Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Beginning Of A New Age

History of Buddhism in Korea

Buddhism was reportedly introduced to Korea from China in 372. As it has done in other places, Buddhism incorporated elements of the local religion, Shamanism, into its ideology. Three of the most important spirits - Sanshin (the Mountain Spirit), Toksong (the Recluse) and Chilsong (the Spirit of the Seven Stars, the Big Dipper) – became part of Korean Buddhism and special shrines are set aside for them in many temples. That said, the fundamental teaching of Buddhism remained.
Buddhism flourished during the Goryo Dynasty (918 to 1392), but the arrival of the Joseon (aka Chosun) Dynasty (1392 to 1910) resulted in expression repression of Buddhist monks and believers as it was replaced by Neo-Confucian ideology.
In 1388, an influential general named Yi Seonggye (1380–1400) carried out a coup d'etat, and established himself as the first ruler of the Joseon Dynasty under the reign title of Taejo in 1392 with the support of this Neo-Confucian movement. The number of Buddhist temples was reduced, restrictions on membership in the sangha were installed, and Buddhist monks and nuns were literally chased into the mountains, forbidden to mix with society.
When the final restrictions were in place, monks and nuns were prohibited from entering the cities. Buddhist funerals, and even almsgiving, were outlawed. However, some rulers occasionally appeared who looked favorably upon Buddhism and did away with some of the more suppressive regulations. The most noteworthy of these was Queen Munjeong
However, the persecution stopped around the end of the 16th century when monks helped repel the Japanese invasion of 1592-98. At that time, the government was weak from internal squabbles, and was not initially able to muster strong resistance to the incursion. The plight of the country encouraged some leaders of the sangha to organize monks into guerrilla units, which enjoyed some instrumental successes. The "righteous monk" movement spread during this eight-year war, finally including several thousand monks, led by the aging Seosan Hyujeong (1520–1604), a first-rate Seon master and the author of a number of important religious texts. The presence of the monks' army was a critical factor in the eventual expulsion of the Japanese invaders.
Buddhists kept a low profile, however, until the end of the Joseon period. During the Japanese Colonial period (1910 to 1945) some of remaining restrictions were lifted. Japanese Buddhists demanded the right to proselytize in the cities, lifting the five-hundred year ban on monks and nuns entering cities. The formation of new Buddhist sects, such as Won Buddhism, and the presence of Christian missionaries during this period led to further turbulence in traditional Korean Buddhism. Japanese Buddhism allowed priests to marry (contrary to the celibacy of Korean monks and nuns) and the Japanese occupational authorities encouraged this practice in Korea.
After liberation, a deep rift opened up between the married and celibate monks. Physical fights broke out between the so-called Japanised Buddhists and those who considered themselves to be the true Korean Buddhists as the latter started taking over temples from the married priests, who had been appointed by the Japanese. During the post colonial struggle, members of the Jogye Order, which sees itself as the representative sect of traditional Korean Buddhism, threatened to kill themselves if the 'interlopers' did not give up control of the temples. As riots and fights between the various factions continued, Koreans began listening more and more to Christian missionaries.
Various presidents involved themselves in the conflict. In the 1950's, Syngman Rhee campaigned against the Japanised Buddhists, while Park Chung Hee (1961-1979) allied himself with the celibate faction, although he did try to settle the dispute by building a pan-national Buddhist organisation. In the  1980's, President Chun Doo-hwan sent troops to raid temples and had hundreds of monks arrested and tortured.
As Christianity grew stronger, sectarian tensions have increased. Incidents of temple burnings and attacks on Buddhist artworks have been reported. Both Buddhist and Christian cemeteries have been vandalised. Students at Buddhist universities are sometimes subjected to aggressive attempts to convert them to Christianity, while people attending celebrations of Buddha’s Birthday are sometimes harassed by Christians outside the venue. Tensions appear to have quieted down in the late 1990's and early 2000's, but have risen again somewhat with the election of  President Lee Myong-bak, a devout Christian who is perceived to have surrounded himself with equally devout officials, some of whom have been accused of removing temples from certain maps and other biased behaviour according to media report in 2008.
Today, Buddhists account for about 23% of the population. It is stronger in the southern provinces. Some of the school of Buddhism present in Korea include Seon Buddhism (closely related to Zen Buddhism) and the Wonbulgyo movement, which emphasises unity in all things.

K4E Editor: We try to make the information on as complete and accurate as possible, so if you notice any errors or omissions in the content above, please let us know at

Getting to Zero: Doing the Nuclear Math about Japan’s Ageing Reactors :: JapanFocus

Getting to Zero: Doing the Nuclear Math about Japan’s Ageing Reactors :: JapanFocus

US goes over fiscal cliff

'World's Worst Poker Player': Obama Readies Gift for GOP President refuses to hold his line as clock ticks in Washington

