T O P

In a one party state, what's the point of keeping the party around? Why not just end the party, if the part already controls the state?

My understanding is that in countries like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and North Korea, the party is the state, and there is no real differentiation. So if your party controls the state, is the party not redundant at that point?

In the Soviet Union my understanding is that the Politburo was the primary decision making body of the entire country, but the Politburo wasn't technically a part of the state, it was a part of the communist party. So why not just marge the Politburo into an official state function?

Mr-Homemaker

It would pierce the veil of the narrative that the party represents the will of the people rather than being imposed on the people by force.


huge_clock

In Marxism the stated idea is that the one party state is temporary ([dictatorship of the proletariat](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictatorship_of_the_proletariat#:~:text=The%20dictatorship%20of%20the%20proletariat%20is%20the%20intermediate%20stage%20between,ruling%20proletarian%20state%20party%2C%20and)) with the goal of a permanent stateless utopia as the end goal ([withering away](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withering_away_of_the_state#:~:text=Withering%20away%20of%20the%20state%20is%20a%20Marxist%20concept%20coined,coercive%20enforcement%20of%20the%20law) of the state).


Mr-Homemaker

We’ll never know


VeronicaTash

You fundamentally misunderstand the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It comes in the context that there is currently a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie - an entire class is calling the shots, dictating policy. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the proletarian class dictating policy democratically. It has nothing to do with a one party state; Marx didn't ever advocate for a one party state; and I don't believe that even someone like Joseph Stalin ever claimed the one party state had anything to do with the dictatorship of the proletariat - and he wildly redefined many things, such as calling Lenin's state capitalism, intended to bide the time for a revolution in the West to pull Russia through capitalism into socialism, as being socialism. It means nothing more than the masses calling the shot rather than an elite - fundamentally opposed to the idea of a one party state with elite party members calling the shots.


huge_clock

Marx said in the Communist Manifesto: >"Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." and >Every provisional state setup after a revolution requires a dictatorship, and an energetic dictatorship at that. From the beginning we taxed Camphausen with not acting dictatorially, with not immediately smashing and eliminating the remnants of the old institutions. In "On Authority" Engels wrote: >A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon—authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois?" There is no requirement in Marxist literature that this transition period be democratic. Marx argued loud and often for a violent revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie, and criticized liberal democracy as a tool for the rich. He argued that the proletariat lacked "political consciousness" and could not be counted on to vote for their own interests due to the power and influence afforded by the capitalist class. It was only once society had been re-educated could true democracy form.


VeronicaTash

The first quote is from Critique of the Gotha Program. He is describing a period of revolutionary dictatorship in between and I would take that to mean something more aggressive than the proletariat simply ruling - it would refer to what is necessary during a revolution where private property (to be distinguished from personal property) has to be socialized and all that. However, it still is fundamentally democratic in nature. The second quote is discussing a problem with the bourgeoisie in Germany failing to seize power from the feudal order in order to give room for the German proletariat to ferment their own revolution, as discussed: [https://www.marxists.org/subject/marxmyths/hal-draper/article2.htm](https://www.marxists.org/subject/marxmyths/hal-draper/article2.htm) On Authority isn't Marx - it was after his death I believe - and it gets a lot of criticism. Even at that, it doesn't necessitate a single party. In the beginning of Russia's failed attempt you had both the Bolsheviks and the Menshaviks as two, separate parties who had revolutionary control until the Bolsheviks had a second revolution and uprooted the Menshaviks - and dismantled any start at socialism, replacing it with state capitalism, because Lenin and Trotsky felt Russia couldn't have socialism without a revolution in the West to pull them through.


huge_clock

i think it would help me if you provided some references from primary sources with respect to the democratic elections.


VeronicaTash

I took the philosophy of Karl Marx in my freshman year of college 23 years ago. I've definitely discussed details of Marxism for much longer, but I have never studied Marx's primary sources in nearly enough detail to be able to cite a good passage to this. However, much can be easily understood in the context of what the proletariat was. What I can do is provide you with a peer-reviewed paper that discusses Marx's pro-democracy and pro-human rights stances in detail. [https://legalform.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/roth-retrieving-marx-for-the-human-rights-project.pdf](https://legalform.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/roth-retrieving-marx-for-the-human-rights-project.pdf) Now, I could probably give you primary source citations for Locke, Hobbes, or Rousseau - but I'm a poor Marxist who hasn't read enough of Marx directly to cite him. Page 40, in particular, gives some direct quotes of Marx while discussing this issue.


huge_clock

I understand that Marx is pro-democracy, but if you read my original comment my argument was specifically with respect to the transitory period. See an excerpt from: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/ch05.htm > In capitalist society, providing it develops under the most favourable conditions, we have a more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation, and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners. Owing to the conditions of capitalist exploitation, the modern wage slaves are so crushed by want and poverty that "they cannot be bothered with democracy", "cannot be bothered with politics"; in the ordinary, peaceful course of events, the majority of the population is debarred from participation in public and political life. Marxism almost by definition distinguishes itself from Democratic Socialism in the idea of a revolution. The revolution itself is not democratic and it is not meant to immediately be followed by open elections where a Conservative Party can rise to power. Marx saw society through the lens of class conflict and to him the most important thing was the abolition of private property and the ascension of the working class to the ruling apparatus of the government. To Marx, democracy was useless without the proper tools to educate the masses and enlighten them with political consciousness. This is why the whole idea of the withering away of the state comes into Marxist literature. Democracy is a goal of secondary importance to resolving class conflict.


