Thursday, 14 June 2012

Brian Aldiss and Karl Marx

Rereading a Poul Anderson novel in order to discuss it on the Poul Anderson Appreciation Blog, I found an Introduction by Brian Aldiss, to the Master SF Series edition, that is relevant here. In the novel, the IQ of every animal and human being on Earth suddenly increases.

Aldiss, discussing means of attempted self-enhancement, therapy, Eastern religions, drugs and "the State", describes Marx's prediction that the State would wither away as foolish. (1)

By quoting Marx and Engels in State and Revolution, Lenin shows that bourgeois and bureaucratic states must be overthrown by the qualitatively different workers' state which will then wither away. Familiar states are instruments of coercion by a small social minority over the vast majority. A workers' state, for the first time in history an instrument of coercion by the majority over a recently dispossessed minority, will have no reason to remain in existence when the dispossessed minority has failed to reproduce itself as a class but it would be foolish indeed to predict that "the State" as we know it will ever wither away.

Aldiss, Brian, "Introduction" IN Anderson, Poul, Brain Wave, London, 1976, AT pp. 5-8, p. 5.

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