What is the State?
by Ken Smith and William
A DEFINING feature of Marxism, which sets it apart
from other political trends, is its theory of the state and its programme
and policies for dealing with it. But what is the state?
The Welfare State: State Intervention.
IN MODERN society, the term 'state' is used in many
contexts. Probably one of the most frequent is in 'the welfare state' or
'state intervention' for example to shore up failing firms. This really
refers to central provision by government of an infrastructure, a
framework for the development of society.
Even such provision as the welfare state bears the
marks of class society. The various services and benefits were conceded by
capitalism because of the need, particularly in times of full employment,
for a healthier, more exploitable population. It was also conceded, after
the second world war especially, when they feared a more far reaching
working-class movement if concessions were not made.
However, this has always been an area of conflict.
The working class has seen the welfare state as a vital safety net, which
provides basic health, education and security. The capitalists use such
provision to discipline workers, for example, by withdrawing benefits from
They also use different wings of the state to uphold
their capitalist ideology. For example, the government attacks on single
parents or the continual harassment and implication of laziness in
relation to the long-term unemployed. In this way they attempt to deflect
blame from themselves onto the victims of their system and undermine the
confidence of those who campaign for better benefits.
But also, state intervention has been to provide
cheap utilities such as gas, electricity and transport to private industry
to maximise their profits. They were also important to the quality of life
of working-class people.
Any society needs provisions of this sort. In a
socialist society, they would be massively expanded, run for need not
profit and subject to democratic control by workers and users. The
resources would be provided by a planned, democratically controlled
However, the main sense in which Marxists use the
term 'state' is to describe the institutions by which class rule is
maintained. We live in a class society where the ruling class does not
represent the interests of the whole population, where a minority
maintains its power and privileges by exploiting the majority. They have
to persuade the majority to accept this situation.
They do this partly though their control of ideas,
for example, through their ownership of the mass media, their general
control of education and other institutions. They try to persuade people
that their system is the only and best way of organising society, almost
to the extent of being "natural".
But their ideas and system clash with the interests
of working class people. For example, if the working class believed the
news and political commentators they would never go on strike. But workers
find that without organisation and a willingness to take action, they
cannot maintain living standards.
So, when propaganda and conditioning fail and
working-class people and even sections of the middle classes oppose the
ruling class, the ruling class use the police, the courts, the law and
sometimes the army to defend their profits and power. They did this, for
example, in their efforts to defeat the 1984-85 miners’ strike and
during the anti-capitalist marches in Genoa (where a protester was shot
They need a special apparatus to ensure that their
class rule continues. The core of the state, the part which it falls back
on to ensure its rule when all else fails, is the repressive apparatus -
the police, the army, the courts and the various intelligence agencies
like Ml5. (Engels described the state as ultimately being "a body of
armed men"). Carrying through the transition to a socialist society
inevitably includes major strategic and tactical problems in defeating
these agencies which exist to defend capitalist class rule.
Has the 'state' always existed?
IF YOU never read another work of Marxism again, you
should read Lenin's brilliant booklet 'The State and Revolution'. Lenin
explains that the state arose when society first divided into antagonistic
For centuries humans lived in egalitarian societies,
what Marx and Engels referred to as 'primitive communism', where all
people were dependent on one another and co-operation was the guiding
principle of society. However, as labour became more productive, society
produced a surplus beyond its immediate needs.
This created the conditions for class society - the
minority who came firstly to administer and then to control and own this
surplus protected their right to it by force. The class with economic
dominance and power, the ruling class, created the state to protect
itself, hold down its adversaries and guarantee that its will was done.
This is a very important point because the reverse is also true. When
classes themselves disappear, as a classless socialist society comes into
being, that same force will no longer be needed.
In a famous phrase of Marx, the state would begin to
Class society based on the private ownership of the
means of producing wealth has taken different forms. When the capitalist
class began to develop, they had to wage a Civil War in the 1640s against
the existing feudal state to establish a new state that would serve their
own capitalist, class interests. They became the new ruling class.
