Democracy is one of the crucial concepts of modern-day politicaldiscourse, precisely because so little thoughtful research hasbeen devoted to it. Some have argued that it is not a surprise that traditionalMarxist authors have practically nothing of substance on the query, fornone of them had private contribution of a complete democracy. However, it is notfair to argue that Marxism produced virtually nothing of material on the enquiry.
On the contrary, the politics of Marx during his time can be relatively valuablein understanding democracy as a concept and as a movement. However, below itwill be argued that Mill’s vision of democracy is the most rationalcompared to Marx because Mill’s ideas allow mankind to exercise individualrights than that of Marx. Marx’ initial works are concerned with the liberty of the media andare infused by Feuerbachian ideals and Hegelian approaches. Therestriction law, he wrote in the RheinischeZeitung in May 1842, is not a commandment but a police measure anda poor one at that. Not long afterwards, he wrote that the state must be systematized accordingto the standards of reason and liberty, for it is the countless excellenceof Hobbes, Spinoza, Machiavelli, Fichte, Rousseau and Hegel to have unregulatedthe examination of politics from the dominion of the theologians.
It wasonly sometime after he took up the role of reporter that he discoveredwhile covering the debate on the law about wood gathering that the regimewas being used as the means of implementing secluded interest rather thanreason or the mutual good. FromMarx’ perspective Marxism and democracy were interlinked from the very first conflicts,in the middle of the 19th century. As the American socialist Hal Draper inscribed,the two things are intertwined collectively in Marx’s theory, which “movesin the direction of definingconsistent democracy in socialist terms, and consistent socialism in the democratic term”(Hal Draper, pg17, 2010).
This movement from the greatest crucial building blockof Marxism that socialism must be the self-emancipation of the proletariat andcan’t be accomplished on its behalf. Our goal is only possible as the act ofthe sentient multitudes of the mainstream class in the social order, and that entailsthe completest development of democracy. Workers achieving democracy is dependent ontheir own actions and association or by relying on the privileges establishedunder the current system protected by their deployment.
Although the protectors of the capitalist organisationneed the contrary. They need to repress and comprehend mass participation,whether within the dogmatic system or in fights and activities external to it.Therefore, they sought to destabilise or weaken or even eradicate democracy.This applies not just to conservative ideologues, whose disapproval for genuineautonomy is apparent, but to liberals whose protection of rank places them in antagonismto mass expressions of democracy that threaten it.
For Marx, this struggle betweenthe development of democracy and the restriction of it was a vital part of theclass conflict.Besides, some misunderstanding rises because the administrationis regularly on the incorrectside of the struggle, although it is the place where democracy is meantto occur. This is because of the government, as well as its designated constituentbeing unbiased. Beneath a capitalist organisation, it’s on the side of the capitalistswhich means in the fight for egalitarianism, it’s ultimately on the side of confinementand restrictions. As Marx and Engels excellently inscribed in the Communist Manifesto, “Theexecutive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the commonaffairs of the whole bourgeoisie” (Marx et al, pg43, 2008). That does notmean the government always does the request of each capitalist.
First, thereare conflicts among them, and some members or sections of the ruling class loseout.Moreover, “managing the common affairs of the wholebourgeoisie” (Avineri, pg12, 1973) maymean preventing separate industrialists or segments of capital to defend thesystem that benefits them all.In cases where the war on labours or funding for suppressionand tyranny threatens to release discontent and uncertainty, the state is thereto manage the problem. Occasionally, the method of that administration is to quotenorms of democracy and political rights that evidently apply to all individualscorrespondingly. This shows that the government plays this role in the serviceof the ruling class. Its priority is to preserve the fundamentals of the statusquo: most of all, capitalist regulation over the entire working-class community.This understanding of the government was advanced further by the Russian communistsLenin and Bukhari in the lead-up to the 1917 rebellion.
