Lenin on the nature of the State

Reviewing Lenin’s lecture delivered at the Sverdlov University

Vladimir Ulayvich Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. During the dying days of Czarist regime in Russia, he was part of an active Nihilist group based in St Petersburg and was engaged in the anti-czarist politics. But at the university, he suddenly started reading Marx and Engels, whose socialist ideas influenced his political thinking. Because of the influence of Marxist thought, he became an active socialist revolutionary by formally joining the social democratic party of Russia. In the wake of civil war in 1905, he actively participated with his socialist comrades in overthrowing the Czarist regime but that revolutionary attempt remained abortive because of the division among the revolutionaries.[1] As a hardliner Marxist ideologue, Lenin was forced into exile to Germany, where he lived until the Bolshevik’s victory over czarist regime in 1917. During exile, he actively engaged in the propaganda activities against the czarist regime and finally, it was the event of First Great war that gave the Bolsheviks opportunity to overthrow the Czarist regime in Regime in Russia.  

Besides being a socialist revolutionary, V.I Lenin was a great political thinker and writer, who wrote dozens of books on diverse topics ranges from politics, socialism, philosophy, economics and sociology. Among them, his milestone work was the ‘State and Revolution’, ‘Imperialism: the highest stage of Capitalism’ and ‘the two tactics of Social Democracy’. The most famous of them was the ‘state and revolution’, in which V.I Lenin discussed about the nature and origin of the state.[2] This commentary is about the ‘nature of the state’, which V.I Lenin stipulated during his landmark lecture at Sverdlov University in 1919.

The word ‘State’

V.I Lenin begin the lecture by saying that ‘dear comrades, I know not whether you are already familiar with the chosen topic but anyhow today we are going to study this topic systematically’. Indeed, the fact cannot be denied that the concept of state is very difficult and complex to discuss because for Lenin, the concept of the state has been polluted by the bourgeois scholars, experts and philosophers. In this regard, the overall concept of the state is not easy to grasp through a single lecture or at one sitting. Likewise, even the concept of the state has been misinterpreted by the political scientists by declaring it as something organism or specie, which breathes, respires and lives. But more precisely, the discourse of the state had always been complex and complicated in both theory and practice. Basically, it was the witting attempt of the bourgeois scholars, scientists and philosophers, to deliberately confuse the ordinary masses about the origin and purpose of the state. Some philosophers have confused the concept of the state with religious interpretations or with religious doctrines but even those, who declare themselves as non-religious also indulges prejudice in defining the very concept of the state. [3] Moreover, there is a need of political, philosophical, ideological argumentation on the discourse of the state.

According to Lenin, for the religious scholars, state is something divine, and something supernatural, that it is a certain force by the virtue of which mankind has lived. Thus, with this superstitious argumentation, the religious scholar’s declare state as divine origin, which is a gift and blessing for the mankind? For Lenin, the divine origin of the state is compatible with the definition of the exploiting classes—the landowners and the capitalists—who in their best interest uses state for the exploiting the ordinary masses. In this regard, for Lenin, the question of the state has been confused and complicated because it is a threat to the interests of the ruling class. Likewise, in the contemporary discourse, the doctrine of the state serves to justify social privilege, the existence of exploitation, and the existence of capitalism. In every doctrine and theory of the state, we will see the conflict of interest among the classes—the exploiters and the exploited. For instance, according to Socialists, state has always served as an instrument of the ruling class to dominate and to exploit the ordinary masses.

On the contrary, in order to understand the meaning and discourse of the state in the context of the social science and political science then we are required to explain this question scientifically by underlying the historical connections. However, the historical connection refers to the fact that how the given idea/phenomenon emerged in history? And, what are the principle stages of its development? [4] In his famous book ‘the origin of family, private property and the state’, Frederick Engels claimed that ‘in the beginning there was no state’. Thus, this sentence makes it clear that whenever and wherever, the division of society appears in terms of classes the state emerges. When the first form of exploitation of man by man appeared, the first form class division also appeared—the slave owners and the slaves—there was patriarchal family, which is often referred as the clan family.[5] This was primitive life encompassing primitive tradition of hunting and gathering, where man was only the productive force while women was assigned with home tasks—Frederick Engels called it a primitive society. From this detailed description, it becomes clear that there was a time, when there were no class divisions among slave and slave owners. It was the embryonic stage that gave birth to the concept of the private property, which gave rise to the concept of private property. If we dig out the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, they have talked about the historical evolution of human society and generally the ‘state’. According to Marx, it was the embryonic stage that gave birth to the private property and with the birth of the private property, the class division or the class conflict began within society. This is how; the millions of years of human history began with the emergence of slavery that continued for millions of years and finally faced the revolt from the slaves and diffused into feudalism. Likewise, with the emergence Feudalism, a new class war emerged among the feudal owners and the peasants. The Age of Feudalism also continued for millions of years and finally, the class war began between the peasants and the feudal lords that overthrew Feudalism and with diffusion a new system emerged known as ‘Capitalism’.