Different Forms of Capitalist State
THE ‘TYPICAL’ form of state in the advanced
capitalist countries today is capitalist ('bourgeois') democracy.
Governments are elected by general election, and there are wide democratic
freedoms - although in many countries these are under threat. Bourgeois
– that is, capitalist - democracy hasn't always existed: the labour
movement has carried out long struggles to win democratic freedoms such as
the right to vote, to organise and the right to strike. Women also had to
fight for the vote.
In many ways bourgeois democracy is more convenient
for the capitalists, enabling them to maintain their domination without
risky and unpopular dictatorial measures. In the last 60 years, the
capitalist class has had some nasty experiences with non-democratic forms
of rule - for example, fascism in Germany and Italy cost a world war and
In the last analysis however, if the capitalists
feel threatened by the growing power of the working class, they will
resort to other forms of capitalist state. In the 20th century typical
alternatives to capitalist democracy have been military dictatorship (such
as existed in Greece after the colonels' coup in 1967, or Chile after the
military coup in 1973) and fascism, such as existed in Germany under
Hitler and Italy under Mussolini. In both military dictatorships and
fascist regimes, democratic parliamentary rights, trade union and
political rights, are abolished and the ruling class gives power to a
small group which governs by coercion and terror.
The type of regime which emerges in each historical
period depends on how confident the bourgeoisie feels to grant democratic
But every ruling class will revert to authoritarian
forms of rule if it has to. The ruling class in Britain is no exception.
In a revealing insight in his book, Inside Right, Tory MP
Ian Gilmour (now Lord Gilmour and a former member of Thatcher's cabinet)
stated: "Conservatives do not worship democracy... For
Conservatives... democracy is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
And if it is leading to an end that is undesirable or is inconsistent with
itself, then there is a theoretical case for ending it."
There have been many occasions when the British
ruling class discussed whether or not military intervention was necessary.
In 1977, The Observer carried the following report:
"Field-Marshall Lord Carver was chosen as Britain's Commissioner in
Zimbabwe because he is a man the government knows it can trust. Carver's
proving time came three years ago when he was the focus of tensions in
right-wing army circles that gave rise to talk of military intervention in
a political emergency.
"This time the trouble was over contingency
plans for a breakdown in public order after a clash between the government
and the trade unions... The Army Council decided that such plans were
unnecessary - and indeed that to make them would be politically unwise.
Their absence became a talking point in the Army when the 1973 miners'
strike and state of emergency precipitated a general election."
(Observer 4 September 1977).
It's obvious from the language here that the option
of military intervention was not dismissed out of hand, considered
outrageous, illegal or treacherous - just "unwise". Elaborate
plans are in place to revert to dictatorial government if necessary.
Is capitalist democracy really democratic?
PRO-CAPITALIST POLITICAL theorists say there are two
forms of state - 'dictatorship' and 'democracy'. Both of them are ways of
ensuring that the ruling class stays in control. Marxists defend
democratic rights but say that real democracy cannot exist so long as
economic and social power is in the hands of a ruling capitalist class.
Capitalist ideologues say the system is 'democratic'
because of the right to vote, and (within limits) there is the right of
free speech and of political organisation. A typical argument is that 'if
you want to change things, you can always stand for parliament.' In
reality things are a bit more complicated. Under bourgeois democracy, the
capitalist class keeps its power in the following ways:
It controls the economy:
This, of course, is the basic, most important source
of capitalist power, giving it vast resources to ensure the continuation
of its rule. Through their control of the workplaces and financial
institutions they can decide, for example, that thousands of workers are
put on the dole, destroy communities and evict thousands from their homes.
It dominates ideologically:
As Marx said:"The ruling ideas of any epoch are
the ideas of the ruling class". The means of communication
(newspapers, television etc) are either directly owned by the capitalists
or controlled by their political representatives. Capitalist ideas -
although sometimes challenged by Marxists - are reproduced in the
universities and many other institutions.
