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This essay discusses the evolution of state theory from G. W. F. Hegel to Gilles Deleuze, with a focus on the ways in which the state has been theorized as a mechanism of egalitarian social change. Following Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's empire thesis, it raises the question of whether institutional mediations, like states and trade unions, have exhausted their potential to serve as agents of social change. In answering this question, the essay points to contemporary movement activity and recent developments in Latin American politics in which states have played a major role in enacting change.