The state is not at all neutral. We must understand the state’s real basis by treating it historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall.

The state is not at all neutral. We must understand the state’s real basis by treating it historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall.

Introduction

Political turmoil is revealing the capitalist system's most intimate and secret inner workings. All the instruments that have been designed and perfected over centuries to impose and preserve the rule of a tiny minority of outrageously wealthy capitalists over the vast majority are being laid bare.

The main tool for achieving this is the state, which can be simply defined as “armed bodies of men” employed in the defence of the property relations of the ruling class. This includes both repressive bodies like the army and police, but also the courts and judiciary.

Revolution is back on the agenda on a world scale. We are witnessing the radicalisation of the class struggle and the first attempts by the youth and the working class to shake off oppressive rule. In this context, a correct understanding of the state is of vital importance. Millions of people are beginning to understand through their own experience that the capitalist state and its repressive forces stand in the way of any attempt to challenge the dominant position of the capitalists in society and transform it.

How did the state arise historically in the first place? Has it always existed? What is its function? What is the nature of bourgeois democracy and capitalist rule? Could the existing bourgeois state be used by the exploited to transform society and effect revolutionary change? Can political power for the working class be achieved merely through electoral means? Could the state be abolished or overthrown and what type of organisation should humanity strive for when capitalism is overthrown? What are the tasks for the working class and a socialist revolution in relation to the state, and how can it succeed?

Only an accurate study of Marxist theory can provide an answer to these questions.


Introductory articles

Marxism and the State - Phil Mitchinson

The State: A Lecture at Sverdlov University - Lenin

The role of the state and social democracy - Alan Woods

 

Longer articles

Marxism and the State - Alan Woods

Against the Theory of State Capitalism - Ted Grant

Thesis on Bourgeois Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat - Lenin

Lessons of the Paris Commune - Leon Trotsky

 

Marxist classics

The State and Revolution - Lenin

Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State - Frederick Engels

The Civil War in France - Karl Marx

Critique of the Gotha Programme - Karl Marx

Anti-Duhring, Part Two: Chapters 2-4 - Frederick Engels

 

Audios

Marxism and the State - Adam Booth

The State and Revolution - Jorge Martin

Workers' control, democracy, and power - Daniel Morley

Crime, Corruption, and Capitalism - the crisis of the bourgeoise state - Marie Frederiksen

Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this education guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs below to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, videos and audio talks for different topics. Read More
We present here Marxism 101: a series of responses and short video talks answering the most common myths and questions about Marxism, socialism, and revolution. Read More
Check out this selection of writings for an excellent introduction to many of the fundamentals of Marxist theory, providing a strong basis for those wishing to equip themselves with the ideas necessary in order to fight for socialism. Read More
Dialectical materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. We must seek to understand the laws of society and nature in order to change them. Read More
Historical materialism is the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. Each social system has its inherent laws of motion. If we want to overthrow capitalist society, we must understand how capitalism works. Read More
Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society, allowing us to understand why capitalism perpetually goes into crisis, where inequality comes from, and what the alternative is. Read More
The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. Studying the events of 1917, and understanding why the Revolution degenerated into Stalinism, provides vital lessons for revolutionaries today. Read More
For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral. We must understand the state’s real basis and strip away its mysticism by treating it historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall. Read More
Anarchism is naturally attractive for those wanting to abolish capitalism. But only Marxist ideas can explain why bureaucracy and oppression exist - and how to overthrow the exploitative capitalist system. Read More
Marxists are irreconcilably opposed to the oppression of women and fight determinedly for liberation and against discrimination. We believe this will be achieved through the class struggle - to abolish the oppressive capitalist system. Read More
The madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism. But it could have been avoided if the working class had a united revolutionary leadership, prepared to take power. Read More
Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution as the only way forward for humanity and our planet. Read More
Wars represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s impasse. Imperialism, Lenin said, was the "highest stage of capitalism". As long as the profit system exists, there will be wars over markets and spheres of influence. Read More
All written history, Marx stated, is the history of class struggle. Our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future. Read More
Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, amongst workers and youth. In order to do this, we must study the history and traditions of the working class. Read More
  • Educate Yourself
  • Marxism 101
  • Fundamentals of Marxism
  • Dialectical Materialism
  • Historical Materialism
  • Marxist Economics
  • Stalinism and the Soviet Union
  • The State
  • Anarchism
  • Identity and Oppression
  • Fascism
  • The National Question
  • Imperialism and War
  • Revolutionary History
  • Revolutionary Strategy