Marxist State theory can provide a powerful critical and analytical in the interpretation and interrogation of actually existing capitalism. Our analysis proceeds in three steps.
In the first section, we consider why it is that Marxist requires a theory of state and how Marxist have conceptualized this focus of their attention. We work of the founding fathers, its formulation by Lenin and Gramsci and the revival of interest in Marxist state theory in the post war period. Finally we consider current development in the Marxist theory of the state.
What is a state?
Marxist may well rely implicitly upon certain conception and understanding of the state but it is some what difficult to identify any analytically precise Marxist definition as an object of inquiry. Marxist conception of state can be crystallized into a four important formulation. Mentioned the four,
1. State is the repressive arm of the bourgeoisie:-
According to Martin Carnay “it is the notion of the (capitalist) as the repressive apparatus of the bourgeoisie that is the distinctly Marxist characteristics of the state” -this some what one dimensional conception of state power is most closely associated with Lenin’s “the State and Revolution”1917 (1968). The state comes in to existence in so far as the institution needed to carry out the common functions of society require for their continued maintenance. The separation of the power of forcible coercion from the general body of society.
2. State as the instrument of the ruling class:-
“ The instrumentalist” position provides perhaps the most prevalent conception of state within Marxist theory. It implies that the state is a n instrument in the hands of the ruling class for enforcing and guaranteeing the stability of the class structure itself.(Paul Sweezy)
The class mediation theory: Various class finds that an institution for mediating their conflicting interests logical state is that institution.
The class domination theory: Class – structure –class are the product of historical development and sees that state as an instrument in the hands of the ruling classes for enforcing and guaranteeing the stability of the class structure itself.
The functioning of the state is understood in terms of the instrumental exercise of power by people in strategic positions, either directly through the manipulation of state policies or indirectly through the exercise of pressure of the state.
3. The state as an ideal collective capitalist:-
The conception of the state as an ideal collective capitalist has its origins in Engel’s frequently cited remark in Anti-Duhring , “that the modern state ,no matter what its form,is essentially a capitalist machine ,the state of the capitalist , the ideal personification of the total national capital”
4. The state as a factor of cohesion within the social formation:-
Though most clearly associated with the work of Poulantzas, the notion of the state as a factor of cohesion can be traced to another incidental and under developed comment by Engels in the “the origin of the family . private property and the state”. The state is defined in terms of its role in maintaining the unity and cohesion of a social formation by concentrating and sanctioning class domination.
Above discussion demonstrates that the state has meant many things to many Marxist. According to Marxism there is no institution which is nearly as important as the state.
State must necessarily intervene in the capitalist economy to secure conditions continue to continuing capitalist accumulation ,there by performing what he calls a general maintenance function . this comprises,
a) The provision of general infrastructure the material the conclusions that are necessary to all business activities but ,that can’t be produced directly by individual private business
b) The capacity to depend militarily a national economic space regulated by the state and to preserve an administrative boundary within which the state is sovereign.
c) The provision of legal system that establishes and enforces the right to possession of private property and,
d) The intervention of the state to regulate and or ameliorate class struggle and the ievitable conflict between capital and labour .such interventions establish what Purgen Habermar terms the “logic of crisis displacement”. Buy this he means that fundamental crisis originating with in the economy (and which previously would have runs the death –knell of capitalism itself )now become the responsibility of the state as the supreme regulator of the economy. Crisis are this displaced from the economy to the state.
For a Marxist theory of state is playing a crucial role in safeguarding the circuit of capital. If we want to understand the operation of the capitalist mode of production we can’t afford to dispense with a theory of the state. If we wish to develop insights in to the ‘normal’ functioning of the capitalist mode of production, and in to the transformation of capitalism in and through moments of crisis , we require a dynamic theory of the capitalist state.
The Genealogy of the State in Marxist Theory:
In 1977,the first systematic and comprehensive review of Marxist theories of the state, Bob Jesop noted that it was a ‘truism’ that Marx and Engels developed no constant, simple or unified theory of the state. By 1982 (in his book The Capital State),this truism had become a common ‘place’
The critique of Hegel’s ‘Doctrine of the State’ contains Marx’s first extended inflections on the state. All though Marx accepts Hegel’s distinction between state and civil society, state power is thoroughly implicated in the protection of property rights, the state actually functions to reproduce “the war of each against all” in civil society. The solution lies in what Marx gave important to terms true democracy. The ‘critique’ contains ample material to show that Marx envisages in1843 :a society based on the abolition of private property and on the disappearance of the state.