Come on folks, wake the EFF up.
O has always been a Republocrat. 
He is a center right corporatista.
He does not cave at all.
He obeys his marching orders from Wall St. and the MIC. 
The media feeds the public that there is a difference between the two parties.
We have the best government that money can buy. 
UPDATE 2:50 PM: As rumors of a 'deal' continue, a new Paul Krugman post on Obama's 'dealmaking':
{...} Anyone looking at these negotiations, especially given Obama’s previous behavior, can’t help but reach one main conclusion: whenever the president says that there’s an issue on which he absolutely, positively won’t give ground, you can count on him, you know, giving way — and soon, too. The idea that you should only make promises and threats you intend to make good on doesn’t seem to be one that this particular president can grasp.
And that means that Republicans will go right from this negotiation into the debt ceiling in the firm belief that Obama can be rolled.
At that point he can redeem himself by holding firm — but because the Republicans don’t think he will, they will play tough, almost surely forcing him to actually hit the ceiling with all the costs that entails. And look, if I were a Republican I would also be betting that he’ll cave.
So Obama has set himself and the nation up for a much uglier confrontation than we would have had if he had set a negotiating position and held to it.
* * *
President Obama, who announced at a mid-day televised announcement Monday that a possible fiscal agreement in Washington was close, appears ready to 'cave' on early promises that he would not allow an extension of Bush era tax cuts on those making more than $250,000 a year.
As rumors surfaced about the details of a possible deal being negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, Paul Krugman called Obama the 'world's worst poker player,' writing:
Is it really possible that Obama still doesn’t understand that every time [offers concessions to Republicans] — especially if it comes just a few days after stern statements about how he won’t give it — it just reinforces the Republican belief that he can always be bullied into submission? If he cuts a bad deal on the fiscal cliff today, he more or less guarantees that just a few weeks from now Republicans will go all out on using the debt ceiling to extract more concessions.
Meanwhile, describing why Republicans think Obama is playing right into their hands and believe they'll come out on top today, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes:
[...] The question for Republicans has always been how to get to the debt ceiling while giving up the minimum in tax increases. Many of them figured that they’d at least have to give on the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000.
When these negotiations began, the White House was unyielding on that point, with the president promising to veto anything that didn’t raise tax rates for income over $250,000. Asked by House Speaker John Boehner what he’d trade for $800 billion in revenue — about the cost of the high-income Bush tax cuts — Obama was firm. ”You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”
To make matters worse for Republicans, the Senate had already passed a bill letting those cuts expire back in July because Minority Leader Mitch McConnell figured it would be too politically damaging to block. If Mitt Romney had won the election, that bill would have died. But after Obama won on a platform that was barely about anything aside from letting those tax cuts expire, it seemed inevitable he’d get it done. It was his due.
To the GOP’s delight, that no longer seems to be the case. In the Obama-Boehner negotiations, the White House offered to raise the threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. McConnell, in his negotiations with Harry Reid and now Joe Biden, has been trying to raise that to $500,000. It’s clear to the Republicans that they will get past the fiscal cliff with a smaller tax increase than they thought. Perhaps much smaller. Huzzah!
Klein reports that Republicans who heard that Obama would refuse to negotiate over a future debt ceiling fight, "burst out laughing." Those Klein spoke to said the president--given today's developments--was already doing just that. Klein continues:
[Obama] began the fiscal cliff negotiations by saying he wanted a permanent solution to the debt ceiling. Then it was a two-year increase in the debt limit. Now he’s going to sign off on a mini-deal that doesn’t increase the debt ceiling at all. Does that really sound like someone who’s going to hold firm when faced with global economic chaos? The White House always talks tough at the beginning of negotiations and then always folds at the end. Republicans are confident that the debt ceiling will be no different.
All this raises the tantalizing prospect for Republicans that they could end these negotiations having given up less tax revenue than they ever thought possible — less tax revenue than Boehner offered Obama, even — but still getting their entitlement cuts. Oh, and because there was never a big deal, they won’t have to agree to much stimulus, either. All in all, a pretty big win, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the White House’s baffling inability to stick to a negotiating position.

Obama Quietly Signs Abusive Spy Bill He Once Vowed to Eliminate After Senate rejects oversight amendments, bill sails into law - Lauren McCauley

Under the cover of holiday weekend slumber, President Obama signed into law a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, successfully solidifying unchecked surveillance authority for the remainder of his presidency.
This weekend, Obama signed into law a five year extension of the controversial FISA Act (Photo: Getty Images)Known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law extends powers of the National Security Agency to conduct surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls without obtaining a court order for each intercept.
The spying bill would have expired at the end of 2012 without the president's approval, the Associated Press reports.
According to a statement (PDF) by the ACLU, "the law's effect—and indeed the law's main purpose—is to give the government nearly unfettered access to Americans' international communications."
On Friday, the Senate voted overwhelming (73-23) to pass a renewal of the bill (H.R. 5949), voting down four separate oversight amendments that would have gone "a long-way in curbing the law’s worst abuses," writes the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Trevor Timm.
Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald remarked that passage of the law, ushered to the president's desk with broad Democratic support, represented one of the "defining attributes of the Obama legacy" in which a previously radical right-wing policy—in this case warrantless eavesdropping—is meekly accepted by empowered Democrats and then codified as law with "bipartisan consensus".
You can see a breakdown of how each Senator voted, here.

George Carlin the illusion of freedom

We have become slaves to our own egos. 
The uber elite have massaged us into thinking that what is good for them is good for us. 
We can no longer afford to feed the beast that is eating humanity. 
The system of the status quo can not be amended, legislated, regulated, or improved upon.
It must collapse in  order for a new beginning to come about.
Let the collapse begin in 2013, before it is too late. 

THE YOUNGBLOODS / Let´s get together (1967) [Chet Powers´s song]

To infinity and beyond in 2013 - Americas - Al Jazeera English

To infinity and beyond in 2013 - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Mali: The 'gentle' face of al-Qaeda An exclusive report from inside northern Mali.- 2012 Year in Review - Al Jazeera English

Mali: The 'gentle' face of al-Qaeda - 2012 Year in Review - Al Jazeera English

Ansar al Din is a Malian armed group that hosts Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) much as the Taliban did in Afghanistan.

Balfour Declaration: The Secret of Leopold Amery

The Secret of Leopold Amery


Alison Weir discusses secret author of Balfour Declaration [Video]

Alison Weir discusses secret author of Balfour Declaration [Video]

How the Israeli lobby works in the United States

How the Israeli lobby works in the United States
"...Several years ago, I found out how AIPAC worked, directly..."
Arab News - One of the most influential lobbying groups in America, it is often argued that no politician can be elected into office without AIPAC's support. No president can take the White House without affirming unbreakable allegiance to Israel, and attendance at the annual AIPAC meeting is mandatory. Once in office every member of Congress is expected to act, vote and defend the state of Israel on almost every issue, or face the consequences.
Originally called the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was an offshoot of the American Zionist Council, changing names in 1963. With a sole purpose to advocate for the state of Israel, AIPAC ought to be listed with the US government as a Foreign Agent; instead, the Committee continually denies receiving any funds from Israel.*
What are AIPAC's tactics? How do they get away with controlling so much of government of the United States, and thus veto power at the United Nations? Several years ago, I found out how AIPAC worked, directly. READ MORE

Rosy Forecast of Cheap Oil Abundance, Economic Boom a Myth

Rosy Forecast of Cheap Oil Abundance, Economic Boom a Myth

A ground flare burns gas at a pad in Belfield, N.D., September 3, 2011. About 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste, in a attempt by oil companies to rush the extraction of oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)A ground flare burns gas at a pad in Belfield, North Dakota, September 3, 2011. About 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste, in a attempt by oil companies to rush the extraction of oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. (Photo: Jim Wilson / The New York Times)

Israel lobby should not have veto over US president's cabinet - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Israel lobby should not have veto over US president's cabinet - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

The War Party and the Israel Lobby Wish for War With Iran in 2013 by Muhammad Sahimi --

The War Party and the Israel Lobby Wish for War With Iran in 2013 by Muhammad Sahimi --

Harry Reid Finally Settles It: Social Security Is Off the Table | Common Dreams

Harry Reid Finally Settles It: Social Security Is Off the Table | Common Dreams

US, France deploy troops to Central African Republic - World Socialist Web Site

US, France deploy troops to Central African Republic - World Socialist Web Site

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Precious golden mountain “Hwangeumsan”: Dokgot-ri Daesan-eup Seosan-si Chungcheongnam-do Province

This is the part of South Korea that I hope to be spending the most of my last days here on earth. 

