Capitalism and the state

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12. Capitalism and the state

Poverty is created by the capitalist system of production as a precondition for its survival. Without poverty , it would not be possible to force people into wage slavery .Side-by-side with such poverty comes oppression, as capitalism creates a state apparatus to enforce its will against those who protest that poverty is not a natural condition of life.

The state is therefore an organ of class rule, securing the conditions for the exploitation of the working class. Marx’s understanding of the state underwent a great development as a result of the 1871 Paris Commune when he argued that the working class could not lay its hands on the ready- made state apparatus and wield it in its own interests: rather it needs to be smashed, broken up. Lenin built on this in his pamphlet State and Revolution, written just prior to the October Revolution, arguing that the working class’s first act in establishing socialism will be the destruction of bourgeois state power and the forcible suppression of the capitalist class. He explained this further in his wonderful polemic against Karl Kautsky, leader of the left social democrats in 1918.

Reading:

Lenin: The state and revolution

Lenin: The proletarian revolution and the renegade Kautsky

RCG: 1983 Manifesto of the Revolutionary Communist Group - Part 4

FRFI 207: Licence to kill: Landmarks in the development of police powers to kill and get away with it

FRFI 202: Sus laws are back

FRFI 200: Terrorising communities

FRFI 188: Terrorism Bill: another step towards a police state

FRFI 135: State repression

Supplementary reading

FRFI 138: State repression

FRFI 123: The enemy within: MI5 and the miners’ strike

FRFI 121: Policing the crisis

FRFI 116: The state and revolution

Communism and Anarchism - Part I by Eddie Abrahams, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 122

Communism and Anarchism Part II by Eddie Abrahams, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 123