WITHERING OF THE STATE(S)
Under a socialist system, the People are the State and the Government simply the People's leaders. Under a capitalist system, on the other hand, the State is not fixed but oscillates, depending on the type of government in office at any given time, between the aristocracy/bourgeoisie and the People. The socialist system 'socializes' the State by transferring it from the land, i.e. naturalism, to the People. The capitalist system, preceding the socialist one in historical time, signifies a materialist compromise between naturalism and realism, land and people.
Prior to the inception of parliamentary politics, the State was only the land, the country as owned by the nobility under the patronage of the ruling monarch. The boundaries of the State were determined by those of the country, and it was not unusual for a monarch to attempt to enrich himself at the expense of weaker neighbours. Here arose the origins of imperialism, which the bourgeoisie were to perpetuate in a diluted fashion from the inception of their own reign, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the current day.
The transference of the State from the land to the People is a
long, slow, and often arduous process, taking many centuries to complete. In contemporary
The British monarch, as head of state, is in the ambivalent position of having two states of which to be head. Whenever the Tories are in office, the reigning monarch is head of the State conceived from a naturalist/capitalist angle. Whenever, by contrast, a left-wing party is in office, the reigning monarch is head of the State conceived from a materialist/socialist angle. In the one case, head of the land. In the other case, head of the People. Doubtless the Monarch would be more in his/her political element as head of the land than head, or at any rate effective head, of the People, since the institution of monarchy does, after all, derive from and pertain to the naturalistic concept of the State.
One would be mistaken, however, to suppose that the Monarch and the State were synonymous, even in the pre-atomic ages of autocratic rule over the People in the interests of the aristocracy. The State was always the natural land mass, as owned by the reigning monarch and nobles, to be worked for their own benefit. The People, as peasants, were stateless because owning nothing. The Monarch was head of state in a more directly consistent way than is possible under a constitutional compromise, but he was not the State itself. The only reason why Louis XIV's claim "L'État c'est moi!" is memorable ... is because it is a profoundly false and corrupt one, testifying to the arrogance of this decadent French king. Were it based on fact, we would have no reason to accord it the status of an historical quote. A truism is quickly forgotten.
Concerning the parliamentary compromise between land and people, the sphere of ownership of the land is of course extended to embrace the grand bourgeoisie, who rule the People in the interests of the land-owning classes. Every Tory government, from the inception of bourgeois politics to the current day, has upheld the naturalistic concept of the State in loyalty to landed interests. By contrast, the left-wing or liberal parliamentary parties have claimed to represent the People, through their various permutations, and have generally aligned themselves with the social concept of the State in the People's interests. This distinction between land and people arose slowly, by degrees, since the early Whig governments weren't entirely disposed to champion a social conception of the State, but also upheld landed interests in defiance of the restricted circles of such interests traditionally prevalent. By degrees, however, the left-wing parties successively became more socialized - the extension of the franchise from bourgeois to proletarian elements opening the way to a more unequivocal advocacy of the People's interests vis-ŕ-vis the landed tradition. But even with the advent of the Labour Party on the extreme left-wing, as it were, of the parliamentary spectrum, the State could not become the People, since democratic socialists were a development within the atomic, dualistic tradition of ambivalent statehood, and couldn't have entirely liquidated landed interests in the name of the People. They were still representatives of the People, a title which can only apply to left-wing governments who function within an atomic framework and represent the interests of the People to or in the face of the opposition party and/or reigning monarch. One must admit that, in certain respects and to a limited extent, latter-day Tory governments can also represent the interests of the People, since evolutionary progress away from the naturalistic towards the socialistic concept of statehood will to some extent affect right-wing governments too, even if to a much less greater extent than is manifested on the left wing of the parliamentary spectrum. Yet, generally speaking, the Conservatives do not exist to represent the People but to uphold traditional bourgeois/aristocratic interests, and this whether or not their party is in government.
In states, however, where post-dualistic politics has become the norm, the People are not represented in parliament by petty-bourgeois politicians for the simple reason that, in a post-atomic system of government, there is no bourgeois opposition against whom the People may be represented - representation of the People being vis-ŕ-vis that opposition rather than in complete isolation from it. As soon as a system of government arises on a socialist basis, which it must do in a post-atomic state, the People are not represented, but directly govern through the agency of their chosen politicians, who constitute a People's government. But such a government is not the State, as many misguided individuals in the capitalist West like to imagine. On the contrary, it is the servant of the People, who are themselves the State. The People have thus attained to power and are guided and supervised by their most able leaders, the genuine socialists of a Social Democracy - democracy having been extended, on the post-atomic level, to embrace both quantitative and qualitative maximization, which is to say, a maximum electorate with a maximum voting satisfaction, every vote effectively a winner.
