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Power of the State

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  • 6 years later...

I guess they were not, John.

Anyone interested in commenting on this passage from William Domhoff's Processes of Ruling Class Domination in America.

The repressive power of the ruling class may or not be the "basic reality" of the state in capitalistic society, as most Marxists assert. But even if they overstate their case, as is believed by those theorists who emphasize the patriotic and ideological basis of the state,, the fact remains that leaders within the American ruling class have turned loose strikebreakers, the police, the FBI, and the CIA, on trade-union organizers, civil-right activists, anti-war protesters and left-wing political leaders, sometimes murdering them in the process. These actions are part of the ideology process, and they suggest that the power elite will use the most drastic of methods to defend its position.

John Simkin

Edited by Peter McGuire
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the probable martyr assange will show if the threat of challenging authority is overstated. power doesn't retreat. he maybe has done as much to unite governments, against him, as he has to spread trouble. chomsky said governments need to keep secrets to protect themselves from their own people. i am hoping for a non-tragic outcome. it seems like governments, at least the american government has not really come to terms with the idea of electronic files yet. they leave open the possibility that thousands of people can steal these files, then blame the thieves. sarah palin practically gave millions of people all the information they needed to "hack" her email, if you could guess she met her husband in her hometown, and then she compared this spontaneous act by a 20 year old in his basement to watergate. i hope assange lives thru this.

so if anything is overstated, its the reaction of the state to any threat, such as anti-communism, and any penetration of its control.

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If the government constructed insurmountable barriers to access data declared secret, then they could not turn around and institute draconian measures to further restrict access. If they leave the door slightly ajar, then they have grounds to enact the strictest measures when their alleged secrecy is violated. Maybe that's not setting fire to the Reichstag, figuratively speaking, but it does amount to providing the matches and the gasoline.

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2 bits...I get these early guys mixed up sometimes. I think it was Engels who defined the state (note this is any state) as 'a body of armed men'.

There was a time when the Aristocracy in various forms ruled over the Peasant majority. Throughout the world from China to Britain there have been peasant revolts against these often repressive, backed or rather surrounded by arms pointing towards the peasantry, regimes.

Cromwell led the first successful overthrow of this state and replaced the dictatorship of the Monarchy with a dictatorship of the emerging merchant class. This State (Capitalist) then instituted a dictatorship of the Capitalists over the Peasantry that transformed into Wage Slaves or Workers. Similarly a successful overthrow of Capitalists by Workers would institute a dictatorship of the Workers. The state then again would be a body of armed men (and women as we are moving into the modern world) only this time the majority controlling a minority (ideally towards a transition towards a no-state).

I think it is also good to consider the analysis of Lenin, I think, that Fascism is the last form that Capitalism takes during periods of extreme economic disruption and consequent unrest amongst the havenots, who suffer enormously, as the format of the state, not unlike as it has become in many places, where an iron grip by the body of armed persons is set in place, where the world, as it is, is different from the windows that most people see the world through as being.

edit typo, add : hence global unity is needed as embodied in Marxs' 'working men of all countries unite'. It is this unity that, if it withstands the inevitable assaults, that will triumph and that is why the ultimate weapon of the status quo is to create dis-unity and have worker fighting worker


Trotsky recognised the need to avoid stagnation with his contribution of 'the permanent revolution'.

I think that the formation of the fifth international under way today, by its name, pays homage to Trotsky (fourth) and it will be interesting to see its development.

Edited by John Dolva
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