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This text is meant to be a reply to objections raised against us when we speak of the “state as a class organ”, or “as a progressive element in certain periods”. It is also an attempt to clarify and concretise our understanding of the general nature of the state. Our concept of this is exactly the same as that expressed in the two marxist texts that deal with the question: The Origins of the Family, Private  Property and the State, and State and Revolution. Both of these we draw on a great deal, as we are basically in complete agreement with these two works.

We believe that the position defended in this text preserves a continuity, although a critical one, with Bilan's analysis on the state (particularly the articles “Party-State-International”). Bilan's position differs from that developed-by Internationalisme in 1946 with which we disagree. Although there exists in these two Left Communist Groups a mutual concern to understand the state – they both tried to draw the lessons from. the defeat – their interpretations are not the same (Bilan reaffirms the marxist doctrine of the state which makes the state "the instrument and the extension of a class”). This text is not a direct response to the present stage reached by the discussion. It sets out, however, the most important points of our position on the general nature of the state which we still defend.

This text does not actually tackle the central question: the analysis of the proletarian state. Nevertheless, we believe that this discussion is justified in that it poses the conditions for the analysis (the general precedes the particular).

The general question of the state

1. The Historic Origins of the State

In order to clarify the problem of the state, we must return to its origins. No one in the ICC questions the existence of the state as the result of historic development and consequently, that it is a passing, transitory phenomenon. Nevertheless, other considerations are necessary if we are to tackle the origins of the state. Certain comrades hold that "the state arises spontaneously" and they give this conception an automatic character (the state emerges independently of the will of classes). For them, the state "constitutes the superstructure which reflects the infrastructure of society" (a definition which they use to deny the idea that the transition state could be proletarian). We believe that this conception is insufficient. It fails to take into account the important fact that the class precedes the state, that it is a given class which gives a form to the historic necessity for a state moulded in its own interests.

In order to explain the thesis that the state is the extension of a class and not simply the “product of society”, we must return to the last phase of barbarism. At first glance the latter would seem to invalidate the claim that classes precede the state (and especially that the state is the instrument of a class). In fact, in this period, the gentile constitution (clan or kinship groups in primitive society) did not yet coincide with the existence of an exploiting class although a certain ordering of social life was already established, a certain hierarchy of tasks existed within the gens and there was an obvious continuity in the allocation of tasks undertaken by its members. Military functions and those connected with organising work tended to be passed on hereditarily, without the formality of an election. This development was linked to the progressive emergence of family collectives, some of which, because of the growth of their material wealth, gained a power that gradually increased. This could be seen as an early form of the state, composed of individuals who undertook organisational functions and who were charged in the name of the community with the direction of defence and the command of society.

In order to show why the gentile constitution could not give rise to a state apparatus – even a rudimentary one, and that the latter arose only after the disintegration of blood ties – we must understand the significance of the gentile constitution. The gens represented an economic unity in which the privilege of undertaking tasks necessary to the collectivity fell to individuals who, far from acquiring a position of privilege and ease, found themselves exposed to the gravest dangers while the principles of common property still ruled the mode of production. Lafargue, in his work on the Origins of Property, writes:

It is a mistake to believe that the functions of a chief at first constituted an enviable privilege: on the contrary, it was a heavy and dangerous responsibility. The chiefs were held responsible for everything. A famine to the Scandinavians was a certain sign of the anger of the gods: the fault was attributed to the king sometimes put to who was disposed and death. His responsibilities were so little sought after that election by the popular assembly could be avoided only by incurring banishment and the severe penalty of watching the destruction of one's home, the sacred and inviolate family possession[1]

We can see that the gentile constitution had nothing in common with a state organ which pre-supposes the use of the latter with the aim of preserving and increasing domination within society. The state and the gentile organisation were incompatible and the former developed only upon the ruins of the latter. In this way, along with the development of the productive forces, the germs of the destruction of the gentile constitution also developed. Engels shows that in order for this to be realised:

Only one thing was missing: an institution that would not only safeguard the newly-acquired property of private individuals against the communistic traditions of the gentile order,[2] would not only sanctify private property, formerly held in such light esteem, and pronounce this sanctification the highest purpose of human society, but would also stamp the gradually developing new forms of acquiring property, and consequently, of constantly increasing wealth, with the seal of general public recognition; an institution that would perpetuate, not only the newly-rising class division of society, but also the right of the possessing class to exploit the non-possessing classes and the rule of the former over the latter. And this institution arrived. The state was invented.[3]

As an illustration of the early development of the state:

...all this can nowhere be traced better, at least in its initial stage, than in ancient Athens. How the state developed, some of the organs of the gentile constitution being transformed, some displaced, by the intrusion of new organs, and, finally, all superseded by real governmental authorities, while the place of the actual 'people in arms' defending itself through its gentes, phratries and tribes was taken by an armed 'public power' at the service of these authorities and, therefore, also available against the people[4]

Engels goes on to say that a "public power distinct from the people is an essential characteristic of the state". Elsewhere, he shows that this power must take the sub-division of territory, and no longer kinship groupings, as the basis for its social organisation (we will return to these characteristics, which seem fundamental to us, later). In Athens the appearance of the state, the formation of a private army and police force, the division of citizens according to territory, was a progressive movement brought about by successive legislative codes. This evolution was determined at first by the fact that:

…powerful families (…) began to constitute by virtue of their wealth as a group outside of their gens, a distinct and privileged class

and secondly:

that the division of labour between husbanders and artisans had become strong enough to contest the superiority, socially, of the old division into gentes and tribes[5]

The state was created when classes gained a definitive formalisation:

How well this state, now completed in its main outlines, suited the new social conditions of the Athenians was apparent from the rapid growth of wealth, commerce and industry. The class antagonism on which the social and political institutions rested was no longer that between the nobles and the common people, but that between slaves and freemen, dependents and citizens.[6]

In order for the state to develop it was essential to break gentile ties as they were incompatible with a monetary economy and with the domination of one group over another and this was what the different constitutions in ancient Athens came to in the end. So the period of barbarism was transcended. The communal form of property that existed in the period of barbarism reflected the situation in which the as yet primitive nature of the means of production (hunting and fishing) did not reveal needs beyond those for basic foods. With the arrival of industry, of exchange, and of money, a glimpse of more sophisticated needs appeared. At the same time it became impossible to satisfy the needs of the whole of society and there came into existence at first certain families, and later certain classes, who wished to (and were able to) monopolise the means of production. In this manner, the need for the state arose; the need for an organ that could sanctify the domination of the master class and the subjugation of all other social strata.

Between this organ and the dominant class very close bonds were formed; bonds which could only be broken by the weakening of the ruling class itself. In fact, the appearance of the state is by by no means an automatic product of economic conditions:

the social structure and the state are continually evolving out of the life-process of definite individuals, however, of these individuals, not as they may appear in their own or other people's imaginations, but as they actually are, ie, as they act, produce materially, and hence as they work under definite material limits, presuppositions and conditions independent of their will.[7]

In other words history does nothing; it is classes which concretise historic necessity and which create their institutions. This exact formulation is important because it shows up the mistake of crude evolutionist theories which turn the superstructure of society into the absolute reflection of its infrastructure, and see history as simply a process independent of the creation of classes. Marxism, on the other hand, asserts that "the history of society up to the present day has been the history of class struggle". It is the division of society into classes which necessitates the appearance of the state and it is a definite class, the most powerful class (deriving its power from its economic pre-eminence, as do exploiting classes, or from its consciousness and its organisation, as does the proletariat) which erects a statist structure able to defend its interests. So, in Athens, the nobility constructed and directed the emerging state, and recruited mercenaries to help preserve its economic privileges. Later, with the decline of the power of the aristocracy, slave-owners subsequently came to take over the state apparatus, not by destroying the old apparatus initiated by the nobles, but by seizing it through corrupt means and violently purging those who remained faithful to their old masters. We see here the two means by which a class can win state power; either it completely creates its own organ, or it "takes over" the state structure that already exists and restructures it from within.

From the historical considerations we have outlined above, we can draw out two points which seem to us to be fundamental to a marxist approach to the state:

  1. It is the instruments of production (the development of the productive forces) which establish the conditions for the division of society into classes.
  2. It is then classes that give life to the state.

It is this "hierarchical" approach that Marx had in mind when he broached the question of right and the state:

My inquiry led me to the conclusion that neither legal relations nor political forms could be comprehended whether by themselves or on the basis of a so-called general development of the human mind, but that on the contrary they originate in the material conditions of life, the totality of which Hegel, following the example of English and French thinkers of the Eighteenth century, embraces within the term 'civil society'; that the anatomy of this civil society, however, has to be sought in political economy.[8]

The relationship that flows from the class state is no mere coincidence nor accidental fact, but, as we have seen, class precedes the state, the former is the immediate result of the phase of social evolution where a monopoly of production becomes necessary and allows the implementation of one class' domination, while the state then emerges to give form, in the sense of a strengthening of this domination, to the organisation of the whole of society. Thus we arrive at a definition of the state. It is an instrument which serves to place a particular class in power and then maintain that power.

Which class? This is a question which must be asked before continuing. At present, confusion arises concerning the problem of the relationship of the class to the state because of a failure to distinguish between those classes destined to play a historic role and those social classes which, despite an apparent economic homogeneity, are not destined to play an autonomous role in history. This confusion is doubled when one considers the relationship of non-homogeneous strata to the state.

The structure of production will give rise to different classes and social strata, the latter emerging as a result of the division of labour and the forms within which the appropriation of the means of production takes place. Class divisions are a direct and automatic product of the structure of society and the struggle which unfolds for control and possession of the means of production. But amongst all these classes, there exist those which are specifically destined to make a revolution while others are without any particular destiny. In this way the struggle of the slaves was inconsequential as far as the succession of social forms is concerned. It was the economic uselessness of slavery which brought about its disappearance and its replacement by serfdom. The class earmarked to play a role in history represents a synthesis within which there are both economic and historic elements. The bourgeoisie and the proletariat are such classes because they synthesize a particular economic position which corresponds to certain relationships to the means of production: capitalist private property or, with the proletariat, real socialisation. It is, therefore, these classes which can bring about the necessary synthesis that are destined to play an active part in the development of history. Also the class struggle is above all the struggle between such fundamental classes. In each historic epoch, the struggle unfolds between two radically opposed types of society and not between classes struggling within the same framework and limited by their own economic interests. The two classes which are in fundamental opposition to each other within a society do not fight for political domination because once a class has conquered this, it is able to ensure the expansion of its own economic interests. The battle basically unfolds on a wider issue: the construction of a new society or the preservation of the old one. The experience of capitalist domination is the best confirmation of this:

Its society is not the result of a simple co-ordination of the several economic interests of the component parts of its class, but a co-ordination which embraces the whole of society and which forces those elements of the ruling, exploiting class to restrict their contingent interests in order to ensure the survival of society as a whole. State intervention in the economy is intended to preserve capitalist society as a whole by controlling, in order to discipline, the economic freedom of certain groups – not the least of which is the capitalist class itself[9]

In the pitiless struggle to sustain an old society or to create a new one, intermediate, formations, even classes, are inevitably swept aside and attached to one or other of the main opposing classes. In this way each society can be understood historically in terms of the predominating ideas of the ruling class, which draws to it all aspects of social life on a world scale. Seen in this light, the position of the state can be clearly understood. As Engels says:

…the state was the official representative of the whole of society, its synthesis into a visible entity, but it was so only in so far as it belonged to the class, which, for the time being, represented the whole of society

As one cannot speak of a "fundamental class"  except where there exists the historic possibility for a class to identify its evolution and its economic and social interests with the interests of society itself, the state that arises as an expression of this identity within the historic situation of the class struggle, is, and always will be the organ of a class playing a historical role, and never of an intermediate formation.[10]

2. The role and significance of the state

We have already mentioned that "the state was the organ of a class". It now remains to prove and formulate this more precisely. In his pamphlet State and Revolution, Lenin, drawing upon Engels, expressed an idea. concerning the , significance of the state, which is fundamental to marxism:

The state is the product and the manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. The state arises when, where, and to the extent that class antagonisms objectively cannot be reconciled [11]

How can a system containing such strong internal contradictions survive? In other words, what gives stability to a society built upon the division of the whole of social life into irreconcilable classes? The answer is obvious. If such a society exists, there must also exist something which cements the divisions and subdues the class struggle (in a crude way on a physical level; in a more subtle way on the ideological level).

In short, an organ which dominates not only everything, but above all men, is an organ indispensable to the preservation of society. This organ is the state; its role is, precisely, to cushion society, to protect it from explosion. But this does not tell us how the state does this. Does it encourage a dialogue between the classes? This hypothesis is out of the question because the state could neither arise, nor continue its existence, if reconciliation, the “dialogue” between classes, were possible. Will a neutral organ emerge, one that is above society, arbitrating between antagonistic classes by means of force? This hypothesis deserves more attention than the first.

Of course, if we are arguing from a materialist perspective, we do not recognise the existence of elements placed above society and above classes. But aren't certain comrades putting this forward as a possible statist form, ie for the state which will succeed the capitalist state? Thus, the position which says it is "absolutely pointless to try to label the transitional state with an epithet such as 'of the people', 'inter-classist', or 'proletarian’" (see the draft text proposed by Internationalisme), isn't this position providing a perfect description of a state which stands above classes?[12] From a purely abstract point of view, a “third force” could effectively discipline classes which were confronting one another. But where would this “third force” find its material base, from where would it get its resources and consciousness in a determinist and historic sense?

A pure abstraction can never tell us the answer to this. This hypothesis of the 'third force' is untenable unless we drop all reference to marxism. Engels does justice to the “state existing outside classes” in a number of places. And the following passage taken from The Origins of the Family in no way contradicts what we say:

But in order that these antagonisms, classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in sterile struggle, a power seemingly standing above society became necessary for the purpose of moderating the conflict, of keeping it within the bounds of “order”, and this power, arisen out of society, but placing itself above it, and increasingly alienating itself from it, is the state

Engels quite clearly states that the state is over society in "appearance" only; it becomes "increasingly estranged" from society only in "appearance". In one sense the state also becomes "increasingly estranged from society" in a very real way. If we consider the whole of the population, if the word "society" is used to denote the latter, then the state becomes "more and more estranged" in as far as it becomes, in the case of the bourgeois state, an organ for the defence of a fraction of the population which diminishes in size, against an enlarging majority of the population. However, Engels gives no credence to the idea of a “third force”. This is borne out by the following passage, which is found several pages further on in his book:

As the state arose from the need to hold class antagonisms in check, but as it arose, at the same time, in the midst of the conflict of these classes, it is, as a rule, the state of the most powerful, economically dominant class, which, through the medium of the state, becomes also the politically dominant class, and thus acquires new means of holding down and exploiting the oppressed class.

Although this formulation is insufficient as a definition of "the general nature of the state", it adequately indicates the gist of Engels’ thinking on the subject. The state is clearly defined as the organ of one of the classes in struggle which represses by all means in its power the adversary class. From the direct use of violence to the creation of a complex ideological web, we might add.

This would seem to be an elementary truth. However, it is precisely from such a-simple truth that the greatest confusions develop. And so we find the following definition: "…it is also an instrument of mediation between classes".[13] Or elsewhere:

The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State shows that the state arises within all class societies and that it has two basic functions. The first is coercion (…) Secondly, the state has the task of preserving the status quo, of preventing society from tearing itself apart and dis-integrating under the weight of the class antagonisms which exist within it. It is important to stress, as Engels did, that the state is a conservative institution, the conservative institution par excellence, quite apart from its coercive functions.[14]

And so, we are all forced by the weight of incontestable historic fact to recognise that the state is an organ of class domination, an instrument of violence in the hands of one class, an instrument which serves to subdue the adversaries of this class. But, at the same time, this realisation is undermined by the addition of a second definition which is, in fact, a pure and simple negation of the first. All the texts which have been written to date in the Current in an attempt to show the anti-proletarian nature of the state in the period of transition, adopt, with different nuances, the same approach. They give, in reality, two definitions of the state: one showing that the state is an instrument of a class and then another showing it to be a mediating organ, an organ that is "reactionary by nature". It doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that the two aspects of this definition are incompatible. The state cannot be, simultaneously, an organ of a class, while serving as a "mediator". A mediator is, by definition, someone who stands between two combatants, who reconciles them, who attenuates the contradictions and promotes a compromise solution. We have already demonstrated the absurdity of the view while asserting that the state cannot be "neutral or stand above society". For WR, this blatant contradiction is resolved in the following way: "The state has never arisen out of the sole desire of a ruling class, but has been an emanation of society in general and because of this has become the instrument of the ruling class".[15]

What does it mean to say that the state is "an emanation of the society in general"? As society is divided into classes, this can only mean that all classes to some degree make their contribution to the state and meet each other within the state, which in some way represents the "unity of society", and which attempts to preserve society as a whole. So the function of the state would be to protect this "society in general"… "to preserve the existing social relations, to maintain the balance of forces between classes, in a word the status quo".[16] But what is this "society in general"; this "balance of forces between classes"? It is a particular society in which there is a preponderance of one class and a disequilibrium in the balance of forces between the classes. Only in understanding these things can we draw out the significance of the state. We cannot ignore the fact that it is the instrument of one class. As for the "unity of society", this can only be an illusory unity. As long as conflicting interests and the struggle between classes exist, it is impossible for an organisation to exist that unites all citizens in the interest of all citizens. Bourgeois democracy, for example, pretends to have managed this "unity". In fact, it has merely introduced a means of preserving its privileges in a form suitable to the specific power of the bourgeoisie and its dictatorship over the majority. As soon as the notion of a “mediator” is introduced, one is forced back to the idea of reconciling classes, however desperately one may try to defend oneself.

