: But in 'oppressing social relations' you are in effect oppressing people. Let's not use colourful concepts to escape the facts of the matter.
I wasn't. I was emphasizing that the 'despotic inroads' you left hanging in such dramatic ellipsis were inroads upon property. Yes, people own property. George Washington and his homeboys made some pretty despotic inroads upon King George's homeboys, too. People defending their former privileges will be oppressed. Marxists are out front about this. My post was an attempt to say WHY.
: Sorry Barry, I'm not convinced that you can draw a distinction between 'the oppression of social relations' and the 'oppression of people'. They both amount to the same thing in my book.
That's because in our current property relations, people ARE property---specifically the people who provide the objectified labor-power to the capitalists who would own nothing but fallow land without the unpropertied proletariat. All a proletarian revolution does is return to the workers what they created for the capitalists under the coercive social relations between workers and capitalists engendered by workers having no access to the means of production that the capitalists monopolized. Ever heard of enclosure?; there's been a pretty serious example of the phenomenon (necessary for all primitive capitalist accumulation) going on for all to see in Russia.
: I will agree though that the dictatorship under a marxist revolution would be a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. However this does not change the essential character of the dictatorship. It is still oppressive.
It has to be. No ruling class EVER gives up its privileges without a fight. Just ask George Washington.