The Marxist theory of the state: An introduction

Jun 30, 2023

"All Power to the People," Emory Douglas, 1968-1969.

Editor’s note: A Spanish translation of this article is available here.

Introduction

Our understanding of the state lies at the heart of our struggle to create a new society and fundamentally eliminate the oppression, exploitation, war, and environmental destruction characteristic of capitalism. In a socialist state, people collectively manage society, including what we produce, how much we produce, and the conditions of our work, to meet the needs of the people and the planet. Under capitalism, the state is organized to maintain the capitalist system and the dictatorship of a tiny group of capitalists over the rest of us through the use (or threat) of violent force and a range of institutions that present capitalism as “common sense.” The primary function of the capitalist state is to protect itself, which means it manages contradictions within the capitalist class and between their class and the working class.

This article serves as an introduction to the state, an essential matter for all justice-minded people to understand, as it determines our objectives, strategies, and tactics. It begins by debunking the ideology of the capitalist state as an impartial mediator to resolve antagonisms between and among classes by explaining the Marxist theory of the state and its role in maintaining–and overthrowing–exploitation and oppression.

The U.S. state has always been “deep” in that it is a highly centralized and predominantly unelected organization with an expansive set of institutions that has facilitated the rule of capital in the face of a variety of changes and through centuries of turmoil. The foundational elements of the state are repressive, such as the police and prison system, while others are ideological in that they reproduce capitalist consciousness and social relations, such as the news media. Because not all capitalist states function in the same manner, we examine the different forms states can take as well as the foundational differences between capitalist and socialist states.

Creating a socialist state is necessary to realize our collective desire for an end to all forms of oppression and exploitation. The socialist state works to eliminate racist police oppression and mass incarceration, to protect the health of our planet against capitalist and imperialist pollution, and to create a society in which differences in all kinds of identities do not mean differences in power. We can’t defend, let alone advance, the world we need without state power, a power that not only represses the former exploiters and oppressors but also produces a new kind of society and consciousness—a state that protects the interests of the many over those of the few. Ultimately, for communists, the goal of the socialist state is to render itself obsolete, which is only possible after the elimination of class society.

Debunking the capitalist myth of the state

The state extends beyond what we think of as the “government” of a country and includes all of the structures the capitalist class uses to maintain its control. In the U.S., the capitalist class holds state power, whereas the working class holds state power in China and Cuba. To have “state power” does not mean that the ruling class, whether capitalist or working class, can meet its own needs perfectly or without limitation. Put simply, the state is the instrument through which class interests are pursued.

At its core, the capitalist state includes apparatuses like the police, the courts, the prisons, and the military, forces necessary for enforcing the will of a tiny clique of capitalists over the masses of workers. The capitalist state also includes administrative offices, social services, school systems, media, mainstream political parties, cultural institutions, and more [1]. If this view of the state seems broad, it is because Marxists do not define the state as capitalists do.

The U.S. capitalist class popularizes a particular view of the state, especially the democratic state, as “a neutral arena of debate” [2]. In this so-called neutral arena, the government arbitrates between the conflicting interests of society through a set of “fair” laws, and it enforces those laws evenly and rationally. According to this view, any violation of the law or injustice in society is simply a mistake to be corrected through the state’s existing avenues through, for example, presidential elections or the Supreme Court. This view is ultimately a fairytale, one that “lulls the ordinary person to sleep,” in the words of the leader of the world’s first socialist state, Vladimir Lenin. It lulls us to sleep “by obscuring the important and basic fact, namely, the split of society into irreconcilably antagonistic classes” [3].

Marxists recognize that our lives are shaped by one basic fact: society is divided into two classes with irreconcilable interests. The capitalist state is organized to protect the interests of the capitalist: the accumulation of ever-greater profits by increasing the exploitation of workers and preventing our class from uniting and fighting for a new system. The working class’s primary interest is reducing our exploitation and eliminating all forms of oppression and bigotry so we—alongside our families and communities—can flourish. The state is not a timeless or abstract entity governing a given territory. The state emerges at a certain point in human history: it arises alongside the division of societies into classes, between the rulers and the ruled, the owners and the workers, the slavers and the enslaved. The state develops from within a society, as Friedrich Engels wrote, when it “is cleft into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to exorcise.” The state emerged to mitigate such antagonisms, or “to moderate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of ‘order’” [4]. The capitalist ideology of the state guards these bounds of order to ensure it is the only available avenue for change.

