This article is a the last from the series of texts by Harry Ratner, a British longstanding socialist activist. Part I, part II and part III have been published previously on our website. Your comments are welcome.
The Democratisation of the State
The “state” has been mentioned several times in the sections dealing with overall economic planning. What sort of state is envisaged?
Certainly the existing state machine has inbuilt obstacles to the achievement of socialism – for example in Bretain the fact that parliament has no real control over the cabinet, which can declare war, introduce a state of siege, etc, without parliamentary approval, the House of Lords, the royal prerogative, etc, etc.
A radical restructuring of the state machine to widen democratic control and initiative from below is obviously necessary. But this does not mean that socialists cannot or must not use existing institutions. So long as parliament is still relatively freely elected, and so long as alternative structures have not arisen naturally, as a result of social movements, it is ludicrous for socialists to talk of “destruction of the state machine” and its miracolous replacement by non-existent “soviets”.