According to Engels and Lenin, the state is an organ for the oppression of one class by another. It is the creation of “order”, to legalise and strengthen this oppression by restraining the class struggle. What comes out of WR's conceptions is that this “order” is actually the reconciliation of classes and not the oppression of one class by another. To restrain the conflict means to reconcile and not "to take certain ways and means of struggle from the oppressed classes in the fight to overthrow that oppression" (Lenin).

WR refuses to acknowledge:

  1. that the state is the repressive organ of a definite class which cannot be reconciled with its opposite (ie with the class that confronts it);
  2. That class domination categorically excludes reconciliation between classes;
  3. that an organ which enables a class to dominate society cannot at the same time be a "mediator" between classes.

Therefore, the comrades arrive at the conclusion that the interests of all classes are given expression in the state, that the function of the state is to "preserve" the equilibrium.

From this has followed the notion of the "defence of the status quo". As the state never has a pure class nature, but represents "society in general", it necessarily defends "the existing economic situation". In fact, classes form conscious relationships within the economic process; these relationships affect political relationships which are a direct reflection of the economic positions held by these classes. And in order to maintain the political balance of forces in society ("to stabilise the class struggle"), the "economic status quo" must be defended. It is in this way that the state is "reactionary by its nature". If the society is progressive it is so in spite of the state. Because the infrastructure determines the superstructure, the state is compelled to legalise each economic modification and particularly the development of a class "within the infrastructure". It is in this sense that the state cannot play a progressive role. This is what WR seems to us to be saying. In the text by Internationalisme quoted above, which at heart is rooted in an identical conception even though it has been written in defence of a resolution which says the exact opposite, they get to the point of practically admitting that "the state can play a progressive role (…) but it does so only in so far as it legalises an already existing economic situation, in which case it expresses the forward movement of a privileged position in the economy of one class at the expense of another". The fact seems to have escaped Internationalisme that in marxist terms the function of an organ constitutes its essence, that an organ which plays a progressive role cannot be "reactionary by nature". But Internationalisme hasn't really accepted the idea that the state can play a progressive role. Its role is limited by the comrades to being a "legalisation", an "expression", that is to say a purely passive reflection and not an active role. In the main the comrades share the view elaborated by Internationalisme in 1946:

In the course of history, the state has appeared as a conservative and reactionary factor…, a filter which the evolution and development of the productive forces has constantly had to confront[17]

In opposition to this conception, we offer another. In all class-divided societies, the dominant class exercises its dictatorship, openly or more subtly, over the other classes in society, with the intention of preserving its class interests and of safeguarding or developing the relations of production to which it is tied. These are the foundations and conditions of its dictatorship: a definite class which exercises its domination by means of an intermediary – the state – and uses the latter to defend its interests against the antagonistic interests of the other classes to ensure the extension, the development and the preservation of the specific relations of production against the danger of the restoration of the old ones, or the destruction of the new ones. In the context of this framework, the state can, in certain historic periods, play an obviously progressive role (and not merely in a “passive” way but above all in an active way). From a marxist point of view, the bourgeois state, for example, is at certain moments a progressive instrument, specifically when it represented a force organised against feudal resistance from within it, and its enemies from without, and supported the establishment of modern institutions upon the ruins of pre-capitalist societies. It was not only useful, but indispensable to the bourgeoisie to attack those institutions which obstructed the appearance of large factories and more advanced farming methods by means of state decrees and the use of violence (which belongs to the state). The marxist dialectical conception of the state, that it is revolutionary in certain periods, conservative or counter-revolutionary in others, is such because the state is the extension and the instrument of social classes which appear, come to fruition, and disappear. The state is progressive or counter-revolutionary according to the historical activity of the class upon the development of society's productive forces (accordingly, it tends to hinder or encourage their development). so, in each ascendant phase of a mode of production, and particularly at a new society's birth (when it has just emerged out of the old), the state takes an active part in economic life, ending in the destruction of that which is hindering development in a new form, taking part in the expansion of the new relations of production (as we have already demonstrated at the moment of its birth). An extreme example of this situation is the development of Japanese capital:

