The complete criticism of the state dates back to the era of the completion of the state itself. Before that time, the question was only about the transformation of the form of the state: from the Christian to the Secular form of the state, from monarchy to the republic, from dictatorship to the democratic, etc.
Historically, this transformation was nothing more than the process of adapting the structure of the state to the respective society. Therefore, all critics of the form of the state were limited to a specific form of the state, not to the nature of the state.
In fact, the critic of the state as a state started only when the history recognized that the human rights by the bourgeois state, has the same significance as the recognition of slavery by the ancient state. Thus, the emergence of the democratic secular state in its pure form was the emergence of the real critic of the state.
Here, exactly here, starts Marx’s critic of the state. State can be free from a historical obstacle - religion, the crown - but without man being free within it.
So, if we start from Marx himself, then we can easily see that Marx puts "the state itself" for criticism, not one form or another of the state. Marx’s historical research is, therefore, entirely different from his opponents who examine the political form of the state rather than the historical essence of the state. That is the reason that Marx didn’t see any different between the North America’s atheist state and the Prussia’s religious state:
“…. the entire content of law and the state is, with small modification, the same in North America as in Prussia. There, accordingly, the republic is a mere state form just as the monarchy is here. The content of the state lies outside these constitutions” // Karl Marx, In Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843
Let us now entre Marx’s historical studies on the state in general and the so-called proletarian state in particular.
Marx and the State
The Existence of The State is Inseparable from The Existence of Slavery
Before entering upon this examination, “Marx and the State”, we might offer some considerations in regard to “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, which is a vital question in regards to the illusion of transition from Capitalism to Socialism and then from Socialism to Communism.
There is a rumor that the slogan from “Each According to His Ability” to “Each According to His Needs” popularized by Marx in “Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875”. According to this determination: Socialism is an interim stage between Capitalism and Communism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is the form of the state in this stage.
Is it a philosophical imagination by Marx or one of the most important fabrication of idea in the name of Marx?
Let us listen to Marx:
one of the most vital principles of communism, a principle which distinguishes it from all reactionary socialism, is its empirical view, based on a knowledge of man’s nature, that differences of brain and of intellectual ability do not imply any differences whatsoever in the nature of the stomach and of physical needs; therefore the false tenet, based upon existing circumstances, “to each according to his abilities”, must be changed, insofar as it relates to enjoyment in its narrower sense, into the tenet, “to each according to his need”; in other words, a different form of activity, of labour, does not justify inequality, confers no privileges in respect of possession and enjoyment // Karl Marx, The German Ideology, 1846
The above clarification is enough to see how Marx distinguishes between the two principals of distribution: “to each according to his abilities”, which is based upon bourgeois relations of production, and “to each according to his need”, which is based upon communist relations of production.
Now, let us go back to the dilemma: Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
The class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat … this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society // Karl Marx to J. Weydemeyer in New York, 1852
In your newspaper’s article of June 22 this year you reproached me for advocating the rule and the dictatorship of the working class, while you propose, in opposition to myself, the abolition of class distinctions in general. I do not understand this correction ….. You know that I defended the same point of view in my Misère de la philosophie against Proudhon, before February 1848, K. Marx // Karl Marx, Statement To the Editor of the Neue Deutsche Zeitung, 1850
What did Marx defended in his book “Poverty in Philosophy”?
An oppressed class is the vital condition for every society founded on the antagonism of classes. The emancipation of the oppressed class thus implies necessarily the creation of a new society. For the oppressed class to be able to emancipate itself, it is necessary that the productive powers already acquired and the existing social relations should no longer be capable of existing side by side. Of all the instruments of production, the greatest productive power is the revolutionary class itself. The organization of revolutionary elements as a class supposes the existence of all the productive forces which could be engendered in the bosom of the old society.
Does this mean that after the fall of the old society there will be a new class domination culminating in a new political power? No.
The condition for the emancipation of the working class is the abolition of every class, just as the condition for the liberation of the third estate, of the bourgeois order, was the abolition of all estates and all orders.
The working class, in the course of its development, will substitute for the old civil society an association which will exclude classes and their antagonism, and there will be no more political power properly so-called, since political power is precisely the official expression of antagonism in civil society // Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, 1847
Conclusion 1: Transformation of the bourgeoisie into proletarian state, which means transformation of the private property into state property is just a philosophical illusion. Marx probably didn’t imagine a peculiar kind of state or the state property.
Here is the proof:
The transformation of private property into state property reduces itself, in the final analysis, to the idea that the bourgeois has possessions only as a member of the bourgeois species, a species which as a whole is called the state and which invests individuals with the fief of property .... Although previously philosophical illusions of this kind could be current in Germany, they have now become completely ludicrous // Karl Marx, The German Ideology, 1846
Herr Bruno, who confuses the state with humanity, the rights of man with man and political emancipation with human emancipation, was bound, if not to conceive, at least to imagine a peculiar kind of state, a philosophical ideal of a state // Karl Marx, The German Ideology, 1846
Conclusion 2: According to Marx, proletariat, by no means, becomes an absolute side of the society.
Proletariat and wealth are opposites; as such they form a single whole. They are both creations of the world of private property. The question is exactly what place each occupies in the antithesis. It is not sufficient to declare them two sides of a single whole.
Private property as private property, as wealth, is compelled to maintain itself, and thereby its opposite, the proletariat, in existence. That is the positive side of the antithesis, self-satisfied private property.
The proletariat, on the contrary, is compelled as proletariat to abolish itself and thereby its opposite, private property, which determines its existence, and which makes it proletariat. It is the negative side of the antithesis, its restlessness within its very self, dissolved and self-dissolving private property.
The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-estrangement. But the former class feels at ease and strengthened in this self-estrangement, it recognizes estrangement as its own power and has in it the semblance of a human existence. The class of the proletariat feels annihilated in estrangement; it sees in it its own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existence …..
Within this antithesis the private property-owner is therefore the conservative side, the proletarian the destructive side ….
When the proletariat is victorious, it by no means becomes the absolute side of society, for it is victorious only by abolishing itself and its opposite. Then the proletariat disappears as well as the opposite which determines it, private property.
When socialist writers ascribe this world-historic role to the proletariat, it is not at all, as Critical Criticism pretends to believe, because they regard the proletarians as gods. Rather the contrary. Since in the fully-formed proletariat the abstraction of all humanity, even of the semblance of humanity, is practically complete; since the conditions of life of the proletariat sum up all the conditions of life of society today in their most inhuman form; since man has lost himself in the proletariat, yet at the same time has not only gained theoretical consciousness of that loss, but through urgent, no longer removable, no longer disguisable, absolutely imperative need -- the practical expression of necessity -- is driven directly to revolt against this inhumanity, it follows that the proletariat can and must emancipate itself.
But it cannot emancipate itself without abolishing the conditions of its own life. It cannot abolish the conditions of its own life without abolishing all the inhuman conditions of life of society today which are summed up in its own situation. Not in vain does it go through the stern but steeling school of labour. It is not a question of what this or that proletarian, or even the whole proletariat, at the moment regards as its aim. It is a question of what the proletariat is, and what, in accordance with this being, it will historically be compelled to do. Its aim and historical action is visibly and irrevocably foreshadowed in its own life situation as well as in the whole organization of bourgeois society today // Karl Marx, The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Criticism, Against Bruno Bauer and Company
Conclusion 3: “Dictatorship of the proletariat” means that, the proletariat compelled as proletariat to abolish itself and thereby its opposite, private property, through class violence. The abolishing of the private property is the abolishing of the proletarian’s existence. That is the result of the Marx’s historical research. After the proletarian’s revolution, there will be no room left for a new class domination or a new political power. A historical proof is the Paris Commune, which, according to Marx clarified that the old centralized government, the state, would have to give way to the self-government of the producers.
The working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes. The centralized state power, with its ubiquitous organs of standing army, police, bureaucracy, clergy, and judicature – organs wrought after the plan of a systematic and hierarchic division of labor – originates from the days of absolute monarchy, serving nascent middle class society as a mighty weapon in its struggle against feudalism. Still, its development remained clogged by all manner of medieval rubbish, seigniorial rights, local privileges, municipal and guild monopolies, and provincial constitutions. The gigantic broom of the French Revolution of the 18th century swept away all these relics of bygone times, thus clearing simultaneously the social soil of its last hindrances to the superstructure of the modern state edifice raised under the First Empire, itself the offspring of the coalition wars of old semi-feudal Europe against modern France ……
After every revolution marking a progressive phase in the class struggle, the purely repressive character of the state power stands out in bolder and bolder relief. The Revolution of 1830, resulting in the transfer of government from the landlords to the capitalists, transferred it from the more remote to the more direct antagonists of the working men. The bourgeois republicans, who, in the name of the February Revolution, took the state power, used it for the June  massacres, in order to convince the working class that “social” republic means the republic entrusting their social subjection, and in order to convince the royalist bulk of the bourgeois and landlord class that they might safely leave the cares and emoluments of government to the bourgeois “republicans.” ……
The Paris Commune was, of course, to serve as a model to all the great industrial centres of France. The communal regime once established in Paris and the secondary centres, the old centralized government would in the provinces, too, have to give way to the self-government of the producers.
Yes, gentlemen, the Commune intended to abolish that class property which makes the labor of the many the wealth of the few. It aimed at the expropriation of the expropriators. It wanted to make individual property a truth by transforming the means of production, land, and capital, now chiefly the means of enslaving and exploiting labor, into mere instruments of free and associated labor. But this is communism, “impossible” communism! Why, those members of the ruling classes who are intelligent enough to perceive the impossibility of continuing the present system – and they are many – have become the obtrusive and full-mouthed apostles of co-operative production. If co-operative production is not to remain a sham and a snare; if it is to supersede the capitalist system; if united co-operative societies are to regulate national production upon common plan, thus taking it under their own control and putting an end to the constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which are the fatality of capitalist production – what else, gentlemen, elements of the new society with which old collapsing bourgeois society itself is pregnant // Karl Marx, Paris Commune, 1871
Conclusion 4: The “transition” from the competitive production (capitalist mode of production) to the co-operative production (communist mode of production) doesn’t mean transformation of one form of the state to another - as the proletariat itself has confirmed in the Paris Commune. The question is about changing the mode of the production not the form of the state.
Even the radical and revolutionary politicians look for the causes of evil not in the nature of the state but in a specific form of the state which they would like to replace with another form of the state.
From a political point of view, the state and the organization of society are not two different things. The state is the organization of society. In so far as the state acknowledges the existence of social grievances, it locates their origins either in the laws of nature over which no human agency has control, or in private life, which is independent of the state, or else in malfunctions of the administration which is dependent on it. Thus England finds poverty to be based on the law of nature according to which the population must always outgrow the available means of subsistence. From another point of view, it explains pauperism as the consequence of the bad will of the poor, just as the King of Prussia explains it in terms of the unchristian feelings of the rich and the Convention explains it in terms of the counter-revolutionary and suspect attitudes of the proprietors. Hence England punishes the poor, the Kings of Prussia exhorts the rich and the Convention he heads the proprietors.
Lastly, all states seek the cause in fortuitous or intentional defects in the administration and hence the cure is sought in administrative measures. Why? Because the administration is the organizing agency of the state.
The contradiction between the vocation and the good intentions of the administration on the one hand and the means and powers at its disposal on the other cannot be eliminated by the state, except by abolishing itself; for the state is based on this contradiction. It is based on the contradiction between public and private life, between universal and particular interests…... The existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery. The state and slavery in antiquity – frank and open classical antitheses – were not more closely welded together than the modern state and the cut-throat world of modern business – sanctimonious Christian antithesis. If the modern state desired to abolish the impotence of its administration, it would have to abolish contemporary private life. And to abolish private life, it would have to abolish itself, since it exists only as the antithesis of private life // Karl Marx, Critical Notes on the Article: “The King of Prussia and Social Reform. By a Prussian”, 1844
Conclusion 5: If the modern state desired to abolish contemporary of the private life, then it has to abolish itself, since it exists only as the antithesis of private life. Private life, or personal freedom under the power of the state exists only for the individuals who developed within the relationships of the ruling class, which is the owner of the means of production.
The most perfect example of the modern State is North America. The modern French, English and American writers all express the opinion that the State exists only for the sake of private property, so that this fact has penetrated into the consciousness of the normal man // Karl Marx, The German Ideology, 1846
Only in community [with others has each] individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible. In the previous substitutes for the community, in the state, etc. personal freedom has existed only for the individuals who developed within the relationships of the ruling class, and only insofar as they were individuals of this class. The illusory community, in which individuals have up till now combined, always took on an independent existence in relation to them, and was at the same time, since it was the combination of one class over against another, not only a completely illusory community, but a new fetter as well. In a real community the individuals obtain their freedom in and through their association // Karl Marx, The German Ideology, 1846
Conclusion 6: The critic of the state as a state started only when history recognized that human rights by the bourgeois state has the same significance as the recognition of slavery by the ancient state; either feudal or Christian. The ancient state, as well as the modern state, is based on a relation of production that can only offer the same principal of distribution, “Each According to His Ability”, the principal which provides each member of the society preserving his individual life, personal rights, and private property. Thus, the modern state is the last form of this historical series of the state. And all these forms has the same nature, the same content of law, with small modification in their constitutions. They are the same in North America as in former Soviet Union, in Cuba as in Iran.
It was shown that the recognition of the rights of man by the modern state has no other meaning than the recognition of slavery by the state of antiquity had. In other words, just as the ancient state had slavery as its natural basis, the modern state has as its natural basis civil society and the man of civil society, i.e., the independent man linked with other men ‘ only by the ties of private interest and unconscious natural necessity, the slave of labour for gain and of his own as well as other men’s selfish need. The modern state has recognized this its natural basis as such in the universal rights of man. It did not create it. As it was the product of civil society driven beyond the old political bonds by its own development, the modern state, for its part, now recognized the womb from which it sprang and its basis by the declaration of the rights of man // Karl Marx, The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Criticism, Against Bruno Bauer and Company
From a historical point of view, the state and the organization of society are the same thing. The state itself is a form of society: Class Society. It locates its origin and its nature of private property. “The State exists only for the sake of private property, Karl Marx.”
Thus, the criticism of the political form of the state by Marxist-Leninists is the same criticism of the religious form of the state by secularists. However, the state has a political attitude to religion as well as a political attitude to man. Thus, whatsoever the form of the state, the state has just political rights to offer to its citizens according to the same principal of distribution, “Each According to His Ability”, no matter what the development of the state. The state has to protect individuals rights based on different stages of class society. The birth of the state corresponds to the existence of class society, and it has the same task throughout history: Supreme power over the society. That is why the criticism of the state becomes criticism of the political state, political power, whatsoever the form of this state is.
Political state in its completely developed form
Only in the North American states – at least, in some of them – does the Jewish question lose its theological significance and become a really secular question. Only where the political state exists in its completely developed form can the relation of the Jew, and of the religious man in general, to the political state, and therefore the relation of religion to the state, show itself in its specific character, in its purity. The criticism of this relation ceases to be theological criticism as soon as the state ceases to adopt a theological attitude toward religion, as soon as it behaves towards religion as a state – i.e., politically. Criticism, then, becomes criticism of the political state. At this point, where the question ceases to be theological, Bauer’s criticism ceases to be critical.
We criticize the religious weakness of the political state by criticizing the political state in its secular form, apart from its weaknesses as regards religion. The contradiction between the state and a particular religion, for instance Judaism, is given by us a human form as the contradiction between the state and particular secular elements; the contradiction between the state and religion in general as the contradiction between the state and its presuppositions in general…….
The limits of political emancipation are evident at once from the fact that the state can free itself from a restriction without man being really free from this restriction, that the state can be a free state [pun on word Freistaat, which also means republic] without man being a free man …
The relation of the political state to civil society is just as spiritual as the relations of heaven to earth …
The democratic state, the real state, does not need religion for its political completion. On the contrary, it can disregard religion because in it the human basis of religion is realized in a secular manner. The so-called Christian state, on the other hand, has a political attitude to religion and a religious attitude to politics. By degrading the forms of the state to mere semblance, it equally degrades religion to mere semblance // Karl Marx, The Jewish Question, 1843
Hegel proceeds from the separation of the state and civil society, the separation of the particular interests and the absolutely universal; and indeed the bureaucracy is founded on this separation. Hegel proceeds from the presupposition of the Corporations; and indeed the bureaucracy presupposes the Corporations, in any event the 'corporation mind'. Hegel develops no content of the bureaucracy, but merely some general indications of its formal organisation; and indeed the bureaucracy is merely the formalism of a content which lies outside the bureaucracy itself ……
