: OK, Piper, I'll admit I got a little worked up there. Sorry for using profanity, etc. Now, on to the fine points of our discussion.
: The confusion between dictatorship and [Marxist] people's democracy, also called dictatorship of the proletariat, is one that was perhaps fostered by Marx himself. marx, like some marxists today argued that morality and rights were relative, not absolute, and conditioned by the prevailing social conditions of the time. Therefore, he conceded that proletarian democracy would seem 'despotic' TO THE PROPERTY-OWNING CLASS. Why? Becuase they believed they had a 'right' to exploit their workers and dominate the economy with their private property. Hence any violation of these 'rights' would seem to them despotic. In much the similar way as the Nazis or the Japanese, after World War II, must have chafed under the 'depotism' of civilized countries who weren't about to tolerate genocide and murder.
: To those of us who believe in absolute morality, howvere, there is absolutely nothing despotic about proletarian democracy. I for one don't believe that humans have an innate right to steal and exploit their fellow men. Therefore the denial of this 'privilege' is only dneying something that shouldn't exist in the first place. from the class-bound perspective of Marx, either democracy or aristocracy is going to be seen as despotic by those who lose their status and privileges as a result of its imposition. Yet you must choose one or teh otehr, either aristorcarcy or democracy. this is why he referred to proletarian socialism as 'despotic'. He also referred to it however as 'democratic'. Remember the phrase 'the people's democratic dictatorship'.
: Democracy is despotic to the upper classes who lose their privileges and property. Aristocrcay is despotic to the (far more numerous) oppressed classes. Whose side are you going to be on?
: my theoretical knowledge of Marx is weak, I'm on stronger ground when talking about actual late-twentieth-century examples of socialist democracy. Barry and RD, however, both know an encyclopedic amount about what the 'dicattorship of teh proletariat' means, i.e. democracy. Why don't you ask them.
Piper: Let's not forget Nikhil that a Marxist revolution is not predicated upon all the workers being in agreement that such a revolution should take place. Marx thought of bringing revolution for the workers not by the workers. Consequently the dictatorship of the proletariat will not be concerned merely with oppressioning capitalists, it shall also by necessity have to oppress workers who are happy (erroneously to Marx's paternalistic way of thinking) with the present system (Think of Frenchy).
If you wish to conceive of the current system of western government as despotic (as did Masrx), that is your choice (i think it an abuse of the term). However the type of despotism required to overthrow capitalism will far exceed what you have seen in America. It would be a bloodbath.