After the Revolution, and after the Worker's Paradise of each according to his ability, each according to his need been established, eventually the instruments of government, or ruling class, would wither away entirely, as the system would be smoothly functioning, and they would no longer be needed.
If you haven't read the Communist Manifesto, do so, mindful that Marx and Engalls writing in the mid 1800's were referring to what should happen to Great Britain alone after her industrialization, not about Russia or China (or any other state that put communism into practice) before their industrialization. Communist Theory and Communist Practice -- well, I'll leave you to ponder those.
Marx final vision was that the workers, the creators of value, would take over the means of production, presently owned by the Capitalists, and would create a communist/socialist utopia where goods would be distributed according to their famous dictim: "From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs."
I have no idea what should happen next. There is historical evidence that the Pilgrims originally started out as a socialist colony, but reverted to a Capitalist system when the original experiment didn't work. There have been many other attempts at social utopias, and most of them have also failed. Perhaps Marx did not factor in human greed and laziness, but I feel that the next step is a return to some form of capitalism that encourages growth and competition while maintaining a clearly defined and limited social net for those who need the assistance.
George Orwell's "Animal Farm" shares pretty much the same vision. Eventually someone attempts to seize power/control, and these individuals eventually take over for the Capitalists (Mr. Jones) that they threw out. If you haven't read it yet, I'd do so at your earliest convenience.
he wanted the working class to own the state, own the fruits of their own labour, and produce according to needs, not necessarily according to profit.
marx talked mostly about capitalism, less about socialism.
marxism is a dynamic tool that involves taking changes in society into account.
@timbrady: marxism is NOT utopia. it's science.
Marx thought that value is created through the labor of working people. He thought that they should democratically control how that value was created, distributed and what gets made.
He thought this was not just a good idea but that it would be possible, though not inevitable, because it is in the material interests of working people, and because collectively they keep society running they potentially have a lot of power.
He argued against the utopian socialists who thought that socialism should be implemented from above by benevolent leaders. He thought that the transformation of society would have to be carried out by the working class themselves. During this process they would develop a class consciousness which would overcome other divisions, such as racism, religious hatred, the oppression of women and other forms of oppression which split working people.
Today, there are many people who would claim to speak in the tradition of Marx. Indeed even in his time there were many who misrepresented his thoughts such that he was led to proclaim "I am not a Marxist." However despite how the other people have answered this question, he was an internationalist and a revolutionary. He eneded the Communist Manifesto withe the famous slogan: "Workers of the world unite!" That is now written on his grave in London along with another famous quote of his: "Philosophers have tried to interpret the world, the point however is to change it!"
Today I believe that he would still stand by those words. Who can say his ideas are not being vindicated as we watch this major crisis in world capitalism unfold.
There is a new edition of the Communist Manifesto out from Haymarket books which is annotated by Phil Gasper and well worth getting for an engaging study.
To see what some contemporary socialists are saying about what should be done today, it is worth looking at the Socialist Worker website.