In a message dated 2/22/2009 6:18:37 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, Waistline2  
But Lenin wrote (in State and Revolution) that the withering away  of  
the state begins at the very instance when the proletariat ("the  armed  
working class") takes power.  The Commune-state is "a state  of a new  
type."  The soviet state, alas, though not "strangled at  birth" by the  
Wilsons and Churchills was subjected to grave injuries  that led to its  
violent death at the hands of the Stalinist  counterrevolution in the  
years 1935-1939.

Shane  Mage

What Lenin wrote should not prevent anyone from  thinking and looking - 
shifting through history and the facts, especially when  fundamentally 
interpretation exists. If the states begin to wither,  why not simple state 
this means and meant in the Soviet context?  

The Stalin regime did not over throw the state. Perhaps you mean  the Soviet 
form, but this cannot be ascertain from is written. The state is an  
organization of violence, bottom line. The matter of the "Soviet form" or  
council form of organization, a question that has fascinated me for  decades, 
leading to studying this matter, cannot be confused with the existence  of the 
state as an organization of violence expressing the irreconcilability of  class 
antagonism and the rule of a class.  

Issues dealing  with the state as a class power and instrument of violence, 
becomes clearer in  my mind by remembering the Marxist definition of the state 
as the product of the  irreconcilably of class antagonism. Such discussion are 
difficult for me because  no one ever define or clarify what we mean by 
different terms and concepts and  instead assume everyone understands concepts 
same way.  
The Soviet state, whose name was the Soviet Power, must not be confused  with 
and identified as "the Soviet government." 

The Soviet state  was above all a state or the organization of violence: the 
organization of the  proletarian class as the state power, and the task of the 
state as state, was to  guarantee the rule of a class, with the force of 
arms. The Soviet state was a  state of a new type because for the second time 
history, this organization of  violence was welded as an instrument of rule by 
the majority against the  minority. In my opinion that is what Lenin meant, 
rather than the peculiar form  or organization of this violence. 

This state as state, is very  different from the meaning and role of 
government, which is not the organization  of violence in the hands of a class, 
the committee system, no matter what is  peculiar form. The committee system 
write the day to day economic and political  agenda for society as well as 
the society's constitutional laws. This  included an overlapping function of 
suppressing the resistance of the exploiting  class; of organizing a blue print 
for a socialist economy on the basis of the  existing level of productive 
forces, even when such a level did not exist during  the time of Lenin, and 
consequently was not possible. The state does not  organize the plan, the 
precisely because it is the state, rather than  the government. 

(Pardon, let me get a coffee, which I should not  be drinking but here goes 
another two hours.) 

In the everyday  practical life of people, the Soviet government (not the 
state) was the top  section of this same state organization, its top employees, 
organized as bureaus  composed of party and non-party people. The government 
may make mistakes - (the  bureaus or committee system); may commit endless 
absurdities, atrocities and  blunders fraught with the danger of a temporary 
collapse of the dictatorship of  the proletariat - class rule; but that would 
mean that the proletarian  dictatorship, as the principle of the structure of 
the Soviet state as class  rule is wrong or mistaken. 

This is so because the state is the  embodiment of the class rule of a class. 
Nor is the state or government the  meaning of bureaucracy.  Bad policy only 
mean that the top leadership is  bad, that the policy of the top leadership, 
the policy of the government, is not  in conformity with the dictatorship of 
the proletariat and must be changed in  conformity with the demands of the 
dictatorship of the proletariat as the rule  of a class. Rule of a class is a 
property relation. The state first and last  reason for existence is to protect 
property relations of a society, by  violent means. 
The Soviet state and the Soviet government are alike in their class nature,  
but the government is narrower dimensionally, and does not embrace the whole  
state. Nor does the state as a whole embrace the government as a whole. They 
are  organically connected and interdependent because the state is an 
instrument of  class rule, but that does not mean that they may be lumped 

The state must not be confused with our government, just as the  proletarian 
class must not be confused with the top leadership of the  proletarian class 
in government or the Soviet party. Our government in America  should not be 
confused with the capitalist class; nor should the Senate and  House of 
Representatives be confused with all the police departments in the  country or 
Pentagon as the state made organizational. In this sense Marx  wrote that 
government serves as the executive committee - not the state, of the  
class, writing its economic and political agenda. 

The  difference between the state and government is the difference between 
the Senate  and the Pentagon. This same distinction existed during the era of 
Soviet Power.  The Senate could be abolished overnight but that would not 
abolish the state or  change one single molecule that is class rule.  

Likewise to  flatten "everything" into the concept "Soviet state" = the 
state+ the  government, + the party, + the class, + the self organization of 
workers  arising as product/by product of 1905, confuses matters terribly, in 
opinion.  This "flattening" of everything prevents one from unraveling the 
essence of the  "Soviet form" of government; Soviet form of 
workplace/territorial organization;  Soviet form of Solider's and peasants 
organizations; which is 
not identical with  the meaning of the Soviet form of the state. 

