Turn on thread page Beta

How can Marx have thought a stateless society would work? watch

Announcements
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by chloeee!)
    So it says in my text book, "...once the class system had been abolished, the state would lose its reason for existence. The resulting society would therefore be stateless as well as classless." How could a society possibly be stateless? Isn't it ridiculously idealistic to imagine that in a communist society there won't be some who will try and rise above everybody else, and if there's no state how can laws etc be implemented? I know this is what Animal Farm is about, and I'm not alone in my confusion, but surely Marx must have had an answer to these questions - what was it?
    This is where the ideologies proposed by anarchism and Marxism have their similarities. Ultimately the cycle of capitalism has been one, not evolved from the human nature as economists suggest, that was promoted by excessive state violence to enforce the growth of private property owners and systems of wage labour. Before the growth of capitalism in the United States (which was enforced brutally by the local state) 80% of US citizens were self-employed merchants, farmers, etc. Land, e.g. farming land, was owned by small family units rather than big businesses who nowadays exploit their privately owned capital partly by employing wage labourers (the wage labourer produces goods or services which in turn are taken and sold by the capitalist who reaps a percentage of their product. The capitalist justifies this by their own input that they have made via investment and managerial skills but in reality this is something that workers can collectively organise. What's more is it is physically impossible to accumulate the wealth that some capitalists have in their possession through labour alone. It is only possible to become so wealthy via surplus value of one kind or another).

    In answer to your question, then, a society without a state (which manifests itself in capitalist economic circumstances and vice versa) would be one where the citizens itself have right to rule: they would organise themselves into labour communes which organise the distribution of labour in a way which is truly beneficial to society. The world's capital (land, technology, private property would be communally owned and personal property [belongings, one's own living area - their house] would be distributed partially according to need, partially according to one's input to society and partially according to their line of work [farmers will need more land]). Marx perhaps didn't go into great detail about how a stateless society should look because some of his contemporaries (in particular, the anarchist, Bakunin) took the responsibility of describing such a society. He instead focussed a large bulk of his works on a critique of the capitalist political and describing "scientific socialism" which was the transition phase from the present day capitalist political infrastucture into that stateless, classless society which is communism. The main difference between anarchists and Marxists would be that we desire to abolish the state right away whereas Marxists would have the workers seize the state and have democratic control over it: they believe the state would naturally wither away over time following the overthrow of capitalism and the new revolutionary mindset adopted by the workers which can only be enhanced through managing their own line of trade and having new found political power.

    If you want more detail on how a stateless society should look, check here:

    http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secIcon.html

    This section comes from an anarchist FAQ which provides a wealth of valuable resources on anarchism for free:

    http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/index.html

    Edit - Animal Farm was written as a response by the libertarian socialist, George Orwell, to the authoritarian practice of Communism (large C) by the USSR. I refer to this as Bolshevism and not communism. The workers had no real democratic control of the state, particularly under Stalin and as such it was never going to advance into the final stages of a stateless, classless society as realised by Marx. Some people falsely interpret the book as a reaction against communism altogether - George Orwell fought alongside the Spanish anarchists against Franco's troops and had nothing but admiration for their libertarian communities as can be seen in his book, "Homage to Catalonia".
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Alexr115)
    It's impossible to have any true kind of system, they all end up going tits up anyway.
    Quite true but in a hypothetical world communism is probably the best system

    [QUOTE=Alexr115;28839934 This global economic crisis is a perfect example of capitalism failing.[/QUOTE]

    yea i would agree with you there but capitalism is a system that can exist when there are people that dont follow it communism cannot.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I have just founded this society. Would any of you be interested in joining?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Gerd Loki)
    I have just founded this society. Would any of you be interested in joining?
    By "immediate conversion to a pure communist state" [communist state is an oxymoron by the way], do you mean no dictatorship of the proletariat? If so, it should be named "Anarchist Society", not "Communist Society". Libertarian communist society, would suffice though - in fact I would like to see such a society which is inclusive to all forms of libertarian communism, including social anarchism, situationism, council communism, autonomism, etc. It would be good to discuss with such a wide array of non-authoritarian ideologies.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AnarchistNutter)
    By "immediate conversion to a pure communist state" [communist state is an oxymoron by the way], do you mean no dictatorship of the proletariat? If so, it should be named "Anarchist Society", not "Communist Society". Libertarian communist society, would suffice though - in fact I would like to see such a society which is inclusive to all forms of libertarian communism, including social anarchism, situationism, council communism, autonomism, etc. It would be good to discuss with such a wide array of non-authoritarian ideologies.
    This does indeed sound like the direction I would like to be heading in. The Society is very keen to avoid the type of dictatorial regimes seen in previous 'communist' experiments.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Gerd Loki)
    This does indeed sound like the direction I would like to be heading in. The Society is very keen to avoid the type of dictatorial regimes seen in previous 'communist' experiments.
    So a dictatorship of the proletariat, or no dictatorship of the proletariat?

