As Democratic Centralism the organizational and management principle is referred to, which was developed by Lenin for the Communist parties, and thus became the basis of the rule systems of the socialist states. Main point of the Democratic centralism is the hierarchical- centralized structure of the state and party.
Due to the strong discipline of subordinate bodies, which were strictly bound by decisions of higher bodies, the Democratic centralism has developed into an autocratic system.
Democratic centralism, Lenin
The Leninist party building was published in the " One Step Forward, Two Steps Back " (1904 ) further clarified. It writes Lenin, the structure of the party was bureaucratic in some way, since it was built virtually from top to bottom.
This kind of centralism is therefore referred to as democratic because the higher bodies of a party of lower bodies are selected and these are accountable and therefore a wide choice of the entire party membership represent, while lower panels represent only a portion of the members. By all times dial-up, and voting abuse of power is to be prevented.
This control was, however, affected by other principles: indeed acknowledged Lenin the individual the freedom to criticize, but were factionalism banned, what the ruling party leadership in discussions an advantage over any opposition gave and finally to select the candidates to be elected by the party leadership led.
In Germany in 1919 led, among other things, the discussion about the Democratic centralism in cleavage of the KPD and establishing the KAP and the development of council communism.
Under Lenin's participation of the Communist International in 1920 the Democratic centralism was on the second congress adopted as an organizing principle and thus binding on all Communist parties.
Democratic centralism under Stalin
Under Josef Stalin, there was a significant worsening of the conceptions of Lenin, both politically and practically. He changed the Democratic centralism to the extent in which he restated that were " six characteristics of the party" more than three decades in the center of the political doctrine of communism. According to this new theory is the party:
And as a 6 point eventually the fight against opportunism is then also determined by timely "party purges ".
Furthermore, the party members had to bow to the decisions of the governing bodies protest and carry them also. A deviation from this general line of the Party was declared as a state crime and condemns in the strongest.
This new concept was explained to all other Communist parties as binding.
Democratic centralism in the GDR
In the GDR, was understood as democratic centralism, the organizational form of the mass organizations and the state in conscious agitatorischem contrast to the leadership principle and bourgeois democracy. As the following principles have been described:
- Selectability of the lines from the bottom upwards
- Selection of eligible candidates through the line
- Accountability and deductibility of all executive bodies
- Constant monitoring of these governing bodies by the voters
- Authority over minor compared to subsidiary bodies
- Participation of all in solving all basic tasks
In practice, the authority of the respective upper instance was the decisive element. The default top-down decisions about content and people were authentic. The selectability of the lines was only on the paper. " Elected" were given by top candidates in open voting. Realized was not democratic but only the centralist element.
While the basic organization (lowest level either companies, schools, or demarcated territories ), Circle, District and Central were understood as levels. Selected lines were complemented by full-time employees such as instructors. Together with the squad work, targeted persons were launched for lines through which democratic forms were eroded to insignificance. One object of these forms was granted in the context of the turn.
The principle of " democratic centralism " was regulated for the SED in the Party Rules:
" The organizational structure of the party is based on the principle of democratic centralism. This principle means that: a) all party organs are elected democratically from top to bottom ... c ) that all decisions of higher Party organs are binding on the subordinate bodies, is to practice strict party discipline and the minority, and the individual is the decisions of the majority disciplined subordinates. "
Accordingly, a violation of the requirements submitted by the top was a reason for party planning procedure.
" Anyone who violates the unity and purity of the party does not fulfill its decisions, the party and state discipline is injured ... to account. "
In the GDR, like other socialist countries the enforcement of compliance with the party discipline on the principle of democratic centralism was a constitutive element of the party dictatorship.