The whole structure of the state developed around the community itself, discipline and the ordering of the work were maintained by customs and traditions through authority. In this regard, history shows that the state as a special apparatus through the coercion of the people, especially whenever there appeared class division within society—the division into classes and groups. In we touch the context of class struggle, the whole history of mankind is nothing but the history of class struggle between the slave and slave-owners, between Feudal lords and peasants and between the bourgeoisie and the proletariats.

For Lenin, it was the division of society into classes that gave birth to the fundamental fact of the history. This development has been parallel for every culture, civilization and society around the globe—the whole modern civilized European society went through these stages. For instance, Slavery remained a supreme fundamental fact in the European history for nearly two thousand years then Feudalism followed and reigned over Europe for thousand years to come. Likewise, if we distinctively put out the Russian history, the serfdom reigned for hundreds of years dominated all the aspects of the Russian society. Moreover, the Serfdom in Russia reigned longest of all [the so-called Appanage System] in which the Serfs were totally dependent upon the landowners for everything ranges from food, shelter and clothing.

Similarly, if we compare the history of western Europe and Russia in a single domain, then the history of slavery in Russia remained worst than the history of slavery in western Europe. It is because; in Russian History the peasants and landowners were dialectically bound by the Russian State. [6] It was only in 1861, when Feudalism took over in Russia and suddenly diffused into capitalism within decades to come. With the ascension of capitalism in Russia, the Feudal lords swiftly became the Capitalist or industrialist or the industrial owners. Basically, it was the dawn of Feudalism in Russia in the 1860s and the ascension of Capitalism in Russia with the dawn of the 20th century that gave birth to the revolutionary attempts of 1905 and 1917. Likewise, the rapid shift or the conversion of socio-political system from one form to another expanded the number of Proletarians (Proletariats) and soon, they became the majority. With rapid conversion of the majority of masses into the proletarian majority, the class war became more vivid that finally led the Russian Revolution of 1917—Vladimir Lenin, in his famous book ‘State and Revolution’ called it a ‘Proletarian Revolution’. If we put this into the perspective of various nations, there are thousands of nations, which went through similar episode of the historical changes. Basically, it was the emergence the new proletarian class that had contributed to the socio-political changes in the history of various states and civilizations. The people, who rise above the society, are known as the rulers or the Statesmen while the people, which are below the society, are known as peasants or labor or Proletarians. [7]

Class, war, revolution and the state

If we dig out the writings of Karl Marx, he developed his theory of socialism or communism based on the ‘Basis’ and ‘Superstructure’ phenomenon. The categories of Basis and superstructure are important because they analyze in concrete terms the importance of modes of production on all other aspects of the life, including the spiritual aspect of the historical process.[8] In contrast, for Marx, the role of the modes of production is central in determining the socio-political and spiritual process of living society. In this regard, whenever, we talk about the modes of production, it refers to two sides of production—the productive forces and the relations of production. Both sides play a key role in determining the ideas. Likewise, when we talk about the state; it is nothing but the reflection of the society in every context—if social relationships are determined by the modes of production then it also determines the nature of the state. Whenever, we talk about state and society then we must have some understanding about the socio-economic formations that determines the life of social organisms. In the meantime, it is the existence of the productive forces that determines the modes of production, hence determines the nature of state and society. For instance, the nature of productive forces within the State of capitalism will give birth to a different modes of production—over-production, while the nature of the productive forces within the State of Socialism will give birth to different mode of production—what Karl Marx in his famous Critique of Gotha Program ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’. Basically, Karl Marx this principle refers to free access and distribution of goods, capital and services—the equal distribution of all existing resources. [9]