The U.S. state’s history and present debunk the capitalist mythology of the state as a neutral arbiter, revealing that it is actually made up of organs, or institutions, designed to maintain the domination of capitalists. The U.S. state was established by slave-owning and merchant capitalist founders, later developed by industrial and monopoly capitalists [5]. The ruling class is not a homogeneous entity and the state manages the competing interests of different capitalists to protect capitalism and the existence of the state itself.

Currently, the U.S. capitalist class uses the democratic-republic state as its “organ” or form of governance. Instead of a path beyond capitalism, the democratic-republic form of the state offers the “best possible political shell for capitalism,” allowing the state to feign innocence while ensuring that “no change of persons, institutions, or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it” [6]. Lenin provides a lasting Marxist definition of the state:

“According to Marx, the state is an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another; it is the creation of “order,” which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the conflict between classes” [7].

No matter its class character, the state is a tool of a class. For Marxists, the key distinction between types of states is their class character. For capitalist theorists, types of states are distinguished by their level of democracy versus authoritarianism, while ignoring the class character of both. They therefore cannot recognize the existence of capitalist authoritarianism within capitalist democracies, nor recognize working class democracy within so-called authoritarian socialist states. The U.S provides a clear example that debunks the myth of the state as a neutral arbiter and demonstrates the authoritarianism of capitalist-democratic states. It demonstrates that the state is made up of institutions designed to maintain the rule of capitalists.

Order is reserved for the wealthy since all working people live in a constant state of precarity, uncertainty, and insecurity to varying degrees. Chaos determines the life of the working person in the United States. For instance, the poor are terrified of the police and despise them for their abuses of power. The police murder over 1,000 people every year and most occur in non-violent situations like traffic stops or mental health crises. Racial oppression is part of the lived experience of the working class. As Stuart Hall put it, in many countries, “Race is the modality in which class is lived” [8]. In the U.S., Black people are not only more likely to be killed by the police but are also more likely to be unarmed and peaceful while being killed [9]. Instead of delivering justice when innocent Black people are killed, the courts often work with the police to legitimize the injustice done. The U.S. state only charges 2% of officers who commit murders with any sort of crime, and the courts convict officers in less than 1% of cases [10].

While the state’s prison system fails to take murderous police off our streets, it is efficient at jailing harmless working people. Despite having only 4.4% of the world’s population, the U.S. holds 22% of the world’s prisoners. Over 70% of those prisoners are either non-violent or have not yet been convicted of a crime [11]. And 38% of U.S. prisoners are Black, despite Black people only making up 12% of the population [12]. The social cost of the capitalist system’s violent state apparatuses is immeasurable: families are broken up; children are left without parents; generations become trapped in cycles of trauma, crime, and poverty. This is merely one example of how the capitalist class uses the state to legalize and perpetuate the oppression of working people in the U.S. Far from embodying the fairy tale of a “neutral arbiter” and enforcer of fair laws, the U.S. state is used by the capitalist class to hold down the working class, of which Black people are a crucial part.

Repressive and productive state organs

Marx, Lenin, and other revolutionaries often use the word “organ” to describe the state and its constituent elements. This bodily metaphor is helpful. The organs in our bodies are made up of cells, tissues, and arteries which work together to fulfill particular functions (e.g., the heart pumps blood, the lungs absorb oxygen, etc.). Each organ depends on and helps the other organs to achieve their objective—the body’s survival and reproduction. The pipes and chambers of the heart are made to pump blood, and the airways and sacs of the lungs are made to absorb oxygen in order to reproduce the body. Just like a bodily organ, the state is made up of various elements, or apparatuses, as well. State apparatuses are guided by the objective of the survival and reproduction of the ruling class and its system of domination and exploitation.

Marxists understand the State as primarily a repressive apparatus that uses the force of the courts, police, prisons, and military to ensure the domination of one class over others. The repressive state apparatus contains the violent institutions that work to maintain ruling class power. All in all, the repressive state apparatus functions by direct threat, coercion, and force.

