy sniffing at random first in one direction and then in another"
"Mr. 'Muddleheaded Counsellor'!"
"It sounds just like he were chewing rags in his sleep!"
"Thanks to such a fraud"
"he utterly fails to understand"
"Kautsky has beaten the world record in the liberal distortion of Marx"
"Kautsky... ...inevitably proves to be a lackey of the bourgeoisie."
Victory Day: February 23, 2022

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Washington Resistance Army
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:27 pm

Umeria wrote:
Hispida wrote:It is impossible to "vote in" socialism. There has been no example of the dictatorship of the proletariat being voted in; every truly socialist government -- in Chiapas, Kurdistan, Russia (before 1956), China (before 1978), Catalonia -- has been created because of revolution, violent or otherwise.

You're thinking of this as a binary "socialism" vs. "not socialism". But it turns out that the conditions of the working class improved tremendously when - in capitalist countries! - they organized and demanded it. Democracy is about more than just elections. Strikes, protests, etc. all put pressure on the powerful. You don't need to overthrow the government to accomplish these things.


Because it is binary. You're focused on small scale things like the conditions of the working class and not the macro scale things like resource depletion and biosphere destruction that is inherent to capitalism desire for endless profit. Having healthcare is nice but it won't mean a whole lot if civilization collapses because we've ruined the planet.

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Umeria
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Postby Umeria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:41 pm

Washington Resistance Army wrote:
Umeria wrote:You're thinking of this as a binary "socialism" vs. "not socialism". But it turns out that the conditions of the working class improved tremendously when - in capitalist countries! - they organized and demanded it. Democracy is about more than just elections. Strikes, protests, etc. all put pressure on the powerful. You don't need to overthrow the government to accomplish these things.

Because it is binary. You're focused on small scale things like the conditions of the working class and not the macro scale things like resource depletion and biosphere destruction that is inherent to capitalism desire for endless profit. Having healthcare is nice but it won't mean a whole lot if civilization collapses because we've ruined the planet.

That's a great way to start a revolution, by dismissing their wellbeing as small scale. A lot of you are forgetting that you actually need to get the working class on board with your agenda before you can implement it.

There are ways to counter profit-driven ecological destruction without full socialism. Manufacturing domestically rather than overseas, regulations preventing toxic pollution, and breaking up industrial farms can all be accomplished with a powerful labor movement and would help the environment tremendously.
Ambassador Anthony Lockwood, at your service.
Author of GAR #389

"Umeria - We start with U"

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Washington Resistance Army
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:42 pm

Umeria wrote:
Washington Resistance Army wrote:Because it is binary. You're focused on small scale things like the conditions of the working class and not the macro scale things like resource depletion and biosphere destruction that is inherent to capitalism desire for endless profit. Having healthcare is nice but it won't mean a whole lot if civilization collapses because we've ruined the planet.

That's a great way to start a revolution, by dismissing their wellbeing as small scale. A lot of you are forgetting that you actually need to get the working class on board with your agenda before you can implement it.

There are ways to counter profit-driven ecological destruction without full socialism. Manufacturing domestically rather than overseas, regulations preventing toxic pollution, and breaking up industrial farms can all be accomplished with a powerful labor movement and would help the environment tremendously.


Oh I don't expect my agenda to be implemented, I've already accepted human civilization is likely to entirely fall apart this century or the next and probably take the majority of the species with it. I just talk politics because I enjoy it.

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Hispida
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Postby Hispida » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:43 pm

Umeria wrote:
Washington Resistance Army wrote:Because it is binary. You're focused on small scale things like the conditions of the working class and not the macro scale things like resource depletion and biosphere destruction that is inherent to capitalism desire for endless profit. Having healthcare is nice but it won't mean a whole lot if civilization collapses because we've ruined the planet.

That's a great way to start a revolution, by dismissing their wellbeing as small scale. A lot of you are forgetting that you actually need to get the working class on board with your agenda before you can implement it.

which is what the vanguard is for.

