Socialism Dictatorship

Road to Revolution Marx's theory of the road to revolution is as follows: – Communism (re-distribution of wealth) Withering away of the state (the state / establishment disbanded) Socialism Dictatorship of the proletariat (the working class have control) Seizure of state power (coup d'etat) Revolutionary class consciousness (proletariat become politically and class conscious – break free from false consciousness) Immiseration of the proletariat (through poverty, oppression etc)

Economic Crisis (unemployment, booms and slumps in the economy) Socialism would be the lower phase through which the higher phase of communism would be reached. The revolutionary transformation of the one into the other would negate the need for such a workers dictatorship. Once a communist society was achieved, Marx believed that there would be no social classes and thus no need for a state.

In this new era of material abundance and self regulation, the state would finally 'wither away' completely. Government, the judicial system etc would no longer be necessary. These institutions were based on the assumption that there would be conflicts of interest in society that would need to be regulated. In communism though, class will have vanished and therefore so would the basis of conflicts. Also with peoples material needs being met and the abolition of private property the main reason behind the system for law and order would no longer be required either.

Criticism of Marx's Theory

Marx believed that it was inevitable there would be a revolution – he did not realise that the bourgeoisie would make concessions to the proletariat helped by the formation of trade unions. He also believed in class being bipolar whereas with the rise of 'middle class' there is multi polarisation. Marx's view was that the larger and more powerful companies (or bourgeoisie) would takeover the smaller independent ones leading to a rise in the numbers of the proletariat.

Though to an extent this does happen – there are numerous small or middle sized independent business still going strong – there are also laws now to prevent monopolies and competition is encouraged. Marx's theory of history has to be commended though as it is an insightful view into how class struggles have shaped society. 


  • Introduction to Psychology, GC Davenport, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2000 Models of Democracy,
  • David Held, Polity Press, 1987 Plato to Nato – Studies in Political Thought, B Redhead, Penguin Books Ltd, 1995 Politics class notes Sociology class notes