The different groups/factions of the ruling class are very powerful and active and of the interests of some groups are neglected that group will raise hue and cry and disturb the smooth functioning of the political system. Marx ad Engels viewed the entire episode from the standpoint of exploitation inflicting untold miseries upon the workers and the capitalists overlooked it. 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. Thus, Marxists see a democratic state or republic, especially in a capitalist economic system, as undesirable. To sum up, Marx closely observed the functioning of the capitalist states of his time and after that he drew certain conclusions. In other words, revolution is the only solution to all the problems that are found in a bourgeois state. Bourgeois state implies the police, military, bureaucracy, and other organs/branches of bourgeois state. The Marxists have discovered two models of the Marxist theory of state. He was a philoso-pher and economist who is most famous for the creation, together with Friedrich Engels, of the thought of Marxism and for the improvement of the idea of class struggle. Engels has further observed that though the state is the product of society, slowly but steadily it became the owner of enormous power and it stood above society. Besides revolution there is another way and it is reform. Marx and Engels predicted that state would wither away. The ideology or ideas play a very vital role in the management of state. The quote is from the. Second Bonaparte took this drastic step not for the general betterment of civil society but for his own sake, to satisfy his own desire for more power. Engels : 1998). However, a problem about academic analysis of Marxist theory of state is that no where Marx has methodically analysed the theory. 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. As against civil society, the state machine its position thoroughly that the chief of the society of December 10 suffices for its head”. 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. In other words, the ruling class converts the people in its favour and if it fails it tries to make them neutral. The state is not something coming out of the society. In Socialist Registrar (1965) Miliband has said that though the instrumentalist approach is very important, the relative autonomy model is not less important. One such reason, generally advanced, is that in a pluralist society there are different groups and factions of the ruling class and they are sometimes involved in conflict. The Marxist Theory of the State. The other is—communism would take the place of capitalism. The seizure of state power is definitely not an easy task. The capitalists were determined to augment the quantum of savings/profit at any cost. (c) Because of this the interests are irreconcilable. Marxism sees the State neither as "the image and reality of Reason" nor as the coercive instrument necessary to insure the … Ralph Miliband has said that even though the state acts independently, the relative class character of the state does not vanish. 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. The issue is the class character of the state is to be changed. 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. For Marx, this was clearly an anomalous situation and gave it considerable attention. The theory of state stated and elaborated by Marx and Engels is not free from shortcomings. 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. 3. The phrase state as state means the bourgeois state. We, therefore, conclude that the state is the outcome of human contrivance and was made with specific aims. But “only under the Second Bonaparte does the state seem to have made itself completely independent. The working class today does not think of capturing state power for the fulfillment of the legitimate demands. 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. In the days when Marx wrote his books there were not enough financial institutions, as they are today, to provide capital. The mentality of the workers and that of the capitalists have undergone sea changes during the last century (from 1900 to 1999). Even the concept of state was unknown to the people of this phase. The purpose of the reforms would be to help the working class in its preparation for revolution. The state would cease to exist. The capitalists used the state as an instrument of exploiting the proletarians, and the latter would use revolution along with class struggle as an instrument of emancipation. , Separation but with limitations: Evans, p 112. Marx has, however, said that when the two dominant groups or classes are in perfect balance, in that situation the state might act independently. Originally embarked upon to explain how the European transition from feudalism to capitalism occurred, it gradually transmuted into a metahistory of humankind (Hampsher-Monk, 1992). 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. 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. All the remnants of capitalism and the vestiges of bourgeois rule and social structure must be abolished. In the helix, the social space is transformed into a structure of conflict insofar as differential locations in the space define opposing attitudes. Marx did not say these words in clear and unequivocal language. Even "determination" is not causality and some reciprocity of action is admitted. Explain the Marxist concept of the state Ask for details ; Follow Report by Snolemukhiya 20.12.2019 Log in to add a comment This represents the high point of conformance of the state theory to an economic interpretation of history in which the forces of production determine peoples' production relations and their production relations determine all other relations, including the political. 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. These are elements within the "superstructure" of society. But the success of revolution depends upon some preconditions. We shall first deal with the definition of state. There have been societies that did without if, that had no conception of the state and state power”. However, the state will represent the views and ideas of the economically dominant class. This does not mean that the state will always represent a particular ideology. The state is fundamentally an instrument of class domination. 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. By the mere fact that it is a class and no longer an estate, the bourgeoisie is forced to organise itself no longer locally, but nationally, and to give a general form to its mean average interest. According to Engels the bourgeois class does not wither away but is abolished by the proletariat in the course of revolution. But with this the state as state would not abolish. The state gives priority to the general interests of the body politic. 