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June 26, 2013



Spot on!

The state has both a public interest ethos and a self-serving one. Both exist side-by-side in the same state organisations.

Abolitionists would return us to savagery and the stone age. Defenders of the state would have us live under totalitarianism (recent evidence suggests we are on our way there now).

The state has at critical times in my life been supportive of me (student grant, free at the point of use healthcare, etc) and so I have reason to be grateful for its existence.

However, in recent times, the state seems to have lost its kindness which has been replaced with nastiness, vindictiveness and a mean spirit. A quick recent example is its prosecution of a 14 year old trafficked boy who worked as a slave in a cannabis factory. The state's prosecution of this child is a truly shocking case of callous disregard for child protection and human rights. He received a custodial sentence for drugs offences. Fortunately, the conviction was overturned on appeal - the prosecution should never have gone ahead in the first place.

Despite the UK state's developing taste for tyranny, and like most things in life, a black or white depiction of reality rarely suffices. So I sit on the fence and watch - sometimes in horror at what I see.


"And as Marx said, the state is "a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.""

Well it is in a bourgeois society but it then becomes the means to keep down the counter revolution come the glorious day. So the state is an important part of any transition to socialism, not the be all and end all, but certainly crucial.

Being 'Statist' in no way infers you like the state or what it represents.


" Why else would the police devote so much effort to protestors against McDonalds and power stations when they were, at worst, only low-level criminals? It because they inconvenienced capital. "

Or perhaps because common folk find it inconvenient to let small bands of leftist malcontents and shakedown artists disrupt the flow of valued services (hamburgers, electricity) from these clever organizational devices called "capitalist firms"?


As agents in the interests of capital, those empowered by the state find their own interests bound to a similar logic: as capital must develop, on the one hand, in order to produce increased accumulation and investment returns, it must also stabilize, in order to preserve the environment in which its power is manifest.

The 'internalized norm' of state agents is not simply a matter of restraint, but of development too: the expansion of powers and budgets can thus sincerely be in the name of the public good. Like capital, the agents of its enforcement remake the world according to the logic of their own development and stabilization.


The big divide in politics is between the majority who want the country to be run by a few people and the minority who want it to be run by everyone.


There is a correlation between the functions of the State bureaucracy, and the managerial bureaucracy i.e. the Executives acting as agents of capital. We shouldn't forget that just as the TU bureaucracy - or I would argue as Trotsky did also the Stalinist bureaucracy - have their own interests that they pursue whenever they can, so the capitalist bureaucracy whether they are CEO's, or state officials do exactly the same.

But, the TU or Stalinist bureaucracy, as with the capitalist bureaucracy cannot get too remote from the class whose agent it ultimately is. The degree of independence depends on the strength or weakness of that class.

So, for example, every so often there is a Tyco, or an Enron, just as there are the various instances of state corruption and so on.

But, the other factor that allows the iron fist of the capitalist state to appear more neutral is precisely because it is packaged along with the welfare state, which sections of the statist left also present at best as being neutral or at worst somehow belonging to or under the control of the working class. For example, the repeated an inane claims on placards about it being "OUR NHS", which quite clearly it is not and never will be, and quite honestly on the basis of Stafford Hospital, Cumbria etc. I certainly would be in no rush to claim for the working class!

In Ken Loach's "Spirit Of '45", which sums up just how rotten that settlement was, and what an unsound foundation it created, thereby paving the way for Thatcher, one contributor states, "The NHS could be our model for Socialism."

I would have to say that if the model for Socialism is an organisation that is thoroughly bureaucratised, almost feudal in its organisation structure, and which kills people, and then covers it up, its not a form of Socialism, I have any aspiration towards!

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