explain marxist concept of state

Though Marx and Engels have viewed the state from the background of materialism, they have never overlooked the ideological aspect of state. But this is a rare situation. In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Marx made certain comments which have given rise to this controversial and much talked concept. However, the state will represent the views and ideas of the economically dominant class. It will always represent a class; it may be that the class is not well articulated or well organised. The ruling class adopts the methods of political socialisation. [15], Separation but with limitations: Evans, p 112. Schwarzmantel has offered another reason, “The state in a liberal democratic system must have some autonomy in order to preserve its legitimacy. The word relative denotes that sometimes it acts without being influenced by the powerful class. The fact is that all the capitalist states of his time did not play identical role nor did they assume same character. But the exploiting class cannot expose the real character. The present structure of the state is to be changed through reforms. By 1851, the mid-century rebellions had all given way to conservatism and the principal countries of Europe had autocratic or aristocratic governments, namely Napoleon III in France, Frederick Wilhelm IV in Germany and in England a parliament populated mainly by members of the aristocratic class, whether Whig or Conservative. How the system of private property helped the creation of state? The conflict between these two models cannot be denied. The purpose of the ruling class is always to exploit the workers and other vulnerable sections of society. The sentence is about a quarter of the way through Chapter I: "Bourgeois and Proletarians". Today’s workers are more interested, so far as the agitation is concerned, in democratic or constitutional methods than in revolutionary methods. From this special role of the state the Marxists have deduced a particular model of Marxist theory of state which is called the instrumentalist model. Lenin in his The State and Revolution (written in August-September 1917 and published in 1918) has explained the unexplained aspects of Marx’s and Engels’ concept of state and many Marxists hold the view that without Lenin’s The State and Revolution Marxist theory of state would create lot of confusion. Whether Marx supported reforms is not clear from his vast literature. 1. In other words, the ruling class converts the people in its favour and if it fails it tries to make them neutral. But though the state stood above the society it was always friendly with the owners of property. We have already said that without the help from the state it would be impossible for the bourgeoisie to keep its citadel of wealth intact. Marx's Conflict Theory Conflict theory originated in the work of Karl Marx, who focused on the causes and consequences of class conflict between the bourgeoisie (the owners of the means of production and the capitalists) and the proletariat (the working class and the poor). Even the concept of state was unknown to the people of this phase. [1], He as yet was saying nothing about the abolition of private property, does not express a developed theory of class, and "the solution [he offers] to the problem of the state/civil society separation is a purely political solution, namely universal suffrage." The workers are united no doubt, but the capitalists are more united and would fight tooth and nail to resist all attempts of working class to capture state power. (e) The capitalist class uses the state machinery (particularly the police and army) to control the revolt fuelled by the working class. The state is not something coming out of the society. All these led to a situation which necessitated a state structure. In Marx's 1843 Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, his basic conception is that the state and civil society are separate. The proletarians would capture state power and would bring everything of the capitalist state under its supreme authority is nothing but a Utopian thought. Both the workers and capitalists have decided to eschew the path of conflict and both sides feel that all the disputes can amicably settled. The chief spokespersons of this model are Ralph Miliband, Sanderson, and Avineri. Marxism believes that capitalism is not only an economic system but is also a political system. Besides revolution there is another way and it is reform. Before entering into a detailed analysis about the withering away of state we want to quote two important and oft-quoted statements of Engels. That is the dominant class is to be thrown from power and this can be done through revolution. The working class today does not think of capturing state power for the fulfillment of the legitimate demands. In this way conflict multiplied. The classless society will not be inhabited by gods. Elsewhere he has said that the state sometimes acts independently apparently to prove that it is not controlled by any class or group. Regarding England, he says of the bourgeoisie that "if the aristocracy is their vanishing opponent the working class is their arising enemy. But bureaucracy, judiciary and legislature act in accordance with certain fixed principles laid down in the constitution of law book. (3) Who is the ruling class? Engels : 1998). Focusing on the transition from pre-capitalist to capitalist economies and their effects on society, he developed a theory of social order centered on the economic structure of society and the social relations involved in the production of goods. Collecting materials from history Marx has shown that without using the state as an instrument the bourgeoisie could not survive at all because its survival depended upon its ability to