The Marxist critique of electoralism and parliamentary cretinism

Image: Cyrus Saurius


State power is class power, not an independent and neutral power that comes into dispute, or partially into dispute, every two years.

“Perhaps you will find a certain number of comrades who think that a discussion about the ultimate goal is just an academic discussion. I maintain, on the contrary, that there is no more practical question for us as a revolutionary, proletarian party than the question of the final objective” (Rosa Luxemburgo, Speech at the Stuttgart Congress of the German Social Democratic Party).

The question of organic legislative action and the conquest of the administrative machine is related to the reformist problematic of the “exercise of power” in the bourgeois State,[I]that guided the actions of the Socialist Parties linked to the tradition of the Second International in the 20th century and that prevails in the bosom of left-wing organizations today.

The subordination of politics, ideology and methods of struggle and organization to electoral objectives; and the confinement of political action to the limits of bourgeois institutionality, these elements constitute obstacles to the organization and struggle of workers for political power, resulting in the abandonment of the revolutionary objective and the regression of socialism as a distant “horizon” or “ Utopia".

In the absence of a theoretical treatment of the relationship between the electoral struggle and the struggle for power, which considers the function of the State and its effects and limits on the workers' struggle, it is not possible to clarify the principles and general objectives that should guide the role of revolutionaries in elections and in the bourgeois parliament.

Since this gap exposes the labor and popular movement to the vices and deviations of bourgeois politics, which are spontaneously reproduced through the ideology spread by the State and by the very logic of functioning of the party system, we seek to systematize the theoretical and political criteria provided by Marxism, which should serve both to guide and evaluate tactics in the institutional field, including participation in elections and the performance of left-wing candidacies.

The illusion of the disputed state

The concept of the State is decisive for the definition of the political strategy, insofar as it informs the means of reproduction of the existing order and, therefore, the most adequate path for social change. The different conceptions that, on the right and on the left, understand the State through appearance or by crafts, as a representation of the common interest (liberalism), as a set of institutions structurally devoid of class content (reformism), or as institutions whose class content depends on the correlation of forces in a given conjuncture (Eurocommunism), these conceptions converge to a political strategy whose main objective is the occupation of the State apparatus and the management of the public machine. Since they do not problematize the social role of the State, which exists independently of the social composition of its bureaucratic body, these conceptions make it impossible to elaborate a strategy of structural change of political power, on which all deeper social transformations depend.

The social function of every state is the organization of class domination. (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa, Gramsci, Mao).[ii]

Every State is a class dictatorship, a special apparatus of repression[iii] which acts to guarantee the functioning conditions of the economy and to prevent the social revolution. Under capitalism, the state creates the conditions ideological for the exploitation of salaried work and for the disorganization of the exploited classes through bourgeois right and the norms that guide its bureaucratic organization, or bureaucratism. On the one hand, the legal equality established by law spreads individualism, which presents the exploitation of labor by capital as a free contract relationship between equal parties, preventing workers from spontaneously recognizing themselves as an exploited class. On the other hand, the bureaucratic organization based on the criteria of universality and meritocracy allows the State to present itself as a representative of society as a whole and not just of the exploiting class.[iv]

This ideology spread by the State ensures the general conditions for the reproduction of bourgeois domination, by masking the class struggle and frustrating the development of bonds of solidarity among workers. In this way, the class nature of the State does not reside in its direct instrumentalization by the bourgeoisie, in favor of corporate and immediate interests, but in its own structure and operating logic. The State is not an “empty glass” whose content depends on the social forces that occupy it: despite the presence of a worker in the presidency of the Republic or of communist militants within the bureaucratic apparatus, the fundamental mechanisms that ensure the reproduction of society in classes always remain intact.[v] In this sense, state power is a class power, not an independent and neutral power that is disputed, or partially disputed, every two years.

Workers cannot conquer political power and overcome capitalism without breaking with the juridical-political structure that guarantees their political disorganization and the exploitation of salaried work. Bourgeois law and bureaucratism constitute structural obstacles to a transition within the order and exclude the possibility of a parliamentary road to socialism. This juridical-political structure, which exists at any stage of capitalist development and independent of any national specificities, makes the bourgeois State necessarily shielded from the interests political workers, denying the possibility of questioning these fundamental assumptions. It is not by chance that the bourgeois State vetoes the participation of revolutionary organizations in the party system, preventing the presentation of a program that openly defends its destruction and the subordination of the bureaucracy to popular control for the socialization of the means of production, under penalty of forfeiture of the voter registration.[vi]

What, then, is really up for debate in elections and conflicts within the bureaucratic apparatus of the State?

