Thursday, October 27, 2016

Democracy is Communism, by Ernest Belfort Bax (Socialist) 1912

Democracy is Communism, by Ernest Belfort Bax (Socialist) 1912

See also Over 300 PDF/Acrobat Books on Socialism, Communism and Economics and The History & Mystery of Money & Economics-250 Books on DVDrom

Visit my Econ blog at

For a list of all of my digital books on disk click here

The term Socialism is usually supposed to date from Robert Owen. It is doubtful, however, whether Owen's claim to having invented the word is altogether sustainable. Pierre Leroux, Louis Reybaud, and others have similar claims to have been its originators. The truth would seem to be that it came into being about the same time in more than one quarter. It soon began to be applied indifferently to the theories of the three great Utopian systems which arose during the early part of the nineteenth century, namely, those of Owen, Fourier, and Saint Simon. Now these three systems had this in common, they proposed to revolutionise human life in its various aspects, primarily its economic basis, the mode under which production and distribution of its wealth takes place. This economic reconstruction was regarded as a lever for revolutionary changes in other departments of human life, notably in marriage and the family relation, and in the mental and moral attitude of man towards society and the universe. As will be seen, the word arose at a time when the new capitalist class, based upon the machine industry, was rising to power. It thus connoted on its negative side the antithesis to the individualism —"each for himself and the devil take the hindmost" — which was the expression of the new capitalist view of social life.

It should be remarked that the systems to which the term Socialism was originally applied, one and all included revolutionary changes in the relations of the sexes and in religious belief, in addition to economic reconstruction, as part and parcel of their programme. In 1848, with the national workshops scheme of Louis Blanc, the term Socialism first came within the sphere of practical politics. The principle of co-operative production at the basis of all the Utopian systems to which the name of Socialism had been hitherto applied, was now about to enter the arena, as it seemed, of actual social and political life. (Of course, as every man knows, who cares to know at the present day, Louis Blanc's scheme, defective as it was, never had a chance on this occasion. But this has nothing to do with our present subject.)

From the revolution of 1848 may possibly be dated the tendency to narrow down the definition of Socialism to an exclusively economic issue. In 1847, less than a year before the outbreak of the great revolutionary movement, Marx and Engels drew up a document which may be regarded as the literary inauguration of the Modern Socialist Movement, to wit, the celebrated Communist Manifesto. Under the name of Communism—the word Socialism having by that time become somewhat usé, owing to its association not only with the three great Utopian systems of the beginning of the century, but with inferior imitations, and crude theories emanating from them—the two protagonists of the modern movement drew up a statement of the scientific and historical conditions of which the co-operative commonwealth, which constituted the essential ideal of what had hitherto gone under the name of Socialism, would be the issue. The term "Communism" adopted throughout the manifesto soon fell into disuse and became supplanted by the phrase Social Democracy, and by the old word Socialism, which seems destined to triumph finally over all competitors. In the Communist Manifesto, as is well known, the point of view of historic evolution of the class-struggle under the paramountcy of the economic side of human affairs, was expounded for the first time in a succinct and definite form. That democracy was the essential condition of Communism (Socialism) was emphatically insisted upon, and that the transformation of the Civilisation of to-day into the Socialism of to-morrow must be brought about through a political revolution involving a change in the possessors of power, was made clear. Henceforward the Socialist movement in the modern sense began slowly to shape itself. We come now to the main question...namely, as to the definitions of Socialism in its modern acceptation....The idea of democracy has always formed an essential element in the conception of Socialism as such.

Visit A Tribute to my Beloved Dog Teddy

No comments:

Post a Comment