In contrast, the whole discourse of the state has been the product of historical development and the socialist view of the state only began to speculate in the late eighteenth century, especially after the socialist writings of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. According to Christian theology, the state was evil because the nature of man is evil. Likewise, according the rational speculation of enlightenment, the concept of the state is unnatural and hence evil. Various political philosophers such as Hegel, Marx, and Proudhon declared government as evil and hence called ‘annihilate the quackery of government’. Especially among the latter, the Hegelian terminologies had dominated the German intellectual in the nineteenth century, Hegel believed that “as long as the state existed, whatever the form of the government, there would always be the rulers and serfs—perhaps, this opposition will continue until and unless, state, which is the product of polarity, annihilates itself dialectically and give space to a unified social life, which is the actual condition of the community”. Moreover, the state is the product of the superstructure; the superstructure is nothing but the antagonistic formations, with all its ideas and ideological relations and institutions, is the result and an instrument of the struggle between the classes. In this regard, for Marx, state is an instrument of the ruling class to rule, and the exploit the ordinary masses and to protect their interests.

In his earliest critique of the against the estate owners of the Rhineland, Karl Marx defined the structure of the state in a hyperbolic way; Marx said; “the ears, eyes, hands and legs by which the interest of the forest owners listens, watches, judges, defends, seizes and runs”—thus, the modern state only exists for the sake of the private property. Moreover, the state is a kind of organization, which the bourgeoisie necessarily adopt both for the internal and external purposes for mutual guarantee of their private wealth, property and interests. In the discourse, it is the existence of the private property, which gives birth to the class antagonisms and thus, finally foments and shapes the proletarian revolution. With the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, every means of production will come under the collective ownership, and society will be classes and the will be no concept state as raison d’être.

If we consult the landmark work of Karl Marx ‘The Communist Manifesto’, Karl Marx called for the dictatorship of the proletariats and the proletariat uprising against the bourgeoisie Capitalism. Likewise, in his famous lecture ‘War and Revolution’ which Lenin delivered on May 14, 1917, he discussed the ‘War’ and ‘Revolution’ as a separate discourse—he question the character of war surrounding class; he elaborated what classes are waging war and what are the historical and historic-economic conditions that cause the War. In Marxian and scientific socialist discourse, the ideologues often talk about the techniques and methods to assess the war around the paradigms: what is the war being waged for, and what classes staged and directed it. In this regard, the Marxist ideologues are the well qualified opponents of the war. For Marxists and socialists, they want to achieve the socialist system of society by exterminating the class divisions and by annihilating the state. Likewise, the scientific socialists are totally against the bourgeoisie conflicts and imperialist wars—this was the reason, the Bolsheviks have condemned the First Great War by declaring it imperialist war for the new territorial divisions of the globe.[10] Whenever it comes to War and Revolutions, we often consult the European history because it is entwined with wars and wars. Moreover, there are wars and wars. It is the historical conditions, which gives birth to wars, and it is class antagonism within society, which give rise to war to achieve some ends. What famous German philosopher and historian of the war once said; ‘War is a continuation of policy by other means’. Basically, it was Clausewitz, who had Philosophized the war by reviewing the history of wars and by drawing lessons from it. Moreover, there was a time when men in the street’s conception of war was being considered apart from the policies of the governments and classes. Likewise, Clausewitz has also carefully analyzed the philosophy and historical epochs of the war. He divulged the tyrannical face of the state by divulged its everlasting policy—the policy of state and the policy of a certain class [Bourgeoisie] within that state pursued to secure their interest. What V.I Lenin once said; “War is terrible but terribly profitable”. This happened during the revolution in France, when the pro-Monarchist nations across the European continent supported the French Monarchy against the revolutionaries. Even the bourgeoisie Journalists had waged propaganda against the revolutionaries because of their philistine prejudice and ignorance of the backward masses, who are unaware about the economic and historical connections between each war and the prior policies of the government within a state.

In this regard, it is a fact that ruling class had always been the beneficiary of the war by meeting its ends through self-styled peaceful means. Likewise, if we dig out the history of European colonialism then it was all about the massive exploitation of millions of poor people through incessant wars and conflicts. Although, the Europeans didn’t consider them wars but the brutal massacres and genocides of innocent indigenous people in the hands of European colonists cannot be denied. Likewise, if we want to know the dynamics of the present wars then we must make a general survey of the policies of European powers as a whole. Therefore, we should also understand the whole policy of the entire system of the European states in their political and economic inter-relations. It is because, the roots and causes of the First Great War lies within the genesis of those European State policies, which are responsible for the death of millions of people across the colonies. [11] For the Capitalist press and intellectuals, who speculate the historical meaning of the First Great War (the Imperialist war), which it does not possess at all.

