Roland Boer – Marx on the State, Proletarian Dictatorship and the Commune

Roland Boer – Marx on the State, Proletarian Dictatorship and the Commune

This engagement with Marx is part of a much longer study of what happens to the state under socialism in power. Initially, I did not give so much attention to Marx’s observations on the state, for I had been told that Marx does not have a systematic theory of the state. To some extent this is true, especially if one focuses on the forms of the bourgeois (capitalist) or even absolutist state. However, once I began to examine what Marx did say about states, I found much more than might be expected – especially concerning what may be the form of the state after a communist revolution. At the same time, I found very few adequate treatments of this material, treatments that engage carefully with Marx’s texts. Why? A major reason is that so many Marxist attempts focus on the bourgeois or capitalist state, neglecting to a large extent what might follow this state form. Obviously, this is a retreat from Marx’s texts, for various reasons (I have a sense as to why but will not elaborate here). So I undertake in what follows a relatively simple task: identifying Marx’s key points concerning the state, based on careful analyses of the texts. In presenting this material, I exercise a strict self-discipline: as far as possible, I avoid reading later positions (Lenin, Stalin and so on) back into earlier ones. [continues here]

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