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(en) Anarchist Studies - Vol. 12 #1 - 2004 Anarchism, Marxism and the Bonapartist State by SAUL NEWMAN I. (1/2)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 27 Jul 2004 07:09:10 +0200 (CEST)

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ABSTRACT: This paper explores the question of state power and sovereignty
in radical political theory through an examination of the classical
anarchist critique of Marxism. It draws on the Bonapartist
moment in Marx's thinking, seeing this as laying the
groundwork for the development of a theory of the state as
autonomous from class, suggesting that the implications of this
argument are only fully realised in anarchism. Anarchism was
able to develop a wholly autonomous and specific theory of state
power and political authority - one that was irreducible to the
Marxist class and economic analysis. I will argue that this had
crucial consequences for contemporary radical political theory as
it allowed the political dimension to emerge as a separate field of
antagonism, demanding its own specific forms of analysis. I then
explore the implications of this theoretical terrain through
Agamben's analysis of biopower and state sovereignty, and
Laclau and Mouffe's 'post-Marxist' understanding of hegemonic
political identification, suggesting that there are important links
here with anarchism that could be developed.

It would seem that today, in the conditions of late capitalism and
globalisation, the modern state is becoming more dominant in
political, social and economic life, rather than less so. This can
be seen particularly in the current preoccupation with security
and terrorism. The `war on terror'1 serves as the latest
ideological justification for the massive centralisation and
expansion of state power. This new paradigm of state power
opens the way for new political and social conflicts radically
different from those that have arisen in the past. This suggests
that the problem of state power can no longer be explained in
economic terms alone, but rather constitutes its own specific
theoretical and political conditions and terms of reference. In
other words, new domains and relations of power are emerging -
and indeed have been emerging for some time - that can no
longer be explained in economic terms, but rather require
different modes of analysis.

Because the problem of state power is more crucial now than
ever for radical politics, it would be worthwhile returning to one
of the most decisive theoretical and political debates over
precisely this question. The conflict between Marxism and
anarchism over the power, function and relative autonomy of the
state, and its role in a social revolution, was a pivotal debate that
shaped nineteenth-century radical political thought. This paper
examines some of the key aspects of this conflict, focussing on
the 'Bonapartist moment' in classical Marxism: that is, the
emergence of the theoretical conditions for the relative autonomy
of the state. However, I shall show that, despite this innovation,
Marxist theory - Marx, as well as subsequent Marxist
interventions - was `in the last instance' constrained by the
categories of class and economic relations. My contention here
will be that classical anarchism took the theory of Bonapartism to
its logical conclusion, and was able to develop a concept of the
sovereign state as a specific and autonomous site of power that
was irreducible to capitalist economic relations. In doing so,
anarchism broke radically with Marxism. Therefore, within the
theory of Bonapartism lay the theoretical foundations for an
`epistemological break' with Marxism itself, allowing for the
development of a new analytics of power: one that, to some
extent, contributes towards contemporary `poststructuralist' and
`post-Marxist' approaches to this question.¹ In this paper, I will
examine the implications of Bonapartism by exploring and
developing the classical anarchist critique of Marxism, as well as
examining its relevance for contemporary radical political theory.

Arguing against the Hegelian idea that the state embodies the
general good, Marx saw it always as a particular state, one which
paints itself as universal. Its universality and independence from
civil society are only a mask for the particular economic interests
- such as private property - that it serves (Marx 1970: 107). Marx
was later to develop from this the position that the state
represented the interests of the most economically dominant
class: the bourgeoisie. For Marx, it was the economic forces of
society that determined all historical, political, cultural and social
phenomena: `the economic structure of society is the real basis
on which the juridical and political superstructure is raised, and
to which definite social forms of thought correspond; that the
mode of production determines the character of the social,
political and intellectual life' (1967: 182).

Marx therefore criticises Pierre-Joseph Proudhon for his
suggestion that political power could shape the economic system.
According to Marx, the state lacks this power because it exists as
a mere reflection of the very economic conditions that it is
purportedly able to change (`The German Ideology' in Marx and
Engels, 1976, vol. 5: 198).

