National Sections of the L5I:

A revolution against the state

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From the ruins of the capitalists’ bureaucratic state will rise a workers’ state rooted in the workers’ councils. But it will be a state, nonetheless. The working class and its allies cannot simply dissolve all centralised power at a stroke, or abandon government.

Civil war against the capitalist class and its privileged supporters will not end when the workers overthrow their government. The forces of the old order will plan a bloody revenge and the restoration of their power. A localised, atomised working class “power” – with at best federal links and no powers of compulsion over the local or regional authorities – would be totally vulnerable to counterrevolution. To crush reaction as swiftly and decisively as possible will avoid the vast bloodshed that is always the result of counterrevolution.

For the minority of capitalist exploiters, this would be a dictatorship committed to removing their most cherished “freedoms”: the freedom to own humanity’s resources as their private property, the freedom to ruin lives for profit, the freedom to wage war. But for the majority of working class people, this state would be more democratic than any yet seen.

It will dissolve the capitalists’ parliaments and judiciary and replace them with democratic councils and juries of working people. In short, it will be the dictatorship of the working class – not that of a single party let alone a caste of bureaucrats.

The twentieth century shows that a workers’ state, if isolated in a single country and subjected to massive pressure from global capitalism, can fall victim to bureaucratisation and come under the control of a counter revolutionary elite. To avoid this, strict anti-bureaucratic measures must be applied from the outset. All official posts should be elected and rotated to avoid the coalescence of a permanent caste. Representatives should earn only the average wage of a skilled worker. All representatives should be subject to recall. All working class parties should be allowed to participate fully in the councils – only parties that fight arms in hand against the revolution should be suppressed.

A revolutionary state will be rooted in the daily self-administration and decision making of the majority of the people; it will be a state dissolving itself into society. As the working class socialises production and distribution and establishes social equality, classes themselves will wither away and with them all remnants of state coercion. Eventually there will be neither rulers nor ruled but a free association of human beings organised on the principle: from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.