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A Theory of Council Democracy

  • Yohan Dubigeon
Chapter
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)

Abstract

This chapter identifies three constitutive levels of a theoretical model of council democracy. It first addresses the political dimension of the organisation of the councils as they arose in Germany and Russia, partially influenced by the Paris Commune. Given the political principles it introduced and their relation to representation, the German Revolution raises the issue of the strategic reasons for the collapse of council power at each time they arose. The chapter contends that the tension between a destructive strategic dimension and a constructive democratic dimension was successively embodied in a fetishism of the form (Paris Commune), instrumentalisation (Russian Soviets) and institutionalisation (German Councils), revealing the underlying question of the temporality of democracy. Finally, the legacy of the councils of the German Revolution raises the issue of organisation and the shifting articulation between substitutionism and spontaneity in the relation between a revolutionary movement and its political organisations.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yohan Dubigeon
    • 1
  1. 1.IEP (Sciences Po) ParisParisFrance

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