However, while Marx saw the state as largely derivative of the
economic forces and class interests, he did at times allow it a
substantial degree of political autonomy. His work 'The
Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte' describes a coup d'etat
in France in 1851, in which state forces led by Louis Bonaparte
seized absolute power, achieving not only a considerable degree
of independence from the bourgeoisie, but often acting directly
against its immediate interests. According to Marx, however, the
Bonapartist state still served the long term interests of the
capitalist system, even if it often acted against the immediate
interests and will of the bourgeoisie:

that the individual bourgeois can continue to exploit other classes
and to enjoy undisputed property, family, religion and order that
their class be condemned along with other classes to similar
political nullity; that, in order to save its purse, it must forfeit the
crown (`The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte' in Marx
and Engels 1976 vo1.7: 143).

To what extent, however, does this account of the Bonapartist
state allow for the theorisation of the relative autonomy of the
state in Marxism? One of the central debates in Marxist theory
has been on precisely this question. David Held and Joel Krieger
argue that there are two main strands in the Marxist theory about
the relation between classes and the state. The first -let us call it
(1a) - exemplified by Marx's account of Bonapartism, stresses
the relative autonomy of the state. It sees state institutions and
the bureaucracy as constituting a virtually separate site in society:
its logic is not determined by class interests and it assumes a
centrality in society. The second strand (2a),which Held and
Krieger argue is the dominant one in Marxist thought, sees the
state as an instrument of class domination, whose structure and
operation are determined by class interests (see `Theories of the
State' in Bornstein, et al., 4, 1-20).

Held and Krieger also argue that these two contrasting traditions
in Marxist thought correspond to two different revolutionary
strategies in regards to the state. The first position (1a) would
allow the state to be used as a force for revolutionary change and
liberation (lb). Because the state is seen as a neutral institution in
the sense that it is not essentially beholden to class interests, it
can be used to revolutionise capitalism and topple the
bourgeoisie from its position of economic dominance. The
second position (2a), on the other hand, because it sees the state
as essentially a bourgeois state, an instrument of class
domination, demands that the state be destroyed as part of a
socialist revolution (2b). This is the position exemplified by
Lenin in The State and Revolution. This interpretation of the
relation between the question of the autonomy of the state, and
its role in a socialist revolution, may be represented in the
following way:


1(a) Autonomous state > 1(b) State as tool of revolution

2(a) Determined state > 2(b) State to be destroyed in revolution

Now it is this dichotomy of state theories and their concomitant
revolutionary strategies that could be questioned from an
anarchist perspective. It could be argued that it is precisely the
second position (2a) - the view of the state as determined by class
- that entails the first revolutionary strategy (lb) which allows the
state to be used as a revolutionary tool of liberation. Furthermore,
one could see the first position (la) - which allows the state
relative autonomy - as entailing the second revolutionary strategy
(2b) which calls for the destruction of the state in a socialist
revolution. This inversion of the traditional Marxist model would
be characteristic of an anarchist position:


1(a) Autonomous state > 2(b) State to be destroyed in revolution
2(a) Determined state > 1(b) State as tool of revolution

The reason for this radical overturning of the accepted logic is
that the first position (la) comes closest to an anarchist theory of
the state. Anarchism sees the state as an autonomous institution
- or series of institutions - that has its own interests and logic. It
is precisely for this reason that the state cannot be used as a
neutral tool of liberation during the time of revolution. Even if it
is in the hands of a revolutionary class like the proletariat - as
Marx advocated - it still cannot be trusted because it has its own
imperatives, beyond the control of the `ruling class'. The time of
revolution is when the state institution can least be trusted: it will
merely use the opportunity to perpetuate its own power. To
regard the state as neutral, then, as strategy (la) does, is
dangerous. According to this anarchist logic, moreover, position
(2a) - that which sees the state as an instrument of the
bourgeoisie - fundamentally misconstrues the nature of state
power, implying that the state is merely a neutral institution
subservient to the interests of the dominant class. It is this
position which would actually entail revolutionary strategy (lb) -
the use of the state as a tool of revolution once in the hands of
the revolutionary class. It is really a dispute over the meaning of
neutrality: according to the Marxist logic, neutrality would mean
independence from class interests, whereas for anarchists,
neutrality would imply precisely the opposite - subservience to
class interests. This is because the view of state as determined by
class interests does not allow the state its own logic: it would
appear as a humble servant of class interests and could,
therefore, be used as a neutral tool of revolution if it were in the
hands of the right class. On the other hand, it is Marx's
Bonapartist version of the state that which sees it as a neutral
institution not beholden to class interests - that is precisely the
logic which, for anarchists, paradoxically denies the neutrality of
the state. This is because it allows it to be seen as an
autonomous institution with its own logic and which, for this
very reason, cannot be seen as a neutral tool of revolution.

