The Commune introduction to a meeting on Anarchism, Marxism and the State, at the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair 11th May 2013, by Barry Biddulph.
In the 1870′s, Bakunin in Marxism and the State, argued that the divide between Marxists and Anarchists was this: Marxists stood for the Peoples State (workers state) and Anarchists aimed for the destruction of the state. This was not a direct polemic with the views of Marx in the 1870′s. It was an indirect attack on Marx as the pope of German Social Democracy. Therefore, when Lassalle advocated the people’s state this reflected the views of Marx.
Bakunin went all the way back to 1848, and the Communist Manifesto, where we find the following state socialist position: “the proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e. the proletariat organised as a ruling class”. (1) But this was described as outdated by Marx in 1872, “One thing especially was proved by the commune, that the working class cannot simply lay hold of ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purpose”. (2)