The Experience of 1848-51: The State and Revolution

by Vladimir Lenin

1. The Eve of Revolution

The first works of mature Marxism — The Poverty of Philosophy and the Communist Manifesto — appeared just on the eve of the revolution of 1848. For this reason, in addition to presenting the general principles of Marxism, they reflect to a certain degree the concrete revolutionary situation of the time. It will, therefore, be more expedient, perhaps, to examine what the authors of these works said about the state immediately before they drew conclusions from the experience of the years 1848-51.

The Frankfurt Parliament

In The Poverty of Philosophy, Marx wrote:

“The working class, in the course of development, will substitute for the old bourgeois society an association which will preclude classes and their antagonism, and there will be no more political power groups, since the political power is precisely the official expression of class antagonism in bourgeois society.” (p.182, German edition, 1885)

It is instructive to compare this general exposition of the idea of the state disappearing after the abolition of classes with the exposition contained in theCommunist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels a few months later–in November 1847, to be exact:

“… In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat…. Continue reading

Class Society and the State: The State and Revolution

by Vladimir Lenin

1. The State: A Product of the Irreconcilability of Class Antagonisms

What is now happening to Marx’s theory has, in the course of history, happened repeatedly to the theories of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of oppressed classes fighting for emancipation. During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander.

After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it. Today, the bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the labor movement concur in this doctoring of Marxism. They omit, obscure, or distort the revolutionary side of this theory, its revolutionary soul. They push to the foreground and extol what is or seems acceptable to the bourgeoisie. All the social-chauvinists are now “Marxists” (don’t laugh!). And more and more frequently German bourgeois scholars, only yesterday specialists in the annihilation of Marxism, are speaking of the “national-German” Marx, who, they claim, educated the labor unions which are so splendidly organized for the purpose of waging a predatory war!

In these circumstances, in view of the unprecedently wide-spread distortion of Marxism, our prime task is to re-establish what Marx really taught on the subject of the state. This will necessitate a number of long quotations from the works of Marx and Engels themselves. Of course, long quotations will render the text cumbersome and not help at all to make it popular reading, but we cannot possibly dispense with them. All, or at any rate all the most essential passages in the works of Marx and Engels on the subject of the state must by all means be quoted as fully as possible so that the reader may form an independent opinion of the totality of the views of the founders of scientific socialism, and of the evolution of those views, and so that their distortion by the “Kautskyism” now prevailing may be documentarily proved and clearly demonstrated. Continue reading

Conclusion: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

11.1 Notwithstanding the reverses to world socialism and the qualitative shift in the international correlation of class forces in favour of imperialism, the CPI(M), basing itself on the creative science of Marxism-Leninism is committed to advance the cause and struggles of the Indian people towards true and complete emancipation and freedom. The 20th century developments, notwithstanding all the shortcomings and reverses testify that the fundamental direction of human civilizational advance, in the historical vision, is inevitably towards national and social liberation.

11.2 Under the present circumstances, the CPI(M) is committed to strengthen the ‘subjective factor’ by combating the challenges posed by the disruptive movements and guarding against falling prey to any deviation from the revolutionary content of Marxism-Leninism. In various Party Congresses, we have worked out the tactics in order to meet such challenges. On this basis, correct tactics need to be worked out for the future. Continue reading

Indian Conditions – Certain Concrete Issues: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

10.1 In Indian conditions, our task to strengthen our revolutionary advance in this transition period, given the balance of forces shifting in favour of imperialism, requires concerted efforts to work for a change in the correlation of class forces amongst the Indian people to advance our strategic objective. This, in turn, requires the unleashing of powerful mass and popular struggles to sharpen the class struggle in our society in the concrete conditions in which we exist.

10.2 Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forms: To achieve this task, the updated Programme noted: ‘The Communist Party of India (Marxist) strives to achieve the establishment of people’s democracy and socialist transformation through peaceful means. By developing a powerful mass revolutionary movement, by combining parliamentary and extra parliamentary forms of struggle, the working class and its allies will try their utmost to overcome the resistance of the forces of reaction and to bring about these transformations through peaceful means. However, it needs always to be borne in mind that the ruling classes never relinquish their power voluntarily. They seek to defy the will of the people and seek to reverse it by lawlessness and violence. It is, therefore, necessary for the revolutionary forces to be vigilant and so orient their work that they can face up to all contingencies, to any twist and turn in the political life of the country.’ Continue reading

Fatuous, Dangerous, Utterly Irresponsible

by Eddie Ford

We call for the immediate legalisation of all drugs.

Few issues generate so much irrationality as the question of drugs. Rather we get tabloid-driven, moralistic sound and fury, where small things like facts and evidence are blindly ignored – indeed, themselves become objects of righteous condemnation. Naturally, the government – and, of course, the Tory government-in-waiting – is compelled to join the ‘anti-drugs’ mob, locked as it is into the unwinnable ‘war on drugs’, a prisoner of its own myths and desperate rhetoric.

Hence on becoming prime minister, Gordon Brown promptly – and stupidly – declared that cannabis was “lethal” and, following a media frenzy about the supposed dangers of ‘skunk’, insisted that cannabis be re-reclassified from its then current official governmental status as a class C drug back to the more ‘dangerous’ class B it had been prior to David Blunkett’s 2004 regrading (or downgrading). While the ‘anti-drugs’ Daily Mail was cock-a-hoop at this development, this Alice-in-Wonderland comment set the tone for the Brown administration’s thoroughly backward and reactionary approach to the whole issue – which, in just about every respect, has been more irrational than the one pursued by Blair or the previous Tory government (yes, including Margaret Thatcher). Continue reading

Current Anti-Marxist Reactionary Ideological Challenges: Draft Ideological Resolution of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

9.1 Following this shift in balance of forces in imperialism’s favour, we anticipated an aggressive all round attack not only ideologically but in all spheres against Marxism and Communism.

9.2 During these two decades, such trends have further intensified. These essentially attempt to reason that with the collapse of the USSR, there is a need to transcend Marxism. Hence, the theories of ‘revisiting’, ‘reassessing’ or ‘reconstructing’ Marxism have surfaced and are circulating in fashionable intellectual circles, influencing and confusing sections of the people.

9.3 Post-Modernism: Imperialist-driven globalization fuelled by global finance capital has spawned a whole new range of anti-Marxist ideologies and theories which are marked by the negation of all progressive, universalist ideologies. Theories of class convergence, disappearance of class struggle and the negation of the revolutionary role of the working class have been part of the bourgeois ideological armoury. To these is now added the current anti-Marxist theory of post-modernism. Continue reading

Bo’s Downfall Result of Inflated Sense of Influence

by Shan Renping

The case of Bo Xilai shows that officials should not overestimate their personal influence in China, or they will have the illusion of being above Party discipline and the law. If those who study China do not perceive this, they will misinterpret the country.

As a former member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee as well as the former Secretary of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, Bo was in a high position with extensive power. As such a high- level official is being investigated, therewill undoubtedly be a blow to the region and authorities under his previous leadership.

But the impact will only be temporary. Personal influence and high rank will not shield wayward officials from punishment. A few high-level officials apparently misjudged and gambled on this fact. Continue reading