There are ways to counter profit-driven ecological destruction without full socialism. Manufacturing domestically rather than overseas, regulations preventing toxic pollution, and breaking up industrial farms can all be accomplished with a powerful labor movement and would help the environment tremendously.

because those are temporary band-aid solutions that don't really solve anything in the long run?
le epic pomp and circumstance
i now have a basic overview factbook
leninist, revolutionary socialist, non-denominational trinitarian universalist. he/they
"Like a blind puppy sniffing at random first in one direction and then in another"
"Mr. 'Muddleheaded Counsellor'!"
"It sounds just like he were chewing rags in his sleep!"
"Thanks to such a fraud"
"he utterly fails to understand"
"Kautsky has beaten the world record in the liberal distortion of Marx"
"Kautsky... ...inevitably proves to be a lackey of the bourgeoisie."
Victory Day: February 23, 2022

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The Mighty Eurasia
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Postby The Mighty Eurasia » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:52 pm

Hardly. Is the ruling class going to simply give away privileges without a fight?
Even if the very left wins the election despite all the stuff that exists to prevent such an event, at some stage some Pinochet will appear and the electoral experiment will end.
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Umeria
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Postby Umeria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:55 pm

Hispida wrote:
Umeria wrote:That's a great way to start a revolution, by dismissing their wellbeing as small scale. A lot of you are forgetting that you actually need to get the working class on board with your agenda before you can implement it.

which is what the vanguard is for.

You want to seize control... without popular approval? What happens if the people fight back?

Hispida wrote:
There are ways to counter profit-driven ecological destruction without full socialism. Manufacturing domestically rather than overseas, regulations preventing toxic pollution, and breaking up industrial farms can all be accomplished with a powerful labor movement and would help the environment tremendously.

because those are temporary band-aid solutions that don't really solve anything in the long run?

How are any of the things I mentioned temporary? They can all be made permanent. The Clean Water Act was permanent. The ban on leaded gasoline was permanent. And before you say "those things can be repealed eventually if the capitalists get enough power", that's what the labor movement is for! To make sure that workers always have a voice.

Washington Resistance Army wrote:Oh I don't expect my agenda to be implemented, I've already accepted human civilization is likely to entirely fall apart this century or the next and probably take the majority of the species with it. I just talk politics because I enjoy it.

If you don't think a full revolution is going to happen then why not support the reforms? Isn't working to improve people's lives better than just sitting back and watching society collapse?

The Mighty Eurasia wrote:at some stage some Pinochet will appear and the electoral experiment will end.

We can't do good things because then aliens will invade and implement fascism. It's all in the theory.
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Washington Resistance Army
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:59 pm

Umeria wrote:
Washington Resistance Army wrote:Oh I don't expect my agenda to be implemented, I've already accepted human civilization is likely to entirely fall apart this century or the next and probably take the majority of the species with it. I just talk politics because I enjoy it.

If you don't think a full revolution is going to happen then why not support the reforms? Isn't working to improve people's lives better than just sitting back and watching society collapse?


I think you've misunderstood me. I don't oppose reforms, the only thing I objected to was NHA's claim that these things are steps on the ladder to socialism. They're not, more often than not reforms calm the populace and dampen desires for radical change.

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Genivaria
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Postby Genivaria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:03 pm

Hispida wrote:
Umeria wrote:That's a great way to start a revolution, by dismissing their wellbeing as small scale. A lot of you are forgetting that you actually need to get the working class on board with your agenda before you can implement it.

which is what the vanguard is for.

There are ways to counter profit-driven ecological destruction without full socialism. Manufacturing domestically rather than overseas, regulations preventing toxic pollution, and breaking up industrial farms can all be accomplished with a powerful labor movement and would help the environment tremendously.

because those are temporary band-aid solutions that don't really solve anything in the long run?

I don't have confidence in any vanguard movement not being disconnected from the people at large.
Honestly I don't have any one 'grand vision' of what society would look like, mainly because it doesn't matter what I want.
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Genivaria
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Postby Genivaria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:05 pm

Washington Resistance Army wrote:
Umeria wrote:
If you don't think a full revolution is going to happen then why not support the reforms? Isn't working to improve people's lives better than just sitting back and watching society collapse?


I think you've misunderstood me. I don't oppose reforms, the only thing I objected to was NHA's claim that these things are steps on the ladder to socialism. They're not, more often than not reforms calm the populace and dampen desires for radical change.