Like the large industrial countries of Europe, present-day Japan developed out of feudal society. But whereas the trans-formation of European nations lasted several centuries, in Japan this took place over a matter of tens of years. It was only after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 that Japan to abolish feudalism and to create a modern political and social structure. It was the Japanese state that created an industrial base by speeding up and even forcing its development. Japan never went through a period of liberal capitalism (…) Because of the specific structure of Japanese society, characterised by the dominant position held by the state, by a high degree of industrial concentration as well as by feudal remnants in the field of agriculture, the army occupied a key position, the higher echelons of the army came from industrial families, the old strata of feudal aristocracy and Samurais (…) The Japanese armies played a far larger, more direct part in imperialist expansion than the armies of European imperialists (…) And so the rapid development of state capitalism and that of Japanese imperialism took place together.[18]

We can now summarise the essential points of our position on the general nature of the state.

An essential principle of marxism is that the class struggle is decided not on the basis of right, but on the basis of force. The state is a private organ of repression; it is the centralised use of violence by one class against another. The political state, even and above all when it is democratic and parliamentary, is an instrument for violent domination. The state apparatus is constantly using coercive means to subdue the dominated class even if it doesn't appear to use implacable material force, that of the police or any other repressive apparatus, but rather simply threatens to use violent sanctions, a simple legal measure (even an uncoded one), without armed struggle and without bloodshed.

First of all Stirner transforms the state into a person, into “the Mighty One”. The fact that the ruling class establishes its joint domination as the public power, as the state, Sancho interprets and distorts in the German petty bourgeois manner as meaning the “state” is established as a third force against this ruling class and absorbs all power in the face of it.[19]

In opposition to the conception of the “third force”, we want to add another quote from Marx: "…the state is the form in which the individuals of a ruling class assert their common interests, and in which the whole of civil society of an epoch is epitomised" (Ibid). And on the bourgeois state: "Through the emancipation of private property from the community, the state has become a separate entity, alongside and outside civil society; but it is nothing more than the form of organisation which the bourgeois are compelled to adopt, both for internal and external purposes, for the mutual guarantee of their property and interests"[20]

The main characteristic of this institution of the dominant exploiting class, which distinguishes it from other institutions belonging to the same class, is its universality. The state organ is the largest class institution where all its force is concentrated and where the instruments of oppression and repression are gathered. other words, it is the institution where the dominant class is organised as a class and not as factions or small groups of the class. Consequently, if the state is the instrument of a class, the extension of that class, an organisation for the control of the common affairs of this class as a whole; if it represents this class established as a ruling class, it reveals itself as progressive or reactionary according to whether this class is acting progressively or reactionarily, according to whether it is revolutionary or counter-revolutionary, according to whether the class which is organised as a class for itself within the state is contributing to the development of the productive forces, or alternatively is violently opposing the development of humanity.

This global definition is only partly useful for the proletarian transitional state (because of its, historical specificities). When applied to the workers' state, and more generally to the dictatorship of the proletariat, it is not enough to give us the key to this institution and its political regime.

S. & M. Internationalisme/Belgium May 1977


[1]Quoted in Bilan. Bilan also furnishes the essential ideas in this section of our text.

[2]Author’s note: The state is not restricted to a "legislation of the existing economic situation", but when the gentile order offered resistance, the state used violence against it.

[3]Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State




[7]Marx, The German Ideology

[8]Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy


[10]We can, therefore, never qualify any state as a “peasant” state. The fact that the state is invariably the extension of a “basic class” gives an idea of the level of incomprehension reached in calling the state "a reactionary element by its very nature".

[11]Lenin, State and Revolution

[12]The possibility that the transition state is bourgeois has already been rejected.

[13]“The Question of the State” by World Revolution, printed in the International Review, n°1, p.50

[14]Text by McIntosh, Internationalism/USA

[15]“The Question of the State”, International Review, n°6, p.46

[16]Ibid:, p.51

[17]“Theses on the Nature of the State and the Proletarian Revolution”, Bulletin d'Etudes et de discussion, n°1, p.2

[18]Sternberg, Le conflit du siècle

[19]Marx, The German Ideology