The state and revolution: sections D1 to D8
D. The state and revolution
D1. The state is "the executive committee of the ruling class."
Why is the present-day British state a capitalist state? How can the state represent the interests of the capitalist minority when everyone has the right to vote?
D2. Reform and revolution
What is class struggle? How are reforms won? Can socialism come through Parliament? Can the workers make a revolution? How?
D3. The French Revolution
Where did the slogans of "liberty, equality, fraternity" come from? Why was the French revolution such a tremendous dividing-point in human history?
D4. The Origins of Socialism.
Socialism or communism, as a dream of a better society, is centuries old. As an active political movement, it dates back to the French revolution and the "Conspiracy of Equals" led by Babeuf in 1795-7. Babeuf's tradition was continued by revolutionaries like Auguste Blanqui (whose followers, the "Blanquists", eventually merged into the Marxist movement) and groups like the Communist League (for which Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto).
Alongside that tradition, there developed in the first half of the 19th century many groups which reacted to the social dislocation created by the rise of industrial capitalism by working out blueprints for a better society and preaching them or trying to put them into practice by setting up model communities. Marx and Engels saw much to learn from these traditions, but developed socialist theory further by (a) linking it to a historical and economic analysis of the development of capitalism, and the contradictions within capitalism that would lead to its downfall; (b) identifying the agency within capitalism that could create socialism, the working class - and the self-organisation of the working class.
D5. The English Revolution.
When did England have a revolution? Why? What was the difference between that revolution and the one we want to make now?
Section from the Introduction to Socialism Utopian and Scientific; and excerpt from Christopher Hill, The Century of Revolution 1603-1714
D6. When British workers had a mass revolutionary movement: the Chartists.
Does the British working class have a record of revolutionary struggle? Why were the Chartists defeated? Can the British working class rediscover that revolutionary tradition?
D7. The Paris Commune.
The Paris Commune of 1871 was the first workers government. It showed how working-class rule needs, and can create, a democracy much wider than bourgeois democracy, with access to political life for the majority, right of recall, abolition of official privileges, merger of legislature and executive.
D8. State and revolution.
Why does the state exist? Is it neutral? Whose interests does it represent? What do we do about it? What is a "workers state"?
State and Revolution, especially chapter 1.