On the contrary, in the course of the revolutionary wars especially those of 1848, which swept across the European continent; the bourgeoisie tried their best to diffuse the social upheaval to secure their interests. These also happened centuries earlier during the revolution in France, in which the republican revolutionaries rose against the monarchists by challenging the old order. For Lenin, the French revolution of 1792, was of bourgeoisie character, though overthrew the monarchy keeping bourgeoisie in place. [12] The revolution in France was the continuation of the policy of the revolutionary class, who in the end attained the republican state by settling the contract with the bourgeoisie capitalists and landowners and continued waging war against the rest of the monarchists across Europe, which was indeed the continuation of the same policy.[13] If we analyze the historical dynamics of the nineteenth century, there were particularly two groups of Capitalist Powers—Britain, France, America and Germany—which continued the policy of incessant rivalry with the aim of achieving the world supremacy. The rivalry came in the form of suppression of small nations, making fivefold profit on banking capital, and economic slavery. In the European continent, it was the two industrial giants—Germany and Great Britain, who along with their allies waged incessant economic and territorial wars against each other. Although, Industrialism is often consider as soul of Modern Capitalism but it emerged with severe historical consequences for various nations around the globe. The incessant industrial over-production was met with the expansion of colonial rule across the world in search of new market, cheap labor and raw materials—the vicious face of self-styled modern Capitalism, Industrialism and Democracy.

As an illustration, capitalism speculated some met-narratives in its defense; for instance, the modern industrial capitalist nations are profit centric not war-centric and democracy is soul of capitalism because democratic nations are against the war. Famous German War historian and Philosopher always mocked these meta-narratives by ridiculing the very view of the people that nations lived in peace and then they start fighting. It can also be explained in the given question: How a war can be waged without the preceding policy of the state, of the given system of state or the given classes? Moreover, the policies of both belligerent states throughout the course of the 19th century had been the same because war policies were actually the preceding policies of the state—thus, if we don’t have the understanding about the war policies of the state then we won’t be able to understand the background of war itself. In contrast, these policies show us just one thing: the continuous economic rivalry between the two western industrial giants. Great Britain is the one giant, perhaps the richest in the world, which has made its wealth not through laborer rather through mass exploitation of colonies. With this massive exploitation, it became able to host five largest banks having huge stocks of capital at its disposal. Likewise, the same case was with France centuries earlier, the French critical writers have mentioned about this, what they said: “France is a financial monarchy, France is a financial oligarchy and France is the world’s largest money-lender.” Basically, it was the advent of new methods of production, and techniques and organizational development, which has turned the old capitalism of Free-Competition into the Capitalism of giant trusts, syndicates and cartels. In his famous pamphlet ‘Imperialism: the highest stage of capitalism’ V.I Lenin discussed about the growing resurgence of finance and banks in the international politics discussed in the following way:

1) The concentration of capital and production across the globe will take a new shape, which give birth to monopolies.

2) The gradual merger of the industrial capital and banking capital will give birth to "financial oligarchy."

3) The Export of the capital will become more important as compare to the export of the commodities.

4) With the greater concentration of the wealth on one part of the globe will give birth to the monopoly of International capitalism.

5) The Global capitalists have already divided the world among them territorially for exploitation.[14]

This new paradigm of production is accompaigned by the state control mechanism, which has combined the massive power of capitalism with the massive power of the state for bringing millions of people under the umbrella of global capitalism. On the other hand, the old capitalism was based on the vicious competition across political and economic level. For instance, Britain in the old capitalism through her vicious hegemonic competition ruined her competitor Holland—which once dominated the whole world. Likewise, in the late 19th century, a new competitor emerged on the face of the European continent, Germany, which came to challenge the economic hegemony of the Great Britain at the sea. Germany while appearing as the youngest predator at the concert of European powers said on face to Britain: “You ruined Holland, you defeated France, and you have helped yourself to half the world. Now be good enough to let us have our fair share.” In Lenin View, there are two things the Capitalists nations are looking for to dominate the world: dollars and banks. In this regard, the gradual expansion of European colonialism across the territorial and economic lines made the capitalist competitors as ruthless cartels. Moreover, this kind of exploitation in the form of state throughout history has been a vivid logic, besides the fact that the forms of state were extremely varied.

