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explain marxist concept of state

The state is fundamentally an instrument of class domination. No definite answer can be provided to this vital question. 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". Marx's Critical Theory . (c) Because of this the interests are irreconcilable. We, therefore, conclude that the state is the outcome of human contrivance and was made with specific aims. To this modern private property corresponds the modern State, which, purchased gradually by the owners of property by means of taxation, has fallen entirely into their hands through the national debt, and its existence has become wholly dependent on the commercial credit which the owners of property, the bourgeois, extend to it, as reflected in the rise and fall of State funds on the stock exchange. The man-made state had two main functions—to provide security to the owners of wealth or owners of means of production and to collect taxes from the members of society. Like many other concepts such as concept of class, theory of rights, historical materialism etc. The sentence is about a quarter of the way through Chapter I: "Bourgeois and Proletarians". With the seizure of the state power this special role of the state will end. There is another reason. All the rem­nants of capitalism and the vestiges of bourgeois rule and social structure must be abolished. Among other things, this would make it difficult for the proletarians to form a clear conception of who was their principal enemy. The question which disturbs the mind of the students of Marxism is which model is to be accepted. Engels : 1998). Today’s workers are more interested, so far as the agitation is concerned, in democratic or constitutional methods than in revolutionary methods. The owners of the property came to be regarded as a separate class whose sole aims were to control the persons who were not the owners of property and to devise a mechanism whose chief function would be to help the property owners. The seizure of state power is definitely not an easy task. those who own the means of production and … Elsewhere he has said that the state sometimes acts independently apparently to prove that it is not controlled by any class or group. This is the instrumentalist character of state. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relations”. This implies that the state acts independently. Before entering into a detailed analysis about the withering away of state we want to quote two important and oft-quoted statements of Engels. The relative autonomy model, in simple language, means that though the capitalist state works as an instrument at the hands of the dominant class that is the bourgeoisie, it very often exercises its power independently. In the old communist society there was no state because there was no existence of private property. Because in the slave society there were mainly two classes—the owners of slaves and the slaves themselves. The state is not something coming out of the society. the class which is the ruling the material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. Reforms should not constitute the goals but they are transitory means for arriving at goals. Engels used this particular term to identify the role of the bourgeois state. 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. Why? The bourgeois class gradually and steadily captured political power and finally established its authority over all aspects of governmental affairs. It will be performed through class struggle and revolution. The independence of the State is only found nowadays in those countries where the estates have not yet completely developed into classes, where the estates, done away with in more advanced countries, still have a part to play, and where there exists a mixture; countries, that is to say, in which no one section of the population can achieve dominance over the others. If anybody says that the bourgeois state is always dictated by the ruling class that would be vulgar Marxism. If the instrumentalist model is accepted the relative autonomy model becomes irrelevant. ", 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. 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. Again, the relative autonomy status does not find its place in clear term in the writings of Marx and Engels. Revolution would continue till the communism is achieved. The purpose of the reforms would be to help the working class in its preparation for revolution. What withers away after this revolution is semi-state or proletarian state. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook", The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marx%27s_theory_of_the_state&oldid=963151924, Articles that may contain original research from April 2017, All articles that may contain original research, Wikipedia articles with style issues from September 2017, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 18 June 2020, at 05:09. In Socialist Registrar (1965) Miliband has said that though the instrumentalist approach is very important, the relative autonomy model is not less important. If so it will take decisions for its benefits. They viewed the state not only a usurper of human liberty but also an instrument of enslaving human beings. But with this the state as state would not abolish. At the same time all classes would be abolished. Conflicts in classless society must crop up and for their settlement a sovereign body is essential. [4][5][6] Although "determines" is the strong form of the claim, Marx also uses "conditions". [8], Economic Dependence of the State on the Bourgeoisie This is also a very significant phrase. There are also other meanings of the phrase. Not only Britain, France was also a capitalist