Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B14, D74, H1, P2

Key Words

Bourgeois, Communism, Karl Marx, Proletariat, Revolution, Socialism


In his The State and Revolution [1918], Vladimir Illich Ulyanov—also known as Lenin—singles out the organ of the “State” as the institution essential for realizing a successful communist revolution. Lenin’s draws his thinking on the State from Karl Marx, who in his writings expresses the view that a State emerges in order to mitigate class conflicts. From this perspective, the State becomes an organ for class rule. History teaches us that the State occupies a position above society and is utilized as a special coercive force for exerting the wills of members of the ruling class upon the working class. Lenin explains that this State machine would need to be smashed to pieces in order to disarm the oppressive methods of the ruling class. Following a revolution in which the working class would seize power, the State would need to be completely reshaped into a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” In this new form, the State could assist with the appropriation of the means of production by the working class, and would also reorganize the working class as the new ruling class while stamping out the resistance of the bourgeois. Following the Marxist view, this Dictatorship of the Proletariat would gradually wither away as society moved towards a successful stage of communism, suggesting that all class antagonisms would have dissipated and proved resolved.


© 2023 J.P. Trafford

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