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. In the Communist Manifesto (it was written by both Marx and Engels) we find a simple definition of state. The concepts of culture, of subjective meanings, values, and norms were not part of Marx's intellectual world. This is not correct. The ruling class always uses the ideology to masquerade its real objective to exploit other classes. are placed before the state, and it selects some of them. He did not enter into the depth of the issue. Moreover, in a pluralist society, there are a number of elite groups. 6. Engels has made a distinction between ‘abolished’ and ‘withers away’. Marxism. The exploiters cannot openly declare their real motive or cannot say what they are doing. Even in that situation an individual’s lust for power works. The state wants to cohere all the factions together. It is the interpretation of their followers. If the nefarious motives of the ruling class come out that may cause embarrassment or displacement of the class rule. So the state tries to make balance among all the potential forces. 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”. The political thought of the various social classes and groupings throughout civilization is above all characterized by their attitude toward the state and their definition of its essential nature. The classless society will not be inhabited by gods. In those days the state was really an instrument of exploitation and the proletarians were severely tortured and exploited by the capitalists. If the state was seen to be too closely bound up with and dominated by one set of interests it would not be able to maintain the belief that it represents the general interests”. Naturally the socialist state is not the ultimate form of society’ desired by the proletariat class. It was also the question of survival and death. The instrumentalist approach to politics emphasised by Marx and Engels also occupies an important place in The German Ideology (1846). Let us quote him. 5. Proceeding further they argue that the whole theory of Marxian state/concept is full of number of inconsistencies. Marx and Engels have further observed that if there were no classes which means no private property there would not arise the necessity of any state system at all. The system of private property worked as a potential cause of the rise of state. The Communist Manifesto was a short polemical work, but more detail on the theories concerned can be obtained by going back to The German Ideology, where Marx wrote:, The Relation of State and Law to Property Finally, the state would wither away. The “first socialist state” in the world collapsed in 1991. We have already stated that the state must always represent a class or group or faction. Naturally revolution is not an easy thing. However, even the least developed states of Europe, those of the Holy Alliance, are inexorably approaching this fate, for they will be bought up by the bourgeoisie; then Stirner will be able to console them with the identity of private and state property, especially his own sovereign, who is trying in vain to postpone the hour when political power will be sold to the "burghers" who have become "angry". Marx's Critical Theory . 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. They viewed the state not only a usurper of human liberty but also an instrument of enslaving human beings. The conflict between these two models cannot be denied. Marx and Engels came to know this from the study of history). According to Lenin the withering away of state is quite different from abolition of state. In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Marx had admitted that the autonomy or the affiliation of state is not something fixed. In this theory, the state is an instrument of class rule. It is generally observed that neither Marx nor Engels has stated clearly this concept. 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. Why the capitalist class uses the state? Hence the words relative autonomy do not mean that the state always acts independent of dominating class. The core idea of this model is the state is used as an instrument for the fulfillment of interests of a particular class or section of society. There is another reason. The bourgeois ideologists have picked up the two phrases—the state is not abolished and the state withers away—for their wishful interpretations of Marxist theory of state. The structural Marxist concept of the state’s role and functions has implications for leftist strategy. 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. The state is associated with the appearance of classes and class relations. A state of the real world always takes decision in the background of circumstances which revolved around it. China is another socialist state and today it is a big power. Gramsci based his ideas of hegemony on the Marxist… (2) This ideology is backed or fostered by the ruling class. The workers will gladly welcome all sorts of troubles and will make sacrifice needed for the success of revolution. There shall be no sign of state as a political institution. Engels also speaks of another phrase. Not only capitalism has changed, change has taken place in all spheres of society. When the proletarians seized political power and did away the class structure and after that established a class-less society which is also called communism the utility of state as an instrument of class rule and exploitation ended. The control of the bourgeoisie class is not confined within the local political sphere but its influence spreads throughout the national politics. 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. Even they did not stop here. On the one hand there is the state and capitalist class and on the other hand there are workers. It sits (along with the capitalists) at a bargaining table and settles all the disputes. In this way ideology or ideas act as an instrument or masquerade. In Manifesto Marx and Engels have said, “political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another”. Sometimes these are involved in conflict and the state authority proceeds cautiously and judiciously. They have said that the state is the “Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another”. Orthodox Marxist political theory begins by positing a definition of the State which rejects both Hegelian mysticism and liberal social theory. Conflicts in classless society must crop up and for their settlement a sovereign body is essential. , Economic Dependence of the State on the Bourgeoisie By doing this the capitalist class has been able to articulate its full hold over all the branches of economy. But this is a rare situation. 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. Critics have raised several objections against Marx’s instrumentalist interpretation of bourgeois state. There is a controversy about the instrumentalist approach and the relative autonomy approach. The bourgeois critics, Lenin has argued, have failed to go into the depth of Marx’s and Engels’ ideas and thought. Miliband argues that the activities of the state relate to the process of selections. Regarding England, he says of the bourgeoisie that "if the aristocracy is their vanishing opponent the working class is their arising enemy. In this passage Marx and Engels have stressed several points, some of which are: (1) A bourgeois state has always some ideology. The mere fact is that though the state acts as an instrument, in numerous cases it tries to maintain its autonomous character and it does so to enhance its image. 