The picture below of Beolcheonpo Beach is exactly where i will be. 

Precious golden mountain “Hwangeumsan”

Dokgot-ri Daesan-eup Seosan-si Chungcheongnam-do Province

Wonderful walkway to observe scenic mountains and blue sea

Since the olden days, Seosan-si in Chungcheongnam-do Province has been proud of its eight most attractive spots comprising chattering streams in Sansugol Valley on Gayasan Mountain, white clouds floating over Seokmunbong Peak, tranquility at Gaesimsa Temple, beautiful flowers in spring at Yongbidong, moonlight in April according to lunar calendar at Yeomiri Village, the pine forest in the morning at Oknyeobong Peak, the sunset scene at Dobisan Mountain, and migrating birds at Ganwolho Lake.

However, as time goes by the eight scenic attractions of Seosan-si have been criticized by some people. Therefore, Seosan-si made a nationwide survey in last March to find 30 scenic spots in the Seosan area and chose the nine most scenic spots in Seousan according to the consultation with the experts and related data analysis.

The nine most scenic spots of Seosan-si are Haemieupseong Fortress, Maaeyeorae-samjonsang Buddha reliefs on a huge rock at Yongheyon-ri in Seosan-si, Ganwolam Temple, Gaesimsa Temple, Palbongsan Mountain, Gayasan Mountain, Hwanggeumsan Mountain, the Korean cow pasture in Seosan-si and Samgilpohang Port. Most of these nine attractions are well known but the seventh attraction, Hwanggeumsan Mountain, is comparatively unknown.

Hwanggeumsan Mountain, located at the northwestern tip of Dasanbando peninsula, is only partially connected with mainland. That is why the mountain seems to be an isolated island. Then in May 1988 Samsung Synthetic Chemical Company built its factories at the peninsula, and the peninsular was completely connected to the main land. Two caves on Hanggeumsan Mountain are the caves where miners collected gold stones in the old days. The western side of Hwanggeumsan Mountain is composed of steep rocky cliffs and the nearby sea is very deep. That part of the sea is called Hwanggeummok Sea, which is well-known for its deep and rough waves at low tide. Therefore, boats sailing at the sea suffered serious difficulties in such rapid and rough tides of the sea. 

Original name of Hwanggeumsan Mountain means “precious gold”

Hwanggeumsan Mountain (黃金山: yellow gold mountain) was written in Joseonjihyeondo Map produced by the Japanese colonial government around 1912 – 1919 and the map produced by Seosan-gun County office in 1926. However, it is said that the original name of Hwanggeumsan Mountain used to be Hanggeumsan (亢金山: pure gold mountain). In a local map printed in 1872 the mountain was written as Hanggeumsan Mountain (項金山: item gold mountain). Hwanggeum means common yellow gold and Hanggeum means pure gold. Therefore, the scholars from the villages near the mountain obstinately called the mountain Hanggeumsan in the old days.

Hwanggeumsan Mountain has become popular for its nice trekking course where people can enjoy seeing the beautiful scenery of the mountain and blue West Sea. For a long time this mountain area was not accessible to ordinary people because the Hwanggeumsan Mountain area was used as a military training and operations site. Recently Hwanggeumsan Mountain area was opened to the public and its trekking course has become very popular for its attractive natural charms. If you walk for a while via Dokgot-ri Port, the clam farm and the reed field, enjoying the comfort of peaceful countryside, you will reach the entrance to Hwanggeumsan Mountain and will find a guide post for Hwanggeumsan Mountain, As Hwanggeumsan Mountain is covered with a very green pine forest, visitors can feel the fragrance of pine trees in the dense pine forest.

After walking along the stairway at the entrance to Hwanggeumsan Mountain and walking for about 600 meters along the road on smooth hill covered with dense pine forest, you will arrive at a resting place at the Sageori (four-way junction). On weekends and holidays, salespersons sell cup ramyeon, coffee and mackeolli at the cross roads.
Kkokkiri-bawi Rock is an attraction of Mondol-haebyeon Beach

From the crossroads, if you walk for about 650 meters along the way on the right side, you will reach Kkeutgol-haean Beach via a site for helipad, but few people take this route. Most visitors choose to hike for about 200 meters along the way on the left side to reach the summit of Hwanggeumsan Mountain. On the summit of Hwanggeumsan Mountain, 156 meters above sea level, stands a large stone tower, and below the summit the cozy Hwanggeumsansa Shrine is lcoated.

Hwanggeumsansa Shrine is not a temple but a shrine that enshrines the portraits of General Lim Gyeongeop and mountain god. Villagers and fishermen living at the nearby villages consecrate rituals for their safety, well-being, abundant harvests and success with fishing. Hwanggeumsansa Shrine has a wonderful perspective. Garorimman lagoon and Beolcheonpo-haebyeon Beach viewed through the large oak trees look like a picturesque landscape.

If you return to the Sageori (four-way junction) and hike for about 100 meters further you will reach another Sageori where resting facilities are installed. From this spot, if you hike for about 200 meters along the way on the right side, you will find a cave called Gulgeum, and if you hike for about 200 meters along the way on the left side, you will reach Mongdol-haebyeon Beach. Most visitors take the course for Mongdol-haebyeon Beach. On the way to Mongdol-haebyeon Beach, you will encounter a large stone tower on which some people leave well-wishing notes.

