“Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”
Any discussion of revolution begins with the concept of oppression. This post will not deal with debating whether or not class oppression exists; the existence of class oppression has been documented many times in the past – resources compiling the plight of the working class exist all across the internet. The question we must foremost ask, then, is where does this oppression stem from? It is self-evident that oppression stems from the most powerful element of society; for where else could it arise from? The question then becomes: Who is the most powerful element, the ruling class, of modern society? What institution serves to uphold the interests of the people pressing their boot down upon the working class? The answer is quite clear. It is the state. The state is the origin of modern oppression, by race, class, gender and creed. But what is the state? The fascists will tell you that the state is life itself, the eternal form of society. The liberals will tell you that the state is an institution by which justice is dispensed to all the classes and races of society. The anarchists will tell you that the state is a perpetual evil, which must be abolished immediately in all it’s forms. But for a true definition of the state, we cannot rely on such mediocre, ideological ramblings. We must analyze the course of human history and reach a logical, rational conclusion as to what the state is.
Obviously the state has not always existed. We can trace a clear line from the primitive human tribes of voluntary co-dependents through the slave based classical societies, to modern capitalism. In this line, the state – a body that directs society, seperate from it – can be seen to emerge in tandem with the rise of capitalism and a rapid increase in human productivity. Thus we can see that the state emerges – not merely to “keep order” or to dispense justice, but to mediate an increasing conflict between the classes. However, the state only emerges as conditions in society become more intolerable for the working class – so much so that there can be no compromise or reconciliation between the classes. The state exists as a paradox, it’s very purpose being impossible to fulfill. In the face of such hypocrisy, the state forsakes it’s original ideal of “fair mediation” – a joke from it’s beginning – and takes on the trappings of the dominant class in the conflict. The oppressive class then uses it’s dominance of the state to mold it into an organ of oppression. This fascistic nature is the ultimate form of the state, a tool to defend capitalism at all costs.
So what must we do to prevent this decent into fascist slavery? Voting ourselves out of it is not an option. Democracy is simply another form of the state, one that has crystallized the place of the ruling class in it’s apparatus. The only solution to the modern state is revolution. Admittedly, revolution is, for lack of a better word, a “scary” concept. The people have been conditioned to conceptualize revolution as chaotic, destructive and counter-productive. “Why go through the trouble of revolting?” the bourgeois democrat asks, “You will only cause yourselves misery, and not have a loaf of bread to show for it.” Such ideas are counter-revolutionary, and only meant to keep the ruling class’s power safe. Is revolution chaotic? Only as much as it is forced to be. The goal of a modern revolution would not be to abolish the state in its entirety, but to seize and reorganize it. We are not idealists; we cannot afford to be. The state must exist after the revolution, for a short while at the least, to ensure the basic provisions of all people are met. Without bread, safety and work, the revolution itself will wither away, much to the delight of the capitalist class waiting in the wings. No, we cannot afford chaos if we wish to see the revolution pull through. A benevolent order must be established – not one foisted upon the working class by an oppressive force above them, but one based in the mutal respect for human life and an interest in the success of the revolution. The only chaos that would arise would sprout would come from capitalists sowing discontent – hardly a deterrent to a unified working class resolute in it’s goals. For no other action would we accept subversive opposition as a deterrent. Why should we hold revolution – a liberating, compassionate action of the people – to such standard? Is revolution destructive? All progress is destructive. Clinging to to tradition to justify intolerable circumstances is a vile way to deter the working class from liberation. In the face of injustice, revolutionary, violent and destructive forces are needed, the worker cannot thrive without them. Is revolution counter-productive? This is a favorite of reactionaries and democrats. They point to revolutions in the past and argue that all must logically end in failure. Such thinking assumes that history is static – that knowledge does not progress. Every failed revolution is simply a lesson learned, and our cumulative knowledge makes the idea that the next revolution will surely fail laughable. The truth is quite straightforward: The revolution is not a break from human history – it is the next great stage of our development. There is no stopping progress, all the reactionaries can hope for is to delay it. With the winds of progress at our backs, and a world to fight for ahead of us, what can we say but thus: Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!
Written by : @punjabi_socialist