It could be argued that anarchism pursues the logic of
Bonapartism much further than Marx himself was prepared to
take it and, in doing so, entirely turns on its head the Marxist
conception of state and revolution. The anarchist conception of
the state and its relation to class will be expanded upon later.
However, it is necessary at this point to show that while Marx
was no doubt opposed to the state, it is precisely the question of
how he was opposed to it - as an autonomous Bonapartist
institution, or as an institution of bourgeois domination - and the
consequences of this for revolutionary strategy, that is crucial to
this debate. Nicos Poulantzas, who wanted to emphasise the
relative autonomy of the capitalist state, argues that for Marx and
Engels Bonapartism is not merely a concrete form of the
capitalist state in exceptional circumstances, but actually a
constitutive theoretical feature of it (258). This would apparently
question determinist interpretations of the state in Marxist
theory. Ralph Miliband, on the other hand, argues that for Marx
and Engels, the state was still very much the instrument of class
domination (5).

So what is one to make of this disparity in the interpretations of
Marx's theory of the state? Marx himself never developed an
entirely consistent theory of the state, pointing perhaps to a
theoretical deadlock that he was unable to overcome. There are
times when he appears to have a very deterministic and
instrumental reading of the state, when he says, for instance: `the
State is the form in which individuals of a ruling class assert their
common interests' ('The German Ideology' in Marx and Engels,
1976 vo1.5: 90). Nevertheless, the theory of Bonapartism opened
the way for a more heterogeneous approach to the question of
the state and its relative autonomy.

So how should we approach this central ambiguity in Marxism?
There is no clear answer to this. But at the risk of sounding like
trying to enforce some cohesion onto Marx's thoughts on this
subject that he himself maybe never intended, perhaps one can
say the following: while one can clearly reject the crude
functionalist reading of the state, and while allowing the state a
considerable degree of political autonomy in certain instances,
one could still say that, for Marx, the state is in essence class
domination. By this I mean that while the state is by no means
the simple political instrument of the bourgeoisie and, indeed, as
Marx himself shows, often acts against it, the state is still, for
Marx, an institution which allows the economically powerful
class - the class which owns the means of production - to exploit
other classes. In other words, it is still the state that facilitates the
bourgeoisie's domination and exploitation of the proletariat. This
interpretation would allow the state a significant degree of
political autonomy: it could work against the political will of the
bourgeoisie, but it still would have to protect the long-term
structural position and interests of the bourgeoisie. So rather than
saying that, for Marx, the state is the instrument of the
bourgeoisie, it may be more accurate to say that the state is a
reflection of bourgeois class domination, an institution whose
structure is determined by capitalist relations. Its function is to
maintain economic and social order that allows the bourgeoisie
to continue to exploit the proletariat. By maintaining the
conditions of the capitalist economy in the name of the `common
good', the state serves the interests of the bourgeoisie.

One can see in Marx's account of the state - if there can be said
to be an 'account' as such - a continuation of the Hegelian
critique of the partial state, the state that serves the interests of
part, rather than the whole, of society. For Marx, as we have
seen, the state has an illusory, ideological character: it parades
itself as a universal political community open to general
participation, whereas in fact it acts on behalf of certain sectional
interests. It is an ideological veil behind which the real struggles
of economic classes are waged, behind which the real misery and
alienation of people's lives is concealed. Like Hegel, Marx was
concerned with finding an ethical agency, a form of communal
control, a legitimate form of power which would transcend the
partial state and embody the interests of the whole of society -
something which would, in other words, overcome the
contradiction between public and private life. For Marx, the
capitalist state was an expression of the alienation in civil society,
and the only way this alienation could be overcome was through
an agency that did not reflect existing economic and property
relations. Unlike Hegel, Marx believed that this agent could not
be the modern state as it stands, because it was essentially the
state of bourgeois relations. While Hegel saw this unifying agent
in the ethical principle behind the liberal state, Marx found it in
the proletariat.

The proletariat is Marx's version of the universal agent sought
within the Hegelian tradition: the subject that would overcome
the contradictions in society. Because of its unique place in the
capitalist system, the proletariat embodied the universality of this
system, and therefore, for Marx, the emancipation of the
proletariat is synonymous with the emancipation of society as a
whole: `a class which is the dissolution of all classes, a sphere of
society which has a universal character because its sufferings are
universal' (`Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of
Right: Introduction' in Tucker: 538, 16-25).

