Marxist FAQ: Dictatorship of the Proletariat

by aytekinkaankurtul

Marximus Talks

There has been much confusion among non-Marxists when the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat” is mentioned. Most people believe that this means dictatorship in the modern sense of an oppressive system led from the top down by one leader or a small group of leaders and they point to the use of the word “dictatorship” as proof. However I am here to clear up that confusion. The phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat” was coined at a time before the rise of the modern dictatorship and as such has lost the contextual meaning that the phrase meant when the phrase was coined in the 19th century. When the phrase began to be used “dictatorship” meant absolute leadership. Thus the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat” meant the absolute leadership of the proletariat. In practice however I think that the modern equivalent phrase should be “proletarian democracy” and I will use that phrase…

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