Marxist IQ: The state and state power (Answers)

October 9, 2018


1. C

Holding state power is not the same as having a party, or holding some political influence.  The United States is a capitalist state.  Its laws and policies consistently express the interest of the capitalist class.  While a strong, organized, and politically savvy working-class movement can win reforms like the New Deal, those reforms are negotiated with the capitalist class, rather than imposed on it.  They are also reversible–as we’ve seen over the past four decades.  Cuba is a working-class state.  Private firms operate at the will of, under the control of, and in the interest of the people.  The needs of the people, rather than the needs of business owners, are the basis of policy.

2. B.

Right now, the post-WWII order is in crisis and the capitalist class is trying to figure out how to respond.  Some (like Bloomberg) want to preserve institutions like NATO and the EU as instruments of capitalist globalization; others (like Trump) want to tear them down and build concentration camps in the wreckage. Neither supports the agenda of the working class, but they are also quite different from one another–and the split between the globalist and fascist/nativist camps of the ruling class opens a strategic opportunity.

3. C

The workers who founded the Paris Commune didn’t simply reproduce the structures of the French republic.  They eliminated bureaucracy, based the government on delegates rather than representatives, made every position an elected one and subject to recall at any time, and fixed officials’ salaries at an average worker’s pay.  They formed a new kind of republic–and they were able to do so because they held power.  In the United States, some parts of our constitutional framework are OK, but others will probably have to be eliminated (the Electoral College) or drastically modified (the Supreme Court) to make them more democratic.  The unity, strength, and political organization of the working class determines our ability to make that kind of structural change.

4. D

A communist society, where “the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all,” will be characterized by advanced forms of collective decision-making.  However, unlike capitalist or socialist states, repressive state power (police and courts) will not be required to protect the interests of a ruling class–because there will be no more classes! Such a society could only exist in conditions of such material abundance that scarcity and competition would also be practically unheard of.

5. B

The French Revolution[s] replaced a hereditary aristocracy with a bourgeois republic.  In the Haitian Revolution, enslaved people seized power from the plantation owners.  In Russia, workers and peasants built a state on the ruins of the tsarist autocracy and the short-lived bourgeois Provisional Government.  A revolution changes what class holds power–and consequently changes how power is organized and how society functions.  Neither violence nor a vanguard party are defining features of a revolutionary process.



0 wrong: Theoretician. Write an article! Teach a class!!

1 wrong: Developed Marxist. Form a study group, join the party.

2 to 3 wrong: Class conscious worker – study harder.

4 to 5 wrong: Danger! Deviations possible. Study and then study some more lest you drift into the marsh of opportunism.


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