A question on Marx and the State

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Sat Feb 24 20:33:39 MST 2001

Hi Amanda. please see below.

Amanda Tattersall wrote:
> Hi,
> >
> I intend to thus look at the treatment of representative democracy in
> Marx and Marxism to see how an analysis of this phenomenon contributes
> to a more complex analysis of the contemporary state as it exists in
> developed capitalist ‘democratic’ countries. My basic question is does
> anyone know of any references to or authors (who consider themselves
> Marxists) who deal with representative democracy in relation to
> capitalism. I have looked at Habermas, and his analysis of
> accommodation and the public sphere, but was wondering if people knew
> of other works or series of work on the issue.

1)Although I don't agree with everything what he says, I think Habermas
is a good starting point. He deals with the historical and sociological
aspects of the issue. In addition his _Structural transformation of the
bourgeois public sphere_, I can also recommend you to have a look at his
collection of essays edited by Steve Seidman. I don't remember the title
of the book now (Habermas something), but there Habermas touches upon
the issues of late capitalism and welfare state as understood by
Marcuse, Weber, Adorno, etc.. Also check out _Habermas and the Public
Sphere_ edited Craig Calhoun (collection of essays by Habermas and his

2) On the issues of state, capitalism and representative democracy, my
best shots are:

Ralph Miliband . 1969. _The State in Capitalist Society: An Analysis of
Western System of Power_ New york basic books (an instrumentalist view
of the capitalist state, that is, the ruling class uses the state to
ensure its domination).

C.Wright. Mills. (1950s). _The Power Elite_ (elite view of the state
inspired by Marxian rhetoric).  William Domhoff is in the same tradition

Hal Draper. 1977. _Karl Marx's theory of  Revolution: Book 1. State and
Bureaucracy_. Monthly Review Press (focuses on Marx's view on politics--
the Bonapartist state).

Nicos Poulantzas. 1973. _Political Power and Social Classes_ (develops a
structuralist perspective on the capitalist state. the notion of
relative autonomy, and the role of superstuctures in the reproduction of

>Specifically I am looking for people who have analysed the state and
> discussed the way in which franchise, institutional structures (eg the
> law or the media) have accommodated political struggle and prolonged
> capitalism. Furthermore, from an economic point of view, the way in
> which Keynesian economic management attempts to use state apparatus to
> mitigate the contradictions in capitalism. Anyone who speaks on such
> issues, or any contemporary who writes on how Marx spoke on those
> issues would assist my work greatly.

The best books I have read about the contradictions of Keynesianism
recently are

_Global Capital, National State and the Politics of Money_ edited by
Werner Bonefeld (although the book is written by comrades in the
autonomous marxist tradition, it still gives a solid picture of
Keynesianism. I like Durham's approach there.I guess he is not an
autonomous marxist.)

Also check _Theories of Political Economy_ by James CAporaso and David
Levin. It gives a good summary of different traditions in political
economy (neo-classical, keynesian, marxist, etc..)

>Finally, I was wondering if anyone knew of any writers who had
> considered using dialectic method to analyse the apparatus of the
> state (and its relationship with capitalism).

the above should help.

good luck.

> Thanks for your help,
> Amanda
> Amanda Tattersall
> amandatatts at hotmail.com
> 0408 05 7779
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at
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Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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