Spectre of Communism

What is the state, and how do we smash it?

Many people think of the state as a huge collection of bureaucratic offices and institutions that have little to do with our daily lives. Some have illusions in the state as a neutral arbiter over society, operating on the basis of universal principles of ‘democracy’ and ‘rule of law’. But for countless workers and youths on the receiving end of police violence, legal victimisation or military oppression, the real nature of the capitalist state is clear.

For communists, the task is not to reform or adjust the capitalist state, but to understand its role as a violent, repressive tool for the ruling class, and then to smash it. Despite what the reformists and the liberals may think, it is only through class struggle and revolution that the brutality of the capitalist state can be overcome.

This week’s episode of the Spectre of Communism podcast welcomes Ben Gliniecki, National Secretary of Socialist Appeal, the British section of the International Marxist Tendency. Ben explains the fundamental nature of the state in general, as well as its specific role under capitalism, and discusses how communists propose to smash the capitalist state once and for all, as well as what we would replace it with. 

Spectre of Communism

Is China Communist?

The Chinese Communist Party and its defenders claim that China is building a successful socialist society, and is at the forefront of an anti-imperialist struggle against the West. But is China communist? Does the legacy of the Chinese Revolution live on today in the CCP?

In reality, despite the enormous achievements of the Chinese Revolution, China today is one of the largest capitalist powers on the planet. The growth of Chinese capitalism has created an immense working class in China, and when it moves towards revolutionary struggle, it will unleash a force that will shake the world.

This week’s episode of the Spectre of Communism podcast features Daniel Morley, a leading comrade of Socialist Appeal, the IMT in Britain. Daniel discusses the incredible conquests of the Chinese Revolution (the second-greatest event in history, after the Russian Revolution) as well as China’s subsequent return to capitalism and how communists should view China today.

For more on the history and events of China’s 1949 revolution, we recommend this article by Daniel.

Spectre of Communism

What will communism look like?

Right-wingers claim that communism would be a dictatorial hellscape: nothing could be further from the truth. Communism means a society free from money, social classes, poverty and oppression, where people live “from each according to their ability, each according to their needs.” But what would such a society look like, and how do we get there?

Capitalism has created a world of poverty and precarity, in which people must struggle simply to survive, let alone reach their full potential. Socialism and communism will for the first time in history rationalise production, meet all human needs and give space for culture and the arts to flourish in ways never seen before. But this cannot be started while capitalism stands, and there is much work to do on the way!

In this week’s episode of Spectre of Communism, Adam Booth – editor of – discusses the economic and social impact of a successful revolution, and explains how society might look as we strive to build communism.

For more information about historical attempts to begin these tasks, we recommend Adam’s article in the latest In Defence of Marxism magazine on the Soviet Economy, available now!

Spectre of Communism

The Russian Revolution: the greatest event in history

7 November (in the New Style calendar) marks the anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. For communists, the Russian Revolution is the greatest event in human history. But for many right-wing, liberal and reformist critics of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, it was an anti-democratic catastrophe that condemned Russia to murderous dictatorship. It’s time we set the record straight.

The workers and peasants of Russia achieved something that many thought impossible: not only bringing down the hated Tsar Nicholas ‘The Bloody’, but going on to overthrow capitalism itself, and begin the task of building a society free of exploitation, oppression and want. The monumental events of the Russian Revolution are rich with lessons for the struggle for communism today.

The first episode of the International Marxist Tendency’s new podcast, Spectre of Communism, welcomes Alan Woods – author and editor of – to discuss this remarkable event.

Alan deals with the historic importance of 1917, the role of the Bolshevik party under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, answers the lies hurled against the revolution, and explains what communists today can take away from this incredible struggle.

New episodes of the Spectre of Communism podcast will be available every Tuesday! Listen on your preferred platform here:

For those wanting to learn more about the Russian Revolution, we recommend Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution by Alan Woods.