Marx often wrote that the withering away of the state will naturally occur after the state is demolished and the bourgeois are replaced by a so called dictatorship of the proletariat. What are your opinions on how the state withers, such as:
-Does the state fully disappear?
Technological implementations aside, I think global society would still need to 'upgrade' our 'social software' since capitalism's market mechanism and use of exchange values is just too problematic, regardless.
Keep in mind that the 'state' here *has to mean* a *workers state*, because without a way to proactively repress the bourgeois ruling class, there is no proletarian revolution or dictatorship-of-the-proletariat. My understanding, and that of many, is that 'dictatorship of the proletariat' *equals* 'workers state', which is all a *transition* to the post-class humanity of complete collective self-organization of social production, or 'communism'.
-Does the withering happen naturally, or does there need to be another revolution or power change for this to happen? (realistically or ideologically)
The idea here is that the workers state would be relatively specialized compared to the population as a whole, even in the midst of international revolutionary mass upheavals against class rule -- it would either be a diffuse, ad hoc, 'vanguard', by participation, or would be an even-more specialized, institutional-type *vanguard party*.
Given that this revolutionary leadership, however composed, would be a *fraction* of the global population, numerically, once the bourgeoisie has been overthrown this 'vanguard' function would immediately be superseded by *humanity as a whole*. Dialectically the vanguard apparatus would instantly become vestigal and the world's population could then simply coordinate its own global production, with the ruling-class foot off of its neck, and no longer existing at all. I have a model for this post-class situation:
Emergent Central Planning
-Is it realistic to want the state to wither? Or is this phrase simply used by Marx to explain the optimizing of the state?
Post-class / post-state humanity wouldn't *need* a state because such would then be *backwards* and anarchronistic in the new, historically-progressive context of worldwide classless society. A state is only necessary, objectively, for specialized, caste-like coordination for the sake of elitism, to uphold a social in-group (private property owners), against a social out-group (laborers).
So vanguardist revolutionary aims are to *wield* that state, or *a* state -- a *workers* state -- in the interests of the workers, to *repress* the class foe, which is exactly what a bureaucratic state apparatus can do, through high-level, broad-scope coordination -- a revolutionary vanguard.
Anarchist "concerns" about this workers state apparatus lingering-on after a successful proletarian revolution, by 'retaining power', are bullshit because, again, this state apparatus, then as now, would numerically be a *tiny* percentage of the overall population -- a formality, really -- and, with the superseding of bourgeois class rule, humanity would have no impediments anymore against it, to collectively self-organize social production on a global scale. The vanguard or vanguard party could not 'stay in power' because there *would be no* 'power' existing anymore in society as we're so used to knowing it these days. With elitism (class) gone, there's no power at-stake, or even existing, to fuss over.
A historical vanguardist, post-revolution, could conceivably *try* to tell someone to 'do it this way', and they would rightly be laughed-at because society could just do it itself, without that person, in the way that it collectively deems to be best. Anyone's individual opinion or advice would be just that -- one person's opinion or advice, and worthless without a larger, liberated workforce that would be the ones doing the actual work for the social good.
I would like to know personal opinions, not just the accepted interpretation of Marx. The main reason why I ask this is because Marx seemed to want a society without government other than by the people (as an anarchist might propose), but wished his ideologies to remain separate from anarchism, because rather than an immediate change from the state existing to not, communism would provide a slow descent from the state to self-government. I would assume from this that he wanted a sort of stream-lining of the state, because in the end abolition of the state is just abolition of the state, no matter how you get there (you can't depend on the culture or society to keep itself static).
I'll repeat myself, just briefly, reiterating that the withering-away would happen *instantly*, dialectically, because once the class divide no longer exists, humanity would be a whole, finally, and so could collectively self-organize, especially over social production.
'Self-government' wouldn't really be a thing, because there would be no government / state, because there would no longer be any elitism to uphold. Everyone would be in the exact same boat, on planet Earth, and could only make gains by coordinating with anyone and everyone else, as to what should be produced, and for what reasons.
Any conceivable 'anti-social' behavior could be handled instantly, in a 'swarming ad-hoc' kind of way, I'd imagine, with consideration and care for the person having the problem. The history, then, of a global proletarian revolution that brought humanity to that post-class point, I think would go a long way to establishing social norms of egalitarianism and a sense of collective accomplishment that would cut against any possible anti-social sentiment, for a long time afterwards.
The state functions as the formal mechanism for resolving contradictory interests, reserving the use of force for those occasions where it becomes necessary. Given the evolved nature of the human species, it's unlikely that need will ever disappear, regardless of whatever other forces may be in operation.
I have to *disagree* with you on this, unfortunately, because if we're talking about a *post-class* context, then there would no longer be any 'contradictory interests' to resolve.
If we're talking about the *transitional* period where the bourgeois ruling class is proactively being repressed, then, yes, I would agree here that a (workers) state would be 'resolving contradictory interests', by actively repressing the bourgeoisie and its elitist control of the means of mass production, so that such could instead be directed towards meeting human need as a socio-political priority.
 Syndicalism-Socialism-Communism Transition Diagram
Dagoth Ur wrote:
Withering refers to two processes -
1. The reduction of responsibilities of the state from primarily functioning as an enforcer of the status quo to its more mundane responsibilities such as maintenance and protection of the people from external threats.
If the timeframe is *post-class*, then there's no longer a need for a state *at all*, because there would be nothing left that's 'external' -- everything would be 'internal', to humanity as a whole, worldwide.
If 'the people' wanted to form some kind of 'civil society security force', then that would be under their discretion, in that society, at that time.
Dagoth Ur wrote:
2. The transfer of day-to-day duties from the state to local communities, which erodes the physical presence of the state.
None of us will ever see such things so this is all pretty much pure theory. We couldn't fit into such a society.
I'll argue that 'duties', whatever those may be, should ultimately be at the *individual's* discretion in a post-class society.
I'm even critical of the 'community' entity, since such is *geography*-based and is not necessarily socially productive.
In my 'labor credits' / 'Emergent Central Planning' model I have the necessarily-geographically-bound local self-grouping called a 'locality' which is primarily for aggregating mass demands, and for consumption-in-common:
Emergent Central Planning
labor credits framework for 'communist supply & demand'https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads/20 ... ost2889338
communist supply & demand -- Model of Material Factors https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads/20 ... ost2889338