American democracy is  a bourgeois democracy but this tell us virtually 
nothing about how the  government organizes the democracy and even less about 

All the above kinds of Soviet organizational forms have the same  class 
essence. Why?  Because of the government and states class essence.  The 
is an executive committee administering on behalf of a class and  workers 
councils define themselves in an environment where proletarian class  rule 
Tyranny, real and perceived, does not define class as a property  relations 
and as class expresses a historically specific stage of development of  
production. To abolish these forms of organization, i.e., the Soviet form, does 
= abolishing the state or the class essence of the state or = changing the  
property relations. 

The Soviet form of the state is strictly a  question of the rule of a class 
and how this class blocks the operation of the  unrestrictive law and value as 
an expression of class rule; how it organizes its  organization of violence 
and then . . . then . . .! uses the government as the  instrument - committee, 
to enforce Constitutional laws - the laws, that prevent  wealth accumulation 
from being converted into ownership of the means of  production; and unleashing 
the resultant competition between capital. In  addition government, not the 
state, is charged with all the basic modern  functions of any other government. 
Things like the water supply or the  electricity grid, keeping the trains 
running and so on. These are not the arena  or reasonability of the state or 
expresses it essences as function and reason  for existing. 

The the day-to-day policy of the Soviet government -  (not the state), 
basically amounted to the ways and means by which the class  aims of the 
dictatorship could be realized in a peasant country.  

The proletarian state was needed in order to crush the resistance  of the 
exploiters, to organize a socialist economy, to abolish classes, etc.  under 
conditions where abolishing class was not possible. What was abolished was  the 
class antagonism. Here the word antagonism does not mean violence but in the  
way Marx and Engels used the term. 

The Soviet government was  needed, in addition to all this, to chart the ways 
and means (the day-to-day  policy), without which the accomplishment of these 
tasks would be unthinkable in  a country, where the proletariat constitutes a 
minority, and the peasantry the  overwhelming majority. 

The reason one section of communists felt  the party had replaced the state 
is because, a). the absolute top members of  government also welded/wielded 
power as party members b.) the power of the state  was also wielded by party 
member, often the same persons. Here is what would  becomes a source of and 
expression of bureaucratism, but this  configuration is not the source of 

"A workers' state  is an abstraction. Actually, what we have is, firstly, a 
workers' state with the  peculiarity that the population of our country is not 
predominantly working  class, but peasant; and, secondly, a workers' state 
with a bureaucratic  distortion" (Lenin).   

Finally Engels wrote:  

Society thus far, operating amid class antagonisms, needed the  state, that 
is, an organization of the particular exploiting class, for the  maintenance of 
its external conditions of production, and, therefore,  especially, for the 
purpose of forcibly keeping the exploited class in the  conditions of 
oppression determined by the given mode of production (slavery,  serfdom or 
wage-labor). The state was the official representative of  society as a whole, 
its concentration in a visible corporation. But it was this  only insofar as it 
was the state of that class which itself represented, for its  own time, 
society as a whole: in ancient times, the state of slave-owning  citizens; in 
Middle Ages, of the feudal nobility; in our own time, of the  bourgeoisie. 
When at last it becomes the real representative of the whole of  society, it 
renders itself unnecessary. As soon as there is no longer any social  class to 
held in subjection, as soon as class rule, and the individual  struggle for 
existence based upon the present anarchy in production, with the  collisions 
excesses arising from this struggle, are removed, nothing more  remains to be 
held in subjection — nothing necessitating a special coercive  force, a 
state. The first act by which the state really comes forward as the  
of the whole of society — the taking possession of the means of  production 
in the name of society — is also its last independent act as a  state." (end 

The Soviet state as class rule, was not  murdered or died or was put to death 
by the Stalin regime . . . . .  Unless  one can show in clear simple terms 
how the class rule of the proletariat was put  to death; shattered, and another 
state was consolidated and released  the  unrestricted law of value and its 
operations, reconstructing Soviet society on a  capitalist basis in 1939.  

Something indeed happened in the  Soviet Union under the Stalin regime 
including the loss of the Soviet form, but  that is not the meaning of the 
state and 
state power.    

Here is why I am reluctant to address such questions because one  must start 
at the beginning. 
And this is not even the beginning but explaining my understanding of the  
difference between the state and government; the Soviet form and why the Soviet 
form was not the dictatorship of the proletariat but an organizational form 
of  the dictatorship.
Please forgive long sentences and bad articulations. Then nothing was said  
of bureaucracy, its origins and growth and how it is to be combated today. 


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