Professor Emeritus Michael Walzer paraphrased Marx’s description of the socialist citizen (from The German Ideology): “Imagine the day in the life of a socialist citizen. He hunts in the morning, fishes in the afternoon, rears cattle in the evening, and plays the critic after dinner. Yet he is neither hunter, nor fisherman, nor shepherd, nor critic; tomorrow he may select another set of activities, just as he pleases.”
The envisioned socialist citizen in America will engage in “participatory democracy.” In theory, a participatory democracy’s citizens would have individual participation in political decisions and would make policies that would affect their lives directly and there would be no elected representatives making such decisions.
The socialist republic I grew up in had this type of participatory democracy in place. People in good standing with the Communist Party could make pre-determined suggestions during union meetings but the Party had the ultimate decision-making power. The rest of the population, who were not members of the Communist Party had no input in the decision-making process. The Party tried to keep membership selective to about ten percent of the population.
Dangerous philosophies can cause misery and death to millions around the globe
Was this socialist society a “self-governing community of equals?” No, citizens were only equal in their poverty, neediness, misery, and lack of human rights and freedoms. They could not do as they pleased and be what Marx called “social men and women, organizing and planning their own fulfillment in spontaneous activity.” They were serfs to the all-powerful state ruled by the Party.
Often academic and philosophical theories, even those well intentioned, diverge greatly from the reality of implementing such theories. Other times dangerous philosophies can cause misery and death to millions around the globe. Such was the power of Karl Marx’s ideas.
Self-government takes a lot of time, self-control, and is very demanding, if it is implemented correctly, socialists argue.
“The idea of citizenship on the left has always been overwhelming, suggesting a positive frenzy of activity and often involving the repression of all feelings except political ones.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), a socialist, considered the father of the modern left-wing, had disparaged the worth of one’s private life. As the main philosopher of the French Revolution, he attacked private property and “declared the government’s goal should be to provide freedom, equality, and justice.” The idea that government can provide freedom is contemptible.
Socialism is coercive, forcing its citizens to “volunteer” for action and to labor on weekends for the public good
Citizens must be, above all, “dutiful,” placing “common good, the success of the movement, the safety of the community, above their own delight or well-being, always.”
Such “virtuous” citizens could be produced by rote indoctrination, transformation, or rigorous instruction/brainwashing.
Rousseau suggested the creation of the “virtuous” citizen through an “authoritarian family, a rigid sexual code, censorship of the arts, sumptuary laws, mutual surveillance, and the systematic indoctrination of children.”
Sumptuary laws refer to limiting private spending on food and personal items. I am familiar with this form of socialist oppression as the dear leader always rationed our food, issued rationing cards, punished food hoarding and black marketers, and passed laws that decreed how many calories per day people engaged in various professions could consume, and how much they could weigh.
Socialism is coercive, forcing its citizens to “volunteer” for action and to labor on weekends for the public good in addition to their jobs in factories or offices wherever they are deemed to further the political or economic socialist cause.
Students are exploited and forced to work with no pay for weeks during the crop harvest season and the crop planting season.
Citizens living in a socialist state are forced to donate time and energy to the socialist cause and the “participatory democracy”
Citizens living in a socialist state are forced to donate time and energy to the socialist cause and the “participatory democracy” in which they are just warm bodies for political optics, filling the auditoriums or the dear leader’s parade grounds. It is “popular participation” but not voluntary – it is demanded by the state and driven by the fear of punishment.
Walzer wrote that “participatory democracy means the sharing of power among the [socialist] activists. Socialism means the rule of the people with the most evenings to spare.” If citizens” do not govern themselves, they will, willy-nilly, be governed by their activist fellows.” Who were these activist fellows of the 20th century who ruled behind the Soviet ideology with an iron fist? They were “full-timers, militants, and professionals.” (p. 310)
The militants, in Walzer’s opinion, represent themselves. So, in a future socialist society, he recommends that participatory democracy must be paralleled by representative democracy.
Why was the rest of the socialist society I grew up in suppressed by the militant apparatchiks/activists on the Communist Party payroll? The main reason was that none of the citizens were armed (guns were the first things confiscated by activist goons, followed by private property) while the Communist Party engaged a huge and well-paid military, a large cadre of informers, a large police force, security police, and economic police. Nobody could make one wrong step without the state knowing about it. And they did it without the help of high tech.
Citizens created undergrounds to bypass the oppressive world of the Socialist/Communist Party ideology
People stayed away from the Communist Party membership ranks because they were not committed to the cause they saw daily as a big, blatant lie, they were morally beaten, economically beaten, starved, and deathly afraid.
Citizens created undergrounds to bypass the oppressive world of the Socialist/Communist Party ideology. They learned coping skills to avoid the socialist apparatchik tyranny in which freedom of speech and assembly were deadly.
Today, three decades since the “fall” of socialism/communism in Eastern Europe, citizens have regained their freedom of speech and assembly but sadly now nobody listens to them, especially politicians.
The press repeats the same globalist lies to their people thus colluding with corrupt politicians in their efforts to install a new world order, socialism on such a grander scale that Marx and Stalin would be shocked.