Marxism and the State
The question of the state in capitalist society is of key importance for Marxists. We do not see it as an impartial arbiter standing above society. The fundamental essence of every state, with its “armed bodies of men," police, courts and other trappings is that it serves the interests of one class in society, in the case of capitalism, the capitalist class.
Real living examples of revolution are the test of any theory. The events of May 1968 in France were such a historical example. These events reveal that defeat of the working class has not come about by such a thing as the “strong state” but by the ineptitude of the reformist and Stalinist leaders who were not prepared to mobilize the full force of the working class.
For there to be a revolution does there have to be violence? To the sectarian mind the answer is always in the affirmative. Marxists look at the question in a more rounded out manner, looking at the many factors that come into play: the balance of class forces, the nature of the leadership of the working class, the tactics and program adopted, and so on.
By Alan Woods.
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