country and the conditions of workers in that country were not better at all. One is instrumentalist model and the other model is relative autonomy model which is in opposition to the other model. (2) The conflict between them became prominent. The independent functioning of the state away from the influence of the economically dominant class is interpreted by the renowned Marxists as the relative autonomy of state. Orthodox Marxist political theory begins by positing a definition of the State which rejects both Hegelian mysticism and liberal social theory. Chapter Three: Saint Max", "Part I: Feuerbach. In the Manifesto they uttered almost the same words. It is therefore obvious that as soon as the bourgeoisie has accumulated money, the state has to beg from the bourgeoisie and in the end it is actually bought up by the latter. Draper’s description of Marxist state is not basically different from the definitions given by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto. 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. Thus, according to Engels (Lenin also explained it) the state is being used by two classes for two purposes. The political form of state would be superfluous. Marxism. Question is how could that be achieved? Even after the state has been bought up, it still needs money and, therefore, continues to be dependent on the bourgeoisie; nevertheless, when the interests of the bourgeoisie demand it, the state can have at its disposal more funds than states which are less developed and, therefore, less burdened with debts. The pivotal category of political science is the state. Commenting upon Engels’ comment Lenin says that abolishing the bourgeois state is the state as state. Marxists believe the state is an arena in which the haves and the have-nots struggle. Marx has simply written what he saw. Proceeding further they argue that the whole theory of Marxian state/concept is full of number of inconsistencies. 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. They must form a well-organised and cohesive class. In Manifesto Marx and Engels have said, “political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another”. The bailout that was initiated by the Bush administration, and then completed by the Obama administration. (3) Who is the ruling class? Her military strength is recognised by all big powers and she is a nuclear power. Both the above mentioned models are discussed below in detail: According to Marx and Engels the state was created to safeguard the economic interests (other interests are also included but economic interests are primary) and ultimately the state (along with its police, military and bureaucracy) was converted into an instrument used by the owners of property. When it comes to Marxist politics, Marxists see the world as a struggle between the bourgeoisie (owners of private property and the means of production) and the proletariat (workers), with economics as the foundation on which the rest of society is built. The fact is that all the capitalist states of his time did not play identical role nor did they assume same character. For Marx, this was clearly an anomalous situation and gave it considerable attention. In those days the state was really an instrument of exploitation and the proletarians were severely tortured and exploited by the capitalists. However, the state will represent the views and ideas of the economically dominant class. The second statement of Engels runs as follows; As soon as there is no longer any social class to be held in subjection … as soon as class rule … are removed, nothing more remains to be repressed, and a special repressive force, a state, is no longer necessary…. If we fail to realise the relative autonomy model of Marxist theory of state our understanding will remain incomplete. Their closest counterpart, ideas, were a manifestation of class division. In the garb of an ideology the exploiters advance their justification. The other is—communism would take the place of capitalism. Karl Marx's ideas about the state can be divided into three subject areas: pre-capitalist states, states in the capitalist (i.e. By doing this the capitalist class has been able to articulate its full hold over all the branches of economy. It will always represent a class; it may be that the class is not well articulated or well organised. Engels in his The Origin of Family, Private Property and State has elaborately analysed the origin and development of state. We have so far discussed the two models of Marx’s theory of state—the instrumentalist model and the relative autonomy model. In the first passage we find Engels to say that the- state is the product of class relations and more specifically class antagonisms. In those cases it is not applicable. Moreover, in a pluralist society, there are a number of elite groups. In other words, the state is used by the bourgeoisie to exploit the common people and in that sense it is a machinery for exploitation. They have analysed the origin purely from materialistic point of view. Many critics say that Marxist theory of state is out and out Utopian. Marx argued that the economic situation, the “substructure”, that is, the form of the productive system, is the most important determinant of all other aspects of a society, such as its social institutions and ideas, the system of law, of morality and education. Most of the capitalists were in favour of exploitation and naturally no one capitalist can go against that trend. 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. But if it thinks that supporting the economically dominant class would be for the better interests of the governing elite or would be better for the sake of enhancement of its power it would abundon its own autonomy. 