Democracy defined

Democracy is undoubtedly the best form of government. What else can be better than people deciding for themselves? Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as the Government of the People, by the people and for the people. Thus peoples’ active participation in public governance is the essence of democracy.

 

Socialism and democracy

Democracy is often contrasted with Socialism and communism. Many believe that the western type democracy is real democracy and all other forms including the socialist/ communist states and theocratic states are undemocratic or dictatorships. Each system is to be judged in the historic perspective.  It is worth mention that the Communists in the soviet Union did not overthrow any democratic government. They had revolted with peoples’ participation against dictatorial and autocratic regime of Tsar. Revolting against autocratic feudal system led by headed by Tsar can by no stretch of imagination be called undemocratic. The soviet revolution was with active support of people. In fact, the revolution was led by a party called Russian Social Democratic Party. The party was split in two groups- Bolsheviks (majority) and Mensheviks (minority). The Bolsheviks were led by V. I. Lenin, the first Prime Minister of soviet Union or the U.S.S.R. *Union of soviet Socialist Republics). A soviet is akin to  Panchayat in India. The soviets consisted of peasants, soldiers and workers. Thus the system ensured participation of people at each stage. The soviet planning called GOSPALAN ensured people’s participation at each stage.  There were elections to soviets including Supreme Soviet. We cannot call a system undemocratic just because it does not conform to western notion of democracy.

 

Socialist concept in India

The Indian National congress had a group called ‘congress socialist Party’.  The revolutionary organization including eminent martyr Bhagat Singh was named ‘Hindustan socialist Republican Army. We cannot say that Chandra shekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries or those in Congress Socialist Party were undemocratic. After independence, our constitution included many provisions including directive Principles, which may be termed socialistic. Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru believed in Democratic socialism. There can be no true democracy without socialism.

 

Marxist concept of socialism

Marxists base their analysis of materialistic interpretation of history. At the dawn of human society, there were no economic classes. Thus primitive communism is the first stage in social development. Next is feudalism- a system of  Land owning classes holding sway and exploiting landless.  Feudalism is followed by capitalism.  The next stages are socialism and communism. Socialism cannot come first. This is a matter of sequence. First capitalism must be developed. There can be no path to socialism direct from feudal system. So in between is a system called Peoples’ democracy. Socialism or Scientific socialism implies that everyone works according to his efficiency and everyone gets according to his work. Ultimate aim is communism where everyone works according to his efficiency and gets according to his needs.  So far, the Marxist concept of socialism or communism is seen nowhere. This may be utopian idea.

 

Democracy and violence

Often, socialism and communism are considered undemocratic because the Soviet revolution was violent. However, we must not forget that non violence is just a Gandhian concept and this has nothing to do with democracy. Abraham Lincoln was undoubtedly a great democrat. He fought slavery system by use of violence.  While the Gandhian principle of non violence is respected, it is not an essential feature of democracy.

 

Democratic socialism

While scientific socialism .based on Marxism may be utopian, it is not undemocratic. There is nothing wrong to follow some principles of Marxism while retaining multi party system.    . .  .

 

Multi party system is essence of democracy

Democracy is based on concept of multi party system. Socialism is based on concept of justice and emancipation from exploitation.  It  is stressed that the soviet or Chinese model is not the last word in history of socialism. We can build socialism on Marxist concept as well as concept of socialistic pattern professed by Nehru. Essence of socialism- Marxist or otherwise- is same and can be attained in frame work of multi party system irrespective of Russian and chine models. We shall have our own model of socialism which must work in frame work of parliamentary system. The left parties in India are definitely working under the Indian constitution and have come to power in three states- West Bengal, Kerala and Truipura. The communists can also be elected or rejected in system of parliamentary system. Moreover, socialism is not the monopoly of communists or leftists. Every one who fights against exploitation is socialist by whatever  called. 

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Capitalism and free market economy is not democracy

The free market system or unbridled capitalism is not democracy. Without socialist content, a system cannot be called democratic. The Western type formal democracy is in fact by the people but neither of nor for the people. The system is like giving option to choose a weapon with which to be killed. However, it is remarkable that the western countries have also from time to time attempted to introduce   policy .for improving lot of people. The future lies in socialism and democracy.

 

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