The class in power does not only exercise its control by armed force and physical coercion. In addition to ruling the “material force of society,” as Marx and Engels wrote in 1845-1846, they also rule “the means of mental production,” such that they “rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas” [13]. Because the capitalist class owns the material forces of society, which include those that produce and distribute knowledge, they wield immense control over the overall consciousness of capitalist society, so “generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject” to capitalist ideology [14]. Marx and Engels do not mean that the oppressed are not intellectuals. A few paragraphs later, they write that “in ordinary life every shopkeeper” possesses intellectual capacities that “our historians have not yet won” [15].

Since the time of Marx and Engels’ writing on ideology, many capitalist states, particularly in their more developed forms, have generated and utilized more sophisticated and subtler means of maintaining the dominance of their ideology over society. Louis Althusser built on Marx and Engels’ work on ideology and class struggle by detailing many of their contemporary forms. These “Ideological State Apparatuses include all those elements that reproduce the dominance of the ruling-class ideology, like the school system, the media, mainstream parties, cultural organizations, think-tanks, and so on [16]. The same class that owns the means of production—the factories and banks, telecommunications networks and pharmaceutical corporations—also owns the newspapers, television stations, and movie studios. Globally, six parent companies control 90% of everything we listen to, watch, and read [17].

Schooling illustrates the vulnerability of capitalist rule

A key purpose of ideological state apparatuses is to make the prevailing order of things appear natural and timeless, to justify capitalism as the final stage of human history, and to normalize exploitation and oppression. In the U.S. and other capitalist states, the educational ideological apparatus is a central one in that it produces future workers with the necessary skills, knowledge, habits, and attitudes to fulfill their place in the overall social system. The school system “takes children from every class at infant-school age, and then for years, the years in which the child is most ‘vulnerable’… it drums into them, whether it uses new or old methods, a certain amount of ‘know-how’ wrapped in the ruling ideology” [18]. What this means is that the skills schools teach children—from arithmetic and literature to engineering and computer coding—are just as important as the “the ‘rules’ of good behaviour” and “morality, civic and professional conscience, and ultimately the rules of the order established by class domination” that they teach [19].

In their study of the relationship between schooling and capitalism in the U.S. in the mid-20th century, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis found that schools reproduce capitalist relations not by the deliberate intentions of individual teachers or administrators, but by how “the relationships of authority and control between administrators and teachers, teachers and students, students and students, and students and their work replicate the hierarchical division of labor which dominates the workplace. The rule orientation of the high school reflects the close supervision of low-level workers; the internalization of norms and freedom from continual supervision in elite colleges reflect the social relationships of upper-level white-collar work. Most state universities and community colleges, which fall in between, conform to the behavioral requisites of low-level technical, service, and supervisory personnel” [20].

Many U.S public and charter schools, especially those in working-class and oppressed neighborhoods, require students to enter school through metal detectors, use video surveillance in hallways and classrooms, and subject students to regular searches of their bodies and property. This is captured by the concept of the “school-to-prison pipeline” or even the “school-as-prison” given the criminalization of everything from talking loudly in class to minor pranks and the overwhelming presence of cops in schools [21].

The educational apparatus highlights two things. First, as the example of highly securitized and policed schools indicates, there is no hard, fast, or permanent line dividing repressive from ideological apparatuses. Second, the primary distinction between the ideological arms of the state and its repressive core is that the latter are permanent and secure whereas the former are more vulnerable and, therefore, more receptive to change in the face of class struggle.

Bowles and Gintis’ correspondence theory highlighted above is perhaps less important than their repeated affirmation that people’s intervention in education and society contributes to revolution. The book’s argument is against those who believe education is sufficient for revolutionary change and their theoretical, historical, and empirical analysis leads them to the finding “that the creation of an equal and liberating school system requires a revolutionary transformation of economic life” [22]. They conclude their study with strategies for socialist education and teachers and, importantly, frame the overarching aim of socialist education under capitalism as “the creation of working-class consciousness” to contribute to building a socialist revolution.

Highlighting the fragility of ideological state apparatuses, Bowles and Gintis argue class-consciousness isn’t “making people aware of their oppression” because “most people are all too well aware of the fact of their oppression” [23]. The idea that if we study and focus on school, get into a good university, and “buckle down” will make our lives better lacks any material basis. Schools aren’t mechanically indoctrinating students into capitalist ideology or meritocracy. Students are thinking critically, increasingly open to the solutions required to eliminate oppression, and are even organizing against policing in schools on their own [24].

