Compendium: Democracy and the Council State (Pt. II of III)

It is a common misconception by Liberal Capitalists to accuse Council Democracy of promoting “Democratic Backsliding” or “Illiberal Democracy.” Claiming to wield a virtual monopoly on Democracy as a political concept in the economic sense, they perceive any deviation from Parliamentarian governance models as indicative of gestures toward a “tyranny.” They will always accuse Councilor governance as being “draconian,” “authoritarian” (as opposed to authoritative), and “totalitarian.” The Liberal Capitalists use these accusations to get the politically naïve into never considering Councilor governance in order to maintain their economic monopoly on the concept of Democracy. It must be stressed to the point that it becomes coherent that Council Democracy relies on a very different methodology in terms of how democratic motions and procedures are conducted under Socialism. Assuming the Socialist regime does not perceive itself as being threatened by foreign nations and does not become too complacent, Councilor governance is less likely to tolerate the Populism and Demagoguery allowed by Parliamentarian governance.

One of the more common misconceptions spread by Liberal Capitalists about Councilor governance is that it will lead to a one-party state. This claim is not entirely true insofar as there have been historical and contemporary cases of Socialist regimes having multiparty political structures where a “People’s Party” commands a majority of the central government. A People’s Party, whether they refer to themselves as Communist, Socialist or otherwise, is often the ruling party of the State and the one that has the most influence on most national and foreign policies. Serving alongside them are various smaller parties that cater to specific factional interests within the nation-state. Key examples have been most of the Eastern Bloc countries, the PRC, the DPRK, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Another misconception from Liberal Capitalists is the claim that Councilor governance under Socialism will eventually devolve into an autocratic tyranny comparable to Absolute Monarchy. The origins of this claim can be traced back to various people favoring Parliamentarian governance. The personalities since the Enlightenment have varied from Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Alexis de Tocqueville and John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton to more recent ones such as Friedrich von Hayek, Karl Popper, Timothy Snyder, Fareed Zakaria, Timothy Garton Ash, William F. Buckley Jr., Bill and Irving Kristol and Robert Kagan. Basically, anyone and everyone who advocated for Market and Mixed Economies will also be advocating for Parliamentarian governance as part of the Liberal Capitalist nation-state’s domestic and foreign policies. Within foreign policy, it is natural to eventually encounter the recurring memes propagated by these personalities and various others.

This is not to suggest that historical and existing Socialist nation-states have never considered the possibility of tyranny arising by a Head of State wielding absolute power. Contrary to the centuries of Liberal Capitalist propaganda since the Enlightenment, Socialists and Communists alike have addressed similar concerns about this possibility and developed their own responses. For Socialism, the historical encounters with the governance of Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler have led to the post-1945 conceptualization of variations of “Collective Leadership.” The concept itself bears similarities to the “Subsidium” of the Ancient Roman military, the “Auftragstaktik” of the Prussian armed forces, and the “Subsidiarity” from Roman Catholicism.

All of those examples demonstrate mindfulness toward excessive centralization by already centralized hierarchical structures concerned by the possibility of a Head of State wielding absolute power. The Ancient Romans employed theirs during the various wars they fought, the Catholic Church as a result of the reign of various Anti-Popes and Schismatics, and the Prussians implemented Auftragstaktik as a consequence of the Battle of Jena in the Napoleonic Wars. In the case of Collective Leadership, it argues that power should be diffused among the members of the Party Central Committee or Politburo. The real point of contention, as the Soviet lessons of OGAS and Perestroika under Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Gorbachev can attest, is where to find the proper balance of power so as to avoid petty factionalism in the central government.

Furthermore, the taxonomy and composition of Councilor governance can be affected by whether the nation-state abandoned Liberal Capitalism recently or not. Nation-states that decide to abandon it, regardless of how they chose to do so, will emerge as a “People’s Democracy.” A People’s Democracy refers to a subset within Council Democracy from Marxist Theory that describes a nation-state transitioning away from Liberal Capitalism toward Socialism. The central government will have a People’s Party and the various smaller parties that had formed a “Popular Front,” which is Councilor governance’s equivalent to a “coalition government” under Parliamentarian governance. Popular Fronts are realized whenever the People’s Party forges an alliance of commonly-shared national interests with various parties who do not necessarily have to share its interpretation of Socialism. Since the parties of People’s Democracy tend to come from various interests within the nation-state, anyone who does not wish to commit sedition and overthrow the State is capable of forming one.    

And even if the People’s Party is not Marxist-Leninist, it should at least try to govern the nation-state according to “Vanguardism.” Those who are called to lead by God, Vocation, talent or initiative must strive to become an example for the nation-state to follow. They need to be given a Constitutional Obligation and Intent of demonstrating the willingness to be proactive participants in the democratic process and the direction of governmental policies that affect the nation-state, including fiscal and monetary policies. As addressed earlier in the SMP Compendium regarding Prussian Socialism and the Hamiltonianism of Federal Socialism, Councilor governance is not an Aristocracy of blood and wealth; it is a true Aristocracy of merit, achievement, and rank. Those related to the political leaders of the State by blood are applicable to the same criteria.   

By adhering to the ideal of an Aristocracy of merit, achievement and rank, the central government is capable of conducting Democratic Centralism under Councilor governance. Democratic Centralism stresses the need for everyone to participate politically and economically in the affairs of the nation-state. Proposed policies are delegated from the most local of councils and eventually addressed at the State Council itself. There will be discussions of political-economic questions, time allotted for dissenting viewpoints, collective and periodic decisions, provisional and policy-making debates, reports from subordinate councils. When the State Council decides to vote on a policy, a majority vote is needed for it to be approved.

Once a decision has been made, everyone is expected to carry through with the decision. There is to be no objections and protesting of a policy after it has been decided upon. The reason for this is to ensure that the State Council will carry out the will of the Totality, the people of the nation-state, and see to it that the Head of State signs the proposed policy into law.

The legislative procedures carried out in Council Democracy is different from the Parliamentarian governance model. Parliamentary Democracy suffers from the tendency to exacerbate the problems of “Filibustering,” “Government Shutdowns,” “Furloughing” of civil servants, and “Hung Parliaments,” “Divided Government,” “Polarization,” and “Gridlock” among parties. All of those are problems distinctly related to the manner in which Parliamentarianism organizes the Legislative Branch. Granted, since no political-economic system is guaranteed to be perfect, there are number of potential flaws which any serious application of Council Democracy will need to be aware of. Detecting and resolving those issues before they worsen is pivotal in the next addition to this three-part series in the SMP Compendium.  



Categories: Compendium, Philosophy, Politics

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