Mongdol-haebyeon Beach below Hwanggeumsan Mountain is covered not with sand but with small and large pebbles. From the peaceful Mongdol-haebyeon Beach, you will be fascinated to see the wonderful scenery of Iwonbando Peninsula far away over the blue sea. In winter you may enjoy picking up the natural oysters and seaweed and occasionally people enjoy fishing on the rocks by the seaside. The most impressive attraction at Mongdol-haebyeon Beach is Kkokkiribawi Rock (elephant rock). As the giant rock looks like a big elephant drinking seawater with its nose, observers are amazed at the mysterious natural sight. Evergreen pine trees growing in the chasms of rocky cliffs make the observers realize the wonderful power of survival in such difficult conditions. At low tide, visitors may pass across the large hole of the giant elephant rock near scenic Mongdol-haebyeon Beach.

    A Marxist History of the World: Making the future Historian Neil Faulkner concludes A Marxist History of the World by looking at what that history can tell us about the possibility for radical social change

    The wealth of the world

    For the last 5,000 years, since the Agricultural Revolution first provided substantial accumulations of surplus wealth, humanity has been engaged in an uneven and uncertain ascent towards the abolition of want. The ascent has been driven by the three motors of history – technological progress, ruling-class competition, and the struggle between classes – and it has been uneven and uncertain because the working of these mechanisms, especially in combination, has been fraught.
    Over the last 250 years, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the pace of change has accelerated sharply. A dynamic system of competitive capital accumulation has created a global economy of rapid and incessant innovation. Humanity’s ingenuity and industry have brought us to the brink of material abundance for all.
    Yet the full potential inherent in the economy remains unrealised. Instead, there is exploitation and poverty, imperialism and war, famine and disease. As I write, in Britain, the pittances paid to the disabled poor are being withdrawn so that bailed-out bankers can continue awarding themselves million-pound bonuses. At the same time, in Greece, average wages are cut by a third to keep payments flowing to billionaire speculators domiciled in offshore tax-havens. Further afield, in East Africa, pot-bellied babies scream with hunger because Mid West farmers are growing soya to burn instead of corn to eat. And in Central Asia, other babies are torn apart by high explosive because a Pentagon spook half a world away deems their village a terrorist threat.
    We have created unprecedented resources of know-how and wealth – the fruit of five millennia of collective human labour – yet they are harnessed to the greed and violence of a tiny minority who do no productive work at all.
    One aim of this book has been to explain why this should be so. Another has been to show that it could have been otherwise. Central to the argument has been the simple fact that human beings make their own history. They do not do it in circumstances of their own choosing. Their actions are framed by the economic, social, and political structures of their age. But, subject to these constraints – indeed, because of them – human beings face a succession of choices.
    Sometimes, they choose not to act, but to acquiesce. Then they remain history’s victims, in thrall to the decisions of others, their rulers, the self-appointed arbiters of human destiny. Other times, far more rarely perhaps, they choose to organise and fight. When enough make this choice, they become a mass movement and an historical force. And then the Earth shakes.
    We have arrived at a moment when great choices must be made. Either we acquiesce to austerity and poverty, to grotesque and growing social injustice, and, quite possibly, to a descent into the darkness of fascism and war. Or we decide that the latest crisis of capitalism should be its last, and that we must overthrow the rule of bankers and warlords and create a new society based on democracy, equality, and production for need not profit.

    The Beast

    To change the world, we have to understand it. To slay the Beast, we need to know its nature. Capitalism today is different from the system analysed by Marx in the mid 19th century or Lenin in the early 20th. But it is also the same. History’s most dynamic economic and social system, it grows and morphs, engulfing the most distant corners of the globe, sucking in ever more raw human material, trampling underfoot all that stands in the path of its relentless expansion. Yet it remains what it has always been: a system of competitive capital accumulation, of wealth begetting wealth as an end in itself, without plan or purpose, forever and ever. The black heart of the Beast is ever the same: the pursuit of profit.
    In the history of its development, the capitalist system has passed through five distinct phases. In each case, the transition from one to another has been mediated by acute economic, social, and political crises, and the system’s new mode of operation has been first pioneered in parts of the global economy and then generalised to the rest by the pressure of competition. Each transition, moreover, has preserved in reconfigured form the main features of the previous phase; capitalist development has been both accumulative and transformative. It can be summarised as follows:

    1. Mercantile capitalism, c. 1450-1800

    Most wealth was still produced by pre-capitalist classes, but merchant capitalists accumulated profit by acting as middlemen, whether in national markets, or overseas trade, or through the ‘putting-out’ system, where they organised and marketed the output of independent artisans.
    The great bourgeois revolutions – the Dutch, English, American, and French – were powered by the new social forces unleashed in this period. So, too, were the successive wars of empire between Britain and France during ‘the long 18th century’ from 1688 to 1815.

    2. Industrial capitalism, c. 1800-1875

    Industrial capitalists created factories for mass production based on steam power and new labour-saving machines, resulting in a mass of small and medium-size firms competing in national and colonial markets.
    The Industrial Revolution which brought the factory system into being was pioneered in Britain – ‘the workshop of the world’. Its advent triggered ferocious class struggles, first as independent artisans resisted their impoverishment, then as the new factory proletariat began to organise.
    Industrialisation also provided the context for a second phase of bourgeois revolutions – the ItalianRisorgimento, the American Civil War, the Meiji Restoration, German Unification – as competitive pressure forced the creation of modern states and unitary national markets.

    3. Imperial capitalism, c. 1875-1935

    The Long Depression of 1873-1896 was the forging house of an economy dominated by giant monopoly firms organised in cartels, financed by the banks, and expanding on the basis of state contracts, international sales, and the export of capital to overseas colonies and dependencies.
    New centres of capital accumulation developed rapidly. German and US output surpassed that of Britain. Imperialist tensions, especially between Germany and Britain, erupted in the First World War – the first modern industrialised war of matériel (mass production of arms).
    New labour movements – trade unions and socialist parties – were a product of rapid industrialisation in this period, and these became the organisational basis for successive waves of class struggle, most notably that between 1917 and 1923.

    4. State-managed capitalism, c. 1935-1975

    A new model of capitalist development was pioneered in Russia after the defeat of the revolution. Russia was isolated, impoverished, and surrounded by enemies, so it needed to industrialise and militarise quickly. But private capitalism was very weak, so the state itself was turned into a single giant capitalist enterprise.
    This model was later replicated, in whole or in part, across the world. Three factors were decisive: the imperatives of the ‘permanent arms economy’ during the Second World War and the Cold War; the pressure of a radicalised and militant working class for full employment and welfare reform after 1945; and the desire for rapid economic development in newly independent Third World countries in the 1950s and 1960s.
    State-managed capitalism underpinned the Great Boom of 1948-1973. But the world was divided into two nuclear-armed blocs and was scarred by a succession of colonial and proxy wars in the Third World. This provided the context within which formal decolonisation took place and new independent nation-states were formed in Africa and Asia. The majority of humanity remained in poverty. And the boom was unsustainable, for it was balanced on the cone of a nuclear missile.