Disputes within state institutions concentrate the economic struggles and claims of different classes and class fractions present on the political scene. Within the framework of the bourgeois State, where political power is not vested in the hands of the workers, class struggle only exists in the strict sense, while distributive conflict which plays a reforming role in the capitalist order.[vii] In general, what is at stake in elections and in conflicts within the state apparatus is the dispute between the dominant classes over the content of state policy, especially economic and foreign policy, which organize and reflect the hegemony within the power bloc.[viii] From the point of view of the working class and the popular masses, restricted to wage claims, protective measures and the expansion of rights, what is at issue is the content of social policy, which in turn indicates the configuration of popular support for the power bloc .[ix]

The Leninist distinction between the economic struggle and the political struggle is of fundamental importance for the revolutionary struggle, since it delimits the objectives and methods of struggle and organization necessary for the replacement of the social class in power.[X] While the economic struggle for salary, housing, social security, health, education, for the recognition and expansion of civil rights, etc., claims the authority of the State and is resolved in the field of bourgeois legality, through the action of the popular and trade union movement; the political struggle for power is resolvedout e against the State, with the destruction and replacement by new class institutions through the action of the revolutionary party. The dismantling of the repressive apparatus and the organization of the people in arms, the denial of the political rights of the exploiting classes and the development of mass democracy, the destruction of bureaucratism and the subordination of the bureaucracy to popular control, the change of the property regime and the control of the means of production by workers,[xi] these changes mark the dual powers and the rupture between the old and the new type of State, with the creation of institutions more suited to the power of the new dominant class.

The omission of this distinction by revisionist conceptions of Marxist theory of the state, such as the understanding of the state as material record of a correlation of forces which, once favorable to workers, can lead to a transition to socialism within liberal institutions,[xii] this omission leads to the abandonment of the political struggle and, consequently, reduces the workers' struggle to economism and reformism, relegating politics to the limits of possibilism, improvementism, pragmatism, tacticism and all sorts of deviations to the point of total domestication by the bourgeois policy. It is knowledge of this distinction that allows workers to develop an autonomous and consistent political line, without subordinating the struggle to the limits of bourgeois institutionality and without dispersing it in the sum of the corporative demands of the workers' and popular movement.[xiii]

Historical experience demonstrates that the revolution is necessarily illegal and violent, because it destroys existing institutions and faces the reaction of the exploiting class and its allies.

O bolivarianism, seen by many as a parliamentary path to socialism and as a transitional model for the 21st century, should be better understood in its objectives and class alliances, considering the specificity of the Venezuelan social formation as an enclave economy. From the point of view of its objectives, the Bolivarian Revolution corresponds to the democratic and popular stage of the bourgeois revolution in Venezuela. However, unlike worker-led bourgeois revolutions,[xiv] The Bolivarian Revolution was led from the start by a national state bourgeoisie, formed by the military bureaucracy that commands the distribution of oil income. Objectively, Bolivarianism is state capitalism,[xv] with broad popular support, which faces the opposition of the bourgeoisie associated with imperialism and which at the same time paves the way for the autonomous organization of the workers and for the creation of a dual power, through the communal state.[xvi]

In such a way, the Bolivarian Revolution does not exactly express the change of the social class in power and the destruction of the bourgeois State, but the change of power block and form of state. The 1999 Bolivarian Constitution is a form of bourgeois State, corresponding to Venezuelan State Capitalism, as it does not break with bureaucratism and with the law, and does not abolish the regime of private property and the political rights of the associated bourgeoisie. However, due to the alliance between the military bureaucracy and the popular masses, it is a form of State that expands political participation through referendums and plebiscites, establishes revocation mechanisms for elected positions, allows the autonomous organization of workers through councils and militias. people, and ensures social welfare measures for the vast majority of the people. It thus creates the conditions for the advancement of the workers' struggle for the leadership of the revolutionary process.

