chapter  7
57 Pages

Conclusion: From the Marxist Theory of the State to the State of Marxist Theory

WithAxel van dm Berg

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. 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 at all. It traces the major debates and theories that were responsible for the complete divorce between reformism and Marxism, in which antireformist vanguardism became the Marxist orthodoxy and reformism the exclusive domain of "bourgeois" liberals. The book then deals with Eduard Bernstein's revisionism and the orthodox reaction it provoked and describes Vladimir Lenin's antireformist vanguardism. It also discusses the most famous of the "structural" theories arising out of the critique of "instrumentalism": Nicos Poulantzas's theory based on Louis Althusser's "structuralist" Marxism. The book discusses the attempts to develop a more dynamic "class struggle" theory of the state, the latest theoretical development in Marxist theorizing about the state.