Essay Is Marxism Anti Democratic

1598 Words Jun 2nd, 2012 7 Pages
Is Marxism anti-democratic?

In order to answer this question the parameters of the discussion must first be set, with key terms in the title defined. Marxism I define to be ‘an economic and socio-political worldview and method of socio-economic enquiry which focuses upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change and an analysis and critique of capitalism. ‘ Democracy, I define to be an ‘egalitarian form of government in which sovereignty is vested in the people and exercised by them or elected agents.’ In the following essay I will present two opposing interpretations of Marxism, with both leading to wildly divergent conclusions regarding the democratic nature of Marxism. The first perspective
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On an empirical level, all despots in the past 100 years of history have relied upon some form of physical coercion in maintaining power. Therefore, I believe, this conveys quite conclusively that Marxism, on a theoretical basis, should not be viewed as anti-democratic.

However, as stated in the introduction, Marx himself desired his philosophy to be judged on empirical grounds and if done so an entirely different perspective of Marxism will emerge. Josef Femia provides perhaps the most convincing argument in support of the belief that Marxism ‘a doctrine devoted to human liberation,’ is inherently disposed towards producing despotic regimes. He presents 3 separate arguments to support this thesis; firstly, Hayek is cited, who argues that that Marxism is predisposed towards despotism on economic grounds as ‘a directed economy must be run on more or less dictatorial lines.’ Secondly, Talmon and Croce argue that ‘the roots of Marxist authoritarianism’ lie in ‘political messianism,’ (Femia,1993) with Marxism relying on blind faith and appeals to utopian visions of a universally harmonious society. Thirdly and I believe, most importantly I believe Marx’s emphasis on the collective as oppose to the individual and the view that society is considered a single unit, driven by a common spirit, provide the most damning evidence in support of the belief that Marxism is anti democratic. This belief places little or no emphasis upon neither individual choice

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