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The forum is focusing discussion on the New Year's Statement from Bob Avakian, A NEW YEAR, THE URGENT NEED FOR A RADICALLY NEW WORLD—FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF ALL HUMANITY, and related questions.

We have posted, to begin, questions that were raised by participants during the February 6 "Zoom into the Revolution" online seminar. We invite everyone to submit your own comments and questions, including responding to those of other participants in this forum.

Can humanity be truly emancipated with the existence of a state even if it is a socialist state?

Can humanity be truly emancipated with the existence of a state even if it is a socialist state?

My answer is no, so long as states exist - even socialist states- we will not have reached the point of the emancipation of all humanity.

BA addresses this question in many places but I think the Preamble to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) has the most concise explanation. In one section of the Preamble, BA writes:

"Regardless of differences, even very great and qualitative differences, in their political structures, institutions and guiding principles, all states have a definite social content and class character: they are an expression of the prevailing social relations, and most fundamentally the economic relations (relations of production), which have a decisive and ultimately determining role in regard to how the particular society functions and is organized. The state serves to protect and expand those relations and to enforce the interests of the social group–the ruling class–which holds the dominant position in society, as a result of its role in the economy, and in particular its ownership and control of the major means of production (including land, raw materials and other resources, technology and physical structures such as factories, and so on). "

What is different about socialism is that the goal of the socialist state, the dictatorship of the proletariat (as opposed to the capitalist-imperialist state, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie) is that, in addition to being a new political system and a new economic system, it is also a "transitional" state.

BA writes in "BREAKTHROUGHS, The Historic Breakthrough by Marx and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism" :

"As Marx stated, in a very concentrated way, in The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850(in a formulation that has become known as the “4 Alls”), this dictatorship of the proletariat is the necessary transit to the abolition of all class distinctions; the abolition of all relations of production on which those class distinctions rest; the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to those relations of production; and the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from those social relations."

So while humanity cannot be truly emancipated with the continued existence of a state, even a socialist state, it is only through the establishment of socialism (through revolution) and the socialist state, that the process of moving towards the ultimate goal of communism on a world scale - a society of freely associating individuals, where there would no longer be the need for the dictatorship of one class over another or a state - can be carried out.

Again from the Preamble to the Constitution:

"With the final abolition of class divisions and all other exploitative and oppressive relations among people, through-out the world, there will still remain a need for government, in the sense of providing an organized framework for decision-making and the administration of the common affairs of the human beings who make up society, on its various levels, and for the pursuit by individuals and groups within society of their particular inclinations, preferences and concerns within the overall cooperative functioning and ethos of society. But the need and the basis for a state–as an organ of class rule and of suppression of classes and groups antagonistically opposed to the ruling class–will have been eliminated, and the state will have been abolished."

One additional point is that in "BREAKTHROUGHS..." BA makes the crucial point that this transition period needs to be marked by a very high level of political consciousness and political struggle. The "4 Alls" will not disappear spontaneously. Again drawing from the Preamble:

And historical experience has also demonstrated that, as a result of these contradictions, forces will emerge within the vanguard party itself, including at its top levels, which will fight for lines and policies that will actually lead to the undermining of socialism and the restoration of capitalism. All this underscores the importance of continuing the revolution within socialist society, and of doing so in the overall framework of the revolutionary struggle throughout the world and with the internationalist orientation of giving fundamental priority to the advance of this worldwide struggle toward the achievement of communism, which is only possible on a world scale–and the importance of struggle within the party itself, as well as in society as a whole, to maintain and strengthen the revolutionary character and role of the party, in keeping with its responsibilities to act as the leadership of the continuing revolution toward the final goal of communism, and to defeat attempts to transform the party into its opposite, into a vehicle for the restoration of the old, exploitative and oppressive society."

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