In this excellent talk, Comrade Joti, editor of Proletarian, gives a concise and illuminating explanation of the origin of the family, private property, classes and the state: watch, and look on the world with new understanding!
Made to a CPGB-ML study school in 2013, this presentation can be considered an introduction to and overview of the Marxist teaching on the state, drawing in particular upon Friedrich Engels‘ unequalled work The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.
Engels drew heavily upon the work of pioneering anthropologist Louis H Morgan among the native American peoples – in particular the Iroquois tribes – in the mid-19th century; but also upon his own profound and immensely broad knowledge of European and world classical, medieaval and modern history.
The state, he concluded, has not always existed. Societies without police have existed and will exist again. The state is an organised system of force, of coercion used by one class against another.
Its existence is a recognition that the antagonisms between the exploiting and exploited classes in society are irreconcilable; that their interests are diametrically opposed. Moreover, it is an instrument in the hands of the ruling minority wielded against the oppressed minority during all stages of civilised society, up to and including the capitalist stage.
Only with socialism is it possible for the majority to rule over the former oppressing minority. Their state – the workers’ state – is for the first time an instrument of the majority’s will. It is, in essence, the masses of the people: armed, organised, assembled, educated and politically empowered. This changes the character of the state fundamentally, and in a truly ‘democratic’ way; and the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ thus puts real power in the hands of the people.
The socialist ‘state’, then, really ceases to be a state as we have understood it in exploiting societies. The state then begins to wither away as the transition to communism is made – a better world is possible.
Further presentations from this superb series include Harpal Brar on The State and Revolution and Ella Rule’s pamphlet A Class Analysis of Britain at the Start of the 21st Century.