It controls the judiciary and the civil service:
Leading civil servants – the Whitehall ‘mandarins'
- are not elected, but career officers who earn vast salaries and have the
same lifestyle as many capitalists. They often commute between industry
In 1990, 373 Ministry of Defence officials and
officers in the armed forces left to take jobs in industry, most of them
with arms contractors. (Pallister and Norton-Taylor 1992). The tops of the
civil service stay in office whoever is elected. They decide what
information is presented and what options are available to politicians.
They are recruited from the same public school and Oxbridge background as
leading capitalist politicians, and of course the judges.
Law in Britain is not just made by Parliament; it is
also made by unelected judges, who are overwhelmingly elderly males from a
privileged background. This doesn't mean that groups necessarily take a
For example, the whole justice system is held in
open contempt by most people because of cases like the Birmingham Six,
Guildford Four, the M25 Three, Winston Silcott and Oliver Campbell. A
special division of the Home Office looks at about 600 "miscarriages
of justice" a year.
Some judges are concerned about the credibility of
their system and are therefore prepared to admit to some mistakes and
release some people. They hope that in this way the idea of
"impartial justice" can be recreated, the better to use their
powers against more fundamental challenges to the capitalist system.
The capitalist class controls official politics:
In fact the whole 'democratic' structure is designed
to keep working people out. Politics for most people is confined to voting
once every few years. Most leading politicians are professionals -
lawyers, journalists, doctors, company directors etc - and many Tory
politicians are themselves capitalists.
Using the 'democratic' system is much easier if you
have power and money, if you have access to the press and television. This
makes it much easier for the capitalists than for working-class
organisations - although, as we discuss below, socialists try to take
advantage of every democratic opening that capitalism allows.
Parliament has been referred to as "the best
club in the world" where there is a tendency to absorb any working
class leaders or reform-minded MPs through its conventions and privileges.
A large number of MPs, including Labour MPs, become directors of companies
especially ex-public sector companies. Even the wages and expenses of MPs
allows them a lifestyle far above what most people can afford. In this way
they are insulated from the effects of their policies.
That is why we adhere to the policy of a workers’
MP on a worker's wage for those who claim to represent the interests of
the working class.
There can be no real democracy without economic
democracy, no real democracy without ordinary people having access to
decision making. The only real democracy is socialist democracy.
Repressive apparatuses of the State
EVERY FORM of class rule, every form of capitalist
rule, involves various forms of coercion. Even under bourgeois democracy,
where there are lots of formal democratic freedoms, the bourgeoisie
utilises repression, sometimes in vast quantities. A good contemporary
example is the penal system in the United States. Of nearly two million
prisoners 60% are black, overwhelmingly young men: the system is, at least
in part, an instrument of repression against the black community.
Here, we shall briefly look at the different
repressive branches of the British state:
The legal system.
In any society there tends to be a body of rules or
laws which are broadly accepted by society. These outlaw anti-social
behaviour such as murder, physical attack, theft etc. It’s through such
laws and their enforcement that the state acquires its reputation as a
neutral regulator of society.
However, law under capitalism is class law. It
exists to enforce the rights of property. This is the case both with the
civil law, which concerns itself with things like enforcing debt and
contract, and also with the criminal law.
Marxists, of course, are not opposed to legal
sanctions against anti-social crimes - domestic burglary and crimes of
violence, for example. However, the way in which even the criminal law is
applied is class-biased: if you're working class, if you're black, if you
are a working-class woman, then you stand a much greater chance of being
convicted or going to jail. Half the prisoners in Britain are there for
crimes relating to debt, or are on remand. One in four women are jailed
for a first offence compared with one in 17 men.
