Dictatorship of the Proletariat

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Red Aegis on Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:12 pm

I think that the zapatista tactic of hiding their faces is partly to avoid assassination. I don't think that it's such a bad idea to have an immediately accountable, re-callable representative system like the zapatistas, but I would prefer a more direct democracy, to which it does come close.

I have yet another tangential question: do you think that the democratization of the work place should be separate from the democracy of policy? By this I mean, should there be workplace councils that in turn elect representatives who decide policy? I don't think that this is a viable option; firstly, there would need to be an initial consensus as to how many representatives would be selected from each council, secondly, it would leave out retired workers, disabled, and stay-at-home parents who should have voices, and thirdly, as referenda can be technologically be voted on by the general public, practically. I know that some will call my musings utopian, but I think that it's important to discuss the merits of revolutionary governatory techniques, humor me please.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:15 pm

RedSun wrote:There were some other questions/comments about DotP that fell by the wayside while I was debating votes for the bourgeoisie. I think we should discuss them.

Red Aegis wrote:I think that the vanguards placed their parties into the leadership positions instead of guiding the workers towards completely new forms of collective democratic government. Authoritarianism may be more efficient, but so was fascism. I think that the new governing bodies should look like the GAs in the occupy movements, any thoughts?

RedSun wrote:I particularly approve of the current Zapatista practice of not using visible leaders, limiting the terms of said leaders, and actively seeking the input of the people in all decisions. Although using pseudonyms and black balaclavas may be going a bit too far, I think any measures we can take to make it more democratic and less 'representative' or, God forbid, outright authoritarian, are a step in the right direction.

Not all of the OWS general assemblies function in a capacity that is logical. For example, many require that any/all decisions be made by consensus, rather than by simple majority decision. You can imagine what such a process would lead to in an emerging socialist society. Having said that, I think the notion that authoritarian methods are the most ideal solution for such a (post-capitalist) environment atmosphere is superfluous and (most likely) counterproductive — especially in the West, where democratic values (however flawed their application may be in bourgeois states) have been widely embraced by the majority of the population.

Moreover, it stands to reason that a social environment that would enable a revolutionary socialist movement to actually succeed in attaining state power would be conducive to a meaningful level of democratic participation (by the general populace) in the political process.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by no-maps on Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:14 pm

Who is going to educate and inform the proletariat about the ramifications of their decisions? Are those who attempt to misdirect and lie to the proletariat going to be punished, or are they going to be given their "freedom of speech?" This whole meaningless conversation is avoiding the fact that at some point, liberties must be restricted in order to prevent counter-revolution.

As for the most good, it should be apparent that the socialist mode of production is the most good. It is more capable that capitalism, and able to support the currently unsustainable masses that capitalism created in order to work its jobs. I don't know why that has to be explained.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Red Aegis on Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:26 pm

I don't appreciate you calling what I and OUR comrades say meaningless. You may not realize that your tone is discouraging, harsh, and derogatory to those you are asking to converse with. but it is. If you would like to re-phrase your statement into a more constructive criticism I'm sure everyone would be happy to have a good back-and-forth.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by no-maps on Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:33 pm

Red Aegis, there will be a point when there is no conversation at all. I suppose it comes down to if a person supports a communist party or they don't. If they don't, then they're basically just reading and discussing the ideas of Marxists in order to graft them into a new agenda. Anyone who feels this is right and proper is not my comrade.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by RedSun on Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:31 pm

Calm down. The question of democracy does not come down to whether or not a person supports communism. In answer to your question, the people who lie to and mislead the proletariat are going to be given their freedom of speech. It is therefore the job of the dictatorship of said proletariat to sufficiently educate the proletariat that they don't get fooled again.

I intend to avoid restricting liberties as much as possible; I think we've seen where that goes.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Red Aegis on Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:40 am

Red Sun, I would like to ask whether or not you support giving the bourgeoisie voting rights before or after they lose all their assets and cease to be bourgeoisie? I support after, personally, as you know.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Rev Scare on Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:14 am

I fail to see the purpose in granting the bourgeois establishment any say in matters. This seems redundant and counterrevolutionary. What is the rationale behind allowing a class knowingly opposed to proletarian emancipation any political leverage? Is not the entire reason behind revolution to wrest political power from the capitalists? To fall short of uprooting the system as a whole by squabbling with the bourgeoisie in the political arena is to illogically frustrate the revolution.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by RedSun on Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:12 am

Red Aegis, it's been convincingly argued to me that the capitalists shouldn't be given voting, so I changed my mind from my original position.