    5. Neoliberal capitalism, c. 1975 onwards

    State-managed capitalism entered crisis in the 1970s. During that decade, an alternative neoliberal model began to gain support among mainstream politicians, especially in Britain and the US, where it became the basis of government policy under Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the US during the 1980s. By the end of that decade, especially in the wake of the 1989 anti-Stalinist revolutions in Eastern Europe, it was being replicated across the world.
    The essential aim was to bring about a redistribution of wealth from wages to profit, from labour to capital, from workers to the rich. This has been achieved in various ways. The internationalisation of capital, programmes of marketisation and privatisation, new forms of surplus appropriation, and the growth of precarious employment have all combined to make this shift possible. Let us define the main features of the system in a little more detail:

    a) Internationalisation

    The centralisation and concentration of capital has developed to such a point that the dominant corporate form has burst its national limits and now operates as a multinational (or ‘de-nationalised’) firm within a worldwide market. Finance, investment, and trade, in the past more firmly anchored within individual nation-states, have become globalised. This has intensified the contradiction between international capital and the nation-state. It has also intensified conflict between states, as old self-contained blocs break up, existing alignments dissolve, and old powers decline and new ones arise. Because of this, the growing anarchy of the global market co-exists with the growing violence of imperial states.

    b) Marketisation and privatisation

    The direct economic role of the state has been reduced. Nationalised industries have been privatised. The ability of the state to regulate private capital has been undermined by the globalisation of finance, investment, and trade; the state has become less a manager of capital and more its client, bidding for its favour in competition with other states. This has contributed to a hollowing out of parliamentary regimes, an erosion of democratic choice, and the development of technocratic and managerial forms of politics. It has also given enhanced importance to inter-state bodies like the EU, the ECB, and the IMF, which increasingly take on the functions of capitalist super-states.

    c) Financialisation

    Finance (or bank) capital has become largely detached from both industrial and state capital, and now operates as an increasingly important mechanism for independent (and parasitic) surplus accumulation. The rise of finance capital is linked with the growing exploitation of workers in their roles as consumers and taxpayers. Traditional forms of surplus appropriation through exploitation at the point of production have been augmented by a relative expansion of surplus appropriation at the point of consumption. Three mechanisms of surplus appropriation are at work: monopoly pricing, where large corporations price the commodities purchased by the working class above their real value; interest, where banks and other financial institutions make profit out of working-class debt; and state taxation, where taxes paid by the working class are recycled as payments, grants, and bailouts to private business.

    d) Precariousness

    The ‘reserve army of labour’ – the mass of unemployed, semi-employed, and casually (or ‘precariously’) employed – has been expanded compared with the period 1948-1973. In the metropolitan economies, this has been achieved by marketisation, privatisation, and the fragmentation of large well-organised workforces, and by the systematic unpicking of the welfare ‘safety-nets’ characteristic of state-managed capitalism. Globally, it has been achieved by the internationalisation of capital, the growth of new centres of capital accumulation, and the increased opportunities for capitalists to relocate production in low-wage economies. Playing off one group of workers against another in a global ‘race to the bottom’ has become more central to the operation of the global system.

    e) The coercive state

    The economic management and welfare functions of the state have declined. The role of the state as a market for capital and as a conduit for the transfer of surplus from workers to capitalists has increased. Growing social inequality, the erosion of democracy, and the imposition of extreme austerity programmes mean that the role of state in policing the working class has increased. Consent remains the basis of capitalist rule, but the balance has shifted towards higher levels of coercion. This is equally true of relations between states, now defined largely in terms of the War on Terror – the ideological form of the new imperialism, in which a phantom enemy is conjured to justify high levels of arms expenditure and military aggression.
    This system – neoliberal capitalism – now faces a systemic and existential crisis. The crisis has economic, imperial, social, and ecological dimensions.
    We are four years into the Second Great Depression, and it appears to be the deepest and most intractable in the history of capitalism.
    The declining imperial hegemon, despite massive military investment, has proved unable to impose its will on Iraq and Afghanistan, unable to prevent a wave of revolution across the Middle East, and unable to answer the challenge posed by the emergence of new economic superpowers like China.
    The crash of 2008 and the programmes of bailouts and austerity rolled out since have triggered general strikes, mass demonstrations, and pitched battles in the centres of major European cities as societies are torn apart.
    And all the time, the countdown continues to runaway global warming and a climate catastrophe that could destroy industrial civilisation.
    Human alienation has never been greater. On the one hand, collective human labour has created productive forces with an unprecedented potential to abolish want. On the other, these same forces, operating wholly beyond our control, have been transformed into monstrous threats to the health, well-being, and very survival of us all.
    What is to be done?

    Revolution in the 21st century?