For instance, in the earlier times of slavery, the form of state in the ancient Rome and Greece were more culturally, politically and civilizationally advanced according to the standard of time—but the whole system and structure of the state in the ancient Greece and Rome were based on the institution of slavery. During the same time, there was also a clear distinction between monarchy and Republic, between aristocracy and democracy. To be more precise, the ancient civilized states of Greece and Rome were slave-owning state because the institution of slavery was at the heart of state, irrespective of the fact whether it was monarchy, aristocracy or democracy. Just like the ancient history, in which there have been revolutionary struggles between the monarchical and republican states between the Greece and Rome. But the crude fact is that, this wasn’t a kind of revolution because the slaves were not being regarded as human beings.[15] In all forms either monarchic, republic or aristocratic, state was the monarchy of slave-owners, republic of slave-owners and aristocracy of slave-owners. Moreover, the slaves were known as ‘Chattels’, who were the exploited class in the ancient Rome and Greece, even the killing of a slave was not considered a crime—Indeed, this is a biggest shame for the most civilized societies ever remained in human history. In the meantime, the same shame goes for the self-styled modern civilized western societies, which had exploited the whole globe through colonialism and genocide.

Similarly, in the ancient times under the Aristocracy, there was certain class, who use to participate in the elections while the rest cannot. Likewise, under democracy, though everyone was allowed to participate in the elections but everyone doesn’t mean slaves. Perhaps, this crude historical fact throws much light on the question of the state, which clearly demonstrates the nature of the state. With the evolution and human progress, the forms of exploitations had also transformed from slavery to Feudalism and from Feudalism to Capitalism. Moreover, the whole history of slavery from the ancient civilized societies to modern civilized European societies was the product of state and private property. The vicious era of European colonialism was hampered by massive economic exploitation, genocide and mass massacres across the colonies. Although, there have been bourgeoisie criticism on the European colonialism but heinous crimes were never contemplated through the eyes of the exploited. [16] Because, the post-colonial citizens were now the subjects of western imperialism and the whole idea of imperialism has always revolved around the idea of indirect occupation.

In this regard, throughout the course of history of state and society under different form of governments was based on class exploitation—basically, the class division is the essence of the state. During the age of feudalism in Europe, Monarchy and Feudalism were part of the upper echelons of the European society—under Feudalism only feudal lords were the rulers of the system and the rest of the people were serfs. Likewise, the peasant serfs were absolutely deprived of the political rights. Likewise, neither under slavery nor under Feudal system could a small minority of people dominated over the majority without coercion.[17] If we dig out the exploitative phase of slavery, there have been numerous wars of emancipation and wars of submission. This also happened during the civil war in America, during which the blacks fought for the emancipation against the whites. According to Marxist criticism, it is the long history of exploitation of the ordinary masses during the age of slavery and feudalism that gave birth to modern capitalism. Thus, the nature of state under Capitalism is vivid because it consists of two major classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariats –whereas the bourgeoisie dominates every structure of the state while the proletariats are under domination within that particular structure of the state.

If we talk about communism in Germany, the German communist party has adopted the name ‘Sparticists’ in opposition because they opposed the bourgeoisie state in Germany and the rule of bourgeoisie as a whole. They adopted the name ‘Spartacus’ because he was one of the hero of the Spartan wars against the slavery, which took place about two thousand years ago. It was the Roman Empire which had solely relied on the human slavery for centuries faced major blows and attacks from the army of Spartacus. In this regard, the Spartacans emerged as the major force against the slavery in Rome because the rich and glory of the Roman Empire was indulged with slave trade and massive exploitation from the Far-colonies. Likewise, if we dig out the history of modern slavery, it was birth of Capitalism that has transformed the feudal serfs and peasants into modern labor slaves. Moreover, during the Medieval Times Feudal society represented the major division of the classes, which includes the vast majority of peasants and serfs, who were subjected to an insignificant minority—mainly the land-owners or landlords. Basically, it was the development of the trade and the development of the community exchange that led to the emergence of the new class—the Capitalists.

In contrast, it was the discovery of the New World—especially America, when the quantity of precious metals increased, with the increase in the supply of more silver and gold, these precious Metals slowly became the medium of exchange. Likewise, the increase in the amount of silver and gold made it possible for individuals to possess tremendous wealth. In this way, the new capitalist class became the proponents of vast material wealth; precious metals such as Gold and Silver in large amount. Likewise, with rapid development of trade and with the accumulation of the enormous wealth, the shape of old class divisions disappeared and new form of class-divisions appeared on the surface of the society in the form bourgeoisie capital owners and labor or proletariats. The industrial owner was the real owners of capital, land and labor while ordinary exploited working class owned nothing except his labor power. In this regard, according to the definition of Modern state, everybody is equal before the law whether bourgeoisie or proletariats irrespective of their wealth and power. But in reality, that is not the case, the people, who own the means of production and capital are the one who controls every structure of the state. Therefore, state in the context of modern capitalism does not treat bourgeoisie and the proletariats on equal basis of law.

