Julie Sherry argues that the working class still has the power to change society.
When I was nine I asked my mum why the world was so unfair. It seemed to me that "the people in charge" were making mistakes. You can imagine my anxiety when she suggested the people in charge weren't concerned with the things they ought to be, like public welfare.
Can students challenge the state? Jack Farmer explores the issues.
As the "Day X" student protests unfolded before Christmas, a series of impressions were left in their wake: the sight of teenagers chanting and charging around central London; the smell of placards burning in the freezing air; the sound of breaking glass.
I would guess that most socialists are instinctively anti-violence. We hate almost all of its manifestations from war all the way through to bullying. Many of us came to socialist politics via anti-war movements or struggles against various forms of oppression.
Yet, as any readers of this magazine will know, its editorial line is one that supports the revolutionary transformation of society, which looks to events like the French and Russian Revolutions and inspirational movements in human history.
Furthermore, Socialist Review has supported many struggles for national liberation - struggles that usually involve armed resistance.
Is this not a contradiction?
The phrase the "dictatorship of the proletariat" is famous, and much misunderstood. It's certainly liable to frighten the bourgeoisie. The difficulty is, it's also liable to frighten our side.
Karl Marx used the term a few times, and Frederick Engels a little less. What did they mean by it, and why did they use this phrase?
As to what they meant by it, that is quite clear. They meant what today is meant by the phrase "workers' state", or "the rule of the working class", or "conquest of political power by the working class". No more, and no less. They also used these terms, and other similar ones.
A mass movement's strategy towards the state is vital to its success.
The huge wave of anti-war protests on 15 February were an astonishing demonstration of just how formidable a movement of resistance to imperialism is now developing around the world. But we should have no illusions about the power of our enemies. Politically, Tony Blair has never been weaker. But he still presides over a state that has formidable coercive power.