    The global elite cannot continue to rule in the old way. But the only viable alternative to poverty, war, and global warming would be to dismantle the very system on which their wealth and power is based. This they cannot do. The ruling class can resolve the crisis only by a descent into barbarism. Their role as the lords of neoliberal capital makes them a parasitic social class without historic function.
    Human progress has come to depend upon the overthrow of the neoliberal ruling class, the taking of state power by working people, and the reorganisation of economic and social life under democratic control. The lesson of 20th century history is that to succeed, this must be done on a world scale. The lesson of the last 30 years of neoliberal capitalism is that ‘socialism in one country’ is a more fantastical delusion than ever. But is world revolution really possible in the 21st century?
    Revolutions tend to be sudden, highly infectious, and immensely powerful mechanisms of change.
    The Great French Revolution of 1789 exploded when the people of Paris armed themselves, took to the streets, and prevented a royalist military coup. Thereafter, between 1789 and 1794, the masses intervened repeatedly in the political process to drive the revolution forwards against the resistance of half-hearted moderates, counter-revolutionaries, and foreign armies of invasion.
    The revolutionary movement subsided after 1815, but then erupted again, first in 1830 in France, then in 1848 with a wave of copycat insurrections in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Rome, and other European cities. Though the revolutionaries were defeated, the impetus they gave to reform was unstoppable. Europe’s rulers knew they had to manage change from above or risk further explosions from below. France became a republic, Italy was united for the first time, and Germany was forged into a modern nation-state.
    In February 1917, the police dictatorship of the Russian Tsar was overthrown by working-class insurrection. In October 1917, under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party, the Russian working class seized power. The factories were run by workers’ councils, the land was given to the peasants, and Russia withdrew from the First World War. For a few brief years, until the revolution was destroyed by economic collapse, civil war, and foreign invasion, Russia was the most democratic country in the world.
    The Bolshevik Revolution sparked a chain reaction of revolutions from Germany to China. The revolutions in Germany and Austria-Hungary ended the First World War. The revolutionary movement as a whole, between 1917 and 1923, came close to bringing down the entire world capitalist system.
    World capitalism has remained pregnant with revolution ever since. In 1936, revolution in Spain blocked a fascist-backed military coup. In 1956, revolution in Hungary greeted a Soviet invasion. In 1968, ten million workers joined a general strike in France, hundreds of thousands occupied their factories, and students and young workers fought pitched battles with riot police in central Paris.
    In 1979, revolution brought down a vicious, heavily-armed, US-backed dictatorship in Iran. In 1989, a wave of revolutions across Eastern Europe brought down a succession of Stalinist dictators, despite their networks of informers, secret police, and political prisons. On 11 February 2011, after 18 days of mass demonstrations, the 30-year-old military dictatorship of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak collapsed in the most spectacular victory so far in a revolutionary process that is still ongoing across the Middle East.
    Before all these revolutions, opponents have looked at the regimes they confront and despaired at their military power, their monolithic police control of society, the apparent ‘apathy’ of the mass of the people. Each time, the arrogance of the ruling class has continued unabated until the moment of insurrection. But ‘the old mole’ of history – as Marx put it – loves surprises.
    In 1924, the Hungarian Marxist theoretician Georg Lukács, reflecting on the great epoch of war and revolution that had just passed, wrote of ‘the actuality of the revolution’. He regarded the Russian revolutionary leader Lenin as the supreme exponent of this principle. It is worth recalling, in the context of our own age of crisis, what Lukács had in mind. Marxism, he explained:
    "… presupposes the universal actuality of the proletarian revolution. In this sense, as both the objective basis of the whole epoch and the key to understanding of it, the proletarian revolution constitutes the living core of Marxism… The actuality of the revolution provides the key-note of a whole epoch… The actuality of the revolution therefore implies the study of each individual daily problem … as moments in the liberation of the proletariat…"
    For Lukács, international working-class revolution was a vital necessity and an ever-present possibility against which all political action should be judged. It was not inevitable. It might never happen. It could be far off. The point, however, was that the old order contained within itself the ever-present possibility of revolution, and that this was the only conceivable solution to the ever-growing sum of human suffering.
    Nor did the eventual defeat of the revolutionary wave of 1917-1923 alter the essential validity of Lukács’s insight. On the contrary, it confirmed it, for the eventual result was the barbarism of Stalingrad, Auschwitz, and Hiroshima.

    Whose Apocalypse?

    An ancient Biblical myth sees the end of the world heralded by the appearance of four horsemen – the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, representing Conquest, Slaughter, Famine, and Death.
    The prospect before humanity today can seem truly apocalyptic. Neoliberal capitalism has developed the productive forces of the global economy to an unprecedented degree. But these forces are not subject to democratic control and rational planning; they are propelled by the economic and military imperatives of competitive capital accumulation. In consequence, despite their potential to emancipate the whole of humanity from material need, they now threaten to do the opposite: destroy industrial civilisation itself.
    The ignorance, cupidity, and irresponsibility of our rulers in the face of this crisis are rooted in the irrationality of the system. Climate catastrophe, economic slump, and imperialist war have their roots in the madness of the market: the blind economic and military competition which propels the nation-states and mega-corporations of neoliberal capitalism. The system is deeply pathological and destructive. It has brought us to what is perhaps the most serious crisis in human history.
    Another ancient Biblical myth was sometimes counterposed to that of the Four Horseman. In this version of the Apocalypse, the culmination was a popular Jubilee. Tax-collectors and landlords would be swept away. Slaves and serfs would be set free. The land would be restored to the people who worked it. A new Golden Age of freedom and plenty would begin.
    To turn Apocalypse into Jubilee in the early 21st century, three things are required:
    1. We have to understand the necessity for total system change. Only by linking different campaigns, protests, and struggles together in a general assault on the system that is at the root of humanity’s problems can we hope to solve them.
    2. We have to understand the centrality of the working class to any serious strategy for system change. Only by mobilising the majority of ordinary working people can we find the power to confront and defeat corporate capital and the nation-states.
    3. We have to organise the revolutionaries into networks of activists able to lead and organise mass resistance from below, fanning anti-austerity anger into a wave of working-class struggle that eventually swells into a new world-revolutionary movement comparable with, but greater than, those of 1789, 1848, 1917, 1968, and 1989.
    Another world has become an absolute historical necessity. Another world is possible. The revolution is, in this sense, an ‘actuality’.
    But it is not a certainty. It has to be fought for. Its achievement depends on what all of us do. And the historical stakes have never been higher.

    MARX 101: Introduction to Lenin’s State and Revolution: Marx 101 is a series of meetings and resources designed to introduce the Marxist classics to activists in the twenty first century. Neil Faulkner begins the series with a look at the Marxist theory of the state

    Lenin and the state

    What is the nature of the state? Can it be reformed? Can it be turned into an instrument of social transformation, or must it be overthrown and replaced through revolutionary action?
    These questions are always fundamental for activists seeking radical change. They are especially urgent in time of revolution. The relationship between state and revolution is a live issue for activists in Cairo right now. It may well become so for anti-austerity activists across Europe in the near future.
    In fighting for change in the early 21st century, we are able to draw on a Marxist tradition of analysing and participating in the class struggle stretching back more than 150 years. The accumulated experience and understanding can provide a valuable guide to action in the present.
    A good approach is to take a series of classic Marxist texts as our starting-point. Though the language is sometimes a bit old-fashioned, and the contemporary references can seem obscure today, the best of ‘the classics’ are succinct theoretical summaries written by revolutionary activists who faced many of the same issues and problems as we do.
    We see further if we stand on the shoulders of giants. The value of reading a book like Lenin’s State and Revolution is that we do not make mistakes and waste effort by failing to learn lessons from the past. That is why we are launching a new series of Marx 101 – combining talks, pamphlets, web-text, and online videos – designed to introduce the Marxist classics to early 21st century activists.

