Lenin cites this concept from Marx early in “State and Revolution.” To me, it implies that socialist states can be reformed from within to achieve communism, whereas under capitalism revolution is necessary to build socialism. I do not understand this at all. What makes post-capitalist society special in this respect? Am I misinterpreting something?

Capitalist state has to be dismantled because it’s the tool of oppression. Why would the ruling class relinquish it? Socialist state is supposed to be a transitory step on the way to communism where functions of the state apparatus are made more and more simplified through automation, everyone participates in it’s work at some point and it becomes habit. Something like that is in chapter 3.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t think too much about it. Lenin points out himself that Marx expected experience of revolutionaries to provide a clue as to what exactly will have to replace the dismantled capitalist state, let alone what the world revolution will look like. In fact, forget the “Marx expected” part. We have a method - diamat - and it postulates unity of cognition and practice.

Examples of early socialist experiments prove that:

a) local specifics are to be considered. There is a reason it’s called internationalism and not cosmopolitanism. You can’t come and tell muslims that they’re to forget all that hooplah and get in line, for example. Muhammad had a thing or two to say about running a state too and comrades in Islamic countries will have to work with that.

b) socialist sates will have to stick around for a while, because communism is planetary and imperialists won’t let those trying to build it be.

Then, I’d wager, a whole world of socialist states would have to keep up some of the state’s functions for a few generations to make sure no counter-revolutionary dickweed is going to fuck it all up.

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