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. This compelled Marx to think of abolishing the capitalist state and bring it under the supreme authority of the working class. Marxian Theory of State: Intro, Definition, Classes and Evaluation Introduction to Marxian Theory of State:. Among other things, this would make it difficult for the proletarians to form a clear conception of who was their principal enemy. (2) The conflict between them became prominent. the class which is the ruling the material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. 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. The book analyzes Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's major writings on politics and the state in order to determine whether they contained any consistent and coherent theory of the state … That vaguely socialist society, however, would be preceded by the violent seizure of the state and the means of production by the proletariat, who would rule in an interim dictatorship . This implies that the state acts independently. This economically powerful and dominant class uses the state to serve its own purposes. Marxist theory of state, besides liberal state, is perhaps the most prominent theory. The owners of private property felt insecurity as to its protection and they felt the necessity of a super power which could provide protection ultimately. They have analysed the origin purely from materialistic point of view. Finally, Miliband (Marxism and Politics) is of opinion that certain structural constraints have forced the capitalists to use the state as instrument. At the same time there developed an animosity between these two classes and again this antagonism could not be settled. The state must study every situation and consider everything in the background of long term interests and smooth management of general administration. 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. If it considers that these two purposes would be properly served by remaining neutral the state authority would do that. Though Marx and Engels have viewed the state from the background of materialism, they have never overlooked the ideological aspect of state. Though they are not quite clear about it, we can frame certain reasons. Socialism, social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. In order to establish its “neutrality” or impartiality it does something in favour of the workers which goes against the interests of the capitalists. 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. Revolution would continue till the communism is achieved. Communist Party of China claims that China is a socialist state. Before entering into a detailed analysis about the withering away of state we want to quote two important and oft-quoted statements of Engels. 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". those who own the means of production and … Thus state gains power from the guarantees it provides to all forms of property be it capital, landholding by feudal lords or slavery. The proletarians would capture state power and would bring everything of the capitalist state under its supreme authority is nothing but a Utopian thought. The ruling class adopts the methods of political socialisation. “This would appear”, says Miliband, “to suggest the complete independence of the state power from all social forces in civil society”. 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.”. 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. They have said “By the mere fact that it is a class and no longer an estate the bourgeoisie is forced to organise itself no longer locally, but nationally and to give a general form to its average interests”. 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 … Different schemes, policies, programmes etc. 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. No definite answer can be provided to this vital question. Even Lenin accepted this model in his highly eulogised famous work State and Revolution. (3) Who is the ruling class? The recent studies of Marxism have revealed that Marx and Engels did not deny the impartial role of state and this is evident in many writings. Concerned with conflict rather than stability. Engels has provided us with an answer; the proletariat class will use the state machinery to suppress the remnants of bourgeois. Lenin writes: (Lenin: Selected Works II p. 315. , By the early 1850s, political events in Europe, which he covered in articles for the New-York Daily Tribune as well as a number of more substantial pieces, were forcing Marx to modify his theory to allow considerably more autonomy for the state. After the revolution remnants of the bourgeois state would exist in the socialist state. Marx’s Theory of the State 1. To put it in other words, the state machinery will be used as a machinery to combat the counter-revolutionary forces and will destroy all other systems and institutions which are anthemic to the interests of the proletarians. Whether Marx supported reforms is not clear from his vast literature. 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 most perfect example of the modern State is North America. 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”. Marx has simply written what he saw. This aim could not be achieved without the autonomous or neutral stand of the state. (Marx. The capitalist class is quite conscious of the fact that if it fails to convince the general mass of the so called benefits of the bourgeois rule agitation is bound to arise. German philosopher Karl Marx took a different view of social order. 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. They have viewed the origin from a materialistic’ standpoint which emphasises that though the state is the creation of man, behind this there is no emotion, idea but the influence of material conditions which they termed as economic conditions. In the communist society there would not be any class and the special role of the state would prove irrelevant. That must be nipped in the bud. Marx makes several points. Why? Heller’s discussion of ‘alienated’ and ‘radical’ needs touches on fascinating issues concerning the sociology and philosophy of needs. There are two predictions one is the bourgeois state would, one day, be seized by the working class. Marx, Engels and their followers (particularly Lenin) had no faith on the social contract theory as the origin of state. This takes place in a period in which the bourgeoisie is still confronted by another class, and consequently the state can retain some appearance of independence in relation to both of them. In the garb of an ideology the exploiters advance their justification. 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