For Lenin, in order to understand the struggle that has been started against the world of Capital, to understand the nature of capitalist state, then we must have understanding about the process when the capitalist state system advanced against the feudal state structure. In the latter context, the abolition of Feudalism meant liberty for the owners and representative of the Capitalist state, which serves the interest of the Capitalist owners in large. Thus, the nature of the modern state is engulfed with the protection and security of the property and wealth of the capitalist owners. Though, he peasants became the property owners in the modern capitalist and civilized state when the landowners surrendered a small fraction of their land property to the peasants but this property was given in compensation or for rent. This whole episode didn’t concern the state because it was the existence of private property that gave birth to state. Moreover, when the land owners surrendered a small fraction of their property to the peasants, the capitalist state protected their property by rewarding the compensation. The peasants were allowed to be owners of new property but that was initiated with new state sponsored exploitative social structure. Moreover, the state has also assured complete security and protection to the private property owners in order to secure the exploitative phase of the state. While combating Feudalism, the state has created a new kind of power system that protected and claimed the freedom of the property—hence, in this way, the modern capitalist state became the class-state.

In addition, the new structure of the state protected and helped the capitalists to exploit the proletarian class by transferring to them the ownership of Capital, land and labor. In this way, the new phase of the state emerged as more exploitative and class centric. Likewise, in order to disguise its exploitative nature, it proclaimed the universal suffrage in name of democracy and speculated it through its scholars, champions, theorists and philosophers. This happened when the Soviet Union was established; it started fighting the state which dragged a series of criticism from the bourgeoisie class for violating the liberty and freedom. Likewise, the state structure across the world is same because it depicts the real face of Capitalist domination ranges from severe exploitation to marginalization. In case of Russia, it was the Mensheviks, who sided with the Tsarist regime and began supporting bourgeoisie democracy by establishing provincial government. On the contrary, the Bolshevik’s condemned the Russian involvement in War and the Mensheviks support to the monarchy. If we take a thorough look at the bourgeoisie politics around the globe, the richest news outlets and think tanks around the globe, which spend millions of dollars in their propagation and research are spreading bourgeoisie lies and the policies of imperialist nations. In this regard, if we want to understand these lies and propaganda then we must have understanding about the nature of state: what state actually is? These accusations were propagated against the socialist regime in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution and when the Soviet Union was established. It is because, the Capitalist states which are before our eyes were created based on the theories, which were developed before the outbreak of ‘First Great War’. Therefore, in order to understand structure of the existing state, we must have a thorough understanding about those theories and views, which were developed before the war.[18]

Since the dawn of twentieth century, the psychology of the ordinary masses was trapped with bourgeoisie lies and propaganda.[19] For Lenin, in order to understand the essence of the capitalist state, we should read the famous work of Frederick Engels ‘The origin of Family, private property and the state’. According to this book, every state which emerged as a result of private ownership of land and means of production, whether democratic or autocratic is a capitalist state—it is like a machine, which is used by the capitalists to dominate and rule over the working and proletarian class. For capitalists, the state and its law is tool for them to subjugate the ordinary masses with the contemplation of class division. The Law of the state is an instrument of the capitalists to rule over the proletarian masses and to maintain the order through class division. In the latter context, the universal suffrage, a constituent assembly, and parliament is merely a form, a sort of promissory note, under the guise of which, the state hides its cruelty and exploitation—it has been vivid in the course of human history.


[1] During the abortive revolutionary attempt in Russia in 1905, two major groups emerged within the social democrats: the Bolsheviks (the hardliners) and the Menshevik (the bourgeoisie socialists). Whereas, the hardliners or the Bolsheviks were completely anti-czarists while the Mensheviks, were the pragmatic opportunists, who compromised with czarist regime for incentives such as the establishment of Provincial government under quasi-ceremonial Czar.