The proletariat represents the possibility of exercising a
legitimate and universal ethical authority over society: a society
characterised by a lack of public - as opposed to private -
authority; a society in which people were alienated from each
other and from the public sphere. Marx therefore saw this
exercise of public authority, of social power, as a necessary stage
in the ushering in of communism - a `transitional' stage. This
social power would be organised, moreover, in the apparatus of
the state: `There corresponds to this also a political transition in
which the State can be nothing but the dictatorship of the
proletariat' (`Critique of the Gotha Program' in Marx and Engels,
1968: 327, 315-331). Marx called, furthermore, for the workers
to strive for `the most decisive centralisation of power in the
hands of State authority' (`Address of the Central Council to the
Communist League in Tucker: 509, 501-511). So the state,
controlled by the proletariat, has become, for Marx, albeit
temporarily, the vehicle which would liberate society from
bourgeois domination by representing society as a whole. Thus
the aim of the revolution, for Marx, was not initially to destroy
state power, but rather to seize hold of, and in the transitional
period perpetuate, it. Of course, it must be remembered that
Marx sees this proletarian state as a temporary arrangement, and
Engels argued that it would `wither away' when no longer
necessary (1969: 333).

However if the state is always a reflection of class domination,
how then can Marx see the transitional state as acting on behalf
of the whole of society? Anarchists saw this as a major flaw in
Marx's thinking. Marx, on the other hand, believed that because
the state in the `transitional period' was in the hands of the
proletariat - the universal class - it would act for the benefit of
society as a whole. According to Marx, it was no longer a partial
state, as it had been in bourgeois society - it now a universal
state. In fact, according to Marx, state power will no longer even
be political power, since `political power' is defined by its
reflection of the interests of a particular class. In other words,
because there are no more class distinctions in society, because
the bourgeoisie has been toppled from its position of economic
and, therefore, political dominance, there is no longer any such
thing as political power: `When, in the course of development,
class distinctions have disappeared and all production has been
concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole
nation, public power will lose its political character' (`Communist
Manifesto' in Tucker: 490). Marx also says in response to
anarchist Mikhail Bakunin's objections to the transitional state: `
... when class domination ends, there will be no State in the
present political sense of the word' (`After the Revolution: Marx
debates Bakunin' in Tucker: 545, 542-548). For Marx, because
political domination and conflict are an expression of class
domination, once class domination disappears, then so will
political domination: the state will become a neutral
administrative apparatus to be used by the proletariat, until it
simply `withers away'.

Let us follow Marx's logic: because political power is the
derivative of class and capitalist relations, once these relations are
abolished, then, strictly speaking, political power no longer
exists. However, the anarchists saw this claim as dangerously
naive. It neglected what they saw as the fundamental principle of
state power (or, for that matter, any form of institutional or
centralised power): that it is independent of economic forces and
has its own imperative of self-perpetuation. As I have shown,
Marx does allow the state some autonomy and self-determinacy,
particularly in his theory of Bonapartism. However, my argument
is that he did not develop the implications of this argument to
their full extent, falling back into the position of class and
economic reductionism. By contrast anarchism sees the state, in
its essence, as independent of economic classes, thus
radicalising the Bonapartist argument and taking it to its logical

The idea that the state can be used for revolutionary ends is the
result of the Marxist analysis which sees the state as derivative of
social forces, namely the economic power of the bourgeois class.
Anarchism works the other way round: it analyses from the state
to society. It sees the state and centralised political power as
determining the social and constituting the fundamental site of
oppression. Marxist theory also sees the state as an evil to be
eventually overcome, but it is an evil derived from the primary
evil of bourgeois economic domination and private property.2

The state, for anarchists, is a priori oppression, no matter what
form it takes. Bakunin argues that Marxism pays too much
attention to the forms of state power while not taking enough
account of the way in which state power operates and its
structural predominance in society: `They (Marxists) do not
know that despotism resides not so much in the form of the State
but in the very principle of the State and political power'
(1984:221). Peter Kropotkin too, argues that one must look
beyond the present form of the state: `And there are those who,
like us, see in the State, not only its actual form and in all forms
of domination that it might assume, but in its very essence, an
obstacle to the social revolution'(9). Oppression and despotism
exist, then, in the very structure and symbolic location of the
state: in the principle of sovereignty that lies at its heart. The
state, in other words, constitutes its own locus of power: it is not
merely a derivative of class power. The state has its own specific
logic, its own momentum, its own priorities: these are often
beyond the control of the ruling class and do not necessarily
reflect economic relations. For anarchists, then, political power
refers to something other than class and economic relations.