Now I do think it's false to say that they were created to appease the masses, I do believe the original Social Democrats were trying to actually abolish capitalism through reform, but by now all such attempts have been shown to stall or be reversed which is why modern leftists view SocDems as appeasers even though they originally weren't.
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Republic Of Ludwigsburg
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Postby Republic Of Ludwigsburg » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:09 pm

No, it is not. The neoliberal social order dictates who you vote for and who you don't. At the end all parties which make a difference are capitalist. You can vote for socialist parties but the majority have been too brainwashed that most countries only have 2 parties that win. It goes for most countries. The USA, Britain, Germany. The "free" world has devolved into a neoliberal order filled with greed. There's at least one type of socialism in the world, and that's socialism for the rich.
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Postby Umeria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:11 pm

Washington Resistance Army wrote:
Umeria wrote:If you don't think a full revolution is going to happen then why not support the reforms? Isn't working to improve people's lives better than just sitting back and watching society collapse?

I think you've misunderstood me. I don't oppose reforms, the only thing I objected to was NHA's claim that these things are steps on the ladder to socialism. They're not, more often than not reforms calm the populace and dampen desires for radical change.

I mean, the civil rights movement happened during the prosperity brought about by the New Deal. I suppose a full overthrow of the government is less likely but that doesn't mean more change isn't possible.

Genivaria wrote:Now I do think it's false to say that they were created to appease the masses, I do believe the original Social Democrats were trying to actually abolish capitalism through reform, but by now all such attempts have been shown to stall or be reversed which is why modern leftists view SocDems as appeasers even though they originally weren't.

Isn't "appeasing the masses", like, what democracy is supposed to do? The people want something so their leaders give it to them. What's the problem here?

Republic Of Ludwigsburg wrote:No, it is not. The neoliberal social order dictates who you vote for and who you don't. At the end all parties which make a difference are capitalist. You can vote for socialist parties but the majority have been too brainwashed that most countries only have 2 parties that win. It goes for most countries. The USA, Britain, Germany. The "free" world has devolved into a neoliberal order filled with greed. There's at least one type of socialism in the world, and that's socialism for the rich.

Voting is only one small part of democracy.
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Washington Resistance Army
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:14 pm

Genivaria wrote:
Washington Resistance Army wrote:
I think you've misunderstood me. I don't oppose reforms, the only thing I objected to was NHA's claim that these things are steps on the ladder to socialism. They're not, more often than not reforms calm the populace and dampen desires for radical change.

Now I do think it's false to say that they were created to appease the masses, I do believe the original Social Democrats were trying to actually abolish capitalism through reform, but by now all such attempts have been shown to stall or be reversed which is why modern leftists view SocDems as appeasers even though they originally weren't.


It's not really false. The earliest welfare states in Europe were explicitly made to weaken socialist parties and draw workers away from them to prevent a revolution. Some people might have been well intentioned, but the politics behind it was inherently anti-revolutionary.

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Republic Of Ludwigsburg
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Postby Republic Of Ludwigsburg » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:14 pm

Umeria wrote:
Washington Resistance Army wrote:I think you've misunderstood me. I don't oppose reforms, the only thing I objected to was NHA's claim that these things are steps on the ladder to socialism. They're not, more often than not reforms calm the populace and dampen desires for radical change.

I mean, the civil rights movement happened during the prosperity brought about by the New Deal. I suppose a full overthrow of the government is less likely but that doesn't mean more change isn't possible.

Genivaria wrote:Now I do think it's false to say that they were created to appease the masses, I do believe the original Social Democrats were trying to actually abolish capitalism through reform, but by now all such attempts have been shown to stall or be reversed which is why modern leftists view SocDems as appeasers even though they originally weren't.

Isn't "appeasing the masses", like, what democracy is supposed to do? The people want something so their leaders give it to them. What's the problem here?

Republic Of Ludwigsburg wrote:No, it is not. The neoliberal social order dictates who you vote for and who you don't. At the end all parties which make a difference are capitalist. You can vote for socialist parties but the majority have been too brainwashed that most countries only have 2 parties that win. It goes for most countries. The USA, Britain, Germany. The "free" world has devolved into a neoliberal order filled with greed. There's at least one type of socialism in the world, and that's socialism for the rich.

Voting is only one small part of democracy.

I forgot to include that in both Britain and the US the richest parties win. People are so brainwashed that now there are 2 sides. The supposed "leftist" democrats (neolibs) and Republicans (Neoconservatives).
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Genivaria
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Postby Genivaria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:15 pm

Umeria wrote:
Washington Resistance Army wrote:I think you've misunderstood me. I don't oppose reforms, the only thing I objected to was NHA's claim that these things are steps on the ladder to socialism. They're not, more often than not reforms calm the populace and dampen desires for radical change.

