A few weeks ago 11 women from the Highway Re-route Movement (HRM) staged a sit-down protest outside the entrance of the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. Eventually the women were asked to leave and protest elsewhere. One who ignored the request was forcibly removed by police officers.Side-stepping compulsory purchase orders or government offers to buy the lands, one issue the protest publicised is the State's bulldozing of private lands and buildings to construct the highway.
Now if we gauge public opinion toward the HRM via radio phone-ins and the comments on articles about the protests–not the most scientific method–a majority appear to be anti. As such the action of the police against HRM protesters both in Mon Desir and St Clair is deemed appropriate.In support of such thinking we find a grandfather of sociology, Max Weber. For Weber we can define the modern State sociologically as the legitimate arbiter of physical force.
In other words, the State is the only entity in our modern world that has the right to use violence. And of course as Weber points out, its not really violence if the State uses it, it's "force." The police and army use force; those who aren't, use violence.
A second way to think about the State is as a collection of institutions. Nico Poulantzas and Louis Althusser broke the collection into two categories: "Ideological State Apparatuses" and "Repressive State Apparatuses." The former includes institutions like education, the churches, media, political parties, and cultural institutions. In the latter category are institutions like the police, army, prisons, civil service, and judiciary.