[2] In the ordinary domain of the political science, the definition of the state is very different because it resembles structure, area, government and population. Famous British Geographer Halford Mackinder during his 1887 lecture to the Royal geographical society deemed geography as the essence of the state. He defined geography as ‘the science of distribution, the science, that is, which traces the arrangement of things in general on the earth surface’. In the Carl Schmitt’s context, the essence and existence of the state has always been defined with the idea of firm land and sea; the land appropriation and the sea appropriation. In the literal context, the existence of the state resembles the sense of honor, in the famous words of Czar Alexander II; “In the life of states just as in that of private individuals there are moments when one must forget all but the defense of his honor”.

[3] According to the state theory of Thomas Hobbes, state always exists as a result of ‘the mutual relations between the protection and obedience’. Famous Nazi theorist Carl Schmitt during the heights of Nazi totalitarianism reinvented the writings of Thomas Hobbes through which he attempted to reconnect himself to the past. Because Carl Schmitt always stressed on the essence and existence of the state with the following dictum: ‘Starker Staat Und gesunde wirtshaft’—Strong state and sound economy. Basically, here Schmitt tried to differentiate between two essential spheres of the state—the political sphere that refers to the state and the nonpolitical sphere, which refers to the society. But Carl Schmitt has broadened the discourse of the state through his qualitative total concept of the state that refers to the above society that constructs the reality of the monopoly at the political level to distinguish between the friend and the enemy. He also gave the concept of the quantitative state that refers to state ‘totality’, which intervenes indiscriminately into every sphere of human realm and existence. Thus, in the context of the quantitative state not a single domain of human realm is free of state intervention and interference because the state is no longer able to distinguish between the friend and the enemy. 

[4] To understand the origin of the state, we must have the understanding of the origins of the private property. In this regard, it was Frederick Engels, who wrote a famous book ‘the origin of the family, private property and the state’ in which Frederick Engels gave a detailed account of the origin of family, property and the state through historical connection and different stages of development. This was indeed a milestone work in the history of modern socialism that overhauled both the domain of historical and dialectical materialism.

[5] The word ‘Clan’ refers to the blood Kin that forms a tribe from a single blood line.

[6] The appanage system emerged during the diffusion of Kievan Russ into centralized Russian State—the Russian historians call this ‘Appanage Era’that refers to the period between the collapse of Kievan Russian and the emergence of Centralized Russian State.

[7] The concept of the state as necessarily evil is springing from man’s fallen nature was rooted in the Christian traditions. Because, what we have seen during the Middle Ages, there was a power balance between the ecclesiastical authority and the political power in which the ecclesiastical authority was enjoying a supreme power. Moreover, it was the reformation that has subordinated the authority of the church to the state and in this way the modern state came into being. Even Thomas More in his famous book ‘Utopia’ trace the evils of the government rooted in the institution of private property. For Thomas More, who was utopian Communist saw the genesis of state in the institution of private property—basically, it is the private property that gave birth to the state. 

[8] Kovalson, V. Kelle and M. Historical Materialism: An outline of the Marxist theory of Society. Moscow: Progress Publisher, 1973.


[9] There are various types of Justice, distributive, retributive, and compensatory which is directly linked with the nature of the state. Likewise, there various theories of Just Distribution—these theories emerged with two major questions: Is it shape, color, race, creed, religion, and sexual orientation? Are differences in character, ability, need, effort, or productivity relevant? With the help these question, the theories about the distribution of social benefits and burdens emerged? The theories includes Egalitarianism; which stresses that for just distribution each member of the society should completely get equal shares of the burden and benefit—there is no relevance differences among the members of society, Socialism; which stresses on ensuring the distribution based on needs and abilities—burdens and benefits should be distributed based on needs and abilities of the individuals, Protestant work Ethic; which stresses on the distribution based on contribution, which sometimes also referred as ‘puritan work ethic’—the protestant work ethics confers that each member of the society should be rewarded in proportion to his/her contribution—the main premise of the Protestant work Ethics is that ‘Working hard is good to get big rewards’, Libertarianism; which stresses on distribution based on Freedom, it also opines that the just distribution is always the result of free exchange—in contrast, the libertarian ethics opines that the distribution of benefits and burdens always resulted from the free choices of the member of the society. On the contrary, the whole discourse of Libertarianism revolves around the notion of Negative Rights, Positive Rights and Contractualism. Whereas the Negative Rights refers to observance of the right without interference from the outside—the freedom from within e.g. Right to property, freedom of conscience, and freedoms of Press, while the Positive Rights, it refers to the observance of Right with a service to the holder. For instance, the right to healthcare is one of the examples of positive right. Lastly, Contractualism, it is based on the some ethical position, which opines that one has no positive moral obligations to anyone else other than those one freely accepts.

