And what, exactly, is “democratic centralism” I hear you ask?
It is the form of organization pioneered by Lenin and the Bolsheviks and adopted by all communist and Trotskyist organizations ever since.
In this model the political party is not about elections or representation in parliament, although they do that, but about creating a vanguard elite ready to seize power on behalf of the “the masses” when “the time comes”.
Typically a ‘democratic centralist’ party selects its members, who have to go through some sort of probationary period during which they are indoctrinated with the party’s values, ideology and methods before becoming full members.
Once members, individuals get to vote either directly or through delegates on party policy and direction. Often communist and Trotskyist parties have been divided internally into ‘factions’ supporting a particular platform or direction which is presented to the membership. A supposedly free discussion follows before a decision is reached – usually at some sort of congress. That’s the ‘democratic’ bit. Continue reading