The state is an institution of minority class rule reproduced as a social relationship throughout society. This power is maintained both by a monopoly of violence and through the transmission and reproduction of statist power relationships throughout society. Though violence is the most obvious form of state power, we are closest to its power in our relationships to authority in our homes, workplaces, and schools where direct violence by the state plays a different role. The power of the state is maintained by systems and networks of coerced consent more than by force. The modern capitalist state as we know it co-developed with capitalism in Western Europe and has spread to nearly everywhere across the globe, and in almost all instances sided with economic power against the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. Today, the state itself is one of the largest actors in a capitalist market. While the state expresses the interests of those controlling it, that does not mean that the ruling class is always unified. We see as various figures and groupings have taken the reigns of state apparatuses they have used the state to develop and transform some sectors of the economy often against the interests of other segments of capital and use the state as a vehicle to align and compete with other state actors. The ideologies and rhetoric that have accompanied these efforts have often had disorienting and debilitating effects on revolutionary and working class movements as well. But what should be clear is that both struggles within the ruling class and the need for perpetual reformist co-optation to contain threats from struggles from below make the state a shifting and contested site of power. The ruling class and the state are therefore not identical.
We seek a social revolution that will overthrow the state and capitalism. Yet a society-wide transformation can’t happen overnight, since we have seen that the state is inside us as well. Without an internal transformation, we will continue to reproduce the dominating and exploitative relations of the state and capital daily. It is only through the process of collective struggle that we can both draw out the potential for change and sow the seed of its realisation.
To organise a revolutionary society, we must have working class institutions that replace the necessary functions which the state and capital distorted and monopolised.
Historically these have taken form in horizontally organised councils and assemblies in the workplace and in communities. Rather than a coercive professional institution of class rule, we see the future of humanity in institutions of direct democracy organised without classes or institutionalised hierarchies. We think these forms have value, but we believe that the working class, being a creative and dynamic entity, will likely create new and innovative forms of self-activity and self-management.
While defending ourselves in revolution and achieving greater stability, the re-organisation of society for human needs and desires rather than the profit-driven production of capitalism will increasingly become our task.
Although we support struggles for improvements in our situation, how changes are fought for makes a difference. We oppose a strategy for social change centred on elections and lobbying because it focuses on political leaders making decisions through the state rather than building mass social movements, solidarity, and collective direct action. We reject the assertion by some socialists that the state can be an effective tool for the emancipation of humanity. We believe that rather than the ends justifying the means it is the means which create the ends. In this regard, the state as a violent and coercive institution of propagating class rule is a completely incompatible means for achieving our end of a classless, stateless society.