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As Karl Bürkli, a fervent democrat and trade union leader, wrote in 1869:

Our law-makers, elected by the people, are incapable of making good laws for the working class, even if they make excellent laws for the bourgeois class. Why? Because the representative bodies, in their majority, consist of capitalists and their servants who are hostile to social progress. Just as slave-holders are incapable of making laws in the interests of slaves, capitalist-representatives are incapable of making laws in the interest of workers. Representative democracy is not a form of government able to improve the living conditions of the working class and to resolve social problems. (Own translation)

But unlike Karl Marx, who 20 years previously had called for a revolutionary class struggle against the ‘bourgeois’ state, Bürkli put all his hopes in direct democracy as law-making by the people. If direct democracy is realised, he wrote, ‘the people will find the right way to social freedom, because they feel themselves its daily sorrows and the need for change’.

I wonder what does "its" refer in this context. I think that this can be two things:

  1. The absesnse of direct democracy
  2. the absense of social freedom.

Which variant is true?

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    The quotation appears to be only part of a sentence, and it isn't clear what 'its' originally referred to. Presumably it was their life. Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 10:45

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But unlike Karl Marx, who 20 years previously had called for a revolutionary class struggle against the ‘bourgeois’ state, Bürkli put all his hopes in direct democracy as law-making by the people. If direct democracy is realised, he wrote, ‘the people will find the right way to social freedom, because they feel themselves its daily sorrows and the need for change’.

It is reasonable that you derive what "it" is referring as "The absence of direct democracy" and "the absence of social freedom," as both of them appear in the sentence containing "its."

However, what "its" really refers to is "bourgeois state."

The comparison that the author makes in this paragraph is that Bürkli doesn't think that "a revolutionary class struggle against the ‘bourgeois’ state" is the proper way of social freedom, as is proposed by Karl Marx, but for the people to feel the 'bourgeois' state's sorrows and need of change as direct participants of the democracy instead of dummies of the alleged representative bodies.

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    I don't think you're wrong (and honestly this requires a bit of background in political economy and leftist philosophy) but I think the implication here is that the people already feel the daily sorrows of living under the bourgeois state. And by giving them the power to change its laws (via direct democracy) they'll reconfigure the state in a more socially just way, because the power will be in the hands of the working class, instead of those who exploit the working class. Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 14:05

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