- Socialism of the 21st century
Socialism of the 21st century is a political term and a
slogancoined by Heinz Dieterichin 1996. It was used by Hugo Chavezduring a speech at the World Social Forumof 2005and it has been publicised actively by Heinz Dieterichworldwide since 2000, especially in Latin America. [ [http://www.kaosenlared.net/noticia.php?id_noticia=28818 Entrevista a Heinz Dieterich] ]
Dieterich is considered the (informal) advisor of the bolivarian development process, executed by Venezuelan president
Hugo Chávez. According to Dieterich, neither “industrial capitalism” nor “ real socialism” have managed “to solve the urgent problems of humanity, like poverty, hunger, exploitation, economic oppression, sexism, racism, the destruction of natural resources, and the absence of a really participative democracy.” Heinz Dieterich: [http://www.puk.de/puk/article.php?sid=726 "„Der Sozialismus des 21. Jahrhunderts – Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft und Demokratie nach dem globalen Kapitalismus“", Einleitung] ]
According to Dieterich Steffan, the necessity for
capital accumulation, Fordism, the world market, competition(among other things), which characterise capitalism, “as well as the undemocratically vertical party, society, and state structures" (among other things), which characterise real socialism, have contributed to "mercilessly narrow the degree of freedom in the development of both systems, against the will of their protagonists”.
In broad terms, the current age has stood under two “global historical omens”: “The exhaustion of social projects of the
bourgeoisieand of the historical proletariat". This has led to a "transition from a bourgeois civilisation to a post-capitalist world society: universal liberal democracy.”
However, none of these large scale social projects have been successful in ending
povertyand securing a global sustainable development.
To remedy these failiures, Dieterich suggests the “construction of four basic institutions within the new reality of post-capitalist civilisation, namely:
Equivalence economy, which should be based on Marxian labour theory of valueand which is democratically determined by those who directly create value, instead of market-economical principles;
# Majority democracy, which makes use of
plebiscites to decide upon important questions that concern the whole society;
Basic democracy, based on democratic state institutions as legitimate representantives of the common interests of the majority of citizens, with a suitable protection of minority rights; and
# The critical and responsible subject, the rationally, ethically and aesthetically self-determined
These institutions of the
New Historical Projectrest upon the fundamental pilars of participative democracy, regional cooperation (by forming "regional blocks of popular power") and worker rights.
According to Dieterich, the existing society should be replaced by a “qualitatively different system". “The program of the Socialism of the 21st Century is necessarily a
revolutionary one.” This revolution, however, should be a gradual process, which does not employ violence and that is sensible to the fact that the institutions we have now are the result of thousands of years of trial and error. Because of this, they cannot be changed from dusk till dawn, as the experiences of real socialismhave shown us. According to Dieterich, human beings are not rats in a laboratory. Every large scale social revolution that wants to be successful, has to be the result of well informed persuasion about the benefits of a project, rather than imposition through state force and repression. This revolution will result from participative democracy to secure power, education, scientific knowledge about society and international cooperation.
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