What is New Democracy?
Reading the extensive propaganda published by this group (if it is really a group) in Discussion Bulletin and on its Web site, one would hope to find some references regarding its origins, political evolution or some claim of political affiliation. Wishful thinking! ND actually seems to have come from nowhere with some ready-made ideological remedies to the problems of today’s society. This political attitude of hiding one’s past, or pretending to be discoverers of political principles, is already quite suspect about the real political motivations of this group, mistrust that only grows as one goes to the essential content of its printed materials.
Reading ND documents one learns that it stands for, as developed in its "Statement of Principles," "a revolution to create a real democracy;" this revolution is necessary and possible, basically, because the present system is unjust, and "most people want the new world that only revolution can bring." And what is the social force of this revolution? "Ordinary people." It affirms that "revolution is possible because the struggle of ordinary people to humanize the world is the force that drives history."
On the other hand, by its own assertions, ND is "firmly opposed to marxism" and communism. In fact, as they say their raison de etre is to fight marxism: "Our goal in New Democracy is to spread an alternative to marxism" which to ND’s despair "unfortunately continues to be the only coherent and systematic model of social change posed as a revolutionary challenge to capitalism." And certainly, true to this open declaration of intentions, ND does not waste any opportunity in its documents to sneer at all the basics of Marxist theory, from historical materialism to communist revolution, proposing instead ND’s own alternative "model of social change and revolution" based on the "working pepole’s values of equality, solidarity, and democracy".
Thus ND is a group which poses as revolutionary, but whose real function is – even by its own account – to attack marxism: Attacks which it carries out quite well with the historically characteristic class hate that, ever since the appearance of the Communist Manifesto, the bourgeoisie has shown against marxism all over the world.
The methods of these attacks are – as they have been before ND – the most outrageous falsifications of marxist views, as well as the most servile repetition of the mountains of lies that the bourgeoisie has heaped against the working class movement during the last century.
Among these lies ND privileges, just as the bourgeoisie has done worldwide in the ‘democratic’ capitalist countries as well as in the "communist" ones, the lies that equate the now disappeared monstrous state capitalist regimes of Russia and its statellites with communism, and Stalinist ideology with Marxism. In a flyer entitled "the future of democratic revolution: why did communism fail?" ND esentially repeats these lies, adding its own little contribution to the bourgeosie’s campaign that equates stalinism with communism. According to ND the Russian Revolution of 1917 failed not only because it was communist but " because it was undemocratic" and guided by marxism which has "a negative view of working people, seeing them as "dehumanized" and motivated merely by self-interest. (Leading it) to play an anti-democratic and counterrevolutionary role." Of course ND is not referring here to the actual failure of the Russian revolution at the beginning of the 1920’s due to the isolation of the Russian proletarian bastion brought by the defeat of the revolutionary uprisings of the working class in other main capitalist countries of the epoch, but to the collapse of the Stalinist regimes at the beginning of the 90’s.
So again what is New Democracy? Since we understand, in accord with marxism, that political groups are the organized political expression of class interests, we recognize ND--because of its political activity-- is in a general sense a bourgeois group, whose main funtion is to spread distrust in the revolutionary traditions of marxism. However, ND, in its main field of action, seems more precisly to be an organized effort of the bourgeoisie to infiltrate the so-called "non-market, anti-statist, libertarian socialist" political milieu of which Discussion Bulletin is the main forum. And one cannot but be amazed by the welcome given to ND by people such as the DeLeonists that still have not officially renounced marxism. It is not accidental that ND has targeted this milieu and particulary its DeLeonist components. In fact, ND is preying in the DeLeonist milieu’s own confusions about bourgeois democracy and marxism, which we have often criticized. We think that it is time for this milieu to react and take a stand against ND’s activities and in particular for "Discussion Bulletin" to stop being a willing vehicle of the propaganda of this group.
Lastly, we want to express our solidarity with the criticisms that comrade ASm from Internationalist Notes (2) has made of this group in the Jan-Feb issue of "Discussion Bulletin." In particular, he is probably right to say that ND "platform is hardly more than a substitution of words…of those statements from organizations that spring from a marxist background." In other words ND has not really an alternative theory to marxism, and its obliged, in order to sound meaningful and coherent, to STEAL some marxist conceptions, taking them out of context and emptying them of revolutionary content, and then presenting the result of this abortion as ND’s own "theory of social change".
Eduardo Smit Eduardo Smith.
1.-Discussion Bulletin. PO Box 1564, Grand Rapids, MI 49501.
2.- Internationalist Notes PO Box 1531 Eau Claire, WI 54702