Quora Answer : Did Karl Marx believe in true democracy?
Marx was writing in the mid 19th century.
The crucial thing to remember was that in the 19th century, most people didn't have a vote.
Women didn't have a vote. Men who weren't property owners didn't have a vote. In America, black people didn't get a vote until the 15th amendment in 1870. And, in practice, often didn't get to vote until 1965.
Basically voting was for rich (male) landowners, some farmers, and a few upper middle class people who'd made money in trade and could buy a fancy town-house.
In the democracies known from history, like Athens, only a small percentage of people had the vote too. And the lesson from classical history was that the Roman Republic had collapsed into a dictatorship.
In fact, the only place Marx would have seen anything like a "real democracy" ie. somewhere where everyone had a say in how things were run was the Paris Commune.
Given that historical reality, it was natural for Marx to assume that something like Democracy could only arise in a revolutionary situation.
Marx believed that economic relations dominated political ones. And the only way to achieve a society that gave everyone an equal say in how things were run, was one which eliminated economic inequality. "Democracy" would have to come after a revolution had overthrown existing power and property structures.