Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friedrich Engels. 1884. The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State

Friedrich Engels. 1884. “The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State.” Part IX §3-4.

The state arose from the need to keep class antagonisms in check, but also arose in the thick of the fight between the classes; it is normally the state of the most powerful, economically ruling class, which by its means becomes also the politically ruling class, and so acquires new means of holding down and exploiting the oppressed class.

Political recognition of property differences is marks a low stage in the development of the state. As long as the oppressed class—in his case, the proletariat—is not yet ripe for its self-liberation, its majority will recognize the existing order of society as the only possible one.

Civilization is founded on the exploitation of one class by another class as in the example of slave labor as the dominant form of production. The society which organizes production anew on the basis of free and equal association of the producers will put the whole state machinery where it will then belong—into the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze ax.

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