Wednesday, August 5, 2009

copy-book maxims

Here is what seems to me like the least sensible moment in what is otherwise a remarkably lucid text, Lenin's The State and Revolution [1917]. I've been reading out of the silly Dover Essential Works (this citation is from page 338), but the complete text can be read for free here.

Only in communist society, when the resistance of the capitalists has been completely broken, when the capitalists have disappeared, when there are no classes (i.e., when there is no difference between the members of society as regards their relation to the social means of production), only then does “the state...cease to exist,” and it “becomes possible to speak of freedom.” Only then will really complete democracy, democracy without any exceptions, be possible and be realized. Only then will democracy itself begin to wither away owing to the simple fact that, freed from capitalist slavery, from the untold horrors, savagery, absurdities and infamies of capitalist exploitation, people will gradually become accustomed to observing the elementary rules of social life that have been known for centuries and repeated for thousands of years in all copy-book maxims; they will become accustomed to observing them without force, without compulsion, without subordination, without the special apparatus for compulsion which is called a state.

No comments: