hal draper, the state and socialism from below

by David Broder

Recently this site has seen a debate over the question of the state in bourgeois society and after working-class revolution, with comrades from the Trotskyist group ‘Permanent Revolution’ arguing that such a revolution would necessarily have to create a new state which would centrally plan the economy. They call this “socialism”, to be followed by a later classless, stateless era of “communism”. They furthermore argue that state-planned economies such as Cuba’s, despite the lack of working-class power in decision-making, nonetheless represent, in some dilute form, “workers’ states”.

This has little in common with our conception of how working-class power comes about and should be exercised: by the working class itself, democratically, from below and creating its own structures organically. There are no saviours from on high: we do not want a benign régime or enlightened despot to dish out equality of poverty.

With this in mind, we have added three texts to the ‘ideas’ section of our website by the American communist Hal Draper. These argue against state socialist models and for ‘socalism from below’, and see this sentiment as a thread running through the works of Karl Marx.

Click here to read The Death of the State in Marx and Engels; the Two Souls of Socialism; and The Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Marx and Engels.