23% of women are jailed for theft compared to 11% of
men. 80% of women sent to prison are unemployed or on benefit; in effect
they are penalised for "crimes of poverty". You stand a much
greater chance of going to jail if you are convicted of a bank robbery of
£1,000, than if you are convicted of a City swindle of £5 million!
Marx explained the so-called neutrality of the law
is undermined by inequalities in income. For example, it is a crime for
both rich and poor to steal food. But the poor are much more likely to be
forced to steal than the rich who can afford to buy all the food they
In addition, there is a series of blatantly
political, class laws, relating to things like public order and industrial
relations - most notoriously these were the Criminal Justice Act and the
various anti-trade union laws introduced by the Tories, which are to do
with making it more difficult for working class people to fight the
attacks of the bosses.
New Labour has since added a whole new range of
repressive laws, which clamp down on civil liberties. And although New
Labour has amended some of the Tory anti-union laws, it is still the case
that Britain has among the harshest anti-union laws in the world.
In many ways these are designed to intimidate and
prevent people taking action. Yet, as many movements show, such as that
which led to the freeing of the Pentonville dockers in 1972, the law
cannot restrict the scope of working-class struggle once united action and
solidarity come into play.
In putting forward these laws, the ruling class,
echoed by the leaders of the labour and trade union movement appeal to
workers to 'abide by the law'. They rely on the general consensus that may
exist for the laws dealing with crime in order to persuade workers that
they must abide by political laws.
Although this can have an effect in holding back the
movement for a time, it tends to break down as it comes into conflict with
the need of workers to defend their working and living conditions. In this
respect the Anti-Poll Tax movement was an important breakthrough. It
popularised the idea that unjust laws can be successfully defied.
The introduction of such laws cannot be seen as a
sign of strength but weakness. It indicates the ruling class are losing
the consensus which allowed them to rule with less expense and trouble in
the past. It also reveals the real character of capitalism to
It is this tactical consideration which has led to
splits amongst the ruling class themselves and amongst those responsible
for administering the state machine. At the top of society this is a
tactical issue. They fear a loss of authority if the state doesn't appear
neutral. At lower levels of the state administration, these measures
heighten the conflict between the political use of the state and the
commitment, for example, of many probation officers, social workers and
some prison officers, who see their job as making a practical contribution
to society through the rehabilitation of offenders.
The police, together with the army, constitute the
central "body of armed people" which is at the centre of the
state apparatus. They are the first line of defence against anything which
disturbs the public order of capitalism. In the last 20 years, as social
tensions have increased, the myth of the ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ type
copper, sorting out lost cats and helping the elderly across the road, has
The thinking of leading policemen today - a time of
increasing political and social tension - indicates that they well
understand their basic function in defending capitalism. Former Chief
Constable of Greater Manchester, James Anderton once said: "I think
that from the police point of view that my task in the future... that
basic crime as such - theft, burglary and even violent crimes - will not
be the predominant police feature. What will be the matter of greatest
concern to me will be covert and ultimately overt attempts to overthrow
democracy, to subvert the authority of the state, and in fact to involve
themselves in acts of sedition designed to destroy our parliamentary
system and the democratic government in this country."
The large-scale involvement of the police against
strikers and demonstrators, rather than against traditional 'crime', shows
where the real policing priorities currently lie. In fact the Dock Green
myth of the friendly neighbourhood bobby could only have come out of the
relative social peace of the 1950s and early 1960s.
The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was a watershed for
many people. On the field around the coke depot at Orgreave (just outside
Sheffield) on 18 June 1984, 4,200 police officers organised into 181
teams, with 58 dogs and 50 horses trying to intimidate and break the
spirit of the miners. The fierce repression of the miners’ strike and
the poll tax demonstration were not aberrations, but a more open return to
the traditional ‘priorities’ of the police.
Some sections of the working class and even the
middle class, especially young people, are antagonistic to the police. But
working-class people are also worried about crime, which they are the main
victims of. They feel the police are needed to deal with situations they
cannot tackle themselves.