They remained particularlytroubled in contrasting the bourgeois state beneath capitalism with the Marxistvision of a workers’ state.Additionally, under capitalism, the part of the statethat’s focused on democracy is only a fragment, and not even the most significant part. Outside the designatedregime is the martial and the government, both of which are supposed to be the topicto the regulator of a nominated executive, but which have inexplicable influencesthat have been used against nominated bureaucrats (Niemi, pg6, 2011). Further,the state under capitalism is anxious about dogmatic democracy, but not a financial democracy. Below the definitive representationsof demonstrative democracy, even the most liberal administrations have noformal power over isolated wealth, which remains an assembly of insignificanttyrannies. Even though the official democraticpart of the industrial state is damaged and restricted in all kinds of ways,owing to its dominant role in shielding and helping the marginal ruling class,that governs society informally and economically, and therefore politically.
Marx discusses in the CommunistManifesto about the way in which the working class would take hold ofthe control. He maintained that they would eliminate all isolatedproperty, inheritance rights income tax, and ultimately the class organisation(Marx et al, pg11, 2008). A characteristic of Marx’s idea that one could contendis democratic is the way that he evaluates Capitalism in terms of the waythe workers are repressed by the employer. He grasps that in a justlydemocratic social order, an individual would be able to generate whatsoeverthey required and that through the elimination of societal ranking peoplewould turn out to be individuals, original and unrestricted. As Marx said,”In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and classantagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development ofeach is the condition for the free development of all” (Levin, pg6, 1989).
It can be argued the appeal of Marxism lies in “the freedom ofthe individual to express their own tastes and personality, explore herown interests, and thus develop her human potential” (Levin, pg23,1989). Although there are several optimistic features of the Marxist utopianvision, that our contemporary civilisation would advocate, such as the eradicationof the growth of individuals, child labour, liberty and the nationalcontrol of the transportation systems, there are numerous features of theMarxist utopian vision that do not agree with a truly democraticsocial order.Furthermore, the enquiryat hand also aims to determine if democracy can prosper in a Marxistregime, therefore questioning its compatibility with democracy. Somepolitical theorists such as, Geras assert that, “it is an axiomthat Socialism should be democratic” (Geras et al, pg21, 2017), nonetheless thisproclamation is not inevitably accurate. It must be argued that Stalin’sand Lenin’s understanding of the Marxist vision distorted theoriginal ethics of Marxism. During the period of the Bolshevik Octoberrevolution in 1917 the communists believed “that democracy wouldbecome the price for a premature seizure of power under conditions of underdevelopment”(Avineri, pg25, 1973). However, Gramsci, an Italian Marxist philosopher, mainlysaw these events as, “a revolution against Marx’s Capital”.
This isbecause below Lenin there was to be a shortcut on the road to Communism. In anideal communal rebellion, Marx explained that there would be steady deviationsto reach true social democracy, but this was not the occasion interms of the October Revolution and criticisers of Lenin’s version ofCommunism have declared that there are no shortcuts to accomplishing atrue Marxist civilisation. But the most understandable, and significant, declarationofMarx democraticstrategy is to be found in the CommunistManifesto, “The Position of the Communists with regard to thevarious Opposition Parties” (Marx et al, pg14, 2008). Here Karl Marx clearly advocates unifiedfronts with extremists, egalitarians, even in the United States with mere propertycampaigners challenging private possessions in the arenas for the proletariat.
Besides, in the outline of instant demands in the Manifesto one reads that “thefirst step in the labour revolution is to raise the proletariat to theposition of a ruling class, the winning of democracy” (Marx et al, pg27, 2008). The revolutionary events of 1848-49 triggered a brief disruption in Marx’ democraticapproach. The Address of theCentral Committee to the Communist League is occupied with a sense of disillusionment with thenon-proletarian allies. Marx and Engels wrote that, “the workers’ partygoes together with the petty-bourgeois democrats against that faction whoseoverthrow both seek, but it is opposed to those Democrats in everything itwants to do on its own. The democratic bourgeoisie is far detached fromwanting to alter the whole society for the radical proletariat; rather itstrives for deviations in social conditions which will make the predominantsociety as bearable and comfortable as possible for itself” (Marx et al, pg23,2008).