The modern state has its own origins too, independent of the rise
of the bourgeoisie. Unlike Marx, who saw the modern state as a
creation of the French Revolution and the political ascendancy of
the bourgeoisie, Bakunin saw the state as the child of the
Reformation. According to Bakunin, the crowned sovereigns of
Europe usurped the power of the Church, creating a secular
authority based on the notion of divine right. Hence the birth of
the modern state: `The State is the younger brother of the
Church' (1985:20). Kropotkin also attributes the state's
emergence to non-economic factors such as the historical
dominance of Roman law, the rise of feudal law, the growing
authoritarianism of the Church, as well as the endemic desire for
authority (1943:28).

Furthermore, it could be argued that the political forces of the
state actually determine and select specific relations of
production, rather than the other way round. This is because they
encourage particular forces of production that are functional for
the state, allowing the development of the means of coercion
required by the state. This turns the base-superstructure model
of the state on its head, seeing the determining forces going from
top to bottom rather than from the bottom to the top.3 According
to this argument, to see the state as derivative of class power is to
fall victim to the state's deception. The state apparatus in itself
appears to be faceless: it appears to lack any inherent values or
direction. Marx sees it as an illusory reflection of the alienation
created by private property, or as an institution of the bourgeois
class. In reality, however, the state has its own origins and
mechanisms, and operates according to its own agenda, which is
to perpetuate itself in different guises - even in the guise of the
worker's state.

For anarchists, state power perpetuates itself through the
corrupting influence it has on those in power. This is where the
real domination lies, according to Bakunin: `We of course are all
sincere socialists and revolutionists and still, were we to be
endowed with power . . . we would not be where we are now'
(1984: 249). Therefore, the fact that the proletariat is at the helm
of the state does not mean, as Marx claimed, an end to political
power. The state would simply re-instantiate itself at this new
Political juncture. The Marxist program would only mean a
massive increase in political power and domination. Moreover,
Bakunin believed that Marx's revolutionary strategy would lead
to a new stage of capitalist development. The Marxist workers'
state would only perpetuate, rather than resolve, the contradicts
in capitalist society: it will leave intact the division of labour, it
will re-instate industrial hierarchies, and furthermore it will
generate a new set of class divisions betty workers and peasants,
and the new governing class (Bakunin 1980: 336-337).

Bakunin perhaps represents the most radical elements of Marxist
theory. He takes Marx seriously when he says that the state is
always concomitant with class divisions and domination.
However there is an important difference. To put it crudely, for
Marx, the dominant class generally rules through the state,
whereas for Bakunin, the state generally rules through the
dominant class. In other words, bourgeois relations are actually a
reflection of the state, rather than the state being a reflection of
bourgeois relations. Unlike Marxism, the emphasis in anarchist
theory is on the state itself - a term which includes economic
exploitation - rather than on economic relations specifically.
Anarchism would seem to have a much broader concept of the
state than Marxism. The ruling class, argues Bakunin, is the
state's real material representative. In this sense, ruling classes
are essential to the state, rather than the state being essential to
ruling classes. The bourgeoisie is only one of the state's specific
forms of articulation (Bakunin 1984: 208). When the bourgeoisie
is destroyed the state will create another class in its place,
through which it can perpetuate its power, even in an allegedly
classless society. In the wake of a Marxist revolution, a new
bureaucratic class will come to dominate and exploit the workers
in much the same way as the bourgeoisie did. Behind every
ruling class of every epoch there looms the state: an abstract
machine with its own logic of domination. As Bakunin shows,
the state fully realises itself as a machine when the Marxist
revolution installs the bureaucratic class at its helm: `when other
classes have exhausted themselves, the class of bureaucracy
enters upon the stage and then the State falls, or rises, if you
please, to the position of a machine' (1984: 208). It is precisely
this machine-like character of the state - this structural
imperative of self-perpetuation - that is dangerous, and which
Marxist theory, because of its economic and class reductionism,
could not account for. It is for this reason, anarchists argued, that
revolution must be aimed not at seizing con of state power, even
if only temporarily, but at destroying it and replacing it with
de-centralised, non-hierarchical forms of social organisation. It is
also for reasons mentioned before that anarchists argue that the
state cannot be trusted simply to `wither away'. For anarchists it
is extremely naive, even utopian, to believe that entrenched
political power- and Bakunin's analysis has shown the workers`
state to be precisely this - will simply self-destruct just because
old class divisions have disappeared and relations of production
have been transformed.