Democracy: The best possible organ for capitalism

The “organ” as a metaphor underscores the role of state apparatuses in maintaining stability for the ruling class. Organs are interdependent living and evolving entities that, together, each play a part in maintaining the body’s homeostasis, which means preserving stability in the face of changing external circumstances. It’s the same with the state, as the state’s goal is to maintain stability for the ruling class by adjusting to conflicts both within and between classes.

As Marx and Engels first put it in The Communist Manifesto, “the executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie” [25]. Among the tasks of the bourgeois state is to manage conflicts within the capitalist class. This happens, for example, when there is a conflict between the interests of an individual capitalist and the capitalist system as a whole. If it were up to individual capitalists, they would destroy their source of surplus-value (workers) and the environment, which would be detrimental to the survival of capitalism. This is why the state also manages conflicts within the ruling class itself, stepping in to hold individual capitalists or firms “in check” in the interests of capital overall as an economic and political system..

The capitalist state also intervenes when it is faced with the threat of revolt. Legislation regulating the working day, for example, was meant to hold back “the passion of capital for a limitless draining of labour-power” and was motivated by “the working-class movement that daily grew more threatening” [26]. This is one reason why Marx, Engels, and Lenin argued that governance via bourgeois democracy was the most effective way to ensure capital’s rule. Far from inhibiting capitalism, the democratic republic is the most effective political form for capitalism insofar as power is exercised through complex mechanisms and several avenues for popular “participation” and “input.” The more secure the power of the ruling class is, the less it needs to rely on brute force.

This doesn’t mean that democracy is irrelevant to our revolutionary project. In fact, it is quite the opposite: historically, socialist struggles have always emerged from demands for basic democratic rights. Winning those rights helps us experience our power to change society. Socialist movements in the anti-colonial world and within the U.S. have often been waged in the name of a fake “democracy,” which reserves the rights it espouses for the rich. The distinguishing factor is the class character of democracy: there is the democracy of the capitalist class and the democracy of the working class, which is socialism. Revolutionaries are interested in democracy of, for, and by the working class.

From perfecting, to seizing, to smashing the capitalist state

In The Communist Manifesto, written in 1847-1848, Marx and Engels address the topic of the state in the communist project, but in an abstract sense. As historical-materialists, their conception of the state and its role in revolution evolved along with the class struggle. In particular, the defeats of the 1848 revolutions and the 1871 Paris Commune compelled them to refine their approach to the state.

The Paris Commune was the world’s first proletarian government which lasted for 72 days in 1871. Decades of war, discontent, and radicalization led to the working-class takeover of Paris. The Parisian workers elected a council from the various wards of the city and organized public services for all its two million city residents. Their first decree was to arm the masses to defend their new proto-state. They erected a “fuller democracy” than had ever existed before and instated deeply progressive, feminist, worker-centered decrees [27]. But before the Commune could develop into a state, they were overthrown by an alliance of the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, whose armies killed tens of thousands of workers.

In the wake of this unspeakable tragedy, the martyrs of the Commune left behind a crucial lesson: after overthrowing the capitalist state, a new worker’s state must be developed, and it must be defended fiercely from the former ruling class. The next year, Marx and Engels wrote a new preface to The Communist Manifesto explicitly drawing out the lesson: “One thing especially was proved by the Commune: that the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made State machinery, and wield it for its own purposes” [28.] Lenin adds that “it is still necessary to suppress the bourgeoisie and crush their resistance,” and the Commune’s failure to do this was “one of the reasons for its defeat” [29]. These lessons were pivotal in the later successes of the Bolshevik Revolution, as well as the subsequent revolutions of the colonized peoples.

Today, some people interested in alternatives to capitalism hope we can build socialism through the legislative and electoral arena, avoiding a large-scale social revolution altogether [30]. We can and should pass legislation to curb campaign financing, increase taxes on the rich, and grant universal healthcare, all of which would be welcome improvements to the majority of our class. Yet such piecemeal reforms cannot produce the wholesale social transformation we need; the capitalists will attack progressive reforms at every opportunity and our class doesn’t have the state to enforce such legislation. The capitalist class, like every ruling class, will not allow their replacement by another class through their own state. We saw, for instance, how the Democratic Party manipulated elections to keep Bernie Sanders out of the presidential race. Any transformation of the capitalist state via reforms will also be impermanent because the people’s hard-fought gains can always be stolen by undemocratic bodies like the Supreme Court. For instance, the abortion rights we won in the 1970s were stolen from us in 2022 by the Supreme Court. To root deep and permanent transformations, we need to set up a workers-state, and we need to defend it.

