We could all live well and look forward to a secure and peaceful future if we overthrow the dictatorship of the capitalist class globally and establish a worldwide federation of socialist workers' and peasants' republics. The misery, in which capitalism drives humanity, is neither God-given nor inevitable. Mankind has an alternative and this alternative is simply that humanity takes her fate into her own hands. A small minority must not, as the ruling class does, suppress and exploit the large majority. We say enough with any form of class rule - elimination of all forms of exploitation and oppression. Instead managing of all aspects of the society by the society itself, is what is required – and without a detached, ruling over the heads of society, state apparatus. That and nothing else means communism.
This goal can of course not be realised overnight. The burden imposed on mankind by thousands of years of class society is too large. But the global construction of socialism for the 21st Century can bring humanity closer to this goal and create tremendous improvements in the lives of the great majority quickly and promptly.
In socialism of the 21st Century, the decisions are taken by the broad majority of the working population from the bottom upwards. The working class, peasants and the urban poor (including those who are still in training or already retired) will discuss in their councils - regular meetings at work and schools, in the districts - the main local and general issues of society and elect delegates according to their decisions, which are required to implement these decisions. These delegates are accountable for their decisions (i.e. they will therefore have to answer for their deeds). In addition, they can be voted out at any time and receive an average salary of skilled workers. This principle of council democracy and of recallable delegates applies to all levels of society: the local councils elect delegates who in turn select the regional and national representatives and, finally, the peoples will internationally decide in this way the global issues.
Those decisions, which have only local significance, are taken locally. Decisions of general importance for society, which also require the use of large resources, should be taken at the appropriate place - in the regional, national or international council structures.
In socialism of the 21st Century the small peasants and traders will not be forcibly dispossessed as it was the case under the rule of the Stalinist bureaucracy. Of course we want a socially beneficial use of resources. For this a broad social division of labour and the production in larger units are essential to overcome the fragmented small property (ownership and labouring of a small piece of land for himself and his family alone instead of all). But the farmers and business people should be convinced of the benefits and should not be forced to adhere to this principle. Our principle is: voluntary collectivisation instead of forced dispossession.
Socialism of the 21st Century is therefore profoundly alien to the rule or even the existence of an aloof bureaucrat caste – as it was in the USSR, Eastern Europe, China, Southeast Asia and Cuba. Never again must the concept of socialism and communism be discredited by the dictatorship of a bureaucracy – an aloof, privileged layer – against the working class. The socialism of the 21st Century will therefore not be a one-party state. Nor has the socialism of the 21st Century anything in common with a Bonapartist regime led by a caudillio ("leader") – which may be combined with a bourgeois parliament – as it currently exists in Venezuela under Chavez.
In socialism of the 21st Century humanity does not serve the economy, but conversely, the economy serves the needs of humanity. This is only possible in the context of a democratic planned economy. The means of production are not in private ownership, but under social ownership. They are not managed by detached state bureaucrats. Nor is the economy fragmented among many small cooperatives and self-employed who are in permanent competition with each other – instead of collaborating together – and wasting in this way the economic resources. Under socialism, no mass of fruit and vegetables will be destroyed and no coffee dumped into the sea, to uphold the price. The completely unnecessary spending on advertising – for example, annually in the U.S. 2-2.5% of total gross domestic product which is spent for this purpose – will disappear with a stroke and replaced by useful, objective information for consumers through social institutions, which require far less resources and are thereby more effective.
Instead, we the producers as workers and peasants control in the factories and the countryside will control the production. In the councils the social needs will be recorded, the priorities set and with the help of experts and taking into account the technical possibilities of a detailed economic plan will be drawn up and implemented.
Such national and international planning of the economy is no illusion at all. In the era of computers and the Internet this is no problem. In fact, all corporations are already working on the basis of national and international plans and coordinate global production units with up to several hundreds of thousands of employees. Why should a plan for profit be possible, but not for the purpose of social need and satisfaction?! If a few hundred multinational capitalist corporations can control the world economy, then why should the international planning of the economy, after conversion of these corporations into public ownership, suddenly no longer be possible?
Under such socialism of the 21st Century we could eliminate at a stroke the problem of hunger and poverty. Millions of people starve not because the Earth's natural resources are insufficient for 7 billion people. According to the UN representative Jean Ziegler, we have resources to feed 12 billion people easily. Yes, but only if they are not subordinated to the interests of profits and wasted and destroyed for no reason!
The revolution continues even in the period of the development of a socialist society. We have to reduce and overcome age-old prejudices and traditional forms of social oppression. Such a cultural revolution is a vital tool to end once and for all the discrimination and oppression of women, national minorities, youth, sexual minorities etc.
Socialism can only exist internationally. If the revolution remains isolated in a country or a few countries, it must sooner or later inevitably degenerate and collapse. The productive forces are already developed to such an extent that they can only grow by international exchange and the international division of labour. Moreover, the capitalist ruling class will defend their power and privileges by all means. If we succeed to overthrow them in one country, they will internationally attack the victorious revolution. Ultimately, the fate of socialism is decided in the worldwide civil war of the proletariat and its allies against the international capitalist class.
Socialism cannot be achieved gradually, not peacefully and not through the achievement of a socialist majority in parliament because capitalism is nothing but a dictatorship of the capitalist class – open or hidden behind a parliament. Never in history has the exploiting class given up their power voluntarily. Only the resolute armed struggle for power secures the victory of the revolution. Who does not consistently lead the revolution to the end shall be punished by the counter-revolution, and thus with more oppression. Bolshevik-Communists, therefore, do not conceal the necessary steps to resolve the question of power. They openly say that the question of power can be resolved only through a violent socialist revolution. Revolution means armed uprising and civil war of the organised working class, led by a revolutionary party. Revolution is the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat – the leadership of the society under control of the exploited. For it is only under such a state form, the masses can be liberated from the yoke of capitalist domination, the economy can be planned in the interests of society, the class enemies who are fighting against the majority can be oppressed and the revolution can be spread internationally.
Under the term "dictatorship of the proletariat" we Marxists understand the rule of the working class (proletariat), based on the exploited masses, as the majority of society over the minority of the overthrown and expropriated capitalists. The dictatorship of capital – this is the dictatorship of a minority over the world, the majority of the people, this is the rule of the invisible hand of money. The dictatorship of the proletariat on the other hand is the open, transparent and controllable rule of the exploited over the former exploiters.
We speak of a "dictatorship" because the transformation from the bourgeois class society to a classless, communist society is inevitably met by the determined opposition of the former class of exploiters and their accomplices, and the imperialist powers. This counter-revolutionary resistance must - for the sake of the liberation of humanity - be suppressed with all available political, military and ideological means. It is a "dictatorship" of the majority of society, which operates in the interest of mankind and therefore represents the opposite of today's dictatorships, which are the institutions of the capitalist class to oppress the majority.
Rather, the dictatorship of the proletariat suppresses all those forces which fight against a society of prosperity for all. It suppresses all those forces who want to recreate the old order which meant plenty for a small group, and misery and death for billions of people. It, therefore, suppressed today's exploiters and their henchmen who don’t want to bow to the wishes of the masses for peace and prosperity, but who want to continue to exploit. Similarly, the desire of a mass murderer to kill must be suppressed in the interest of humanity, so the "capitalist" desire which drives humanity into its destruction will have to be suppressed. The dictatorship of the proletariat, which in reality is more democratic than any capitalist form of government, must be understood in this perspective.