The purpose of giving bourgeoisie a say in matters (while they're still bourgeoisie), Rev Scare, was simply a matter of principle. I didn't want at first to create a situation where the vote was denied to a certain group of people. It was pointed out to me, however, that allowing them to retain political say and economic power at the same time would pose a danger to the revolution (you were the one who quoted Lenin to support this).

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Jim Profit on Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:45 am

RedSun wrote:We need another term. 'Democracy of the Proletariat'?
I actually like the sound of this. One of the political theories I was going to make a video about was to be called "democratic corporations", where in that all business models, decisions, and economic planning was decided by the corporation as a whole. Everyone involved. As if everyone was an equal share holder to the company.

This is not communism, more like hard lined socialism... But it would be a definite improvement, and I see communism more as a transitional goal then an actual end that can be achieved directly.

This is why labor unions are so important.


As far as letting the bourgeois vote after their assets have been taken, that is a tough one. I want to say yes, everyone should have the right to an opinion, voice that opinion, and act on it. But they hate everyone, even themselves... bourgeois is more then a result of "the system", it's a state of mind. These people are sociopaths, and will exploit any opportunity they can. Some people just should not be voting.

But the first amendment is paramount. Capitalists don't appreciate it, and try to squash it every chance they get... and many leftists outright ignore it. Freedom of speech, freedom to assembly, and freedom to vote as a byproduct of those things should not be taken from anyone. I've had it done to me too many times, and there's no amount of "it's the will of the people" or "it's for the greater good" that can justify it.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Jaycm610 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:46 pm

Red Aegis wrote:I feel that the DotP is not necessarily a top-down leadership structure and that it could be a form of democracy in which only the workers participate, like the soviets without the coming bureaucracy in the USSR. What does everyone else think of this version of the DotP? I'm sure that I'm sure that I'm not the first person to have this idea, so if there is already a working theory of this more democratic as opposed to party based DotP, please let me know. On the otherhand, if you have the view that the DotP should take another form, please tell me that also.

It should be a democracy, but I don't think it can be one right away, and for how long depends on how much popular support the socialist revolution had. For a while, the state will have to be strong enough to ensure stability and that a proper ideology is guiding the people. After that, a democratic system is good to go. (hopefully)
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Red Aegis on Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:06 pm

Jaycm610 wrote:It should be a democracy, but I don't think it can be one right away, and for how long depends on how much popular support the socialist revolution had. For a while, the state will have to be strong enough to ensure stability and that a proper ideology is guiding the people. After that, a democratic system is good to go. (hopefully)

Tell me what the alternative to a democratic set up would be, if you would. It seems to me as though you are trying to vouch for a party bureaucracy that would dictate policy to the people until it decides when to step down. If that is the case then do you really think that the party would ever step down?

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Jaycm610 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:54 am

Red Aegis wrote:Tell me what the alternative to a democratic set up would be, if you would. It seems to me as though you are trying to vouch for a party bureaucracy that would dictate policy to the people until it decides when to step down. If that is the case then do you really think that the party would ever step down?

Until the workers can be sure that it is safe to proceed with a democracy, I think something along the lines of a workers oligarchy would be sufficient.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:24 pm

Jaycm610 wrote:Until the workers can be sure that it is safe to proceed with a democracy, I think something along the lines of a workers oligarchy would be sufficient.

And you don't believe that the history of 20th century socialism has sufficiently demonstrated that such a paternalistic approach inevitably leads to resentment within the working class, and that it's dangerous to bestow onto a class of people unaccountable authority?

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Jaycm610 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:54 pm

Celtiberian wrote:And you don't believe that the history of 20th century socialism has sufficiently demonstrated that such a paternalistic approach inevitably leads to resentment within the working class, and that it's dangerous to bestow onto a class of people unaccountable authority?