The police use this fear of crime to build support
for themselves and demand more power and resources. We campaign for the
accountability of the police. After all if their role really is to protect
people from theft and physical attack, what possible objection can there
be to being accountable to those they are allegedly protecting?
The Socialist Party campaigns for a democratic check
on the police; for elected committees to have the right to hold them to
account and to determine priorities and resources.
Not only should such committees be elected but
groups that face political policing like the trade unions, black and Asian
groups should have direct representation. We also campaign for a fully
independent complaints committee, an independent forensic evidence system,
for the weeding out of racist officers and for the reinstitution of the
right to silence for those subjected to harassment and arrest.
Boston Police Commissioner, Robert Di Grazia once
said: "We are not letting the public into our dirty little secret
that those who commit the crime that worries the citizen most, violent
street crime, are, for the most part, the products of poverty,
unemployment, broken homes, rotten education, drug addiction and
alcoholism, and other social ills about which the police can do little, if
He denounces the politicians who "get away with
law and order rhetoric that reinforces the mistaken notion that the
police, in ever greater numbers and with ever more gadgetry, can alone
The regular British army was built as a colonial
army with worldwide operations to ensure the power of the British state
against colonial peoples. The armed forces are vital for the security of
the capitalist state against other capitalist states. But the army is also
the last line of defence against revolution and civil disorder.
"Assisting the civil power", ie intervening in civil
disturbances in Britain is a traditional part of the role of the army.
The army was used extensively during the industrial
disputes in 1910-1914, and again from 1919-1926. The army was used against
the miners of Tonypandy in 1912, intervened when the police went on strike
in 1919 in Liverpool and were used extensively during the 1926 General
Strike. The army was used to try and break the firefighters' strike in
1977 and was used once again in the firefighters’ dispute of 2002-2003.
Major disturbances, which the police were unable to
handle, would again see the attempted used of the army: however, with the
semi-militarisation of sections of the police (riot squads etc) this would
probably require a higher threshold of disorder than before. It is
well-known that the army has detailed contingency plans for domestic
counter-revolutionary and "low-intensity" mainland British
The political police.
Every capitalist state operates one or more secret
police services, which are in large part aimed at following and disrupting
what they call "subversive elements" (ie political movements
like the Socialist Party, militant trade unionists and radical activists
of every kind who oppose their policies and their system). Their role has
been exposed in The Enemy Within, a book by journalist
Seumas Milne, about their role in the miners' strike and their attempt,
linked to the Cook Report programme and the Daily Mirror, to destroy the
NUM leader Arthur Scargill "politically and socially". This
culminated in an abortive attempt by intelligence services to deposit
£500,000 in a Scargill-linked bank account in Dublin with the aim of
framing him as an embezzler.
More recently the BBC programme True Spies claimed
that MI5 had sent agents into organisations like Militant (the forerunner
of the Socialist Party) and also recruited trade union leaders as agents
in order to keep radical ideas in check. Whether or not this was the case,
the state’s activities did not stop Militant leading a successful
struggle to defend jobs and services in Liverpool City Council and the
magnificent campaign that defeated Thatcher’s hated poll tax.
Peculiarities of the British state
THE BRITISH state today is obviously a form of
bourgeois democracy; but it has its own peculiarities, which are not
shared by other major bourgeois democracies like the United States and
France. These mainly stem from the fact that Britain is a monarchy and not
The British government, although in practice
elected, is "His/Her Majesty's government". The monarch has to
sign parliamentary bills before they become law; has the right to appoint
the prime minister and the government (irrespective of who has the
parliamentary majority) and has the right to dissolve Parliament. MPs,
army officers, judges and, indeed, all senior government officers, swear
loyalty to the Crown and not Parliament. This means that in a time of
crisis, the monarch could dismiss the parliament, and if necessary utilise
the armed forces against the will of Parliament.