Unfortunately, 'Power to the People' can be misinterpreted in a way leading to an exaggeration of the People's stake in democracy, and thus of their political influence in a People's State. The leaders of the People - professional politicians with a sense of destiny - are entitled to curb what, unbeknown to its perpetrators, may be interpreted as anarchic or quasi-bourgeois reactionary tendencies among certain sections of the People. A favourite analogy of mine is to liken the People's true leaders to shepherds. What happens when 'People's Power' is misinterpreted, in some quarters, is that a situation arises whereby the flock, or various members of it, are trying to dictate policy to the shepherds instead of following the latter's leadership, and when such an illogical situation arises ... it is of course necessary for the shepherds to reassert their authority over the flock with the help of their sheep dogs (police). This may entail the weeding-out of 'black sheep' from the flock, contrary to the wishes of the flock as a whole. But, willy-nilly, flocks require shepherds and should follow their directions, else they will degenerate into an anarchic mob disposed to wandering everywhichway or in no particularly progressive direction at all. Socialism is not mob anarchy, but leadership of the People by the People's politicians in the interests of the People. Some persons, regrettably, seem not to realize this!
Of course, there is a good reason for some persons to rebel against state control, and it is that they are aware that Socialism is but a means to a higher goal, involving the end of the State, class, work, privilege, etc., in the so-called Communist Millennium. Very well, they say to themselves, let us set about opposing the existing state machinery ... that we may bring about such a goal or, at any rate, help bring society closer to it. Wrong attitude at this point in time! For the State to which they pertain does not exist in splendid isolation in the world but, on the contrary, is confronted by world-wide capitalist opposition or seduction, and could not possibly move towards higher things while such a situation exists and remains a potential threat. These persons aren't fully aware that socialism and capitalism hang together on a single thread and can influence each other for better or worse, depending on which way the political wind blows. They would like their socialist state to ignore the capitalist threat and progress towards the free, classless, stateless, society of the future Communist Millennium.
But what do they envisage this Communist Millennium as being - a stage of evolution when human brains are supported and sustained artificially in collectivized contexts for purposes of spiritual expansion? No, not at all! Simply a time when the state machinery, i.e. politicians and security services, cease to exist and the People are accordingly free to live in peace with one another, no class distinctions, because no professions, then applying. Ah, how naive and short-sighted! They are anarchists without realizing it, through having confounded anarchism with communism! The politicians may not have any objective concept of the Communist Millennium either, but at least they are socialists, or men indisposed to people's anarchy. And so they penalize those who would seek to effect premature or unrealistic change in their People's State. I do not condemn them for that!
An objective concept of the Millennium is not possible within a hard-line socialist system. For such a system can only project forward on realist terms, not on terms appertaining to the spirit. Only in a transcendental system with social roots can the objective truth of evolutionary progress be comprehended and upheld. This is not to say, however, that the one system should entirely replace the other, the transcendentalist the socialist, but that they have separate tasks or duties in the world which should complement rather than conflict with each other. When Socialists have contracted the natural/material, the way will be clear for Transcendentalists to expand the spiritual. For one would indeed be mistaken to imagine that Socialism can take man to the Millennium of Christ-like reign on earth by itself! How can it, when the millennial Beyond is a profoundly religious epoch in time, with nothing whatsoever to do with politics or the continuation of the State?
But let us now distinguish between Transcendentalism and Socialism in the profoundest sense! Let us admit that, considered as this future classless, free, stateless society, Transcendentalism evolves out of Socialism, so that even Communism, or international socialism, and Transcendentalism are different phenomena. Very good! Let us agree that the State 'withers away' with the higher development of Socialism towards Transcendentalism, and that, by the time a truly transcendental society is created, the State has ceased to exist. But what is the State in a socialist society? Precisely the People! So it is really the People who must 'wither away' and be superseded by the Supermen, as brains artificially supported and sustained in collectivized contexts, before this true transcendentalism of the millennial Beyond comes into effect. The 'withering away' of the State on socialist terms has nothing to do with the state machinery of government and security forces or, rather, the socialist state should not be confounded with the machinery of state, which is there to serve the People. Such machinery will doubtless disappear or be modified ... once the People are superseded by the Supermen, but it would be quite a misinterpretation of socialist progress to imagine that state machinery must be superseded by the People, become an anarchic leaderless mob, or that state machinery and the People are two entirely different things - the one a hindrance to the other! Were it not for state machinery, no socialist state would still be in existence, and did it not continue to function in the People's interests ... no eventual 'withering away' of the State (as people) would be possible - the People having no real desire, in a majority of cases, to do away with themselves!
However, the State and the People are only synonymous in a
socialist phase of evolution. Prior to
then there were, as I have attempted to explain, two concepts of the State,
viz. a naturalistic, or landed property, concept as applying to the grand
bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, and a materialistic, or capitalist/socialist,
concept as applying to the bourgeoisie and, to a lesser extent, the
proletariat. The 'withering away' of the
first state began with the development of parliamentary democracy and was to continue
throughout the duration of the two-party system without, however, this state
completely 'withering away'. Only with a
proletarian revolution does the naturalistic state cease to exist, but such a
revolution is unlikely to happen in traditionally bourgeois countries. In