The currently secondary contradiction between the military bureaucracy and the popular masses within the Bolivarian revolution, due to the polarization of these social forces with the bourgeoisie associated with imperialism, may become the main contradiction if the workers advance in the struggle for state power.[xvii] In this case, the workers' struggle for control of oil income, for the destruction of bureaucratic norms and for the subordination of the bureaucracy to popular councils, for the dismantling of the repressive apparatus and its replacement by popular militias, this struggle will necessarily encounter the reaction of the state bureaucracy , imposing the problem of its destruction.

Bolivarianism is therefore not a parliamentary path to socialism. The existence of an anti-imperialist military bureaucracy constitutes the specificity of this process, allowing the democratic and popular revolution to be carried out without the need to destroy the bourgeois State. Without this caveat, the parliamentary route cannot be generalized as a model. Because in the absence of a social force capable of behaving like a national bourgeoisie in the political process, only the workers can assume the specific tasks of the democratic and popular revolution. In the Brazilian case, which does not have a national bourgeoisie or an anti-imperialist state bureaucracy, the democratic and popular revolution depends on the change of the social class in power, which again poses the problem of the destruction of the State apparatus and its replacement by new class institutions.

So what exactly is the relationship between the institutional struggle and the struggle for power?

The institutional struggle is a secondary fulcrum of the struggle for power., being always subordinated to the autonomous organization of the workers and their political education for the conquest of State power.

Knowledge of the bourgeois State and its effects and limits on the workers' struggle justifies the need for revolution. The structural changes that Brazilian workers and people need find the bourgeois State an obstacle. The political implication of this is that, instead of institutional centrality and the diversion of political and organizational efforts towards a “human management” of the public machine, “the central task of revolutionaries is to create a social force of the people capable of forging itself as an alternative to power and capable of directing the masses towards the revolutionary conquest of power. This is what we call the Popular Project".[xviii]

The revolutionary conquest of power presupposes the destruction of bourgeois institutions and the organization of a new type of State, with new institutions and organization of class power which, by progressively decentralizing administrative, legal and political functions in the autonomous organizations of workers, constitutes itself as a Endangered state.[xx]This mass democracy, which excludes the political interests of the exploiting class and which allows the broadest political freedom to revolutionary currents, dictatorship of the proletariat, constitutes the general political objective of the workers in their struggle against class domination and capitalist exploitation. This objective subordinates tactics and informs the general criteria for political evaluation, namely: raising the level of consciousness, organization and struggle of the masses.

Says Lenin, “The essence of the whole doctrine of Marx and Engels is the need to systematically inoculate the masses with this idea of ​​violent revolution. It is the omission of this propaganda, of this agitation, which marks the doctrinal betrayal of reformist tendencies most prominently..[xx] As we will see below, this statement is not a game of empty words and has practical implications, determining the objectives and ways of acting in this field.

The revolutionary parliamentarism

According to what we have exposed so far, in their structure and operating logic, bourgeois institutions exclude the possibility of a parliamentary path to socialism and induce the workers' struggle to economism and reformism, diverting the organization and political education of the masses from struggle for state power. In this sense, the institutional struggle is secondary not only because the revolutionary struggle has an illegal and violent outcome, but because the workers need to create their own organization of power, independent and autonomous in relation to the State, in order to carry out the revolution. The institutional struggle is only not in contradiction with the struggle for power if it is subordinate to the objectives set by the revolutionary struggle, such as friendly and not how end in itself. This definition distances us both from abstentionism, which rejects institutional struggle on principle, and from electoralism and parliamentary cretinism, which degrade political and ideological struggle to the objectives and limits imposed by bourgeois legality.[xxx]

For the revolutionaries, it is not a question of principle whether or not to participate in the elections. On certain occasions, of revolutionary ascent or of disputes that do not present advantages to be exploited by the workers, the active boycott of the elections may be the most adequate means for the transition from the economic struggle to the political struggle, or for the political education of the masses through denouncement and warning about the game of marked cards. On the other hand, the electoral and parliamentary struggle can be important for the conquest of workers who are away from political life. In such a way, the participation or not in the elections is not a question of free “choice”, but of objective analysis on the development of the class struggle, on the conditions of struggle and the level of conscience of the popular masses.