It was the Queen's representative in Australia, Sir
John Kerr, who dismissed the Labour government of Gough Whitlam in
November 1975. In November 1994, as the government of John Major faced
collapse and Major threatened a general election, Tory right-wingers dug
up the "Lascelles Memorandum" written by a senior civil servant
which pointed out that the monarch had the power to call elections not
The unique constitutional role of the monarchy, and
its potential value in a crisis situation, is one reason why sections of
the ruling class are so worried about the undermining of the standing of
the monarchy through the recent spate of scandals (like the Burrell
affair). Demands for the abolition of the monarchy are not just about
chucking out a few parasites, they involve basic democratic rights.
The British state is also unusual in having a
non-elected second chamber. the House of Lords. At a time of heightened
class struggle, with a socialist majority in the Commons, the Lords could
and would obviously be used to sabotage socialist measures.
The capitalist state and the Marxist programme.
Marxists fight for:
(a)The retention and extension of democratic rights
Just as we fight for reforms under capitalism or to
defend past gains we support every democratic gain that can be made by
working-class people and their organisations. Trotsky called the rights of
working-class political and trade union organisation "embryos of
proletarian democracy" within capitalism.
Democratic reforms limit the power of the
capitalists and increase the rights and ability to mobilise the working
class and its allies. Thus we fight, for example, for the repeal of all
anti-trade union legislation, racist immigration laws and other forms of
repressive and discriminatory legislation.
We support the abolition of the House of Lords,
votes for 16-year-olds, and a socialist independent Scotland, if that is
what the people of Scotland (or other countries) want. And, we support
democratic reform of the legal system - for example the right to legal aid
and the election of judges.
(b) Using democratic rights.
Marxists attempt to utilise every possible avenue to
get their ideas across to recruit people to the struggle against the
bosses and the fight for socialism. We have stood candidates in both
general and local elections to convince people of the need for socialism
and also to organise a fightback now to maintain the living standards of
the working class.
(c) Undermining the repressive apparatuses of the
We demand the total abolition of the secret police -
Ml5 and the Special Branch. We also raise the demand of the abolition of
specialist police units like the riot squad, whose function is to attack
legitimate protests. We also call for an end to the racist police
harassment meted out by use of stop and search powers.
These democratic demands correspond to the
increasingly radicalised consciousness of wide sections of more advanced
workers and youth.
However, despite our understanding of their
objective role, simple demands for the abolition of the police and army
would be out of line with the consciousness of many amongst the advanced
layers. We attempt therefore to raise demands which are not too in advance
of current consciousness but which seek to reveal and undermine the
state's repressive function.
But it is not enough to reform the state or to fight
a continuous defensive struggle to maintain democratic rights won in the
past. The basic attitude of Marxism to the capitalist state is summed up
by Lenin in the above mentioned 'State and Revolution'. Lenin points out
that Marxist revolutionaries, as opposed to reformists, say that the
existing bourgeois state cannot be seized ready-made and used in the
interests of the working class. It must be broken up, smashed, and
replaced by a new workers' state.
No ruling class has ever given up power without a
CAPITALIST RESISTANCE to working-class struggles and
socialist change could take various forms, such as attempts at economic
sabotage or attempts to use the police and the army to repress the
workers. The answer to both would be mass mobilisation and mass
It would also be completely wrong, having understood
what the state machine is capable of, to draw purely pessimistic
conclusions or to even believe that the socialist transformation of
society is impossible because of the well-armed state. The Shah of Iran
was the most heavily armed dictator in history but Rolls-Royce engined
Chieftain tanks didn't stop his overthrow in the 1978 revolution.
Similarly, the workers and peasants of Vietnam defeated the power of
In each revolutionary movement, the working class
decides that it cannot go on in the old way - that those in power are
holding back society. As they move to take control, a crucial turning
point arises. Either the working class goes forward to take control of the
economy and destroys the repressive apparatus which protects the ruling
class and constructs its own institutions for running society
democratically, or the leadership attempts a compromise, allows reaction
to reorganise itself and move to crush workers and their organisations.
