Harpal Brar on the state and revolution

How does the tiny ruling class maintain its power? Can we get socialism by voting for the right people? Essential information for anyone fighting for socialism.

Harpal Brar

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Harpal Brar, former chairman of the CPGB-ML, gives a presentation summarising Marx’s teachings on the state to a party school in 2013.

Key quotations and ideas are drawn from:

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1848
The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Friedrich Engels, 1884
Critique of the Gotha Programme by Karl Marx, 1875
Anti-Dühring by Friedrich Engels, 1877
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by Karl Marx, 1852
The Civil War in France by Karl Marx, 1871
The State and Revolution by VI Lenin, 1917

The presentation is an excellent introduction to Marxism, and totally exposes the commonly peddled fallacy that workers can simply vote for socialism – or a social-democratic party, such as Labour in Britain – in order to solve their problems.

Workers cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery (the capitalists’ parliament, army, police force, judiciary, etc) and use it to achieve their own ends. Bourgeois rule, connections and interests run through these institutions, like the lettering in a stick of Brighton rock.

The capitalists ‘democratic’ state must be smashed, and the working class must have a new kind of state of its own, to ensure society and the economy are organised in its own interests.

This workers’ state – the dictatorship of the proletariat – will then wither away over a historical epoch, as its functions cease to be necessary, in the transition to the higher stage of communism, when the economic formula “from each according to their ability; to each according to their need” will be applied to production and distribution of goods, well-being and culture.

A better world is possible!