Base/superstructure and the State

Juan R. Fajardo fajardos at
Thu Apr 19 18:59:46 MDT 2001

Amanda Tattersall wrote:

> In refering to Lenin theories on the state, I am arguing that his conception
> of the bourgeoise state tends to rely on the conception of the state as
> simply a "committee of the ruling class."  To me, that seems to be an
> expression of the base/superstructure metaphor that holds the state not
> simply produced or determined by economic relations (or say, class
> conflict), but determined directly by the ruling class.  Such a perception
> of the state, I would argue, does not allow an analysis of the State as an
> institution produced by class relations, but as an institution controlled
> simply by the ruling class.

What you are presenting as things apart from a "base/superstructure"
model --i.e., economic relations and class
conflict-- integral parts of that model. The economic relations, in the
form of relations of production and distribution, form the base  upon
which the superstructure, including class conflict, rests.   It does not
make sense to speak of the state as a "committee of the ruling class,"
nor, indeed, to speak of a "ruling class", outside of class relations
and class struggle.  The very notion of rule presuposes that struggle
must be present and that some must be made to obey or acquiesce, in
other words, ruled.

- juan

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