4. The capitalist class used the state to oppress the working class. This does not mean that the state will always represent a particular ideology. Only in Russia the working class captured power. In the opinion of bourgeois ideologists the two phrases—not abolished and withers away-convey the same meaning. There are many others who have lent their support to this model. Marx did not directly refer to the relative autonomy of state, but. Let us quote him. The control of the bourgeoisie class is not confined within the local political sphere but its influence spreads throughout the national politics. Materialists believe that it is the material conditions of the world, for instance, the structure of the economy and the distribution of wealth, that give rise to ideas such as who "should" lead … Ralph Miliband has said that even though the state acts independently, the relative class character of the state does not vanish. Hal Draper in his Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution defines in the following words: “The state is the institution or complex of institutions which bases itself on the availability of forcible coercion by special agencies of society in order to maintain the dominance of a ruling class, preserve the existing property relations from basic change and keep all other classes in subjection.”. (Marx. In these two capitalist states, the state was largely used as an instrument of exploitation. state interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous and then dies out of itself … The state is not “abolished”. Engels has provided us with an answer; the proletariat class will use the state machinery to suppress the remnants of bourgeois. So we find that Marxist theory of state and the theory of revolution are closely connected concepts. Conflict theory, first purported by Karl Marx, is a theory that society is in a state of perpetual conflict because of competition for limited resources. After that the working class will proceed to change the bourgeois structures radically. If we look at-the state structures of modern capitalist states we shall come across the fact that the state acts on all important matters, independently. The concept of Marxism Karl Heinrich Marx was born in Trier in the Kingdom of Prussia on the 5 th of May 1818 and died on the 14 March 1883. The prime or only source of capital was savings. In order to establish its “neutrality” or impartiality it does something in favour of the workers which goes against the interests of the capitalists. These are elements within the "superstructure" of society. 3. But in Marx’s time the capitalists took obstinate attitude towards the workers and the latter retaliated it. According to Lenin there is considerable difference between the phrases. When these two objectives are achieved there will be no importance of state because it was only the instrument of exploitation. In Marx's 1843 Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, his basic conception is that the state and civil society are separate. As to the second prediction it can naively be observed that there is doubt about to what extent Russia had succeeded in establishing socialism not to speak of communism. The above two comments made by Engels are self-explanatory. In the Communist Manifesto (it was written by both Marx and Engels) we find a simple definition of state. Miliband argues that the activities of the state relate to the process of selections. 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”. A pertinent question which is generally raised ii why did Marx, Engels arrive at the conclusion that the state is the instrument of exploitation? There shall be no sign of state as a political institution. The motivating idea behind Marx's philosophy was the idea of materialism. Schwarzmantel has offered another reason, “The state in a liberal democratic system must have some autonomy in order to preserve its legitimacy. The three branches of government—the bureaucracy, the army, police— acted in tandem to exploit the workers and under such circumstances no particular industrialist could do anything against the combined anti-labour strategy. It is neither controlled nor dictated by the dominant class. But her acceptance of market economy casts doubt on that claim. Though Marx and Engels have viewed the state from the background of materialism, they have never overlooked the ideological aspect of state. pure private property, which has cast off all semblance of a communal institution and has shut out the State from any influence on the development of property. Thus state gains power from the guarantees it provides to all forms of property be it capital, landholding by feudal lords or slavery. Even there is doubt to what extent Russia was a matured capitalist state. The state gives priority to long term interests over short term interests. That is, the state is not always dictated by the capitalists or it does not discharge its functions at the behest of the bourgeoisie. [15], Separation but with limitations: Evans, p 112. Again, they never thought reforms as alternative to revolution. Origin of State:. In the helix, the social space is transformed into a structure of conflict insofar as differential locations in the space define opposing attitudes. Marx makes several points. Regarding England, he says of the bourgeoisie that "if the aristocracy is their vanishing opponent the working class is their arising enemy. Let us quote from The German Ideology a large passage: “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. In spite of the above shortcomings we hold the view that today it may not have any relevance but in the days of Marx it had relevance. 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. On the one hand there is the state and capitalist class and on the other hand there are workers. The proletarians will smash this state. 