This chapter starts from a brief overview of the capital-state historical dialectic, emphasizing more the materialist determination of the superstructure associated with the state, without downplaying the impact of state mechanisms, initiatives, and policies on the socioeconomic sphere. The marxist classics were particularly clear on the character of the state and the historical formation of nation-states. as stated by marx,

marx has also stressed that the centralized state power, which was ‘wrought after the plan of a systematic and hierarchic division of labour’, has served the nascent bourgeois middle-classes since the days of absolute monarchy as a ubiquitous organ of authority and weapon in their struggle against feudalism. in the course of development of modern industry, it ‘assumed more and more the character of the national power of capital over labour, of a public force organised for social enslavement, of an engine of class despotism’ (marx 1968b: 289-90).1 in the Gotha Programme, marx also considers as self-evident that the working class, in its struggle for social emancipation, ‘must organise at home as … its own country is the immediate arena of its struggle’, while emphasizing the need for an ‘international brotherhood of the working classes in the joint struggle against the ruling classes and their governments’, in order to effectively challenge the international brotherhood of capital (marx 1968c: 327). engels also points out that the state, as a rule, because of the conditions under which it arises, is ‘the state

of the most powerful, economically dominant class, which, through the medium of the state, becomes also the politically dominant class, and thus acquires new means of holding down and exploiting the oppressed class’ (engels 1968: 587). But ‘[t]he state … has not existed from all eternity. There have been societies that did without it … [and a] society, which will organise production on the basis of a free and equal association of the producers, will put the whole machinery of the state where it will then belong: into the museum of antiquities, by the side of the spinning-wheel and the bronze axe’ (engels 1968: 589). lenin too, particularly in his State and Revolution (lenin 1971), is unequivocal of the class character of the state and the need of dismantling the state apparatus in the revolutionary process of overthrowing bourgeois power and transforming society, though some aspects of his ideas about the state and the vanguard party are still controversial (see Chattopadhyay 1992; Bonefeld and Tischler 2002; lih 2006; Wright 2006; Wyatt 2006). Gramsci has also aptly exposed nationalism as an ideological and political platform underpinning bourgeois hegemony.2