Class-free, State-free

In English, words of the form X-less mean ‘without X’; examples would be homeless, jobless, loveless, useless, pointless. As you may have noticed, these words generally have a negative meaning, since the X part is seen as something good, whether a home or a use. There are exceptions, such as painless, but on the whole it’s true.

In contrast, words consisting of X-free have positive meanings: trouble-free, problem-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free. Here the X denotes something negative, so to be without it is a good thing.

Socialists often describe socialism as a classless, stateless, moneyless world community. But, based on what we’ve said above, it might be better to say it would be class-free, state-free, money-free, putting an explicitly positive spin on these ideas. Socialist society will be free of the encumbrances of class, the state and money, leaving people to co-operate without institutions that oppress and exploit.

You might object that it doesn’t matter very much whether we speak of a classless or a class-free society. This may be correct, but the point is that using slightly unusual terms such as class-free and state-free may help those who hear our case to think a little about what they mean and what some of the implications about a changeover to socialism would be.


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