Woman and Socialism. August Bebel
The Socialisation of Society

Chapter XXIII.
Abolition of the State.

When we review what has been set forth so far, we find that, with the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production, and their transformation into social property, those evils gradually disappear that bourgeois society presents on all sides, and which are becoming more and more unbearable. Class rule will cease. Society will apply all its activities according to its own plans, and will guide and control itself. By abolition of the wage system, the exploitation of man by man, deception and fraud, adulteration of food, speculation, etc., will be eradicated. The halls of the Temples of Mammon will be empty, for stocks, bonds, promissory notes, mortgages, etc., will have become waste-paper. The words of Schiller: “All old scores shall be erased and the world shall make its peace,” will be realized, and the scriptural saying: “In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread,” will then prevail with the heroes of the stock-exchange and the drones of capitalism, also. The employers and capitalists will be relieved forever of that worry about their property which, so they pathetically assure us, is often even harder to bear than the workingman’s lot of uncertainty and privation. The excitements of speculation, that give so many of our stock-jobbers heart-diseases and apoplexy, and cause them to be the victims of nervous prostration, will be spared them in the future.

Freedom from care will be their lot and that of their descendants, and they will not deplore this lot.

With the abolition of private property and class antagonism, the state, too, will gradually pass out of existence. “As the capitalistic method of production converts ever greater numbers of the population into proletarians, it creates the power that, under penalty of its own destruction, is destined to bring, about the transformation. Since its tendencies are to convert into state property the socialized means of production, it blazes the trail for the achievement of this transformation. ...”

The state was the official representative of society as a whole, its unification in a visible body; but it was this only in so far as it was the state of that particular class which itself represented society as a whole at its time; in antiquity, the slave-owning citizen; in mediaeval days, the feudal nobility; in our own day, the bourgeoisie. By finally becoming the actual representative of society as a whole, it renders itself superfluous. As soon as there will be no social class that needs to be repressed, as soon as the conflicts and excesses will be removed that are rooted in the present anarchistic methods of production and the individual struggle for existence, there will be nothing to necessitate a special power of repression, a state. The first act wherein the state will appear as the true representative of the whole body social – the act of taking possession of the means of production in behalf of society – will at the same time be its last independent act as state. State interference with social relations will become superfluous in one domain after another and will finally fall into disuse. Instead of a government of persons, there will be an administration of things and a direction of the processes of production. The state will not be ‘abolished,’ it will die out.” [1]

Together with the state will vanish its representatives: ministers, parliaments, standing armies, police, courts, lawyers and district attorneys, prison officials, collectors, of taxes and duty; in short, the entire political apparatus. Armories and other military buildings, palaces of justice, and administration, prisons, etc,, will then serve better purposes. Tens of thousands of laws, decrees and regulations will become just so much waste-paper; their only value will be an historical one. The great and yet so petty parliamentary struggles, during which the men of the tongue imagine that by their orations they rule and guide the world will disappear. They will make room for colleges of administration and administrative delegations, whose purpose will be to consider and determine the best means and methods of production and distribution, to decide how large a quantity of supplies is required, to introduce and utilize new appliances and improvements in art, science, education, traffic, etc., to organize and direct industry and agriculture. All these are practical, visible, tangible objects that will be objectively viewed by all, because no one will have any personal interests hostile to the interests )f society. It will be to the common interest of all to have everything provided for and arranged in the most effective and advantageous manner.

The hundreds of thousands of former representatives of the state will enter various professions, and by their intelligence and strength will help to increase the wealth and comforts of society – Neither political nor common crimes will be known in the future. Thieves will have disappeared, because private property will have disappeared, and in the new society everyone will be able to satisfy his wants easily and conveniently by work. Nor will there be tramps and vagabonds , for they are the product of a society founded on private property, and, with the abolition of this institution, they will cease to exist. Murder? Why? No one can enrich himself at the expense of others, and even the murder for hatred or revenge is directly or indirectly connected with the social system. Perjury, false testimony, fraud, theft of inheritance, fraudulent failures? There will be no private property against which these crimes could be committed. Arson? Who should find pleasure or satisfaction in committing arson when society has removed all cause for hatred? Counterfeiting? Money will be but a chimera it would be “loves labor lost.” Blasphemy Nonsense; It will be left to good, and, almighty God himself to punish whoever has offended him, provided that the existence of God is still a matter of controversy.

Thus all the fundamental principles of the present “order” become a myth. In later days parents will tell their children about them like about, legends of days gone by; and, when told of the persecutions to which men of the Pew ideas were subjected, they will be impressed by these accounts just as we are impressed by the accounts of the burnings of heretics and witches. All the names of those “great” men who distinguished themselves by their persecutions of the new ideas and were applauded for it by their narrow-minded contemporaries, will be forgotten, At best they will only attract the attention of the historians engaged in the research of old documents. Unfortunately we are not yet living in that happy age when humanity may breathe freely.


1. Fr. Engels – “Mr. Eugen Duehring’s Transformation of Science.” Stuttgart, 1894.