As a secondary support point of the struggle for state power, in a more or less prolonged process of accumulating forces, the institutional struggle has as its general objective agitation and revolutionary propaganda for the masses. Whether in situations of political stability or even a crisis of hegemony,[xxiii] revolutionary action seeks to use bourgeois institutions as a tribune for ideological struggle and for popular organization, boosting the mass movement. According to Lenin and Bukharin, "The Communist Party is not there to develop an organic activity, but to help the masses, from within Parliament, to destroy by their independent action the state apparatus of the bourgeoisie and Parliament itself".[xxiii]

Since the struggle for State power is not to be confused with the conquest of the administrative machinery and the expansion of parliamentary positions, “The electoral campaign must be conducted, not in the sense of obtaining the maximum number of parliamentary mandates, but in the sense of mobilizing of the masses under the slogans of the proletarian revolution”.[xxv]

In a protracted struggle, regardless of its stage of development and correlation of forces, bourgeois institutionality never constitutes the center of political action to which objectives and efforts must converge, subordinating grassroots work, political positioning, communication and methods of struggle and of organization. It is also inappropriate to claim that the institutional struggle is complementary to the revolutionary struggle, since their general objectives are ultimately incompatible (legitimation and destruction of the bourgeois state). The struggle for power necessarily imposes a hierarchy between the legal struggle and the illegal struggle, between the institutional struggle and the mass struggle, so that any complementarity between them is always contradictory, with one of the poles determining the others: while reformism subordinates political and organizational work to the specific objectives of the institutional struggle, Marxism-Leninism reverses this relationship and subordinates the institutional struggle to the general objectives of the mass struggle.[xxiv] The organization and political education of the masses for the destruction of the State apparatus differentiates revolutionary politics from institutionalism, republicanism and bourgeois conceptions and practices in general.

Revolutionary agitation and propaganda, however, do not mean an immediate and inconsequential call to insurrectionary struggle, which in the absence of the conditions that signal a revolutionary crisis would lead to demoralization before the masses.[xxv] Revolutionary agitation and propaganda in non-revolutionary situations serves the political and ideological preparation from the proletariat to the class struggle,[xxviii] as an instrument of denunciation of the powerful interests behind each concrete problem of the workers, of combating the ideological illusions spread by liberalism and bourgeois theories, of stirring up the strategic program and propaganda of socialism. This content has nothing to do with leftism or sectarianism, which do nothing to undo the ideological prejudices of the masses, or with maximalism and denial of the correlation of forces, which make it impossible to intervene in the situation. It is a starting point for revolutionary action in any field of class struggle, as a criterion for the elaboration of an independent policy.

Institutional struggle as an instrument of ideological struggle must take advantage of all existing opportunities to challenge the masses towards autonomous organization and to unmask the class struggle, towards the need for its own program and to change the social class in power. Revolutionary action in bourgeois institutions must seek to expose their limits and their class nature for workers, must denounce and not claim the ideological assumptions of the State and bourgeois politics (such as the uncritical exaltation of “democratic institutions”, of the legislature as the “house of the people” or “reenchantment with politics”).[xxviii] Ideological struggle is a consistent and realistic principle for an organization that seriously develops political work with the masses, which radically differs from the isolated phraseology of small groups. Mass organizations that give up an independent position to follow populist demagogues,[xxix] end up effectively placing themselves as supporters of careerist politicians, in the wake of neo-developmentalism or, at best, a middle-class and petty-bourgeois progressivism.

Taking these principles into account, revolutionary action in elections and in bourgeois institutions must seek to dialogue with the level of consciousness of the masses in order to win them over to the Popular Project, not to renounce the revolutionary program and adhere to the common sense of the dominant ideologies and the popular conservatism. The electoral and institutional struggle interests us to make the mass pedagogy starting from the concrete problems of the workers, presenting the limits of the political system and the bourgeois State, calling for popular organization and mass struggle as the path to true social change. No support, commitment or alliance can ever imply the renunciation of political and ideological independence, without which we would inevitably incur in followership and opportunism, sacrificing class interests in favor of momentary advantages, small concessions or social policies. Such is the elementary principle of a consistent and realistic revolutionary policy, which must be suitable and not substituted by the limits of the “possible” within a given correlation of forces.[xxx]

Political and ideological autonomy is even more important with regard to the political relationship with reformist and progressive currents.

