chapter  1
82 Pages

Marx and Engels on the State and Politics

WithAxel van dm Berg

One of the great debates of marxology concerns the exact relation between the "early" and the "mature" writings of Karl Marx, with The German Ideology, Marx and Friedrich Engels's first fully collaborative effort written in 1845–1846, conventionally thought to be the first of "mature" works. Marx's earliest published writings are his articles for short-lived liberal democratic Rheinische Zeitung which are primarily of interest for anticipating some of the main themes in the manuscript known as "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right". This chapter examines that Marx and Engels's remarks about politics and the state in capitalist society, and by implication their critique of that society as a whole, were ultimately based on a preconceived anticipation of a perfect society in which there would be no more conflict. It reviews their claims that this conception of socialism was by no means "arbitrary" or "utopian" since it rested not on some notion of timeless morality but on trends objectively immanent in history.