I feel that a p arty dictatorship does lead to resentment and hostility, and it also leads to totalitarianism, because the party hierarchy becomes the government. However, since the the majority of people in any given country sell their labor in exchange for money, and are then my definition part of the working class, then a "workers oligarchy" would actually comprise most of the population. This is a lot different from what occurred in the Soviet Union and other Soviet bloc countries.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:08 pm

Jaycm610 wrote:I feel that a p arty dictatorship does lead to resentment and hostility, and it also leads to totalitarianism, because the party hierarchy becomes the government. However, since the the majority of people in any given country sell their labor in exchange for money, and are then my definition part of the working class, then a "workers oligarchy" would actually comprise most of the population. This is a lot different from what occurred in the Soviet Union and other Soviet bloc countries.

In that case, a "workers' oligarchy" wouldn't be any different than a socialist democracy. Considering the bourgeoisie will be expropriated immediately following the revolution, they will themselves become workers and therefore afforded the right to participate in political decisions. However, I realize you're a member of the CPUSA, which is a reformist party, and are therefore probably envisioning a longer process regarding the collectivization of the means of production—which is a topic onto itself.


Last edited by Celtiberian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:21 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Jaycm610 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:21 pm

Celtiberian wrote:In that case, a "workers' oligarchy" wouldn't be any different than a socialist democracy. Considering the bourgeoisie will be expropriated immediately following the revolution, they will themselves become workers and therefore afforded the right to participate in political decisions. However, I realize you're a member of the CPUSA, which is a reformist party, and are therefore probably envisioning a longer process regarding the collectivization of the means of production—which is a topic onto itself.

I should have been clearer, I apologize. I don't believe the former capitalist class should be given the right to participate in political decisions, because, of their former status as capitalists, will be ideologically opposed to socialism. By letting them have political say, I feel it would be the same as letting known enemies of the working class have political power. And yes, the CPUSA does have some reformist tendencies, many of which I am opposed to. However, I don't think a longer collectivization process is necessarily a bad thing, as each countries conditions should determine how communism is reached. But, as you said, this is a different topic.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:59 pm

Jaycm610 wrote:I should have been clearer, I apologize. I don't believe the former capitalist class should be given the right to participate in political decisions, because, of their former status as capitalists, will be ideologically opposed to socialism. By letting them have political say, I feel it would be the same as letting known enemies of the working class have political power.


They will obviously be ideologically opposed to socialism, but they're too numerically insignificant to cause any damage. In order for a socialist revolution to occur, it's going to take the commitment of literally hundreds of millions of workers in the United States alone. Even if the state were to disenfranchise the bourgeoisie, they would still have the ability to attempt to persuade the voting public of their views as individuals. And what of former upper managers, the children of the bourgeoisie, and ideologically right-wing workers? Are we to deprive them of suffrage as well? Under such a scheme, Friedrich Engels would have been deprived of the right to vote. Once you begin to arbitrarily restrict suffrage, you deprive it of its meaning as a human right.

Moreover, it wouldn't be as if the bourgeoisie would have the ability to vote to restore capitalist property relations. A socialist constitution, the crowning achievement of the revolution itself, will curtail the sort of legislation that people can vote on regarding society's economic institutions.

don't think a longer collectivization process is necessarily a bad thing

I disagree, but we can debate that matter elsewhere.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Jaycm610 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:09 pm

Celtiberian wrote:They will obviously be ideologically opposed to socialism, but they're too numerically insignificant to cause any damage. In order for a socialist revolution to occur, it's going to take the commitment of literally hundreds of millions of workers in the United States alone. Even if the state were to disenfranchise the bourgeoisie, they would still have the ability to attempt to persuade the voting public of their views as individuals. And what of former upper managers, the children of the bourgeoisie, and ideologically right-wing workers? Are we to deprive them of suffrage as well? Under such a scheme, Friedrich Engels would have been deprived of the right to vote. Once you begin to arbitrarily restrict suffrage, you deprive it of its meaning as a human right.