Unlike adherence, critical support does not imply renouncing one's own program, as it presupposes freedom to criticize the political content of supported candidacies, taking into account the interests of workers. Furthermore, critical support includes demanding recognition as a separate party in electoral alliances,[xxxii] This problem is even more pertinent in the case of democratic affiliations for launching our candidacies, since revolutionaries must not give up the dispute for hegemony, even if they are a minority and have to make compromises and give support. Such conditions are indispensable to establish a clear line of demarcation between revolutionary politics and reformism, so as not to follow in the wake of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois policies within the popular movement. The flexibility of tactics and the breadth of the policy of alliances, in any concrete situation of the electoral and parliamentary struggle, must be subordinated to this principle.

Both in direct participation in bourgeois institutions and in critical support for progressive candidacies and governments, the main criterion for political positioning must be the improvement of the conditions of struggle, not exactly the improvement of the material living conditions of the workers, although often these improvements are coincident.[xxxi] From the point of view of revolutionary action, participation in governments and in the “administrative machinery”, in general, does not aim at “good governance”, but at promoting autonomous organization and the political struggle of workers. The organization of the public budget and of collection instruments, and the execution of administrative measures and social policies addressed to the interests of the popular masses, must impel them to the organization through popular councils, autonomous in relation to the State, contributing to the formation of a new organization of power capable of transferring the means of administration to the workers, functioning as the embryo of proletarian democracy and effective management of the masses.

The establishment of a new organization of class power, “a proletarian class apparatus, whatever it may be, for the purpose of governing and suppressing the resistance of the bourgeoisie, is to conquer political power".[xxxii] The general objective of revolutionary parliamentarism is the utilization of bourgeois institutions for the political education of the masses, for the autonomous organization of the workers and for the passage from the legal struggle to the open struggle for power. “The question of using the institutions of the bourgeois state cannot be raised except for the purpose of their destruction. It is in this sense, and only in this sense, that the question must be faced”.[xxxv]

Once the principles and general objectives of revolutionary action within bourgeois institutions have been defined, we can begin to outline the basic criteria of practical activity in this field, seeking to differentiate the methods of action and organization of bourgeois politics and revolutionary politics.

About the practical activity

To develop on this specific topic, we will proceed by contrasting revolutionary practice and bourgeois political practice, commonly associated with stardom, arrivism, careerism, groupism and party patriotism. Such elements are unfolding of the policy customization and bureaucratization, which constitute the general form of politics in capitalist society.

Personalism and the relationship between leader and mass, which replaces the independent organization of workers in their struggle for the redistribution of wealth, is at the same time a structural feature of capitalist society and a political practice of leaderships that act in the field of bourgeois institutions.[xxxiv] Personalism derives from the general structure of the capitalist mode of production, which individualizes the agents of production through the division and specialization of the work process and the legal equality promoted by bourgeois law. The ideology of individualism, which presents social relations as interpersonal relations and as demonstrations of individual personalities, hiding class relations and the materiality of economic relations,[xxxiv] induces narcissistic self-exposure and the construction of characters, reflecting politically on valuing the leader's intimacy and personal attributes to the detriment of the content of the action and the political program.[xxxviii]

On the other hand, bureaucratization also represents a structural characteristic of capitalist society and a political practice linked to action in bourgeois institutions. Bureaucratization stems from the norms of organization of the bourgeois State, the bureaucratism, which allows the State to present itself as the representation of the whole society, through the bourgeois ideology of nation. Adaptation to the norms of organization of the bourgeois State, such as the specialization of functions (directors, parliamentarians, technicians) and the professionalization of the staff (acquisition of knowledge, secrets and techniques), under the justification of the meritocratic criterion, produces effects on the form of party organization, leading to the concentration of decision-making power and the separation between the summit and the base.[xxxviii] In effect, bureaucratization induces internal authoritarianism and the autonomy of the ruling group in the instances of power, seen as an end in themselves, leading to the accommodation and enjoyment of privileges by the political leadership and the growing political apathy of the base militancy (reduced the condition of “affiliates” and electoral cables).

Unlike personalism and bureaucratization, which feed back and put internal democracy and mass organization at risk, revolutionary practice must be based on centrality of the political program and popular organization in relation to the individual. The political and ideological preparation for the class struggle is incompatible with the logic of saviors of the fatherland and with the spread of illusions about a supposed transforming role of the State, which serve as obstacles to convincing workers for the revolutionary struggle. The need to act in the institutional field to reach workers who are far from political life must not result in the assimilation of the bourgeoisie's methods of struggle and organization. Rather than reproducing the paternalistic fetish of the protective state, revolutionary practice must stir up the political project and popular organization; instead of increasing the delegation of power to the party leadership and parliamentarians, revolutionary practice must move toward incorporating the bases into the decision-making process and establishing control mechanisms over their representation.

