10 August 2009

State and Revolution

[CU for Tuesday, 11 August 2009]


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State and Revolution – Chapters 2 and 3

We continue up to the end of this week with our series on “Basic Communism”, with extra attention to The State. Today’s is from Lenin’s State and Revolution (see the link below). Lenin was writing this book up until the moment of the Great October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and did not complete it for that reason, as he relates in his “Postscript” (included).

Chapters 2 and 3 refer to that part of Karl Marx’s legacy that runs in parallel with Marx’s lifetime work on Capital, complements that work, and makes a bridge between the close analysis of existing society, and the strategy and tactics necessary to break away from the current system.

These are primarily the three great works on France: Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850; The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852); and The Civil War in France (1871); and Lenin also mentions Marx’s The Poverty of Philosophy (a polemic against the French anarchist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon) and The Communist Manifesto (published for the revolution that broke out in Paris in February 1848) which Lenin calls, at the beginning of Chapter 2 of State and Revolution The first works of mature Marxism”.

This second great body of Marx’s work (next to Capital) is preoccupied with “political economy” in the sense of the ever-changing arrangement of class forces within society, using France as his “text-book case”. The unity-and-struggle-of-opposites that constitutes the disposition of class forces in a class-divided society at any time is kept under the dominance of the ruling class by one crucial instrument: The State.

In the furious revolutionary months after the February 1917 Revolution, after April, and after July, it was to Marx’s works on France that Lenin returned for guidance. The CU will follow Lenin’s example in the not-too-distant future.

Click here to find the full text of Lenin’s State and Revolution at Marxists Internet Archive

Click on this link:

State and Revolution, Chapters 2 and 3, Lenin, 1917 (11279 words)


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