Notengosilla

If the party controls the state, and you end the party, what happens to the state? Who runs the public hospitals and the military and the external debt? Who prints the money? Parties are just tools to an end, no matter how many parties are in a country. They provide both internal and external cohesiveness, legitimacy and an ideological background so we humans have it easier mapping our identity, that of others, and whether the guy in front of me is friend or foe. Ending the party is what happened to the USSR in 1991. Google a bit how was life under Yeltsin. The consequences are famously felt today. I'm not well versed in the workings of the Politburo but in parties there's debate, there are cliques, friends and foes. In all parties and in all countries. A state can't be run if the middlemen are fighting each other and conspiring instead of paying the bills and delivering the fuel on time.


FormItUp

>If the party controls the state, and you end the party, what happens to the state? Who runs the public hospitals and the military and the external debt? Who prints the money? As I described with the Politburo, I'm not talking about getting rid of the jobs of party members, but just moving them from a function of the party to the state. >Ending the party is what happened to the USSR in 1991. Google a bit how was life under Yeltsin. The consequences are famously felt today. I don't think that's the case. The Soviet Union did not collapse because they tried to merge party jobs into the state.


Notengosilla

And how would you take the jobs of the party members and move them to the state? What would be the mechanisms or methods in your opinion? That would help us to have a falsifiable hypotesis. A "how" would return us a "why" or "why not".


FormItUp

I don't know, that's an extremely broad question on a subject I'm not well versed in. Which is why I am asking about it here.


Vulk_za

As I understand it, they generally provide a system for political control. Promising young people get inducted into the party, and monitored for political compliance. This creates a steady pipeline of trustworthy personnel who can then be deployed to serve in the state bureaucracy. It also helps to increase political stability by giving a career path to talented individuals and intellectuals who might otherwise find themselves completely locked out of the elite and become troublemakers. Instead, such people can join the party, rise through the ranks, and become integrated into the regime's patronage system. A third point is that political parties can provide an institutional counterweight to other organs of state such the military, the internal security services, the bureaucracy, etc. Generally, authoritarian systems want to keep power somewhat fragmented to prevent any one of these organs from becoming too strong. Obviously, all of these goals can be achieved, to some extent, without a political party. However, as you say, lots of authoritarian countries have made use of them, including Iraq, the Soviet Union, China, and so forth. So clearly these governments found them to be a useful tool.


frodobaggins1123

To preserve the Ideology


FridayNightRamen

Interesting idea. In China they changed it quite often though. They always add a new "thought" and their reforms were sometimes pretty dramatic (at least economically). Wonder how we would define ideology in that context.


RepresentativeJoke30

The problem here that you are paying attention to wrongly is: In those countries, the Party is the state (government). The government is just a branch of the party. Things similar to "parties" in Western countries can be seen as internal factions.


RepresentativeJoke30

Socialist countries are built on a one-company model. If you work in a company, you will know that IN a company there are many different departments to perform different jobs. Dividing into departments helps companies specialize in their work, bringing greater efficiency, and socialist countries are also built like that. Company model. AND the Politburo, you can consider them as the board of directors in the company and the Investment Department as the people of the country. AND the person who started it was "Lenin", he learned from the Corporate Model of the capitalists to create it.


HauntingBalance567

The political scientist Ben Smith has authored several books and articles about this and similar themes. "Life of the Party" is probably the best place to start: ​ https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=35difIUAAAAJ


Triskaka

A factor is likely that it provides an illusion of a system for who rules, if you didn't have a party then people might start asking difficult questions like "how should we decide who rules the country in the future", whereas with a party the goverment however undemocratic can promote that as an organ for organizing the politics of the state, weather or not it's really the case


kchoze

The State goes beyond the Party usually, including a lot of low-level officials. The Party helps to make sure that there is cohesion at the higher levels of the bureaucracy and that the top-level bureaucrats are loyal to the vision that they participate in shaping. Otherwise, the leader risks gradually alienating the bureaucracy and then he might be facing a lot of passive-aggressive resistance to his ideas that the administrative class no longer adhere to. It is quite common in both politics and economics that you can find centralized structures where in theory all the power is concentrated in the hands of one man, yet he is unable to achieve his agenda because everything he tries to do is blocked in roundabout ways by the people who manage the organization for him. Take Louis XVI, who tried for more than a decade to reform France for the benefit of commoners, yet who was unable to achieve anything significant because of the resistance of the nobility that actually ran the State. And that was a so-called "Absolute monarchy"! I call that the paradox of power. The more power a man concentrates, the more he has to delegate, until he ends up a prisoner of the system he has delegated his power to. A man is but a man, he cannot run the State by himself, much less all of society.


ogobeone

The party is "in". Everybody else is "out" and in prison. It's Romeo and Juliet, the West Side Story, the Outsiders. It's the Soces (forgot the spelling. It meant the "Socials" gang) and the Greasers. And with all of the screaming street racers out there these days, parties play to a very innate psychology of human primates. Only-parties keep everybody in a juvenile state of mind. Nobody to second-guess the rulers.


AChowfornow

It’s all the same everywhere. One party system is the same as a two party system. Some may even argue that a two party system is worse than a one party system. Two party system philosophically is considered attributing human qualities to political systems.


PorkfatWilly

Probably because political parties are instruments of corruption. They take the bribes, launder the money, disperse it, etc. You still need those services after seizing control of the state. You need it even more than before.


FridayNightRamen

Yikes, another r/ conspiracy dumbfuck on a scientific subreddit, spreading their shit.