The whole notion of "the state withering away" basically just seems idealist...

The whole notion of "the state withering away" basically just seems idealist. How can Leninists call themselves "materialist" and at the same base much of their therory on this assumption (which doesn't seem to be exactly supported by history either)?

Define a "state".

involuntary association


I see it as a system of hierarchies being enforced by physical power, with hierarchy including property rights

The no argument guy would agree

You're gonna need more of an argument than that OP to get a decent response. Or is this just bait?

I's rather meant as an honest question. As in, how is the withering away of the state grounded in material realities? I'm not really well read in marxist literature, it just seems apparent looking at history that the leadership seems to never let go of their power once they gained it.

The Marxist definition of a state is an apparatus that allows one class to dominate another so it would follow that once class ceases to exist so to will the state. It's not really an idealist notion.

This. It's not an argument put forth by Lenin but Engels. Marxists and anarchists have a different definition for state which can confuse some people.

If you really wanna know I'd recommend reading The State and Revolution, but in short, as the state is at tool used for class struggle (police, media etc), when there are no classes, there is by no need for a state anymore.

When the workers take political power and move society towards Socialism, over time the previous ruling class, the bourgeoisie, cease to exist until everyone is a worker. During this time the state apparatus is remade for the purpose of proletarian use and used to oppress the bourgeoisie until they no longer exist. When everyone is the same class, and everyone's material relation to the means of production is the same, you have a classless society. Once this is achieved, the state no longer has anyone to oppress and withers away. It doesn't vanish over night though for the exact same reason we don't go straight from Capitalism to full Communism - the pre-existing material conditions must be destroyed, and the new society will be stamped with the birthmarks of the old, which take time to go away.

The reason this hasn't happened in history is because revolution hasn't reached the point where the proletariat could sufficiently oppress the bourgeoisie out of existence, meaning the proletarian states were forced to perpetually defend themselves instead progressing towards Socialism. Either that, or they were crushed by external forces.

The state exists in a large part to protect private property and defend from capitalistic aggression.

When there's no more private property and no more capitalistic aggression, socialist societies will be much less interested in paying for a large state apparatus.

Thanks, yeah my definition was closer to the anarchist one. Will read State and Revolution when I have time for it. One thing that strikes me though is, whether the leadership of such an proletarian state wouldn't just become the new bourgeoisie, since they, especially if the DotP managed in an autoritarian way, have de facto controll over the means of production of the whole state. That seems to have been at least a factor in the failure of previous revolutions.

The idea behind preventing that is that all state representatives are subject to recall at any time, and are paid at worker's wages. Also the representatives are selected by the workers themselves instead of over reps.

but honestly, USSR was a doomed effort to somehow preserve the revolution in one country to the moment of successful world revolution.

The DotP is not Socialism, but the transition phase.

Workers choosing representatives alone doesn't seem too bad, the problem I think ocurrs with too much centralization of power. The people holding most influence over managing the DotP being basically disconnected from the working class seems like a recipe for corruption. I just can't see how an authoritarian, centralized power structure won't lead to a group of people on the top that hold on to powerand use state power and influence over education and the media the same way the bourgeoisie holds on to their property today.

Well, how could they abuse their power with the parameters I've described in place?

The problem is not with legislative representatives, the problem is with introducing hierarchical, bureaucratic structures whose members are not recallable or strictly accountable to the political body, and thus can ignore the will of the proletariat and run the economy or the nation-state on their own.

The history of the Soviet Union and other M-L states has shown that these hierarchical structures have always formed in response to the demands for a single Leninist party, centralized economic planning, and a large military to defend against capitalist aggression.

Your parameters are fine, but they don't adress authoritarianism and centralization. The dissolution of the soviets is an example of a powerful state limiting the power of the workers after the revolution. Basically, I think a revolution would have to ocurr decentralized, with the local organizational structures not giving away too much power to a central/hierachichal govervant, since power corrupts in a similar way money does. This is also why limiting the wages of higher ups doesn't really solve the problem of them becoming alienated form the workers in the long run.

Well hold up, why? Why can't they be subject to be voted on as well? The idea is to disperse the responsibilities of bureaucracy so much over time that the individual doesn't matter anyway.

These hierarchies formed because Socialism was simply impossible to attain in Russia after international revolution failed, causing them to get essentially stuck at a mix of state capitalism and coops, to eventually be a mix of state capitalism and central planning and then just capitalism. What about the Paris commune, or the Hungarian republic, where these political structures worked fine?

The dissolution of the soviets was a specific requirement for Russia at that time - it was done during the civil war and those workers were refusing to contribute to the vital war effort at the time. As soon as the civil war was over, Lenin went back to encouraging the formation of worker coops. Again, these are things that happened in Russia because of how fucked Russia was after the revolution. They are problems that won't arise again because things like feudalism are already gone from the world.

I'm fine with the creation of administrative and even military institutions, I just don't think they can be kept recallable or accountable to the proletariat at higher than a local level. The creation of national bureaucracies and militaries and a single national party, as advocated by Marxist-Leninists, is what I take issue with. You and your fellow citizens can hold your local party or planning agency accountable, but good luck trying to force the Premier in Moscow to resign when you live in Yakutsk.


Ok so why do Anarchists use this definition to explain away why they can't think of any solutions to a no government society
I don't give a fuck how much theory you read this shit is still retarded because your "totally not a state" state that you form in your Utopia WILL allow groups of people to dominate others whether it takes 1 year or a century it'll happen.
I'm not saying much human nature, I'm talking about the "nature" of your "totally not a state" governments in this hypothetical and hypocritical future

*Not talking about muh human nature
Fucked that sentence didn't i