If your appeal to authority is Zeff, then you're off your rocker.
Again, their experience is not relevant to the definition of socialism. You don't define economic systems by asking joe schmo how he feels about it. That gives you their assumption and not the literal definition of the thing that makes them feel that way. That person is angry about authoritarianism, not socialism as it never existed there.
Re: your link (which I read when it came out), we're not talking about SocDems vs Socialists. As it relates to this thread directly, Marx thought democracy was pretty rad, though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_in_Marxism (I'll repeat here that the efficacy of the theory is not our focus)
As I've previously mentioned, you won't be able to form a union without democracy. The union is the first step to gaining control of the workplace over the company owners.