Today, I will present the third installment of “State and Counter Revolution: A Critical History of the Marxist Theory of the State” by Tom Clark, a former comrade of mine from the long departed Communist Workers Group (ML). Today's post will include Chapter One.
As another friend, Rick Atkinison, writes in his background to the work:
The over-arching point of Mr. Clark’s critique was that the petty bourgeois intelligentsia, whether advocating for imperialism or socialism and regardless of the social structure within which they live, could only continue to exist as part of a parasitical strata. It is “parasitical” because in order to be “free” to pursue interesting ideas, conduct “principled” debate, research, write, etc. the intelligentsia must be supplied with the means of subsistence without “having to actually work for a living” (Ibid.). The essence of petty bourgeois ideological work, whether capitalist or socialist, then, is simply to define and proselytize “how the privileged status of their kind is to be secured.”
Tom writes in Chapter One presented below:
It is important to note here that Lenin justifies the contradiction between the Manifesto (using the old apparatus) and the Eighteenth Brumaire (smashing it) on the grounds that Marx was only being true to historical materialism. Before 1848-51, according to Lenin’s reasoning, it was not possible for Marx to draw the theoretical conclusion that “smashing” was necessary. “It was not logical reasoning...”, Lenin writes,”...but the actual experience of 1848-51, that led to the matter being presented in this way...”(Ibid... p.409). Marx “...held strictly to the solid ground of historical experience...”(Ibid...). So much so, in fact, that even though he concluded in 1852 that the state must be demolished, he did not venture to say what it should be replaced with until after the Paris Commune in 1871. Marx, Lenin writes, “...did not indulge in utopias; he expected the experience of the mass movement to provide the reply...”(Ibid... p.417). The significance of Lenin’s reasoning here will become clear when we consider the development of Marx and Engels’ views in greater detail.
PART THREE OF...