Revolution #182, November 8, 2009

This Is What U.S. Democracy—And Dictatorship—Look Like...

Three Sentences On Democracy by Bob Avakian, Chairman, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA:

In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about “democracy”—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse. So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no “democracy for all”: one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality.

You saw the essence of democracy and the tools of dictatorship when thousands of people gathered in Pittsburgh on September 24 and 25 of this year to confront the G20 (representatives of the world’s largest economies).

In the halls of the G20, representatives of global capitalism-imperialism democratically discussed, debated, and made decisions on how to exploit the people of the world, and destroy the environment.

In the streets, protesters had the “choice” of being channeled into times, places and marches that the powers-that-be deemed non-threatening, or facing brutal repression. Protesters along with journalists, medical personnel, and people going to school or work, were attacked by thousands of police—beaten by police batons, sprayed with smoke bombs, shot with pepper ball guns and “bean bags” filled with rubber pellets, and tear-gassed. Protesters were subjected to ear-splitting noise from a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) “sound cannon”—a new and gruesome anti-people weapon rolled out with a vengeance against protesters. Protest permits were denied or revoked, protests were infiltrated by police spies and provocateurs, and some 200 people were arrested.

This is bourgeois democracy, and bourgeois dictatorship. In this society, the dictatorship of the capitalist class violently suppresses any real challenge to its rule, and beyond that, suppresses—through its monopoly of the mass media, through censorship, blacklisting, arrests, and more—all kinds of protest and critical thinking. This is true within the borders of the USA, and is carried out with even more open viciousness around the globe. Democracy in this system is part of the same package—conditioned by and serving capitalism-imperialism.

Real revolution brings into being a completely different kind of dictatorship and a completely different kind of democracy. The message and call from the Revolutionary Communist Party describes this: “This system needs to be swept aside…its crimes against humanity stopped cold…its institutions dismantled, and replaced by ones that empower people to build a new society free of exploitation and oppression.” The new revolutionary state “would act to prevent the return of the former exploiters, and resist the attacks of imperialism.”

And at the same time, a revolution would enable the masses of people to immediately, and increasingly enter into debating, struggling over, and solving the problems of changing the world. And this will include promoting dissent. Socialist societies, especially China during the Cultural Revolution, unleashed the masses of people in their millions to do this in a way no capitalist society ever has come close to. And, as the Constitution of the RCP, USA explains, Bob Avakian’s new synthesis “envisions that, along with building on previous socialist forms of involving the masses in the administration of society and exercising power, a much greater degree of ferment and dissent should characterize socialist society than previously—not only because it is important for there to be real liveliness, but to serve a process of involving the broadest masses in the deepest possible wrangling with issues, in order to get at the truth more fully and to advance the masses’ understanding, involvement and capacity to enter into, and transform, all spheres of society.”

The Message and Call from the Revolutionary Communist Party, “The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have,” and the Constitution of the RCP,USA are both available at

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond