Episode 44: “The State and Revolution” Reconsidered

The co-hosts take a new look at V. I. Lenin’s 1917 work, The State and Revolution. They discuss the significance of its return to Marx and Engels’ view that the state machine needs to be broken (“smashed”)––it isn’t a neutral mechanism that can simply be taken over––and how this differed from orthodox post-Marx Marxism. They also discuss the work’s relevance to today’s struggle for Black lives and why Lenin developed his argument through careful interpretation of what Marx and Engels wrote. In the latter part of the segment, they turn to the economic dimension of The State and Revolution. Was Lenin’s understanding of what he called the “transition” from capitalism to communism a return to Marx’s view? Was Lenin right that “accounting and control” is the main thing needed in the first phase of communism? How does that claim relate to his conception (rooted in Second-International Marxism) of how modern economies function?

An essay by Andrew, “Why No Call to ‘Smash Capitalist Production’ in Lenin’s The State and Revolution?,” is referred to during the segment.

The episode’s current-events segment focuses on the landslide victory of Larry Krasner, a tough-on-cops district attorney, in Philadelphia’s Democratic Party primary. How and why did he overcome the Fraternal Order of Police’s rabid opposition?

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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May 28, 2021

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