Again, history provides plenty of examples of undemocratic Communist
tyrannies to justify this stereotype. Various rationalizations
have been advanced by such regimes to justify their use of the
term "democratic," but they do not seem to me worthy
of examination here.
The important point is that Communism as Marx and others advanced
it was to be a sort of super-democracy. What Marxists originally
objected to were the limitations of democracy. Bourgeois democracy
was denounced not because it was democratic, but because its benefits
were concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie. The notion
was to democratize the economy as well as government. With all
wealth being held in common and controlled by workers, the factors
in society which most directly affect daily life would come under
the control of ordinary people, no longer to limited occasional
trips to the ballot box.
During the Cold War, foes of Communism constantly articulated
the struggle as being between Communism and democracy, while Communists
insisted instead on seeing the struggle as being between Communism and
capitalism--a term that was largely replaced in the U.S. by phrases
with more positive connotations: "free enterprise" and
"market economy." Refusal to acknowledge this difference
in usage probably led to more mutual misunderstanding and wasted
breath than any other.
Communists may have often betrayed the ideal of democracy and
even sometimes condemned it, but the original socialists were
inspired by it and created the idea of socialism as an extension
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