Negroes and internationalists in the democratic republic of America, with the case of Ireland and Ulster in democratic Britain, with the baiting of the Bolsheviks and the organization of pogroms against them in April 1917 in the democratic republic of Russia. I have purposely chosen examples not only from the time of the war but also from prewar time, the time of peace. But mealy-mouthed Mr. Kautsky is pleased to shut his eyes to these facts of the twentieth century, and instead to tell the workers wonderfully new, remarkably interesting, unusually edifying and incredibly important things about the Whigs and Tories of the eighteenth century!
Take the bourgeois parliament. Can it be that learned Kautsky has never heard that the
more highly democracy is developed, the more the bourgeois parliaments are subjected by the stock exchange and the bankers? This does not mean that we must not make use of bourgeois parliaments (the Bolsheviks made better use of them than any other party in the world, for in 1912-14 we captured the entire workers' curia in the Fourth Duma). But it does mean that only a liberal can forget the
historical limitations and conditional character of bourgeois parliamentarism as Kautsky does. Even in the most democratic bourgeois state the oppressed masses at every step encounter the crying contradiction between the
formal equality proclaimed by the "democracy" of the capitalists and the thousands of
real limitations and subterfuges which turn the proletarians into wage slaves. It is precisely this contradiction that is opening the eyes of the masses to the rottenness, mendacity and hypocrisy of capitalism. It is this contradiction that the agitators and propagandists of Socialism are constantly exposing to the masses,
in order to prepare them for revolution! And now that the era of revolutions
has begun, Kautsky turns his back upon
it and begins to extol the charms of moribund bourgeois democracy.
Proletarian democracy, of which Soviet government is one of the forms, has brought a development and expansion of democracy hitherto unprecedented in the world, precisely for the vast majority of the population, for the exploited and toiling people. To write a whole pamphlet about democracy, as Kautsky did, in which two pages are devoted to dictatorship and scores to "pure democracy," and
fail to notice this fact, means completely distorting the subject in a liberal way.
Take foreign policy. In no bourgeois state, not even in the most democratic, is it conducted openly. The masses are deceived everywhere, and in democratic France, Switzerland, America, England this is done on an incomparably wider scale and in an incomparably subtler manner than in other countries. The Soviet government has torn the veil of mystery from foreign policy in a revolutionary manner. Kautsky has not noticed this, he keeps silent about it, although in the era of predatory wars and secret treaties for the "division of spheres of influence" (i.e., for the partition of the world among the capitalist bandits) the subject is one of
cardinal importance for on it depends the question of peace, the life and death of tens of millions of people.
Take the organization of the state. Kautsky picks at all manner of "trifles," down to the argument that under the Soviet constitution elections are "indirect," but he misses the essence of the matter. He fails to see the
class nature of the state apparatus, of the machinery of state. Under bourgeois dcmocracy the capitalists, by thousands of tricks -- which are the more artful and effective the more "pure" democracy is developed --
push the masses away from the work of administration, from freedom of the press, the right of
assembly, etc. 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 masses, specifically the exploited masses, in the work of administration. The toiling masses are
barred from participation in bourgeois parliaments (which never decide important questions under bourgeois democracy; they are decided by the stock exchange and the banks) by thousands of obstacles, and the workers know and feel, see and realize perfectly well that the bourgeois parliaments are institutions
alien to them, instruments for the oppression of the proletarians by the bourgeoisie, institutions of a hostile class, of the exploiting minority.
The Soviets are the direct organization of the toiling and exploited masses themselves, which
helps them to organize and administer their own state in every possible way. And in this it is the vanguard of the toilers and exploited, the urban proletariat, that enjoys the advantage of being best organized by the large enterprises; it is easier for it than for all others to elect and watch elections. The Soviet organization automatically
helps to unite all the toilers and exploited around their vanguard, the proletariat. The old bourgeois apparatus -- the bureaucracy, the privileges of wealth, of bourgeois education, of social connections, etc. (these practical privileges are the more varied, the more highly bourgeois democracy is developed) -- all this disappears under the Soviet form of organization. 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 manor houses. The 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 m i l l i o n t i m e s more "democratic" for the masses. Indirect elections to nonlocal Soviets make it easier to hold Congresses of Soviets, they make the entire apparatus less costly, more flexible, more accessible to the workers and peasants at a time when life is seething and it is necessary to be able very quickly to recall one's local deputy or to delegate him to the general Congress of Soviets.
Proletarian democracy is a m i l l i o n t i m e s more democratic than any bourgeois democracy; Soviet power is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic.
To fail to see this one must either deliberately serve the bourgeoisie, or be politically as dead as a doornail, unable to see real life from behind the dusty pages of bourgeois books, be thoroughly imbued with bourgeois-democratic prejudices, and thereby objectively convert himself into a lackey of the bourgeoisie.
To fail to see this one must be incapable of presenting the question from the point of view of the
Is there a single country in the world, even among the most democratic bourgeois countries, in which the
average rank-and-file worker, the average rank-and-file village labourer, or village semi-proletarian generally (i.e., the representative of the oppressed masses, the overwhelming majority of the population), enjoys anything approaching such
liberty of holding meetings in the best buildings, such liberty of using the largest printing plants and biggest stocks of paper to express his ideas and to defend his interests, such
liberty of promoting men and women of his own class to administer and to "put into shape" the state, as in Soviet Russia?
It is ridiculous to think that Mr. Kautsky could find in any country even one out of a thousand of well-informed workers or agricultural labourers who would have any doubts as to the reply to this question. Instinctively, from hearing fragments of admissions of the truth in the bourgeois press, the workers of the whole world sympathize with the Soviet Republic precisely because they regard it as a
proletarian democracy, a democracy for the poor, and not a democracy for the rich that every bourgeois democracy, even the best, actually is.
We are governed (and our state is "put into shape") by bourgeois bureaucrats, by bourgeois members of parliament, by bourgeois judges -- such is the simple, obvious and indisputable truth, which tens and hundreds of millions of people belonging to the exploited classes in all bourgeois countries, including the most democratic, know from their living experience, feel and realize every day.
But in Russia the bureaucratic machine has been completely smashed, razed to the ground; the old judges have all been sent packing, the bourgeois parliament has been dispersed -- and
far more accessible representation has been given to the workers and peasants;
t h e i r Soviets have replaced the bureaucrats, t h e i r or Soviets have been placed in control of the bureaucrats, and
t h e i r Soviets have been authorized to elect the judges. This fact alone is enough to cause all the oppressed classes to recognize that the Soviet power, i.e., the present form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic.
Kautsky does not understand this truth, which is so clear and obvious to every worker, because he has "forgotten," "unlearned" to put the question: democracy
f o r w h a t c l a s s ? He argues from the point of view of "pure" (i.e., nonclass? or above-class?) democracy. He argues like Shylock: my "pound of flesh" and nothing else. Equality for all citizens -- otherwise there is no democracy.
We must ask the learned Kautsky, the "Marxist" and "Socialist" Kautsky:
Can there be equality between the exploited and the exploiters?
It is monstrous, it is incredible that one should have to put such a question in discussing a book written by the ideological leader of the Second International. But "having put your hand to the plough, don't look back," and having undertaken to write about Kautsky, I must explain to the learned man why there can be no equality between the exploiters and the exploited.