Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-5-1967


Much has been said and written about the Marxist view of the state. It is the intent of this analysis to investigate what Marx and Engels mean when they speak of the state and, in particular, what they mean when they describe the state as an oppressive instrument of the ruling class. This will of course require some discussion of the relationship between classes and the state. When we have arrived at some understanding of what is entailed in the notion of the state as an instrument of oppression, we shall attempt to show that Marx and Engels have a special understanding of the term, “state,“ and that it is this understanding which allows or forces the Marxists to argue that the state must “wither away" when classes have disappeared. This does not mean, however, that the rule of oppression is replaced by the rule of anarchy. We argue that the classless communist society is not one where the state is absent; rather, a certain kind of state is no longer present. The oppressive state will cease to exist, but a state of a different sort will take its place.