Moreover, it wouldn't be as if the bourgeoisie would have the ability to vote to restore capitalist property relations. A socialist constitution, the crowning achievement of the revolution itself, will curtail the sort of legislation that people can vote on regarding society's economic institutions.

Good point. Still, I think some suppression of that class should be enacted in the very beginning to make sure they couldn't organize a counter revolution, but agree with what you said about voting rights towards the end of your first paragraph. And yes, a socialist constitution is the goal of a revolution. This is actually what the CPUSA wants, they call it "Bill of Rights socialism," and this is one of the main reasons I joined them, their adapting socialism to the American political system.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:30 pm

Jaycm610 wrote:Still, I think some suppression of that class should be enacted in the very beginning to make sure they couldn't organize a counter revolution

Depriving them of their ability to make money through the exploitation of labor, in conjunction with the state's socialization of finance, will significantly restrict the bourgeoisie's ability to organize a counter-revolution. So too will maintaining the right of the people to bear arms. In other words, in a political climate consisting of hundreds of millions of armed citizens ideologically committed to socialism and the bourgeoisie being dispossessed, I doubt very many former capitalists would even contemplate attempting to overthrow the workers' state. Reactionary external threats, on the other hand, are more likely.

This is actually what the CPUSA wants, they call it "Bill of Rights socialism," and this is one of the main reasons I joined them, their adapting socialism to the American political system.

The CPUSA's "Bill of Rights Socialism" is thoroughly reformist in nature. In fact, it only seeks to nationalize "major industries, financial institutions, and large corporations." What of petit-bourgeois firms or small corporations? Why isn't workers' self-management explicitly mentioned? Attempting to retain aspects of the United States' bourgeois constitution is a complete waste of time, in my opinion—as are the rest of the CPUSA's piecemeal reforms. But, again, we can discuss this further another time.

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Red Aegis on Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:27 pm

Jaycm610 wrote:I feel that a p arty dictatorship does lead to resentment and hostility, and it also leads to totalitarianism, because the party hierarchy becomes the government. However, since the the majority of people in any given country sell their labor in exchange for money, and are then my definition part of the working class, then a "workers oligarchy" would actually comprise most of the population. This is a lot different from what occurred in the Soviet Union and other Soviet bloc countries.

Did you even read the beginning of the thread?

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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Jaycm610 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:04 pm

Red Aegis wrote:Did you even read the beginning of the thread?

I did. I'm agreeing with you, their is a more democratic concept of the DotP.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by RedBrasil on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:32 pm

The proletariat makes the revolution to abolish itself, when theres no private property there's no bourgeoise and no proletariat. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a semi-state where the people command via direct democracy, just like Lenin explain about the commune of Paris in "The State and Revolution", in the same book, Lenin, makes a statement showing clearly that he is in favor of violence against the ex-bourgeoise, we can make 2 conclusions

1-Lenin is making his own theory because for the suppression of the former bourgeoise we need a constitution making it legal, and than abandoning the idea of semi-state.

or

2-Lenin is calling communists to kill or commit violence without aproval of the rest of the people, the so called "dictatorship of the proletariat", that means, Lenin is in favor of a para-military non-official action against former capitalists.

I make this conclusion because Marx clearly says in his writings that the proletariat is the majority of the capitalist countries and Marx never says the revolution should be carried or leaded by a vanguard, revolution should be made by the proletariat itself, if the proletariat is the majority than it doesn't need to worry about capitalists having a voice in dotp.


I personally find the whole concept of dictatorship of the proletariat very difficult to agree, Engels says the state will wither away when there's no more classes (or any danger of a foreigner invasion), but I do not think it is desirable for the population to not have a state, I do not believe in the withering away of the state, because the state is a tool for creating a better life for everyone, I do not like the idea of a semi-state, how human rights can be guaranteed if there's no constitution ?
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Rev Scare on Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:03 am

RedBrasil wrote:The proletariat makes the revolution to abolish itself, when theres no private property there's no bourgeoise and no proletariat. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a semi-state where the people command via direct democracy, just like Lenin explain about the commune of Paris in "The State and Revolution", in the same book, Lenin, makes a statement showing clearly that he is in favor of violence against the ex-bourgeoise, we can make 2 conclusions

1-Lenin is making his own theory because for the suppression of the former bourgeoise we need a constitution making it legal, and than abandoning the idea of semi-state.

or

2-Lenin is calling communists to kill or commit violence without aproval of the rest of the people, the so called "dictatorship of the proletariat", that means, Lenin is in favor of a para-military non-official action against former capitalists.