accumulate and guard wealth. It is rather the product of society. To avoid this danger the ruling class uses idea, Schwarzmantel observes: “Even in a situation when the old order is about to be overthrown, the defence of interest and privilege is conducted under the banner of ideas”. In other words, the chief aim of the bourgeoisie is to control all the branches of government, the economy with all its ramifications and finally the world market. Orthodox Marxist political theory begins by positing a definition of the State which rejects both Hegelian mysticism and liberal social theory. (2) The conflict between them became prominent. According to Lenin there is considerable difference between the phrases. Question is how could that be achieved? But a major part of his theory of state stands on the concept that working class through class struggle and revolution would seize state power. Marxism seeks to explain social phenomena within any given society by analyzing the material conditions and economic activities required to fulfill human material needs. In Socialist Registrar (1965) Miliband has said that though the instrumentalist approach is very important, the relative autonomy model is not less important. When these two objectives are achieved there will be no importance of state because it was only the instrument of exploitation. So we find that Marxist theory of state and the theory of revolution are closely connected concepts. But its existence cannot be ruled out. The bourgeois class gradually and steadily captured political power and finally established its authority over all aspects of governmental affairs. The state gives priority to the general interests of the body politic. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, consequently also controls the means of mental production so that the ideas of those who lacks the means of mental production are on the whole subject to it. Marx makes several points. Jessop further says that state is a simple and ordinary organisation and to impose instrumentalism upon it is quite unjustified. There are many others who have lent their support to this model. The Eighteenth Brumaire was written by Marx between December 1851 and March 1852 and during those days he observed the two opposite roles of state—as an instrument of exploitation, as an impartial organ of administration. The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci developed the key concept of cultural hegemony during his imprisonment by the Italian state under Mussolini’s fascist rule. Marx ad Engels viewed the entire episode from the standpoint of exploitation inflicting untold miseries upon the workers and the capitalists overlooked it. We have so far discussed the two models of Marx’s theory of state—the instrumentalist model and the relative autonomy model. Bob Jessop believes that there is uncertainty in the formulation of instrumentalist approach. Which are as follows, workers are alienated from, product, labor process, fellow workers and themselves.For example, let us compare a clock maker who is specialized in making beautiful clocks, with a man who works in a pin factory, whose work is boring and repetitive who performs all day and … But due to the stiff opposition of other industrialists he could not succeed. The modern French, English and American writers all express the opinion that the State exists only for the sake of private property, so that this fact has penetrated into the consciousness of the normal man. (4) The ruling class through various means indoctrinates the common people. are placed before the state, and it selects some of them. Because in the slave society there were mainly two classes—the owners of slaves and the slaves themselves. 4. The ruling class always uses the ideology to masquerade its real objective to exploit other classes. Their closest counterpart, ideas, were a manifestation of class division. In the helix, the social space is transformed into a structure of conflict insofar as differential locations in the space define opposing attitudes. the class which is the ruling the material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. Lenin writes: (Lenin: Selected Works II p. 315. We have already stated that the state must always represent a class or group or faction. They have analysed the origin purely from materialistic point of view. (c) Because of this the interests are irreconcilable. But what role the state will assume depends upon a particular situation. 3. Elsewhere (Marxism and Politics) Miliband has said that there is powerful reason for rejecting this, particular formulation as misleading…… While the state does act on behalf of the ruling class, it does not for most part act at its behest. [13], Marx also suggests that it would be better for the bourgeoisie not to wield power directly because this would make their dominance too obvious, creating a clear target for proletarian attack. In the case of the nations which grew out of the Middle Ages, tribal property evolved through various stages — feudal landed property, corporative moveable property, capital invested in manufacture — to modern capital, determined by big industry and universal competition, i.e. The theory of state stated and elaborated by Marx and Engels is not free from shortcomings. The gigantic state structure of erstwhile Soviet Union has falsified this tall claim of Marx and Engels. The workers will gladly welcome all sorts of troubles and will make sacrifice needed for the success of revolution. Marxism justifies and predicts the emergence of a stateless and classless society without private property. Chapter Three: Saint Max", "Part I: Feuerbach. Even there is doubt to what extent Russia was a matured capitalist state. What withers away after this revolution is semi-state or proletarian state. It is unfortunate that Marx has overlooked this. In these two capitalist states, the state was largely used as an instrument of exploitation. The capitalists were determined to augment the quantum of savings/profit at any cost. It dies out”. Evans, p 126: "for Marx the failure of the bourgeoisie to act as a ruling class, to give their economic power political substance, was one of the major features of the post-1848 situation, as true of England and France as of Germany. (1) As soon as there was private property, two classes of men there appeared—one was the owner of property and the other was without property. Marx had stressed that the state did not exist is mid-air or in vacuum. The state consolidated its power against the civil society because in the latter there was dominating influence of bourgeoisie and other factions of capitalists. 