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Democracy and Class Society

Democracy and Class SocietyThis PSL Publication features revolutionary Marxist analysis, and critical history, on the meaning of democracy. It is designed to provide much-needed clarity on what is and what is not at stake in the bourgeois elections.

The book is divided into three main sections. Section 1, “Democracy for the Ruling Class,” which explains how very different social systems have used ostensibly “democratic” forms, from pre-class societies to ancient slavery to the bourgeoisie. Section 2, “Democracy and U.S. Imperialism,” discusses just how undemocratic the U.S. political system is, and Section 3 “Democracy for the Working Class” shows how the revolutionary transformation of society to deliver democracy to the vast majority.

The full book is available below and can be ordered in print here.

 
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The Supreme Court: last line of defense for the ruling class

This article was originally published as Chapter 6 in “Democracy and Class Society,” a book produced by the PSL in 2008. “I give you, gentlemen, the Supreme Court of the United States—guardian of the dollar, defender of private property, enemy of spoliation, sheet…

Democracy and class society: Introduction

November 4, 2008, is Election Day in the United States. Tens of millions of people will cast their vote for the next president of the United States. The 2008 elections have several interesting features. It will most likely be remembered as the one…

Ch. 2) Democracy in pre-class societies

The word “democracy” brings to mind many meanings and connotations. For many, it denotes the participation of citizens in government. It carries the sense of equal rights for all members of society. The principle of “one person, one vote” is closely connected with…

Ch. 4) How the French democratic revolution was won

A tale of two classes More than any other revolution before the 1917 Russian Revolution, the French Revolution of 1789 inspired people across the globe to look beyond the societies in which they lived and see the possibility for social change. Even though…

Ch. 5) The class character of the U.S. Constitution

In history and civics classrooms all over the United States, students are taught from an early age to revere the “Founding Fathers” for drafting a document that is the bulwark of democracy and freedom—the U.S. Constitution. We are taught that the Constitution is…

Ch. 7) A legacy of U.S. racism: Disenfranchising Black voters

This article first appeared in the December 2004 issue of Socialism and Liberation, on the heels of the controversial last presidential election. It has been slightly edited for clarity. About one week prior to the 2004 Presidential election, a conflict in Ohio drew…

Ch. 8) Voting rights and disenfranchisement in the United States

More than 300 million people live in the United States. Of these, over 10 percent—nearly 30 million people—have no right to vote. The number who will be blocked from voting keeps going up. In April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID…

Ch. 9) Unions and the struggle for democratic rights

Since when did unions become a special interest? Many people complain about the influence of “special interests” in politics. Reformers claim that lobbying on behalf of these special interests distorts the democratic voting process during elections and in Congress. Of course, the presence…

Ch. 10) Defending democratic rights under bourgeois ‘democracy’

U.S. democracy has been poisoned from the start. Schools and media alike preach reverence to “Democracy,” which allegedly makes the United States so great, powerful and the envy of the world. “Democracy is why the United States is so hated by its enemies,”…

Ch. 11) Propaganda and class rule

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote those words in their…

Ch. 12) The U.S. war machine and capitalist ‘democracy’

The threat posed to a formal, functioning democracy by militarism, or what has been called the “military-industrial complex,” is recognized not just by socialists, but by liberals and even some militarists as well. In order to establish some credibility in anti-war circles, liberals…

Ch. 13) Democracy on the job? Not under capitalism

Imagine you were in a place where you had no rights at all. If you did anything wrong, you would face harsh punishment, including denying you the ability to feed your family. Most of us do not have to imagine. It is the…

Ch. 14) Workers’ democracy in Cuba

In the United States, politicians of all stripes, along with the big-business media, routinely portray Cuba as an oppressive dictatorship. Cuban leader Fidel Castro is said to decide everything in society, supported by a police state where free political expression and participation amongst…