Bourgeois ideologists and their reformist hangers-on shout from the roof-tops about “universal democracy”, “democracy for all”, which allegedly exists in the capitalist world. They hold up this “pure” bourgeois democracy in contrast to the dictatorship of the proletariat which is supposed to be a bureaucratic, undemocratic rule.
In reality the very opposite is the case. The much– vaunted bourgeois democracy, as we have already seen, is merely a screen for the omnipotence of the moneybags and for the actual lack of rights of the working people. The aim of bourgeois democracy is to perpetuate the capitalist system, the exploitation of the millions of working people by the negligible minority of the rich.
Only the proletarian state is truly democratic. The dictatorship of the proletariat is a qualitatively new type of democracy. This, as Lenin wrote, is democracy for the overwhelming majority of the people and the exclusion of the exploiters and oppressors from this democracy. In the process of its development it increasingly turns into socialist democracy of the whole people.
The qualitatively new type of democracy under the dictatorship of the proletariat stems from its very nature, its aims and purposes. Only in a firm alliance with all the working people and with the democratic forces, only with the support of the masses can the proletariat break down the resistance of the exploiting classes, retain power, build socialism and in this way bring the people a life of happiness. That is why the alliance of the working class and the non-proletarian sections of town and country, above all the peasants, constitutes the basis, the supreme principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the fullest and all-round expression of the genuine democracy of the proletarian state.
The alliance of the working class with the working people of town and country is founded on the community of their basic political and economic interests, on the common desire to abolish exploitation and build socialism. Only socialism is capable of emancipating the workers from capitalist wage-slavery and the peasants and other non– proletarian working sections from ruin and poverty. It was in joint struggle against exploitation, for the new, socialist system that the alliance of the working class with all the working people and democratic forces arose and is developing. It is the source of the might of the proletariat.
The proletariat, however, Lenin noted, does not need just an alliance with semi-proletarian strata, but one in which it plays the leading role. The peasants and the petty bourgeoisie are inconsistent. They are, at the same time, both working people and small owners and they often vacillate between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Only the proletariat, the most advanced, consistently revolutionary and organised class, headed by the Marxist party, is capable of overcoming their vacillation, wresting them away from the bourgeoisie and leading them along the socialist road.
A primary distinction of proletarian democracy is that it not only proclaims the rights of the working people, but also provides the conditions for the people to exercise them. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat the working people possess not formal rights, as in a bourgeois state, but they actually govern the country and directly, or through their representatives, manage its entire economic, political and cultural life.
The proletarian state guarantees the exercise of democratic rights by providing the corresponding material facilities. The working people own all the means of production, and this enables them to manage the country’s economy and to exercise their right to work. Schools, universities, scientific and cultural institutions, health and holiday homes give them the opportunity to exercise their rights to education and to rest and leisure. The working people have at their disposal printshops, stocks of paper, radio stations, the best buildings, etc., and this enables them to enjoy freedom of the press, speech, assembly, freedom of organisation, etc.
The working people actively take part in the political life of the country, in state affairs, through their wide participation in the Soviets or other state bodies, in numerous committees and commissions set up by the Soviets and also through their own social organisations. In a word, proletarian democracy, as Lenin said, is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy.