Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Government versus State

Government and State
“The state, in a sociological sense, can be defined as a community based on a monopoly over organised violence within a territory, this violence being considered “legitimate” by the state itself. In modern societies, organised violence is only considered legitimate when exercised by the police or the military. The state is more commonly thought of as being composed of the government (including national and local officials), government bureaucracies, the legal system, the military, and government-run operations such as schools. The state maintains itself financially mainly through taxes, administers services and regulations through government bureaucracies, and maintains order through the police and the legal system. ” (Brian Martin, Technology for NonViolent Struggle, ch. 2)

The government is merely the elected members of the party that won the most seats in parliament, plus some unelected advisors and appointees (Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, happily ramming through GM food against the wishes of most of the electorate, for example). [NB This was written in about 2000,2001]
The government always likes to announce it is supplying x million quid for this or that kitten sanctuary, or pedestrian crossing scheme. Bollocks: that is state money, taken mostly from poor people and given mostly to rich people.

One comment on “Government versus State

  1. Antonio Dias
    January 24, 2011

    The State monopoly on “legitimate” violence only holds true in the most literal and obvious sense. If you back out to take in the violence inherent in economic exploitation and environmental destruction, the “state” has extended this right to all of its owners. It tends to use its more blatantly obvious violence to maintain the “rights” its owners hold over the fodder for their exploitation.

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