[10] In his famous book ‘The origin of the family, private property, and the state’, Federick Engels summed up his analysis in this way: “The state is, therefore, by no means a power forced on society from without; just as little is it ’the reality of the ethical idea’, ’the image and reality of reason’, as Hegel maintains. Rather, it is a product of society at a certain stage of development; it is the admission that this society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, that it has split into irreconcilable antagonisms which it is powerless to dispel. But in order that these antagonisms, these classes with conflicting economic interests, might not consume themselves and society in fruitless struggle, it became necessary to have a power, seemingly standing above society, that would alleviate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of ’order’; and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it, is the state.” (Pp.177-78, sixth edition)

Engels, Friedrich. The Origin of the family, Private Property, and the state. London: Penguin Classics, 1972.


[11] V.I Lenin defined State in major paradigms: First, State is product of the Irreconcilability of the class antagonism. Second, State as the instrument for the exploitation of oppressed class and groups. Third, State is a tool of the bourgeoisie to rule and dominate the oppressed masses. In this regard, V.I Lenin gave a thorough overview of the history of wars, Revolutions and the evolution of the Modern state since the outbreak of the European revolution in 1848. Here, the word ‘Revolution’ is being used in two different contexts—in literal context, revolution refers to the change or violent upheaval that result in some kind of change in rule. But Lenin in his famous book ‘State and Revolution’ defines revolution as the process that changes class in power, whether that be a bourgeoisie revolution overthrowing Feudalism or the proletarian revolution overthrowing Capitalism.

[12] V.I Lenin while speaking before the Congress on Adult Education in May 1919, said: “Take the great French Revolution. It is with good reason that it is called a great revolution. It did so much for the class that it served, for the bourgeoisie, that it left its imprint on the entire nineteenth century, the century which gave civilization and culture to the whole of mankind. The great French revolutionaries served the interests of the bourgeoisie although they did not realize it for their vision was obscured by the words “liberty, equality and fraternity”; in the nineteenth century, however, what they had begun was continued, carried out piecemeal and finished in all parts of the world."

[13] What Lenin said about the Triumph of the French Revolution: “Everybody who studies history seriously will admit that although it was crushed, the French Revolution was nevertheless triumphant, because it laid down for the whole world such firm foundations of bourgeois democracy, of bourgeois freedom, that they could never be uprooted."

[14] Lenin, V.I. "Imperialism: The highest stage of Capitalism." International Affairs, 1934.

In this Pamphlet, V.I Lenin predicted the reproduction of Capitalism through Finance and banking capital. Through this Pamphlet, Vladimir Lenin discussed about the resurgence of Imperialism, which was unknown to earlier Marxist writers and intellectuals.

[15] The Roman law regarded them as ‘Chattels’—because no property and legal securities were guaranteed to the slaves. The Roman law only defended the rights of Slave-owners, who were only recognized as the citizens of Rome by the Roman Constitution.

[16] Famous post-colonial theorist and writer Frantz Fanon in his famous book ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ clearly explained the dialectical relation of the post-colonial subject with colonialism.

[17] Basically, V.I Lenin wrote about this in his famous lecture “on the nature of the state’ in which he called state as an obsolete phenomenon because it was the nature of human society (Class-division) that gave birth to the existence of the state. In the Gramscian context, it was the culture hegemony in the society that gave birth to the nature of the state—the nature of the state.

[18] If we dig out the social contract theories of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and J.J Rousseau ‘They have explained the evolution of state in the social contract theory. For them, men came out of the ‘state of nature’ through social contract that has given birth to the concept of community and society. Likewise, the emergence of state was actually the extension of the social contract to various domains society ranges for law, morality, traditions, customs and culture. The social contract theories all three bourgeoisie theories various across interpretation—for instance, according to Locke, men in state of nature was in the same of perpetual war because there was no law to control the human nature. Therefore, in order to initiate the peace, finally men entered into the social contract and thus formed community and society. For Rousseau, Men in the state of nature were not in perpetual war rather he was in the state of peace because the nature of man is cruel but cooperative. Thus, in order to formulate the structure of community and society men entered into the social contract. For Hobbes ‘The human nature is cruel, brutish and short’.

[19] So far the nature and structure of the state has always been studied socially or through social theory and hence, it has never been examined psychologically.