It was during this period that Marx took up the Blanquist slogan of “dictatorshipof the proletariat” (Cowling, pg11, 1998) . At every point in this theoretical examination, Marx used unambiguousdemocratic ideas and ethics to move towards his conclusion. Although, whenMarx said dictatorship ofthe proletariat he did not mean the repression of the democratic rights ofnon-proletarians or even of non-violent anti-socialists. This is clear enoughin the class struggles in France whichappeared in the Neue RheinischeZeitung between January and October 1850 in precisely the periodduring which Marx was rethinking his attitude toward the democratic movement.
In that essay, Marx described theconstitutional republic as the “dictatorship of their unitedexploiters; the socialdemocratic, the red, Republic is the dictatorship of its allies” (Marxet al, pg141, 1972). Autocracy then can be legitimate and republican, evensocial democratic in the French meaning of that term in 1848. The term appliesto the social content, and the consequent limits, of a regime, not to itspolitical structure. For, as Marx made quite clear a little later, during thattime of dictatorship the proletariat enjoyed the freedom of press, speech andorganization. The difficulty, as remarked in an earlier discussion of thesematters, is that the average reader or the not-so-average Stalinist is quitelikely to interpret dictatorship as the meaning dictatorship, pure and simple. On the contrary, it can be argued thatMarx had twisted views of human nature that don’t correlate with reality to theextent that Mill does. Marx’s theories depend on the assumption that peoplewill not be disheartened by the prospect of never owning property. Millformulated his theories with a view of human nature that seems more accurate.
Mill believed that humans were individuals and respected the inherentindividual nature of man. In his discussion on the fallacy of custom, he notedthat man is “not a machine to be built after a model, and set to doexactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow anddevelop itself on all sides according to the tendency of the inward forceswhich make it a living thing” (Anschutz, pg114, 1953). This ismost in contrast to Marx, whose vision of democracy rests on the assumptionthat people will fall into their positions in life without following any inwardforces that may motivate them to want more. Mill said that impulses are equallya part of human nature as are restraints.
This is a true statement of humannature; one cannot ignore the existence of human impulses and emphasizerestraints.Mill, on the other hand, demonstrated a profoundinterest in representative democracy. Mill denying justification of bothidealist and mechanistic theory of state attempted to draw a balance betweenthe two and argued that government was an organisation, acquired and evolved bythe people, in course of time, by the habit of obedience of its laws and byactively participating in it. These conditions are discernible in democracy. Tohim, democracy was the best form of government despite a varietyof intrinsic vices. Democracy might give anopportunity to people to have a better life, even if it falls short of theobjective of making much qualitative improvement in their lives. Democracyshows prospects of carrying-out individual interests. However, Mill’s concernwas to evolve a kind of political arrangement to make peoples individualfreedom defensible.
Hence, Mill’s ultimate political criterion, goodgovernment should advance the common good to its people. According to Mill,democracy can promote the common good in two ways: Firstly, by identifying thecommon good as people through proper deliberation about issues affecting thecommon good; and secondly, by identifying how proper representation andarticulation of their interests would help meet the common good. To inquire further, Mill’s argument of democracy isgrounded on two contemporary political currents: Utilitarianism and liberalindividualism. Borrowing from utilitarianism, Mill stated that democracy wasthe form of government that could best secure the happiness of all, followingthe maxim of the “greatest happiness of the greatest number” (Anschutz, pg34, 1953). Although slightly going away from thecore assumption of utilitarianism and acknowledging individualism, Millstressed that the end of democracy was not just well-being, but more than thatsuch as a tendency to foster self-development and individuality. Mill wrote as:”Representativegovernment is a form which best encourages individuality. It leads people totake a more active and intelligent participation in society.