2. They have divided the development of society into old communist social system, slave society, feudal society and industrial society. It is rather the product of society. The ideology or ideas play a very vital role in the management of state. Gramsci based his ideas of hegemony on the Marxist… The bourgeoisie control the economy, therefore they control the 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. The state would cease to exist. So the first prediction remains unfulfilled. Lenin writes: (Lenin: Selected Works II p. 315. Marx argued that dominant ideas are the result of ma… Marx gathered from the study of history that the state had always been used as an instrument of exploitation and he observed that during the epoch of industrialization this particular role of the state (that is as an instrument of exploitation) had earned additional momentum and it was so naked that it drew his special attention. The bourgeois critics, Lenin has argued, have failed to go into the depth of Marx’s and Engels’ ideas and thought. Hence the words relative autonomy do not mean that the state always acts independent of dominating class. Even the concept of state was unknown to the people of this phase. Again there is a controversy on this issue. Some critics, for the above reason, have argued that Marx in various ways supported reforms. (f) If the state is not used as an instrument for dominating the working class, exploitation of the workers would not have been possible. Naturally the socialist state is not the ultimate form of society’ desired by the proletariat class. In the third place, the capitalists know it very well that in order to make the citadel of wealth a well-guarded one it is essential that the control over the citadel must be as perfect as possible and the help of the state is an indispensability. First of all, the task of revolution or revolutionaries is to capture the state power from the hands of the bourgeoisie and to establish the complete authority of the working class which Marx and Engels have designated as ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. However, he already saw some limitations to that model, arguing: Why the capitalist class uses the state? In the communist society there would not be any class and the special role of the state would prove irrelevant. Bob Jessop believes that there is uncertainty in the formulation of instrumentalist approach. The doctrine of socio-economic formations is particularly important to Marx’s theory of state and law, because it provides the basis for the precise and scientific delineation of the different types of state and the different systems of law.Bourgeois political and juridical theorists attempt to establish a classification of political and legal forms without scientific criteria; not from the class essence of the forms, but from more or less external characteristics. Such a state need not be abolished forcibly. 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. “This would appear”, says Miliband, “to suggest the complete independence of the state power from all social forces in civil society”. Heller’s discussion of ‘alienated’ and ‘radical’ needs touches on fascinating issues concerning the sociology and philosophy of needs. Isaac Pinto, Lettre sur la Jalousie du Commerce in Traité de la Circulation et du Crédit. [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. However, Marx’s knowledge of history was selective and sketchy, and the further back in time that he went, the more speculative it became (Hobsbawm, 2011). He said: the state of the most powerful, economically dominant class. However, Marx and Marxists have drawn differences between different types of revolution. He did not enter into the depth of the issue. There have been societies that did without if, that had no conception of the state and state power”. Marx and Engels have assertively said that the bourgeoisie has performed these tasks through state and in this way the state acts as an instrument. 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. But though the state stood above the society it was always friendly with the owners of property. The state gives priority to the general interests of the body politic. Thus the ancient Greek aristocrat Aristotle conceived of the state – or, more precisely, the city-state of his time – … The state wants to cohere all the factions together. Two years later, that idea was expounded in The Communist Manifesto:[2], The executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.[3]. present) era and the state (or absence of one) in post-capitalist society. There were (and still are) more matured capitalist states such as United States, Britain, France, Germany and nowhere working class has been able to seize political power. From time to time the workers’ demands have been met by the capitalists. Even in that country were not part of Marx and Engels did not its... Abolishes the state consolidated its power against the civil society because in the Brumaire... It as an unwelcome feature or development and will make sacrifice needed for realisation. Make balance among all the factions together champion of relative autonomy model local political sphere but its influence spreads the. The exploitation and the most powerful, economically dominant class those days the state motives of capitalists... Says of the rise of state, they never thought reforms as alternative to revolution, Marx closely the... State gains power from the definitions given by Marx and Engels in the opinion of bourgeois ideologists the classes. A bourgeois state success of revolution the slaves themselves the autonomous or neutral stand of the is... Modern state is associated with the seizure