    There are different types of transitional phases (to a stateless society) there is (to name a few very briefly):

    *a dictatorship of the proletariat (worker's state) in which there is a state but the working class have seized hold of it and every citizen has equal democratic to sovereignty (i.e. every citizen has right to pass laws, vote on laws, be involved in the distribution of labour, etc.) - all military arms are taken from the military which is broken up and the arms are deconcentrated and spread around the population. The military persuaded to give up their arms and sort of "merge" into the population and help the workers overthrow any hostile military intervention from the bourgeois.
    *a vanguard party (like in the USSR and China where a single party is elected to act in the interests of the working class until "the time is right" to pass the state into the hands of the working class - the party "vanguards" are the "leaders" of the working class)
    *an anarchist revolution in which grass roots worker's organisations take over from the state and operate based upon principles of direct democracy. Again, we attempe to dismantle the military (and therefore the state) and spread arms around the population.

    So you see, "communism" is a vague concept. Libertarian communism would refer to a more democratic transitional phase, such as a genuinely democratic dictatorship of the proletariat or an anarchist revolution. There are lots of different splinter groups who all bicker with each other about the various ways to organise the working class (e.g. situationism, autonomous Marxism, council communism, anarchism, etc.). There were several attempted counter-revolutions against the Bolshevik regime by left communist groups such as the followers of Luxembourg, then of course there was the revolt by the anarchist militia (voluntary citizen's army) - the Kronstadt sailors which was brutally suppressed by Trotsky's Red Army.

    The end goal of society would be along the lines of something like this: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...1&postcount=21 -> that would be communism in its purest form.

    A more detailed "group description" would be nice - given the vagueness of the term "communist"
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by chloeee!)
    So it says in my text book, "...once the class system had been abolished, the state would lose its reason for existence. The resulting society would therefore be stateless as well as classless." How could a society possibly be stateless? Isn't it ridiculously idealistic to imagine that in a communist society there won't be some who will try and rise above everybody else, and if there's no state how can laws etc be implemented? I know this is what Animal Farm is about, and I'm not alone in my confusion, but surely Marx must have had an answer to these questions - what was it?
    I'd reckon the majority of societies across space and time have been stateless - the modern state, after all, only dates back to Europe in the 1600's. For Marx, the state has evolved in the way it has as a result of economic relations - the bureaucratic, faceless, rule-of-law state only came into existence because that's what capitalism needed. In a society after capitalism governance would take a different form.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Animal farm is the story of Stalin and Trotsky. Orwell even said this himself. Napoleon is Stalin and Snowball is trotsky. Orwell takes the propaganda against trotsky at the time and shows this via Snowball. Remember Snowball escapes after a split in deciding the leader. Snowball is blamed for all of the problems by Napoleon. Orwell didn't do anything that ingenius, he simply did a Satire about a commonly understood occurrence. As for this stuff about Marx's stateless society. Marx never really mentions this, and it's never really an issue for him. Engels does discuss the Withering Away of the State, which he contributed to Marx, and there are some hints in Marx's work where he suggests the collapse over time of what we would take as 'the state' or how we view it, what it means, by ideological conditioning, the absorption of information which shapes us, moulds us, gives us our opinion. So a state can mean many things. When Engels talks about the state he simply means the Hierarchical bourgeois structure we conform to and which controls us politically and economically. Lenin suggests communism would be a moneyless and stateless society of freely associating individuals and he repeats this quite a bit. Stalin also suggests dissolving the state, but not while there is a risk from outside, and instead used the rhetoric that strong nationalisation and defence would be required first. So when people say 'marx was against the state, or statism' all this really means is that he was trying to visualise the end of capitalism and 'the state' that accompanies capitalism, which is both the consequential state, consequential of capital accumulation and wealth power, and the intervening state, which in a cyclical fashion upholds, ar attempts to, the capitalism which gives it its form, power and hierarchy. Marx was definitely against that kind of state, but we can't say he would be against all kinds of governance, all kinds of centralism, all kinds of planning, laws, collective agreements, because he would not be so naive as to imagine that humans can eject these potentially authority creating behaviours from society. People will always need to make agreements, need to abide by rules, live with some degree of order. This is still in essence governance and a kind of statism. Making a mountain out of the statelessness thing is infantile, it's a bit like seeing 'anarchism is about saying **** you to authority and the state' and just thinking 'that sounds cool, i like anarchism now' without actually considering the real attempts at anarchism, what it meant in the real world. But i suppose today we live our lives in social media, we want it to shape us and make us our perfect online self. We want to promote ourselves as all knowing, and perfect creations of neoliberalism! Touché!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by chloeee!)
    So it says in my text book, "...once the class system had been abolished, the state would lose its reason for existence. The resulting society would therefore be stateless as well as classless." How could a society possibly be stateless? Isn't it ridiculously idealistic to imagine that in a communist society there won't be some who will try and rise above everybody else, and if there's no state how can laws etc be implemented? I know this is what Animal Farm is about, and I'm not alone in my confusion, but surely Marx must have had an answer to these questions - what was it?
    Isn't that what Juncker is calling for
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    -- /-- /----
    ↑__↑__↑
    Day Month Year
 
 
 
Poll
Do you think parents should charge rent?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.