The “committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie” cannot handle the tasks required to develop a new society for working and oppressed peoples. Just as the same bodily organ cannot perform two completely different tasks—the heart cannot be made to breathe, and the lungs cannot be made to beat—neither can the same state perform two completely different functions. The function of the socialist state in the U.S. will be to meet the needs of its people and the planet, and the function of the capitalist state is to meet the profit-seeking needs of the capitalists. Thus, the capitalist state cannot be transformed simply through seizure—it must be destroyed and replaced by a new workers’ state.

The socialist state and its withering away

The socialist state differs from the capitalist state in two crucial ways. First, it is the state of the majority and not of the minority, and second, it is a transitory apparatus unlike the capitalist state that, because it maintains class contradictions, foresees no end. To the first point, the capitalist state protects the material interests of a tiny fraction of society and holds down the vast masses of the people from revolting against them. The capitalist state must ensure that hundreds of millions of people endure their poverty and precarity without stopping production. Even though workers are the producers of all the value, we do not realize the fruits of our contributions. The capitalists do not produce any value, and so their status in society is structurally illegitimate. To maintain this lopsided situation, the capitalist state had to develop violent and ideological state apparatuses. The socialist state’s apparatuses will be drastically less violent, since they will need to repress only a tiny minority, while directing most of their energy to meeting the needs of the people.

To the second point of difference: the capitalist state claims to be at its final stage of history. By contrast, the final aim of the socialist state is to render itself irrelevant. It serves only as the transitory apparatuses that will deliver humanity to classless society. While the capitalist state has no plan for improving itself, or for solving the contradictions that envelop it, the socialist state is built with the self-awareness that it is not at the highest stage of humanity.

The transition from a workers-state to a classless society is important, given that class antagonisms and special oppressions do not disappear overnight. Remnants of the old order lay in wait for the opportune moment to rise up and counter-revolt, and they are often aided by imperialists abroad. The state must persist until “the resistance of the capitalists has been completely crushed, when the capitalists have disappeared, when there are no classes” [31]. Without exploitation and oppression, the state is no longer necessary. This transitional period will depend on the existing material conditions and can’t be determined in advance: “By what stages, by means of what practical measures humanity will proceed to this supreme aim we do not and cannot know,” Lenin wrote [32].

The main principle is that the socialist state would transform social relations, grow the productive forces of society, eliminate material scarcity, and then itself “wither away into the higher phase of communism” [33].  No socialist state, historical or present-day, has been able to move past the state.

Conclusion: Our role in the “belly of the beast”

The Soviet Union lived and died as a state, and Cuba and China have been states for 60 and 70 years. Because socialist revolutions occurred not in the imperialist or advanced capitalist countries but in the colonial, semi-colonial, and less industrially-developed ones, the process of building up the productive forces required for socialism was and is protracted. Further, given that the Bolsheviks faced imperialist interventions by 14 countries almost immediately, they had to strengthen their state. Throughout its existence, the USSR had to “defend its revolution from overthrow in a world still dominated by imperialist monopoly capitalism” [34]. Cuba has been under the most extreme trade embargo in existence at the hands of the U.S. since its birth and has withstood numerous counterrevolutionary attempts. The embargo is meant to suffocate and isolate the people of Cuba, and to incite a counterrevolution. Still, the people of Cuba support their government because of its tireless efforts to meet their needs under difficult circumstances which are outside of its control. The U.S.’s newest target for which it is preparing for military confrontation is China with the goal of overthrowing the Communist Party; to defend the gains of the Chinese Revolution, China must fortify their revolution through the state [35].

Despite immense pressure from the U.S. capitalist class, socialist states have been able to win immense victories. China, for instance, eradicated extreme poverty in what was “likely the greatest anti-poverty program achievement in the history of the human race” [36]. Cuba recently redefined the family through the passage of its new Families Code, written democratically and passed by popular referendum. The Code expands the rights of the most oppressed: women, children, LGBTQ people, and the elderly. For these socialist states to flourish, and to eventually wither away, imperialism must first be defeated.

