“The State” and “The Police State” are Synonymous Terms

Conservative folk are always yammering about “The Government” and how they seek to be “free” from “the government.” The term is never defined, of course. What they may be thinking of is “The State.”

We find ourselves talking a lot about the “police state” these days. However, in Friedrich Engels’ view, as The State arises in a class society (e.g. USA, EuroZone etc.) it is automatically, by nature, a “police state.”


Engels continues: “As distinct from the old gentile [tribal or clan] order,[2] the state, first, divides its subjects according to territory….”

This division seems “natural” to us, but it costs a prolonged struggle against the old organization according to generations or tribes.

“The second distinguishing feature is the establishment of a public power which no longer directly coincides with the population organizing itself as an armed force. This special, public power is necessary because a self­-acting armed organization of the population has become impossible since the split into classes…. This public power exists in every state; it consists not merely of armed men but also of material adjuncts, prisons, and institutions of coercion of all kinds, of which gentile [clan] society knew nothing….”

Engels elucidates the concept of the “power” which is called the state, a power which arose from society but places itself above it and alienates itself more and more from it. What does this power mainly consist of? It consists of special bodies of armed men having prisons, etc., at their command.
We are justified in speaking of special bodies of armed men, because the public power which is an attribute of every state “does not directly coincide” with the armed population, with its “self­acting armed organization”.

Engels excerpts from “Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State,” quoted in “The State and Revolution” reprinted entirely online at marxists.org – look for the “PDF” version there.

Engels’s “Origin of the Family, Private Property and The State” – more an anthropology text, than a political-economy text.

I already made this point earlier today, but posted this on one of the Bernie groups where people were bashing people not planning to vote Biden, as if this were going to bring on Dictatorship America–

“Something to keep in mind:

“The Police State exists in 500+ American cities. Another way to say it is, the State consists of “special bodies of Armed Men” who preserve the existent relations of production — the system of private property, the rulership of the corporations, etc.

“Police forces are the outposts of The State. They enforce State power.

“The election of the President will have ZERO impact on the Police State (or just, The State).

“It will continue on as it always has…”

(Change my mind)

A police state operates in U.S. cities, large or small…

The call to disband or defund local police-state outposts (city police departments) are The People’s attempt to assert power. The full program for The People’s power is to demolish the class system altogether.

Americans should not think that by disbanding or defunding local police departments, the police state can be brought under control. If local efforts are successful, we will see the police state federalized, as for example, in the Portland situation in the summer of 2020.