For this, the critical spirit and the widest openness to the debate of ideas within the revolutionary organization must prevail, which cannot be reduced to formal freedom of expression in the communication vehicles and in their instances. Stimulating theoretical and political debate, in addition to criticism and self-criticism, are necessary for the development and rectification of the political line. The conquest of hegemony over the proletariat and the possibility of conducting a revolutionary process fundamentally depend on the capacity for ideological direction, which is impossible without the collective engagement provided by internal democracy and the broad participation of militants. In such a way, the confinement of information and political debates at the top of the party, and the silencing of divergences through the stigmatization and crushing of the minority, do not contribute to a broad democratic discussion and to the unity of action of the revolutionary organization.[xxxix]

Final considerations

Throughout this intervention, we defend the impossibility of a parliamentary path to socialism, institutional struggle as an instrument of agitation and propaganda, and the centrality of revolutionary practice in the political program and popular organization. The Marxist critique of electoralism and parliamentary cretinism constitutes only a starting point for a positive formulation on independent politics in bourgeois institutions, which must articulate political theory with the knowledge acquired through the experience of the workers' and popular movement in the daily struggle, especially in what concerns refers to methods of struggle and organization.

Finally, we seek to demarcate that in the electoral and parliamentary struggle “The conquest of political power remains our final objective and the final objective remains the soul of our struggle. (...) the movement as such, without relation to the final objective, is nothing, the final objective is everything!”.[xl]

* André Flores Penha Valle is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at Unicamp.

Modified version of the text On the electoral and parliamentary struggle, published in Debate Notebook, internal publication of Popular Consultation, n.8, 2020, pp.67-82.



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[I]    See: José Luís Fiori, The left in government (2020).

[ii]   This definition excludes Stalin and the notion of “State of all the people”, present in the conception of State socialism (or “Socialist State”). See: Stalin, On the draft of the Constitution of the USSR (1936); Charles Bettelheim and Bernard Chavance, Stalinism as an ideology of state capitalism (1979); and Angela Lazagna, Lenin and the actuality of the principle of dictatorship of the proletariat (2017)

[iii]  See: Lenin, The State and the Revolution (1917).

[iv]  See: Nicos Poulantzas, Political Power and Social Classes (1968) and Décio Saes, Democracy (1987) e State and democracy: theoretical essays (1998).

[v]    See: Rosa Luxemburg, The Dreyfus Affair and the Millerand Affair (1899).

[vi]  See: Article 243 of the Electoral Code and Décio Saes, Marxism and Democracy (2020).

[vii] See: Danilo Martuscelli, Ruling classes, politics and contemporary capitalism(2018).

[viii] Bloc in power is the contradictory unity of bourgeois fractions in their relationship with the State. At the same time that the State ensures the general political interests of the bourgeoisie, through law and bureaucratism, it concentrates the dispute between its different fractions around the content of economic, foreign and social policies, establishing a certain hierarchy of interests in its decision-making process. See: Nicos Poulantzas, Political Power and Social Classes (1968) and Francisco Farias, Bourgeois fractions and power bloc: a reflection based on the work of Nicos Poulantzas (2009).

[ix]  See: Octávio Del Passo, The development of the Poulantzian concept of hegemony (2019).

[X]    See: Lenin, What to do? (1902) e Resolution on the role of the Communist Party in the proletarian revolution (1920).

[xi]  See: Angela Lazagna, Lenin and the actuality of the principle of dictatorship of the proletariat (2017) and Décio Saes, Revolution Today? (1986) e The superiority of socialist democracy (1992).

[xii] This conception, existing in a practical state in some European Communist Parties during the 1970s and 1980s, was further developed in the last work of the Greek Marxist Nicos Poulantzas, The State, Power and Socialism (1978) and, later, by the English Marxist Bob Jessop, see: The Capitalist State: Marxist Theories and Methods (1982) e State Theory: Putting the Capitalist State in Its Place (1990). Rooted in this conception are the notions of “revolutionary-reformism” and the non-Leninist notion of “struggle within the order and outside the order”, whose final objective is not the destruction of the bourgeois State, but the gradual and seamless change in the content of their institutions.

