CHAPTER 2
LENIN'S THEORY OF STATE AND LAW

The proletarian state a 'semi-state' withering away by its very nature

THE first and basic work of the Soviet theory of the state (essentially connected with the Soviet theory of law) is V. I. Lenin, State and Revolution, published 1917.1 The main purpose of this work is to 'resuscitate the real teachings of Marx on the state', which -- as Lenin maintains -- have been obliterated and distorted by the opportunists within the labour movement, especially in Germany.2 Lenin lays stress on the revolutionary tendency of Marx' theory of the state, that is to say, on the fact that according to Marx and Engels the bourgeois state can be replaced by a socialist state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, only by revolution and not by evolution. He emphasises that only the socialist state will 'wither away' and he insists on the dictatorial character of the proletarian state in the transition period. In respect of this transition period he underlines the necessity of the 'strictest discipline', the 'strictest control by society and by the state of the quantity of labour and the quantity of consumption'.3 He says of the dictatorship of the proletariat:

'The dictatorship of the proletariat produces a series of restrictions of liberty in the case of the oppressors, the exploiters, the capitalists. We must crush them in order to free humanity from wage slavery; their resistance must be broken by force; it is clear that where there is suppression there is also violence, there is no liberty, no democracy'.

In another connection he says of the period of transition from capitalism to communism, the 'period of overthrowing and completely abolishing the bourgeoisie':

'this period inevitably becomes a period of unusually violent

____________________
1
Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. XXI-2, New York, 1932, p. 149et seq.
2
Loc. cit., p. 153.
3
Loc. cit., p. 226.
4

Loc. cit., p. 219.

-51-

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