Imperialism is blocking the development of socialist states and projects everywhere. As organizers in the U.S., it is our special duty to make socialist revolution in our country so that we may not only free ourselves, but also free our siblings around the world from the scourge of U.S. imperialism.  Once society is organized “on the basis of free and equal association of the producers,” we “will put the whole state machinery where it will then belong–into the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze ax” [37]. This is the communist horizon, in which the people through their state organs fulfill our dreams of organizing society in our own name.

References

[1] Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses: Notes Towards an Investigation,” in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, trans. B. Brewster (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970/2001), 95-97. Available here.
[2] Martin Carnoy, The State and Political Theory (Princeton University Press, 1984), 10.
[3] V.I. Lenin “The State and Revolution: The Marxist Theory of the State and the Tasks of the Proletarian Revolution” in Lenin Collected Works (Vol. 25): June-September 1917, 385-487 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1918/1964), 394. Also available here.
[4] Frederick Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (New York: International Publishers, 1884/1972), 229. Also available here.
[5] For an analysis of the U.S. state, see Eugene Puryear, “The U.S. State and the U.S. Revolution,” Liberation School, 10 July 2022. Available here.
[6] Lenin, “The State and Revolution,” 398.
[7] Ibid., 392; For more context on why Lenin took up this study, see Brian Becker, “How the Ideas of ‘The State and Revolution’ Changed History,” in Revolution Manifesto: Understanding Marx and Lenin’s Theory of Revolution, ed. Ben Becker (San Francisco: Liberation Media, 2015), 8-9.
[8] Chas Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke, Brian Roberts, Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order (London: Macmillan, 1978), 394.
[9] Mapping Police Violence, “2021 Police Violence Report” Available here.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Roy Walmsey, “World Prison Population List,” 12th ed., Prison Policy Initiative, 2018. Available here; Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner, “Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2022,” Prison Policy Initiative, 14 March 2023. Available here.
[12] Sawyer and Wagner, “Mass Incarceration.”
[13] Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology: Part One, ed. C.J. Arthur (New York: International Publishers, 1932/1970), 64; For more on Marx and ideology, see Derek Ford, “What is Ideology? A Marxist Introduction to the Marxist Theory of Ideology,” Liberation School, 07 September 202.1.
[14] Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology, 64, emphasis added.
[15] Ibid., 65.
[16] Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” 96.
[17] Nickie Louise, “These 6 Corporations Control 90% of the Media Outlets in America. The Illusion of Choice and Objectivity,” TechStartups, 18 September 2020. Available here.
[18] Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” 104.
[19] Ibid., 89.
[20] Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life (New York: Basic Books: 1976), 12.
[21] See, for example, William Ayers, “The Criminalization of Youth: Politicians Promote Lock-Em-Up Mentality,” Rethinking Schools 12, no. 2 (1997/1998). Available here.
[22] Bowles and Gintis, Schooling in Capitalist America, 265.
[23] Ibid., 285.
[24] Tracey Onyenacho, “Black and Brown Students Are Organizing to Remove Police From Their Schools,” ColorLines, 21 July 2020. Available here.
[25] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, trans. S. Moore (New York: Penguin Books, 1888/1967), 221.
[26] Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (Vol. 1): The Process of Capitalist Production, trans. S. Moore and E. Aveling (New York: International Publishers, 1867/1967), 229. Available here.
[27] For more on the Paris Commune, see: Richard Becker, “Vive La Commune! The Paris Commune 150 Years Later,” Liberation School, March 18, 2021. Available here.
[28] Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 194.
[29] Lenin, “The State and Revolution,” 424.
[30] For a definition of socialist revolution, see Nino Brown, “What Does it Take to Make a Socialist Revolution?” Liberation School, 29 September 2022. Available here.
[31] Lenin, “The State and Revolution,” 467.
[32] Ibid., 477.
[33] Richard Becker, “The Soviet Union: Why the Workers’ State Could Not Wither Away,” in Revolution Manifesto: Understanding Marx and Lenin’s Theory of Revolution, ed. Ben Becker (San Francisco: Liberation Media, 2015), 58.
[34] Ibid.
[35] Global Times, “Global Times interview: Brian Becker on socialism and the U.S. campaign against China,” Liberation News, 05 July 2022. Available here.
[36] Ibid.
[37] Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 232.

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