The bureaucracy is the state formalism of civil society. It is the state's consciousness, the state's will, the state's power, as a Corporation. (The universal interest can behave vis-a-vis the particular only as a particular so long as the particular behaves vis-a vis the universal as a universal. The bureaucracy must thus defend the imaginary universality of particular interest, i.e., the Corporation mind, in order to defend the imaginary particularity of the universal interests, i.e., its own mind. The state must be Corporation so long as the Corporation wishes to be state.) Being the state's consciousness, will, and power as a Corporation, the bureaucracy is thus a particular, closed society within the state. The bureaucracy wills the Corporation as an imaginary power. To be sure, the individual Corporation also has this will for its particular interest in opposition to the bureaucracy, but it wills the bureaucracy against the other Corporation, against the other particular interest. The bureaucracy as the completed Corporation therefore wins the day over the Corporation which is like incomplete bureaucracy. It reduces the Corporation to an appearance, or wishes to do so, but wishes this appearance to exist and to believe in its own existence. The Corporation is civil society's attempt to become state; but the bureaucracy is the state which has really made itself into civil society …
Since the bureaucracy according to its essence is the state as formalism, so too it is according to its end. The real end of the state thus appears to the bureaucracy as an end opposed to the state. The mind of the bureaucracy is the formal mind of the state. It therefore makes the formal mind of the state, or the real mindlessness of the state, a categorical imperative. The bureaucracy asserts itself to be the final end of the state. Because the bureaucracy makes its formal aims its content, it comes into conflict everywhere with the real aims. Hence it is obliged to present what is formal for the content and the content for what is formal. The aims of the state are transformed into aims of bureaus, or the aims of bureaus into the aims of the state. The bureaucracy is a circle from which no one can escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge. The highest point entrusts the understanding of particulars to the lower echelons, whereas these, on the other hand, credit the highest with an understanding in regard to the universal; and thus they deceive one another.
The bureaucracy is the imaginary state alongside the real state; it is the spiritualism of the state. As a result everything has a double meaning, one real and one bureaucratic, just as knowledge is double, one real and one bureaucratic (and the same with the will). A real thing, however, is treated according to its bureaucratic essence, according to its otherworldly, spiritual essence. The bureaucracy has the being of the state, the spiritual being of society, in its possession; it is its private property. The general spirit of the bureaucracy is the secret, the mystery, preserved inwardly by means of the hierarchy and externally as a closed corporation. To make public -the mind and the disposition of the state appears therefore to the bureaucracy as a betrayal of its mystery. Accordingly authority is the principle of its knowledge and being, and the deification of authority is its mentality. But at the very heart of the bureaucracy this spiritualism turns into a crass materialism, the materialism of passive obedience, of trust in authority, the mechanism of an ossified and formalistic behaviour, of fixed principles, conceptions, and traditions. As far as the individual bureaucrat is concerned, the end of the state becomes his private end: a pursuit of higher posts, the building of a career. In the first place, he considers real life to be purely material, for the spirit of this life has its separate existence in the bureaucracy. Thus the bureaucrat must make life as materialistic as possible. Secondly, real life is material for the bureaucrat, i.e . in so far as it becomes an object of bureaucratic action, because his spirit is prescribed for him, his end lies outside of him, his existence is the existence of the bureau. The state, then, exists only as various bureau-minds whose connection consists of subordination and dumb obedience. Real knowledge appears to be devoid of content just as real life appears to be dead, for this imaginary knowledge and life pass for what is real and essential. Thus the bureaucrat must use the real state Jesuitically, no matter whether this Jesuitism be conscious or unconscious. But given that his antithesis is knowledge, it is inevitable that he likewise attain to self-consciousness and, at that moment, deliberate Jesuitism. While the bureaucracy is on one hand this crass materialism, it manifests its crass spiritualism in its will to do everything, i.e., in its making the will the causa prima, for it is pure active existence which receives its content from without; thus it can manifest its existence only through forming and restricting this content. The bureaucrat has the world as a mere object of his action.
When Hegel calls the Executive power the objective aspect of the sovereignty residing In the crown, it is precisely in the same sense that the Catholic Church was the real existence of the sovereignty, content, and spirit of the Blessed Trinity. In the bureaucracy the identity of the state's interest and the particular private aim is established such that the state's interest becomes a particular private aim opposed to the other private aims.
The abolition [Aufhebung] of the bureaucracy can consist only in the universal interest becoming really - and not, as with Hegel, becoming purely in thought, in abstraction - particular interest; and this is possible only through the particular interest really becoming universal. Hegel starts from an unreal opposition and thereby brings it to a merely imaginary identity which, in fact, is itself all the more contradictory. Such an identity is the bureaucracy // Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843