The State is organised force. On examination, that from the first it has always and at every time been a class institution. This is, perhaps hard to grasp for the average individual of today. To most of us the state and governmental organisations are things which exist to conserve the interests of, to serve, to help, the community as a whole. We are frequently told, in fact it is dinned into our ears without ceasing by all supporters of the present system, that this is so. Nothing, however could be further from the facts of the case. The state has always been a strictly class weapon used to conserve class interests. The first state organisations came into existence as a result of class (instead of, as before, communal) ownership of the means of life, slavery and exploitation. The first master class had to have some properly organised power behind them to suppress slave rebellions, etc. Therefore, to meet the needs of the case, they organised armed forces (slave guards) to protect their property rights as slave owners. In order that these forces might be employed to the best advantage they further organised themselves into what may be called “administrative councils”. Here we have the state in its infancy – the administrative council representing the brain, as it were, the slave guards the fighting or striking arm. Our modern state is much more complex, of course, though still, the same thing in another form. To govern is to direct, control and to rule with authority. Operating as the state this is what governments do. For socialists the rule of government can never be democratic. Though it may include some incidental functions arising from the needs of people the main work of the state is the running of class-divided society; a system of economic exploitation. In the main governments work for a privileged section of society. They make the laws which protect the property rights of a minority who own and control natural resources, industry, manufacture and transport. These are the means of life on which we all depend but most of us have no say in how they are used. Behind Parliament governments operate in secret. They are part of the division of the world into rival capitalist states. With the back-up of their armed forces they pursue national capitalist interests. Though the politicians who run it may be elected, the state is the opposite of democracy. The modern democratic state is merely the veil behind which modern slavery hides itself.
Democracy means the absence of privilege, making our decisions from a position of equality. Democracy means that we should live in a completely open society with unrestricted access to the information relevant to social issues. It means that we should have the powers to act on our decisions, because without such powers decisions are useless. The democratic organisation of all people as citizens of the world would need to operate through different scales of social co-operation. Locally, in town or country, we would be involved with our parish or neighbourhood. Even now, there are many thousands of men and women throughout the country who work voluntarily on parish and district councils and in town neighbourhoods for the benefit of their communities. But these efforts would be greatly enhanced by the freedoms of a society run entirely through voluntary co-operation. Such local organisation would be in the context of regional co-operation which could operate by adapting the structures of present national governments. Whilst some departments such as those for administering tax and state finances, which are essential to the state would be abolished, others like Agriculture and the Environment could have an important job to do, especially in the early days of socialism. Such structures—adapted to the needs of socialist society—could be part of regional councils and would assist in the work of implementing the decisions of regional populations.
During the early days of socialism it is likely that the organisation of world co-operation would need to take place through a world council. Because the things we need now are produced and distributed through a world structure of production, and because its present capitalist nature has brought about immense problems, action to solve them would be required on a world scale, For example, it would be a priority to set up an ecologically benign world energy system as soon as possible. Similarly, the countless millions of people suffering from hunger and desperate poverty would need a considerable increase in food production. For this work the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations would at last he able to use its expertise and knowledge of world conditions to help with solving the problems of malnutrition. Again, to begin with, people in socialism would face a huge task in providing every person with secure and comfortable housing. This would call upon the efforts of communities throughout the world, especially in those regions where means of production were well developed. Such world projects could be co-ordinated through appropriate departments of a world council.
When we propose different scales of social co-operation such as local, regional and world scales, this is not a question of there being a hierarchy with power located at any central point. What we anticipate is both an integrated and flexible system of democtatic organisation which could be adapted for action to solve any proh1em in any of these scales. This simply takes into account that some problems and the action to solve them arise from local issues and this also extends to the regional and world spheres.