    The context

    Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870-1924) – known as Lenin – wrote the final draft of his famous pamphlet State and Revolution while in hiding inside Russia during August and September 1917 (though most of the work had been done the previous winter). He never finished it. In October 1917 the Bolshevik Party led a successful insurrection to seize power, and Lenin spent the rest of his active life in the leadership of a new revolutionary government. ‘It is more pleasant and useful to go through the experience of revolution than to write about it’ was his comment on the unfinished condition of the manuscript.
    Although not published until early 1918, some months after the October Insurrection, the book was intended as a contribution to debates about whether or not revolutionaries should aim to overthrow the state. History – the history made by the workers, soldiers, and peasants of Russia – gave a far more emphatic answer to that question than any Marxist text could ever do. But this, of course, is what gives State and Revolution its exceptional importance: it is the theory that explains the reality.
    Lenin’s intention was to arm the activists of his own party – and of other European socialist parties – with the understanding they needed to act effectively in a revolutionary crisis. Two things made this an urgent historical task.

    The task

    First, the First World War (1914-1918), an imperialist war for the re-division of the world that cost ten million lives, was fast bringing class conflicts across Europe to boiling point. Indeed, no sooner had Lenin finished the first draft of his book than the Russian working class exploded into action. During five days of revolutionary insurrection in Petrograd, the Tsarist capital, they won over the soldiers sent to shoot them down and toppled the 400-year-old regime of the Romanovs. Two years later, all Europe would be ablaze.
    Second, despite the huge potential for social transformation that the emerging mass movements represented, the leaders of Europe’s mainstream socialist parties had abandoned the Marxist theory of the state and now had no intention of attempting to overthrow the bourgeois parliamentary system. The centrality of this contemporary political problem became clear in Russia during 1917 as ‘socialist’ politicians rushed to occupy seats around the cabinet table of successive ‘Provisional Governments’.
    The ‘socialist’ ministers lined up with their liberal colleagues to defend both state power and private property. They argued for continuing the imperialist war and for upholding the authority of the officials and police inherited from the Tsar. They opposed the democracy of the soviets – the network of workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ councils that represented the will of the common people. They defended traditional state authority ‘from above’ against revolutionary soviet authority ‘from below’. And they did this in order to protect the status quo and the private property of bankers, industrialists, and landlords. They opposed workers’ control in the factories, peasant seizures of the land, and the democratisation of relations between officers and men in the armed forces.

    The false ‘socialists’

    The Russian politicians were of a general type. Lenin’s primary political target was the leadership of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) – the biggest socialist party in Europe at the time, and therefore the dominant voice in the recently defunct ‘Second International’. The largest party in the German Reichstag (parliament), the SPD had voted unanimously to support the German government’s decision to go to war in 1914. The decision had stunned the Left, shattered the unity of the Second International, and left Europe’s socialists divided into nationalist fragments.
    Lenin’s condemnation was vitriolic. ‘Opportunists’, he calls them: politicians who sell their principles to advance their careers. ‘Chauvinists’: supporters of nationalism and war. ‘Philistines’: people ignorant of Marxist theory and of working-class history.
    His counterattack in State and Revolution was an uncompromising reassertion of the analysis of the state developed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the middle of the 19th century. He drew on a number of key texts, mainly those concerned with revolutionary events in France in 1848-1851 and 1870-1871, often making use of extended quotations.

    The Marxist tradition

    One particular text stands out: Marx’s Civil War in France – a defence of the Paris Commune published in 1871, shortly after its suppression, at a time when mainstream media coverage was a torrent of abuse and lies. For two months between March and May 1871, Paris had been controlled by a revolutionary-socialist government brought to power by working-class insurrection. The revolt had then been smashed by a counter-revolutionary army.
    Marx was ecstatic about the Commune’s heroism and idealism: the Communards, thousands of whom were murdered by their class enemies after the defeat, had been ‘storming heaven’. Marx became a forthright defender of the Commune – and was duly hounded by the right-wing media as ‘the red doctor’ (he was a fully qualified philosopher).
    The theoretical significance of the Paris Commune was twofold. First, it confirmed Marx and Engels’ earlier conclusion that the existing capitalist state could not simply be taken over, but had to be overthrown and replaced with a new kind of people’s state; as Marx himself put it, ‘the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes’.
    Second, the Commune revealed, for the first time in history, the kind of state that a revolutionary working-class might seek to create; or, quoting Marx again, ‘it was essentially a working-class government, the product of the struggle of the producing against the appropriating class, the political form at last discovered under which to work out the economic emancipation of labour’.
    The theory of the state developed by Marx and Lenin – a theory based on their own revolutionary experience and practice – remains one of the essential building-blocks of any serious attempt to change the world. Again and again, when working people have moved into revolutionary action, they have found their way blocked by the forces of the capitalist state – the police, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the army – and they have been forced to create their own organs of popular power to organise their struggle.

    Their ‘democracy’ and ours

    Sometimes, if the political crisis matures, these organs of popular power have grown and spread and begun to take on the form of a possible alternative system of government. Because they develop upwards from below, and because they frame mass participatory democracy, they can evolve into a comprehensive web of councils and assemblies capable of reflecting the will of the people directly and immediately.
    Here, for Marx and Lenin, is one of the central characteristics of revolution: the clash of social classes becomes a confrontation between two rival forms of state. There is an existing capitalist state, where power flows hierarchically from above, and an embryonic workers’ state, where power flows democratically from below. The outcome of this confrontation determines victory or defeat for the revolutionary movement.
    The contradiction at work here was encapsulated in the famous Bolshevik slogans in 1917: ‘Down with the Provisional Government!’ and ‘All Power to the Soviets!’ This, in effect, is the theory of State and Revolutiontranslated into the street politics of a revolutionary mass movement.
    How can we summarise the key theoretical insights? I think there are five basic ideas that need to be grasped. I have tried to encapsulate them in five direct quotes from State and Revolution.

