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Did Marx support a strongly centralized state or no? Comrade 06/29/2020 (Mon) 18:13:17 No. 2117
I am open to non-marxist points of view. Evidence for: >Whilst it forces on more and more of the transformation of the vast means of production, already socialized, into State property, it shows itself the way to accomplishing this revolution. The proletariat seizes political power and turns the means of production into State property. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/04/nationalisation-land.htm >The nationalisation of land will work a complete change in the relations between labour and capital, and finally, do away with the capitalist form of production, whether industrial or rural. Then class distinctions and privileges will disappear together with the economical basis upon which they rest. To live on other people's labour will become a thing of the past. There will be no longer any government or state power, distinct from society itself! Agriculture, mining, manufacture, in one word, all branches of production, will gradually be organised in the most adequate manner. National centralisation of the means of production will become the national basis of a society composed of associations of free and equal producers, carrying on the social business on a common and rational plan. Such is the humanitarian goal to which the great economic movement of the 19th century is tending. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/10/authority.htm >If man, by dint of his knowledge and inventive genius, has subdued the forces of nature, the latter avenge themselves upon him by subjecting him, in so far as he employs them, to a veritable despotism independent of all social organisation. Wanting to abolish authority in large-scale industry is tantamount to wanting to abolish industry itself, to destroy the power loom in order to return to the spinning wheel. Let us take another example — the railway. Here too the co-operation of an infinite number of individuals is absolutely necessary, and this co-operation must be practised during precisely fixed hours so that no accidents may happen. Here, too, the first condition of the job is a dominant will that settles all subordinate questions, whether this will is represented by a single delegate or a committee charged with the execution of the resolutions of the majority of persona interested. In either case there is a very pronounced authority. Moreover, what would happen to the first train dispatched if the authority of the railway employees over the Hon. passengers were abolished? But the necessity of authority, and of imperious authority at that, will nowhere be found more evident than on board a ship on the high seas. There, in time of danger, the lives of all depend on the instantaneous and absolute obedience of all to the will of one. When I submitted arguments like these to the most rabid anti-authoritarians, the only answer they were able to give me was the following: Yes, that's true, but there it is not the case of authority which we confer on our delegates, but of a commission entrusted! These gentlemen think that when they have changed the names of things they have changed the things themselves. This is how these profound thinkers mock at the whole world. We have thus seen that, on the one hand, a certain authority, no matter how delegated, and, on the other hand, a certain subordination, are things which, independently of all social organisation, are imposed upon us together with the material conditions under which we produce and make products circulate. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/communist-league/1850-ad1.htm >But no more than local and provincial self-government is in contradiction to political, national centralisation, is it necessarily bound up with that narrow-minded cantonal or communal self-seeking which strikes us as so repulsive in Switzerland, and which all the South German federal republicans wanted to make the rule in Germany in 1849. – Note by Engels to the 1885 edition.] Evidence against: >With all the great towns organized into Communes after the model of Paris, no government could repress the movement by the surprise of sudden reaction. Even by this preparatory step the time of incubation, the guarantee of the movement, came. All France [would be] organized into self-working and self-governing Communes, the standing army replaced by the popular militias, the army of State parasites removed, the clerical hierarchy displaced by the schoolmaster, the State judge transformed into Communal organs, the suffrage for the national representation not a matter of sleight of hand for an all-powerful government but the deliberate expression of organized Communes, the State functions reduced to a few functions for general national purposes. Such is the Commune – the political form of the social emancipation, of the liberation of labour from the usurpations (slaveholding) of the monopolists of the means of labour, created by the labourers themselves or forming the gift of nature. As the State machinery and parliamentarism are not the real life of the ruling classes, but only the organized general organs of their dominion, the political guarantees and forms and expressions of the old order of things, so the Commune is not the social movement of the working class and therefore of a general regeneration of mankind, but the organized means of action. The Commune does not [do] away with the class struggles, through which the working classes strive to [read for] the abolition of all classes and, therefore, of all classes [class rule] (because it does not represent a peculiar interest, it represents the liberation of “labour,” that is the fundamental and natural condition of individual and social life which only by usurpation, fraud, and artificial contrivances can be shifted from the few upon the many), but it affords the rational medium in which that class struggle can run through its different phases in the most rational and humane way. It could start violent reactions and as violent revolutions. It begins the emancipation of labour – its great goal – by doing away with the unproductive and mischievous work of the State parasites, by cutting away the springs which sacrifice an immense portion of the national produce to the feeding of the State monster on the one side, by doing, on the other, the real work of administration, local and national, for working men’s wages. It begins therefore with an immense saving, with economical reform as well as political transformation. The Communal organization once firmly established on a national scale, the catastrophes it might still have to undergo, would be sporadic slaveholders’ insurrections, which, while for a moment interrupting the work of peaceful progress, would only accelerate the movement, by putting the sword into the hands of the Social Revolution. Source unknown

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