As a device, democracy is instrumental in maintaining political validity. As democracy within the party exists in a political organization, its general principle is reflected in the party’s organization and life. Such democratic pattern gets acclimatized to the historical trend politically and democratically. At the same time, it is distinct from multi-party democracy in the west, with the fundamental aim of safeguarding，intensifying and adhering to the party’s leadership.
Based on critical analysis of the concept of democracy in western countries, this paper makes an analysis and discussion of the connotation and approach to realizing inner-party democracy by applying the fundamentals of politics and combining special characteristics of our inner-party democracy and specific realities of our country.
First, Part I in this paper examines and defines the basic connotation of democracy within the party. As a category related to freedom and equality, democracy is an institution by which the majority make a decision. Inner-party democracy indicates that, depending on party constitution and other provisions related, a party member has a voice in participation, resolution and management in party affairs according to relating democratic procedure and form. As the key to democratization in national political life, democracy within the party has great significance for maintaining party’s solidarity and unity and national political authority, which has to stick to the following six main principles: integration of equality, collective leadership and division of labor with individual responsibility, every member inside the party having the right to criticism, the majority making a decision about party affairs, and all levels of party leading institution coming into being by election and democracy supervision.
Second, Part II in this paper gives an overview of the historical development of Marxist inner-party democracy theory. The theory of establishing-party by Marx and Engels includes very explicit inner-party democratic ideology, and which is regarded as the advantages of working class party. In the process of leading the revolution in Russia, Lenin made many brilliant expositions about the issue of inner-party democracy and enriched it on the basis of inheriting the theory of inner-party democracy by Marx and Engels, for which Chinese communists also carried out a further quest, party leaders such as Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping etc, made their respective contributions to the development of the theory during different stages of Chinese revolution and construction, and finally there emerged a recognition that it is a necessary connection between developing inner-party democracy and fundamental realities of China.
Lastly, Part III in this paper makes an analysis of putting inner-party democracy into practice and considers that, during the long period of planned economy, for individual party member, the governing party’s taking on everything has put an end to their responsibility and qualification as a principal part, as a result, inner-party democracy in the true sense has been weakened. Although a lot of systems have been established for inner-party democracy, there still exist many problems in actual practice. For inner-party democracy, democratic centralism finds its fulfillment in: a. taking precautions against oligarchy; b. conscientiously safeguarding legitimate rights of every party member. Guaranteeing inner-party democracy system from the procedural justice, thus we can reach the very conclusion that the procedural justice of democratic centralism bears great significance in bringing about inner-party democracy. Only by deeming democratic centralism as a kind of mechanism legitimatized politically can we really develop inner-party democracy and further boost social democracy.