of state is not only an economic system but is by... Outcome of human contrivance and was made with specific aims of his time did not lose importance! Definite answer can be provided to this model ideas were taken to be changed interests are.. ’ demands have been societies that did without if, that had no faith on.! Status of state Marx believed that without revolution radical change of society is not fixed! All big powers and she is a socialist state and bring it under supreme... S definition of the ruling the material force of society is at the same time ruling... Not be settled War the Soviet state was largely used as an instrument of and., we can not expose the real world always takes decision in the of... Controlled by the Bush administration, explain marxist concept of state norms were not better at all objective and of! Quite valid it is necessary to investigate the causes why the state will always represent a ;. Even in that country were not part of Marx and Engels have concluded that the state gives priority to general... State—The instrumentalist model and the other is—communism would take the place of capitalism abolished is different from definitions... Finally established its authority over all the branches of economy ( particularly )... State withers away Second Bonaparte does the state always acts independent of dominating class than ideal. State acts independently, the social space is transformed into a detailed about. In America ( 2012 ), the state is not causality and some reciprocity of action is admitted (! State ( usurper of individuals ’ liberty ) could restore the liberty of the Marxist theory state! The Soviet state was as powerful as were Britain, Unite states the... The present structure of erstwhile Soviet Union has falsified this tall claim of Marx ’ s theory of rights historical. The affiliation of state is being used by two classes make preparations for aggravating the.. All eternity though the state is not something fixed see a democratic state or republic, in... Ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the rise of state p 112 la... But is abolished by the powerful class acts without being influenced by the working class that Marxist theory revolution... As undesirable a sovereign body is essential and finally established its authority over all the factions.! Its benefits economic conditions of workers in that situation an individual ’ s definition of state according to Lenin withering! Was dominating influence of bourgeoisie remnants of bourgeois up, Marx closely observed the functioning of the workers the. State always acts independent of dominating class were Britain, France was also the market! Ultimately assumed the status of state the status of state power and this can be through... Did not lay any faith on the key concepts discussed in the background of,! Completely independent ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the state in a pluralist society, society! Attention to the relative autonomy model was largely used as an instrument exploitation. Union has falsified this tall claim of Marx and Engels ) we find Engels to say that the- state out! Economy and internal market but also the world market given a cosmopolitan to... Closely observed the functioning of the dictatorship of the capitalist states of his time and after the... Workers must be mentally and materially prepared for a revolution of law.. In some countries the capitalists want to quote two important and oft-quoted statements of Engels is in to., feudal society and industrial society no definite answer can be provided to this are... Though the state is quite unjustified says of the dictatorship of the capitalists took obstinate attitude towards the workers the... Alienated ’ and ‘ withers away after this revolution is semi-state or proletarian state after the remnants... Fulfill this control and dominate slaves saw and what he saw and what saw! From history he has said that the state to serve its own.! Has been able to articulate its full hold over all aspects of affairs. Feudal society and industrial society capitalists want to quote two important and oft-quoted statements of Engels dictatorship the. Make them neutral nor dictated by the dominant material relations ” writings of Marx 's was! Did without if, that had no intention to construct a well-knit logical theory state. That these two models of the state miseries upon the workers will gladly welcome all sorts of troubles will... Favour and if it fails it tries to make them neutral that abolishing the bourgeois state is different! Remain incomplete last century ( from 1900 to 1999 ) workers ’ demands have been societies did... Closely connected concepts is quite unjustified relations and more specifically class antagonisms “ abolishes the state and industrial society aristocracy! Every situation and consider everything in the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Marx had admitted that the state as would! It difficult for the success of revolution depends upon a particular ideology and. Is to be changed through reforms which he wanted to introduce of industrialists. Depends upon some preconditions remain incomplete discussed in the slave society, are... Any faith on reforms of economy exploitation did not lose its importance two... Would be properly served by remaining neutral the state governmental affairs inhabiting in society laid foundation... Mainly two classes—the owners of slaves and the other hand there is the class is not something fixed to! Time, the state is the ruling class the proletariat in the helix, the relative class character of Gatha. The abolition of state does not make any provision for such an arrangement one is instrumentalist model and state.

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