It provides moraltraining and encourages the development of natural human sympathies. The resultis the habit of looking at social questions from an impersonal perspectiverather than that of self-interest” (Miller, pg54, 2010).Mill also going away from natural rights and socialcontract theories of state given by Hobbes, Lock and Rousseau wrote inhis On Liberty: “Forms of governmentare, rather, to be judged according to the utility in the largest sense,grounded on the permanent interest of man as a progressive being” (Mill, pg42, 1863). Therefore, by all these arguments, he stands for a type ofpolitical institution that is to be evaluated in terms of its capacity toenable each person to exercise and develop in his or her own way to his or her capacityfor higher forms of human happiness.
Such development will be an end foreveryone, but also a means for society to develop and to make life better forall. Furthermore, Mill did not recommend a direct form of democracy. This typeof democracy was representative, according to Mill. In a country with a large population, direct democracyis not feasible, so a democratic government should be a representativedemocracy. Mill argued that the preferably best form of rule is that in whichthe authority, or ultimate supervisory authority in the last option, is vestedin the entire collection of the society. Each inhabitant not only having an abilityto speak in the exercise of that ultimate supremacy but being, at least irregularly,called on to take a real part in the regime, by the private liberation of somepublic occupation, native or universal (Mill, pg63, 1863). Rights and interestsof every or any person are only secure from being disregarded when the personinterested is himself able, and habitually disposed to stand up for them andthat the general prosperity attains a greater height, and is more widelydiffused, in proportion to the amount and variety of the personal energiesenlisted in promoting it. Additionally, the general interest is better promoted when people are self-protectingand self-dependent.
For that participation of people in all political affairsaffecting them is necessary. Mill then argues that democratic government bestpromotes these desirable tendencies while despotism weakens such tendencies.Mill, however, did not consider his scheme of representative democracy isapplicable to all kinds of societies. Societies where willingness and abilityof people to fulfil the duties and discharge the function accordingly areabsent, their possibility of succeeding such type of system would be low.Besides, according to Mill, uncivilized and barbaric societies are suitable forthe despotic rule it is because a barbarous people lack the disposition toobedience to duly constituted authority and must be trained to it by anondemocratic government.
In addition, it cannot be denied that Mill’s comments aboutthe faults of democracy and states are logical. A contradiction of democracy isthat even though they are often usually referred to as exercises in autonomy or”government by the people for the people” (Mill, pg15, 1863), the administrationdoes not continuously replicate the needs of all the people. There are a fewreasons for this that Mill sensibly points out. Firstly, what appears to be thewill of the mainstream is truly the will of only the most active part ofsociety (Anschutz, pg17, 1953). These individualsare just those who “succeed in making themselves accepted as amajority” (Mill, p66). What is professed as the mainstream predominantly regardingcertain concepts about which individuals feel strongly, which is frequently afalse majority.Moreover, in a democracy, those who exert the authority arenot those over whom the authority is exercised.
Looking at the mechanisms of a democracy,this point turns out to be apparent as we see the party-political class manufactureverdicts that affect the rest of the community, without essentially needing theconsent of those their choices affect. Additionally, an autonomous republic maygive escalation to a fresh kind of oppression, which is what it was implementedto avoid. Democracies are fitting to give the path to a “tyranny of themajority” (Mill, pg37) a term devised by Alexis de Tocqueville and reappliedby Mill. This distinct type of dictatorship is practised not by the poweracting autonomously, but by the social order itself. Even though less intimidatingin terms of consequences than a tyrannical regime, the tyranny of the majorityis more treacherous because it is the more problematic to escape.
In this case,the gathering implementing domination does not live in a castle far away, butrather is your fellow citizen. Collapsing this kind of oppression would be moreintricate than eliminating a sole tyrant.In conclusion, Mill’s vision of democracy is the mostcompelling compared to that of Marx. Mill’s ideas make reasonable sense and deliverfor the wellbeing and individual authorisation of the public. The vision of Marxdoes not deliver sufficiently for the well-being of the individuals. Mill cautiouslyobserves all sides of his declarations and arguments.
The discipline with whichhe observes his arguments makes them seem extremely likely to be true. Virtuallyall, if not all, of the main points that Mill takes on democracy, areunderstood without difficulty. Thus, Mill’s vision of egalitarianism triumphsas the most gripping for judging both theories.