With the increase in strikes in New Zealand we republish this article on the State by the late Phil Mitchinson.
Standing between the working class and the socialist transformation of society is a colossal state machine. Where did it come from? What purpose does it serve? can it be reformed, or must it be done away with altogether? What should replace it, indeed should it be replaced at all? In the first place what is "it"?
In their writings on the state, Marx and Engels set themselves the task of demystifying it, of conquering the idea that the state is some kind of eternal being, in order to strip away the magical shroud in which capitalism has cloaked it.