    1. ‘Special bodies of armed men’

    When Lenin talks about the state, he is not thinking of schools, welfare benefits, and plans for new roads. These are matters of collective social administration that would be necessary whatever kind of society we lived in. What he has in mind are the core functions of the state associated with the bureaucracy, the police, the judiciary, the prisons, and the armed forces. He is thinking of the repressive ‘law and order’ functions of the state.
    He is right – and follows Marx and Engels in this respect – in seeing this as the ‘essence’ of the state. Many 19th century states in fact consisted of little more than this: taxes were low, there was no welfare provision, and virtually the entire government budget was spent on the army.
    It is still the case that grotesque amounts of wealth are wasted on weapons and war, and that the role of the state in suppressing protest at home and protecting ‘national interests’ abroad remains paramount.
    Look at current events in Greece, Syria, and Gaza. Who can doubt that in these cases the irreducible core functions of the state are performed by ‘special armed bodies’ acting in the interests of bankers, dictators, and imperialists? And there are countless other examples from the last century of revolutionary crises which have exposed the state – reduced to its essential core functions – as a conservative, hierarchical, military-type institution that provides the ruling class with its last line of defence against radical popular movements.

    2. ‘The irreconcilability of class contradictions’

    What makes the state necessary is the division of society into antagonistic social classes. Were society equal, democratic, and co-operative in character, there would be no need for coercion. More precisely, were the working majority not exploited and liable to revolt, it would be unnecessary for the ruling class to create ‘special armed bodies’ to protect its property and power.
    Lenin bases this part of his analysis on Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State. Engels argues that no state existed in early human societies precisely because they were based on co-operative labour, collective ownership, and equal shares. The appearance of the state amounts to ‘the admission that this society has become hopelessly entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself’. Engels is referring here to the existence of ‘classes with conflicting economic interests’. The role of the state is to contain the conflict and ensure that it does not transgress ‘the bounds of order’.
    But the state, while in a sense ‘standing above society’, is not, and never can be, neutral. There are two reasons for this. First, precisely because the state’s social role is to maintain ‘order’, it is by definition an apparatus for defending the existing order – not some hypothetical socialist order of the future. Second, the class which owns society’s wealth invariably also controls the state – irrespective of whether it is a police dictatorship or a parliamentary democracy.
    Here Lenin makes his own contribution. Marx seems to have believed that revolution may have been possiblewithout smashing the existing state in countries with parliamentary democracies. Lenin rejects this (and he seems to have written State and Revolution in part to clarify the matter in his own mind). He extends Marx’s characterisation of the state as ‘the national war-engine of capital against labour’ to all forms of the capitalist state. Why did Lenin consider this updating of Marxist theory necessary?
    ‘Democratic’ states like Britain and France were full participants in imperialism, the arms race, and the world war. Their parliaments were deliberative only, with representation based on occasional elections, and without any effective mechanism of accountability in the interim. Real power, in any case, lay elsewhere: in the various executive arms of the state – the cabinet, the ministries, the police, the judiciary, and the army. These were organised hierarchically, with power concentrated in the hands of highly paid politicians, bureaucrats, police chiefs, judges, and military top brass; men (almost exclusively so in Lenin’s time) who were either recruited from the ruling class or quickly inducted into it once elevated to senior posts.

    3. ‘The dictatorship of the proletariat’

    The Paris Commune of 1871 revealed one of the most important secrets of working-class revolution: that it necessarily involves the smashing of ‘the bureaucratic-military machine’.
    But this did not mean that the state as such was immediately abolished. On the contrary: power passed from one form of state to another, from the capitalist state to what Marx called ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’.
    The phrase is unfortunate: we nowadays associate dictatorship with repression, secret police, and violations of human rights. But Marx was engaged in a polemic with anarchists and autonomists who believed that all forms of the state could simply be abolished overnight in favour of ‘federalism’ (a network of self-governing communes). This, he argued, was madness, for revolution in fact involved centralised, coercive power – centralised because the radical energy of the masses had to be organised to defeat the concentrated power of capital, the state, and the ruling class; and coercive because the aim was the forcible suppression of one class (the minority) by another (the majority).
    Both to seize power in the first place and then to hold onto it during a necessarily protracted period of social transition, the workers would need their own state power. It would be an organisation of the overwhelming majority, internally democratic, based on mass participation; but it would have to be both centralised and coercive in relation to class enemies. Anything else would be the height of irresponsibility.

    4. ‘A new and truly democratic state power’

    Lenin asks a simple question: ‘By what is the smashed state machine to be replaced?’ To this question he gives two answers. First he draws on Marx’s description of the Commune in The Civil War in France. The Commune abolished both the regular army and the parliamentary system. It replaced them with a city-wide network of popular assemblies and a democratic militia of the entire working population organised on a neighbourhood basis. All officials were elected, received average wages, and were directly accountable and subject to instant recall and replacement.
    But then Lenin drew on his own experience of the 1905 and 1917 revolutions in Russia, arguing that the workers’, soldiers’, and peasants’ soviets embodied the same principles. He counterposed this form of mass participatory democracy to the parliamentary ‘pig-sty’ represented by the Provisional Government.
    Because both Commune and soviets were embedded in popular mass movements, they were both deliberativeand executive bodies. Whereas bourgeois parliaments were mere talking-shops – such that the executive arms of the state were effectively insulated from democratic control – the workers’ state was characterised by unity of decision and action.

    5. ‘The withering away of the state’

    State and Revolution is a polemic directed against both reformists and anarchists. Reformists stand condemned for wanting to preserve the existing state, making them, regardless of their intentions, opponents of revolutionary change in practice. Anarchists stand condemned for wanting to destroy all forms of the state immediately – at the expense of the needs of revolutionary self-defence in the transitional period. But Lenin is closer to the anarchists than to the reformists, for he too wishes to destroy the capitalist state immediately, and all forms of the state eventually.
    ‘Eventually’ means: when the old order has been swept away beyond hope of recovery; when the new socialist system is wholly secure; when a society of co-operative producers, organised democratically and with equal rights and opportunities for all, has come into existence.
    At this point, argues Lenin (following Marx), a further transition becomes possible: that from a society based on the principle ‘to each according to their ability’ to one based on the far more radical principle ‘to each according to their need’.
    People are different from one another, and their contributions to society are variable. Consequently, to distribute rewards ‘according to ability’ precludes true equality. This becomes possible only at a higher stage of human social development, when each person’s work is subsumed within the collective productive effort of society as a whole, and each draws from a common pool ‘according to need’. Thus would the social conditions finally arise for the complete ‘withering away of the state’.