[xiii] Another diversionist conception is that of the socially diffuse and institutionally dispersed power, by Michel Foucault, who understands power as a constant and variable flow of exchange of positions, not having, properly, dominant and dominated. To see: The Meshes of Power (1982). According to Armando Boito, the focus on individual relationships and behavior, excluding the State and the class struggle, leads to a dispersion of struggles and a certain “generic anti-authoritarianism”, incompatible with the strategy of struggle for power. To see: The capitalist state at the center: critique of Michel Foucault's concept of power (2007).

[xiv] On the concept of uninterrupted revolution by stages, see: Lenin, Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution (1905); Antonio Gramsci, Two Revolutions (1920); and Duarte Pereira, Stages and stageism (2011).

[xv]  On the concepts of state bourgeoisie and state capitalism, see: Antonio Mutti and Paolo Segatti, The State Bourgeoisie (1979); and Helena Hirata, State capitalism, state bourgeoisie and technobureaucratic mode of production (1980).

[xvi] On Bolivarianism as state capitalism, see: Décio Saes, Latin American political models in the new phase of dependency (2007). On the experiences of popular councils that constitute the Communal State, see: Jair Pinheiro, The struggle for socialism within the Bolivarian revolution (2014).

[xvii]     On the concept of primary and secondary contradiction, see: Mao Zedong, On Contradiction (1937) and Louis Althusser, Contradiction and Overdetermination (1962).

[xviii]    See: Booklet 21. Resolutions of the IV National Assembly of Popular Consultation, 2011. p.50.

[xx] About the thesis of endangered state, see: Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884)and VI Lenin, The State and the Revolution (1917).

[xx]  The State and the Revolution, p.41. Replacement of “social-chauvinists and Kautskyists” by “reformists”.

[xxx] These two symmetrical and opposite deviations were opposed by Lenin in Leftism, Childhood Disease of Communism (1920) e Theses on the Parliamentary Question (1920), the latter written with Bukharin as a resolution for the second congress of the Communist International.

[xxiii]     We are not referring to revolutionary crisis, but to the specific type of crisis that marks the inability of a bourgeois fraction to exercise the direction of state policy, which can be resolved by Bonapartism or by reorganizing the hierarchy of power between the dominant classes, through a change of government or political regime. The revolutionary crisis, in turn, involves the hegemonic incapacity of the dominant classes and the rise of the mass movement, which presents itself as an alternative power through the destruction of the State apparatus. See: Danilo Martuscelli, Ruling classes, politics and contemporary capitalism (2018).

[xxiii]    View: Theses on the Parliamentary Question (1920).

[xxv]     Ibid.

[xxiv]      See: Lenin, Resolution on the role of the Communist Party in the proletarian revolution (1920).

[xxv]     See: Antonio Gramsci, Electoralism (1919).

[xxviii]   See: Antonio Gramsci and Palmiro Togliatti, The situation in Italy and the tasks of the Italian Communist Party (PCI): Theses of Lyon (1926).

[xxviii]  “We are in favor of the democratic republic as the best form of government for the proletariat under capitalism, but we would be wrong if we forgot that wage slavery is the lot of the people even in the most democratic bourgeois republic.”. In: Lenin, The State and the Revolution (1917), p.39.

[xxix]     See: Marta Harnecker, Making yourself available to popular movements, not supplanting them (2003).

[xxx]      See: Rosa Luxemberg, Opportunism and the Art of the Possible (1898b).

[xxxii]     See: Friedrich Engels, Letter to Paul Lafargue (1893).

[xxxi]   The economic gains of workers are not always accompanied by the expansion of political rights. In some cases, on the contrary, the fulfillment of economic interests can be accompanied by the restriction of democratic freedoms, as was the case with original fascism and some military dictatorships in the 20th century.

[xxxii]  Lenin and Bukharin. Op. cit.

[xxxv]   Ibid.

[xxxiv]    See: Décio Saes, Republic of Capital: Capitalism and the Political Process in Brazil (2001).

[xxxiv]   See: Goran Therborn, The ideological formation of human subjects (1996).

[xxxviii] Décio Saes, op.cit.

[xxxviii] See: Francisco Farias, Working class and left-wing politics (2017).

[xxxix]   See: Martha Harnecker, Is it necessary to reject bureaucratic centralism and practice only consensus? (2003).

[xl]  Rosa Luxemburg, 1898a. op.cit.

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