I make this conclusion because Marx clearly says in his writings that the proletariat is the majority of the capitalist countries and Marx never says the revolution should be carried or leaded by a vanguard, revolution should be made by the proletariat itself, if the proletariat is the majority than it doesn't need to worry about capitalists having a voice in dotp.

The proletarian vanguard is alluded to in The Communist Manifesto.

"The Communists, therefore, are, on the one hand, practically the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the lines of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement. The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: Formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat."

It is not as though Marx and Engels saw no purpose in organizing the proletariat. Both were ardent revolutionary activists. Lenin's conception of the vanguard party was a response to the "embourgeoisment" he witnessed amongst the social democratic parties of his day: those who had opted for reformist paths, which he believed stultified revolutionary potential and served the interests of capital rather than facilitate its abolition. Personally, I find the vanguard party to be a necessary instrument for the advancement of class struggle. It is fanciful to believe that the majority will simply rise to overthrow capitalism spontaneously and without political guidance. Even if a majority movement did emerge without much direction, there is no guarantee that it would seek the end of capitalism in toto. Furthermore, as long as the bourgeoisie continues to retain its material basis for power, its ideologists preach without serious challenge, and false consciousness deludes considerable portions of the proletariat, the peril of reaction will remain great.

I personally find the whole concept of dictatorship of the proletariat very difficult to agree, Engels says the state will wither away when there's no more classes (or any danger of a foreigner invasion), but I do not think it is desirable for the population to not have a state, I do not believe in the withering away of the state, because the state is a tool for creating a better life for everyone, I do not like the idea of a semi-state, how human rights can be guaranteed if there's no constitution ?

As Celtiberian explained in a recent thread, the Marxian understanding of "state" differs from common usage amongst liberal academics and laypeople. The "state" according to Marxist theory is the political institutionalization of class rule: the mechanism by which one class secures its hegemony over another. It is the political organization of the bourgeoisie in order to preserve its class status through the protection of private property, and it is not synonymous with government. What Engels foresaw as "withering away" was the initial proletarian seizure of the state apparatus for the interests of the proletariat, as class society would obviously continue to exist even after the revolution due to remaining structural, political, and cultural class distinctions—all barriers to communism. It is only after the revolution that the proletariat can truly proceed to reorganize society in its interests, reforming bourgeois institutions, combating persisting reactionary forces, and developing socialism. However, once classes dissolved, the need for a proletarian "state" would become obsolete, and so it would come to be that "the government of persons is replaced with the administration of things." In this case, "government of persons" refers to the suppression of one class or classes by another.

The Soviet experience seems to me to have vindicated Engels' hypothesis. Upon the inception of the USSR after years of brutal civil war, the country was very much divided between classes. The Russian working class especially was only a minor segment of the population given the backwardness of Russia at the time. The overwhelming majority were peasants, with capitalists and surviving nobles continuing to threaten the newly established revolutionary government. Thus, the Communist Party, as the party of the working class, entrenched its position as the sole party of the state in order to safeguard and extend the interests of the working class. Democratic reforms could have been introduced into the Soviet Union judiciously without allowing for a counterrevolution, as occurred after Gorbachev was elected General Secretary.

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"Let us finally imagine, for a change, an association of free men, working with the means of production held in common." Hammer Sickle
Karl Marx



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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Post by Uberak on Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:21 pm

At best, the dictatorship of the proletariat is both an exclusionary and inaccurate conception of a revolutionary state.

At worst, it is an excuse to repress those who have dissenting ideas.

Anyways, the concept is really vague, and it really doesn't describe anything in terms of actual government beyond either democracy or excluding former bourgeoisie (A vague group in itself.) from participation in government.

Thus, the best that I can say of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as a concept is that it is incredibly flawed and not contributing anything meaningful to revolutionary thought.
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Re: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

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