For anarchists, Marxism has great value as an analysis of
capitalism and the relations of private authority which it is tied to.
However, in focusing on this, Marxism neglected other forms of
authority and domination, primarily that of the state, but also
technology, religious institutions and party hierarchy (see
Bookchin: 188). This was because it had a tendency to reduce
them to the conceptual categories of class and economics, and to
regard them as secondary to, and derivative of, these. Marxism is
caught, one could argue, in a reductionist logic that cannot
adequately account for the specificity of political domination.
According to Elizabeth Rappaport, `His (Marx's) tendency to
regard all political conflict as grounded in class antagonism led
him to underestimate the importance of the political dimension
of socialist development' (343).

This reductionist logic extends to more contemporary forms of
Marxism. For instance, while Louis Althusser proposed a
concept of society radically different from the classical Marxian
notion of the social superstructure strictly determined by the
economic essence or structure, he nevertheless saw social
relations as being determined, in the last instance, by the
economy. Althusser's intervention did, however, extend the logic
of Bonapartism, once again engaging with the possibility - within
Marxist discourse - of theorising the autonomy of the political.
He proposed that the economy acts on the social only indirectly:
economic forces were part of the social whole, and did not
constitute a privileged core outside the social superstructure. In
other words, political formations can act on the economy, just as
they can be acted on by the economy. He calls this symbiotic
relationship overdetermination (1977: 101).

Moreover, Althusser explored more complex and decentralised
constellations of power: ISAs (Ideological State Apparatuses) that
included not only the state bureaucracy, but also institutions
such as the Church and schools, as well as other forms of social
and political domination, which largely functioned autonomously
from the workings of the capitalist economy. This rejection of the
base-superstructure thesis has much in common with classical
anarchism. Althusser would seem, then, to be approaching the
anarchist position because he allows for a greater emphasis to be
placed on the autonomy of the state apparatus, and other
non-economic forms of power. However, despite this, Althusser
structured his conception of the social around the economy: the
economy, for Althusser, is the `structure in dominance', the
organising principle in society (see `The Object of Capital' in
Althusser and Balibar: 188, 71-182). While political and social
formations were not directly, in every instance, determined by
the economy, they were still dominated by it. The prerogatives of
the economy still took precedence, in the last instance - in a time
of revolution, for example - over other social formations.

Alex Callinicos, on the other hand, has sought to defend classical
Marxism against the potential challenge it faced from Althusser,
and from structuralism generally. For Callinicos, Althusser's
rejection of the Hegelian social whole culminates in an
affirmation of difference: a multiplicity of social practises that
cannot be dialecticised back into an original unity (62). It is this
potential openness to the notion of difference and plurality,
according to Callinicos, which has caused the `crisis of
Marxism'.. Instead, what must be reaffirmed is the classical
Marxist notion of the social totality, centrally determined by the
economy. It is only this perspective, Callinicos argues, that
allows for the possibility of the Class Struggle. However it is
precisely this perspective, that negates the possibility of other
sources of power in society, which has been challenged by

Bob Jessop tries to develop, within the Marxist framework, a
contingent theory of political power and the state. He argues that
in Marxist theory there are three main ways of approaching this
question. The first sees the relationship between economic
interests and institutional systems purely in terms of function.
The second approach stresses the way in which the institutional
form of different systems reflects or corresponds to the structural
needs of economic systems. The third approach rejects the
economic determinism of the last two, and sees the relations
between institutions and economic systems to be based on
'contingent articulatory practices' (80). The second, and possibly
even the first, approach is represented by Callinicos, who sees
the social and political as centrally determined by economic
relations. The third strand of Marxist thought is perhaps best
reflected by Althusser, who, on one level at least, seems to put
forward a contingent approach to the relationship between the
political and the economic, allowing the political considerable
degree of autonomy. However, as I have shown, even in this sort
of analysis, the political is still ultimately determined by the
economy. Therefore, it could be argued that for a genuinely
contingent and autonomous theory of political and
non-economic power to emerge, it means going beyond the
conceptual limits of Marxism. As Rappaport says: `It does ...
require going beyond Marx in developing a theory capable of
explaining political relationships which do not have their
foundations in material scarcity' (343).

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