At this point the opportunity arises to try to split
the forces of the state and it is necessary to make an appeal especially
to the lower levels of the state. We take this attitude not because
Marxists are naive about the character of the state. We recognise that
many rank-and-file soldiers and police will have adopted the outlook and
identify politically with the ruling class.
On a practical level we have learned to defend our
own activities from the attacks of the police and would do so in future.
But in periods of heightened struggle, when the authority of the ruling
class is in question and a victory by the working class is on the agenda,
it would be irresponsible not to try to minimise the impact of state
forces. The determination and unity displayed by the working class is
vital to that appeal.
The working class would need to form its own
democratic organisations of struggle to mobilise its power against that of
the capitalists. Historically, during the Russian, German and Spanish
revolutions, these organisations have taken the form of workers' - or
peasants', or soldiers' - councils. How these types of organisation would
develop in an advanced capitalist country we also cannot exactly predict.
In the confrontation between the rival powers of the
working class and the bourgeoisie, the force used by the ruling class can
only be minimised by a mass, well organised and determined movement of the
working class. We should remember that in the Russian Revolution only 40
people were killed. Today the working class (a much more cohesive force
than the peasantry who were the largest proportion of Russia's population
in 1917) is much stronger.
We saw with the fall of the Stalinist dictatorships
in Eastern Europe the power and determination workers in those countries
had. However, that power was not harnessed at that stage to carry through
a successful socialist revolution and completely defeat the ruling class,
which needs a clear strategy and leadership. Prevarication, attempts at
compromise, illusions in the democratic credentials of either capitalist
politicians or those who run the army allows reaction to reorganise with
devastating consequences, as the example of the coup against the Allende
government in Chile showed.
Withering away of the state
SOCIALISM IS government by the vast majority both
through economic planning and management and through social development.
Working class communities in the first instance would be involved in
preventing sabotage and disruption of the new socialist society by any
disaffected group in the former ruling class. Anti-social behaviour would
not die away overnight.
This is not just a question of material conditions
such as poverty, which we could begin to tackle immediately. It's also a
matter of repairing and then preventing the psychological damage done by
capitalism and the power relations and abuse it promotes. Increased
equality will reduce much crime. An end to capitalism as a social system
which, for example, has discriminated against and condoned the treatment
of women as the property of men, will undermine crimes of violence such as
rape and domestic violence.
Neither repression of any sabotage by the
representatives of the dispossessed ruling class, nor the need to deal
with anti-social behaviour requires a special force unaccountable to the
majority of society.
As the rational use of resources and the generation
of higher levels of production meets people's needs, as people are freed
to participate in the running of society and more equal social relations
are established, the need for even these two functions will be reduced and
One final point: Trotsky was able to write his
'History of the Russian Revolution' by consulting the former secret police
records; the socialist historian of the future will probably have the
immeasurably simpler task of playing back the tapes!
- 'The State: A warning to the labour movement'
- 'State and Revolution' (Lenin 1917)
- MIR (Militant International Review – the
forerunner of Socialism Today, the Socialist Party’s monthly magazine)
Number 58 has an article ‘ On the Role of the Police' by Lois Anderson
- 'The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the
State' (Engels )
- Chapter 3 'Revolution Betrayed' (Trotsky 1935).
- 'The History of the Russian Revolution' Volume 1
chapters X & Xl (Trotsky)
- 'The Spanish Revolution 1931-39' documents 45, 53,
56, 59, 64 & 75 (Trotsky)
- 'Shooting in the Dark: Riot Police in Britain'
- 'The History and Practice of the political police
in Britain' (Tony Bunyan)
- 'The Iron Heel’ (Jack London)
- 'Days of Hope' (Jim Allen)
- 'A Very British Coup'( by Chris Mullin)
- ‘The Enemy Within’, Seumas Milne