Post number 350

anti-capitalist democrat with a small d
  Other ...
25-Mar-2003 6:01 am

Control from the bottom

What workers democracy and power should mean

The Bolsheviks called for Workers Control and it helped them win the leadership of the working class, but once in power the Bolshevik Party reinterpreted Workers Control to mean only the right to look at company books not to make actual decisions as to how a factory was run.

In the early days of the revolution workers took over fsctories, elected recallable management committees and really ran their workplaces in a collective democratic manner.

At some point in time a Troika system was imposed on the factories that was composed of one representative each from the Bolshevik Party, from the Soviet Government , and from the factory, effectively taking away real control from the factory workers themselves. As the Soviet Government was controlled by the Party, the factory rep could always be outvoted.

What was involved was a basic lack of confidence by the Bolshevik Party leadership in the ability of workers to determine how best to run their workplace for the benefit of both themselves and the country as a whole.

The relevance to today is that no party on the left including the various "grass roots" democratic greens and the anarchist groups has a structure that gives real control to its rank and file members.

Groups using the terms grassroots democracy and participatory democracy only mean in practice that the entrenched 'leadership" will consult and seek approval of their members on major issues, but will not allow the members to remove(recall) elected and unelected reps and staff without extreme difficulty at best.

Consensus is used to intimidate those who disagree. In many anarchist and green groups one person can effective veto what the large majority wants. This is not democracy but dictatorship and I have seen it used many times.

So-called socialist groups do not allow adequate discussion and debate time prior to their conventions even when holding to the form of democratic decision making.

What is needed in the anti-capitalist movement is an understanding that workers or any other democracy means every member has an equal voice and vote and that all decisions are by majority vote. That every elected rep is subordinate to the majority and can be removed(recalled) at any time, for any reason by the same method originally used to elect.

Elected reps must always be and see themselves as working for those who elect them, not vice versa.

If we had the right of recall now over our congressperson and president we would be having recall elections right now over the war question.

Only through thorough going democratic structure will sectarianism be overcome.

Those who think they have answers to how to overthrow capitalism or reform it or improve it would have to win the majorities of the relevant organizations to their ideas, not try to impose them from above or hope that other leaderships adopt them from the top.

I hope you all get my point: Unlimited recall rights are the key. Control from the bottom must be real. Anything other than majority rule is minority rule and is conservative at best.

Minority rights get protected by the founding principles of an organization that are adopted unanimously and cannot be changed except by another unanimous vote.

Ok - Comments please Above opinions are based on a lifetime of political activity(I am now 61 years old).

Les Evenchick
Worker since age 11