5. The state gives priority to long term interests over short term interests. Marx and Engels have repeatedly said that the emancipation of the working class is never possible without the seizure of state power and this can be done through protracted class struggle leading to revolution. We, therefore, conclude that the state is the outcome of human contrivance and was made with specific aims. Even they did not stop here. Even when a state acts independently the weakness or affiliation of the state for a particular class or to any dominating group cannot be denied. Interpreters of Marx’s thought are of opinion that Marx believed that without revolution radical change of society is not possible. It is now clear that according Marx and Engels the origin of the state has nothing to do with the social contract or the divine right theory. ", Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, "The German Ideology: Chapter 1 - On Feuerbach", "Economic Manuscripts: Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy", "The German Ideology. This is not correct. (Marx calls socialism as the first stage of communism. Though the orthodox Marxists try to interpret the withering away of state with the help of jugglery of words and want to establish that Marxist conception is correct, it remains that, it is no longer a valid concept. Some critics, for the above reason, have argued that Marx in various ways supported reforms. Communist Party of China claims that China is a socialist state. Moreover, in a pluralist society, there are a number of elite groups. Naturally the socialist state is not the ultimate form of society’ desired by the proletariat class. If anybody says that the bourgeois state is always dictated by the ruling class that would be vulgar Marxism. In the Manifesto they uttered almost the same words. The structural Marxist concept of the state’s role and functions has implications for leftist strategy. In The German Ideology they have said: “For each new class which puts itself in the place of one ruling before it is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aim, to present its interest as the common interest of all the members of society”. Reforms should not constitute the goals but they are transitory means for arriving at goals. Marxism is a social, political, and economic philosophy named after Karl Marx, which examines the effect of capitalism on labor, productivity, and economic development and argues for a … The Marxists have discovered two models of the Marxist theory of state. Marx and Engels predicted (and confidently) that the proletariat class through protracted class struggle and permanent revolution would succeed in capturing capitalist state and establish its overall supremacy which would finally lead to the creation of a communist society. Thus the ancient Greek aristocrat Aristotle conceived of the state – or, more precisely, the city-state of his time – … The critics further maintain that it is true that the state sometimes arts as an instrument to favour the bourgeoisie but not all times and on all events. Regarding France, he suggests that the bourgeoisie recognized that they had been better off under the monarchy (1830–1848) than during the brief period when they wielded power themselves (1848–1851) "since they must now confront the subjugated classes and contend against them without mediation, without the concealment afforded by the crown". In many of their writings Marx and Engels have elaborated the instrumentalist idea of state but analysts of Marxism are of opinion that in the Communist Manifesto (full name is Manifest of the Communist Party) and The German Ideology the concept has prominence. Marx and Engels have paid special attention to the importance of ideology. Jessop has further observed that at different times Marx and Engels have emphasised other roles, but their followers have singled out this particular role and have over-emphasised it. Marxism sees the State neither as "the image and reality of Reason" nor as the coercive instrument necessary to insure the … Engels wrote a book— The Conditions of Working Class in England—in which he gave us a vivid pen picture of the pathetic conditions of workers in England and in that book he said how the capitalists used the state to exploit the workers. Finally, Miliband (Marxism and Politics) is of opinion that certain structural constraints have forced the capitalists to use the state as instrument. Miliband concludes that whatever the state does, its class character is never lost. According to Engels, The modern state, no matter what its form, is es… That is, the state is not always dictated by the capitalists or it does not discharge its functions at the behest of the bourgeoisie. The most perfect example of the modern State is North America. Ralph Miliband has said that even though the state acts independently, the relative class character of the state does not vanish. 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