I mean, the civil rights movement happened during the prosperity brought about by the New Deal. I suppose a full overthrow of the government is less likely but that doesn't mean more change isn't possible.

Genivaria wrote:Now I do think it's false to say that they were created to appease the masses, I do believe the original Social Democrats were trying to actually abolish capitalism through reform, but by now all such attempts have been shown to stall or be reversed which is why modern leftists view SocDems as appeasers even though they originally weren't.

Isn't "appeasing the masses", like, what democracy is supposed to do? The people want something so their leaders give it to them. What's the problem here?

Republic Of Ludwigsburg wrote:No, it is not. The neoliberal social order dictates who you vote for and who you don't. At the end all parties which make a difference are capitalist. You can vote for socialist parties but the majority have been too brainwashed that most countries only have 2 parties that win. It goes for most countries. The USA, Britain, Germany. The "free" world has devolved into a neoliberal order filled with greed. There's at least one type of socialism in the world, and that's socialism for the rich.

Voting is only one small part of democracy.

The problem is that what I'm referring to as 'appeasement' is just token reforms that temporarily address a symptom of the system but fail to address the system that causes the issues in the first place.
The ACA is a prime example of an appeasement that doesn't address the actual problem.
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Republic Of Ludwigsburg
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Postby Republic Of Ludwigsburg » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:15 pm

You either campaign for the Neoliberals or the Neoconservatives. They have so much power that they can blacklist opposition.
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LWU (Ludwigsburg Worker's Union) ↑15.3%

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Politiscales: https://bit.ly/3tkNz5e
"Ideologies"? "Industrialization"? "Politics"? Joogadooga hit that stone on your head a bit to hard. Now let's go catch this snake
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Genivaria
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Postby Genivaria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:16 pm

Washington Resistance Army wrote:
Genivaria wrote:Now I do think it's false to say that they were created to appease the masses, I do believe the original Social Democrats were trying to actually abolish capitalism through reform, but by now all such attempts have been shown to stall or be reversed which is why modern leftists view SocDems as appeasers even though they originally weren't.


It's not really false. The earliest welfare states in Europe were explicitly made to weaken socialist parties and draw workers away from them to prevent a revolution. Some people might have been well intentioned, but the politics behind it was inherently anti-revolutionary.

Ah yes fair. I actually forgot about Bismarck for a minute.
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Genivaria
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Postby Genivaria » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:16 pm

Republic Of Ludwigsburg wrote:You either campaign for the Neoliberals or the Neoconservatives. They have so much power that they can blacklist opposition.

Didn't the Dems literally sue to prevent the Green party candidate from being on the debate stage in 2018?
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Republic Of Ludwigsburg
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Postby Republic Of Ludwigsburg » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:18 pm

Genivaria wrote:
Republic Of Ludwigsburg wrote:You either campaign for the Neoliberals or the Neoconservatives. They have so much power that they can blacklist opposition.

Didn't the Dems literally sue to prevent the Green party candidate from being on the debate stage in 2018?

Ah yes, the apparent Socialist Dems.
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LPS (Ludwigsburg Private Stock) ↓1.31%
LWU (Ludwigsburg Worker's Union) ↑15.3%

professional idiot
Friedrich Schonbrunn asks GDR to shove it

Politiscales: https://bit.ly/3tkNz5e
"Ideologies"? "Industrialization"? "Politics"? Joogadooga hit that stone on your head a bit to hard. Now let's go catch this snake
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Neanderthaland
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Ex-Nation

Postby Neanderthaland » Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:21 pm

I suspect that socialism, as Marx understood it, may not be possible. Or at least not a practical way of organizing society. Certainly it's not going to come about the way Marx predicted it would. Because predicting the future is hard, and nobody's ever done it 100% accurately.

That said, if we focus less on labels categories, and more on, "is this particular policy a good policy that might improve society somewhat?" I think we can achieve a better system that may not be exactly what Marx had envisioned, but is still generally in keeping with his highest ideals. And we can probably do that democratically.

If that all sounds quite vague, it is. I don't have specific ideas of how this would all come about. And even if I did, like Marx, I'd probably be a bit wrong.
Ug make fire. Mod ban Ug.

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