This book explains something. Bourgeois (capitalist) societies, in which the production of wealth takes place as the result of economic competition with private property, are ruled by states. Why? What is the reason for the existence of such states? What purpose do they serve? We actually answer these questions here!
Some left-wing professors would call us arrogant for claiming to have figured out what bourgeois states and democracy are all about, since their chief discovery in this field is how “complicated” it all is. Some go so far as to deny even the possibility of completing the theory of the state, since each state has a “different historical development.” As if the general cannot be found in the particular! What else is a theory? Each of the different states is in fact a state, as the name implies. They have common principles, and these principles are what a theory explains. The professors can examine the differences between, say, English and German law, or between Italian and German social provisions, until the cows come home. But as long as they insist on denying the concepts of law and social state in general, the particular analysis of Germany, Italy or any other state has to come out wrong. And wrong it comes out without fail!
Some other leftist state theoreticians, reading here to find how we have answered their favorite questions, should take heed. We don’t even bother to ask them! “What could the state do to…?” Or, “What prevents the state from doing…?” These inquiries only serve to announce an ideological concern for how the state should be, not for how it is. The practical activity of leftists, to try to improve the alleged “deficiencies” of society, goes hand in hand with their theories consisting of lists of “structural and functional problems” of the state. When they ultimately proclaim the “dialectics between reform and revolution,” we have to state flat out that there is absolutely nothing revolutionary in modifying the state to improve its functioning, and nothing dialectical either. Neither the “dialectical” reforms nor the theory justifying them can ever help any proletarian. And finally, we know of no cabal of monopolists preventing the state from accomplishing its alleged mission, nor do we blame the “fiscal crisis of the state.” It’s simply that we do not know of any good deeds for the state to perform. Actually, there are none!
Thus our explanation is objective. We don’t approach the theory of the state from ideals or morality, from what it is imagined states ought to be. We just say what the state is. There also exists a plethora of ideologies about the state, thinking derived from a false consciousness of political life which takes certain aspects for granted. We relegate these to remarks at the end of each chapter. Also at the end of each chapter are to be found some brief historical remarks, which are intended only to dispel any lingering notion that anything fought for must be good. They are not intended to make the explanation of the state “historical,” since it isn’t.
One last introductory word. The term “bourgeois” is not used here to mean “lacking in refinement or elegance.” It refers only to the formation, or constitution of the dominant societies of the current epoch, in contrast with, say, the feudal epoch. Other terms used in a special sense are discussed in the text where they occur.
© GegenStandpunkt 1993