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Marxist Jurisprudence

Marxism is the philosophy of Karl Marx (1818 – 1883), a German born economic theorist, social
commentator, philosopher and revolutionary theorist. ‘Marxism’ usually refers to certain themes is Marx’s
later works, in particular the view that society (including culture and law) is merely ‘superstructural’ –the
reflecting the economic base of society, the class struggle within that society and the interests of the ruling
classes.

Marxist jurisprudence posits that legal relations are determined by the economic base of particular kinds of
society and modes of production. This theory of political economy expounded upon the notions of Karl Marx
(1818 – 1883) and Friedrich Engel’s (1820 – 95), who considered law as instrument of class oppression that,
benefits the ruling class through oppression of the proletariat. These observations led him to believe that
capitalism is an exploitative system. It is a system where one class, the ruling class, dominates over the
working class.

Marx derived his views in part from the philosophy of GWF Hegel who conceived of history as the dialectical
self – development of ‘spirit’. In contrast to Hegel’s philosophical idealism, however, Marx held that history
is driven by the material or economic conditions that prevail in the relation of production which exists in the
economic base.

Law in Das Kapital:

The state is presented as a detached entity exposing the interest of the whole society, and law and the legal
system are presented as being objective as described in the concept of the rule of law which says the law
applies equally and is non – discriminatory. The law is presented as seeking everyone’s interest. According to
Marxist ideology, this is false. Marx’s view of law in Das Kapital is that law is a part of institutional framework
used by the bourgeois both as a means of control and to mystify the proletariat’s reality. Marxists believe
that law is used as means of tool of domination in two senses. One is based on coercion and other on
ideology.

Oppression 1 – Coercion:

As far as coercion is concerned the legal system is able to call upon a network of other organization of State
to protect and maintains the status quo. This is the ‘superstructure’, which is comprised of law, politics,
ideology and religion. The legal system relies on superstructures like the police and to control the lower class
and to protect the interest of the capitalist class – in particular to protect the property of the capitalist class.
Property is seen as a fundamental right and there is a line drawn between lawful and unlawful acquisition or
appropriation of property belonging to another. The criminal law is seen as an instrument used to facilitate
this end.

Oppression 2 – ideology:

The concept of ideology is central to the Marxian understanding of law. The concept has a number of
different meanings: a) a system of beliefs, characteristic of a class or group; b) a system of illusory beliefs,
false ideas, false consciousness (that is, as opposed to true or scientific knowledge); c) the general process of
the production of meaning and ideas. In ‘The German Ideology’, Marx asserts that ideologies express or
justify the interests of the dominant classes.

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The exploitation of one class by other remains hidden, however, by a set of ideas that Marx called ideology.
By this Marx meant that the conventional or mainstream ideas taught in classrooms, preached from pulpits
and communicated through the mass media are ideas that serve the interests of the dominant class.
Therefore, the ideological nature of law is that it is supposed to be a matrix of complex values and beliefs.
The values and beliefs are those of the dominant class and they underpin the existing social order. This shifts
to the manner in which individuals develop a ‘consciousness’ of their predicament. In a famous passage of
the preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy Marx declared:

‘It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that
determines their consciousness.’

That is to say that our ideas are not arbitrary, rather they are a result of economic conditions. We absorb our
knowledge from our social experience of productive relations. This provides, in part, an explanation of the
way in which law comes to maintain the social order that represents the interests of the dominant class.

Marx on Morality

There is an essential paradox in the writings of Marx and Engels on the question of Justice and Morality. On
the one hand, it is claimed that morality is a form of ideology; on the other hand, Marxist writings are full of
moral judgments. Marx’s objections to right is that it ‘by its very nature can consist only in the application of
a common standard’.

Social Welfare:

Further, to will the proletariat into false consciousness, the capitalist state constantly renews itself and
undertakes law reform to forestall the uprising of the masses. The welfare state, for example, was
established to guarantee the minimum subsistence which the state gives each poor person as a ploy to
deceive the worker into thinking the capitalist society seeks his/her interest. Bankowski and Mungham
(Images of Law) says that the welfare laws are still bourgeois laws promulgated to induce false
consciousness among the proletariat.

Self-defense and economic duress:

The approach most widely accepted today and probably the most convincing was propounded by the Italian
writer Gramsci. He saw law as party of the dominant ideology, playing its part in persuading the subordinate
class to accept the status quo.

How does this ‘dominant ideology’ come to be tacitly accepted by member of society as the ‘natural order of
things’? One answer is that through a variety of social – institution an ‘ideological hegemony’ is established,
which ensures that educationally, culturally, politically and legally, this dominant set of values prevails.

Althusserian ideology:

Althusser endeavored to develop a scientific or systematic theory as to how society functions in order to
maintain conditions favorable to capitalism. His primary focus was on the relationship between ideology and
the roles and identities society creates for people that help to perpetuate these conditions. Althussers
structural model of society consists of two different levels and of three spheres and is significant in part
because it attaches specificity to Marxist ideas which often tend to posit somewhat free floating dominant
ideologies. The first of these spheres, the economic base, refers to sites of production (including the cultural

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industries). Two spheres then make up what is known as the superstructure: the politico – legal which
consists of the political and legal systems, and the ideological structure which refers to institution such as
churches and schools that perpetuate dominant beliefs and values.

Althusser refers to this classic tenet of Marxism instead as the state apparatus, referring to its function to
repress the working – classes and thus perpetuate the capitalists system (1487). He divides the state
apparatus into two different forces: the repressive state apparatus (RSA) and the ideological state apparatus
(ISA).

RSA: Repressive state apparatus or RSAs such as the government, administration, army, police, court and
prisons curtail the working classes predominately through direct violence or the threat of violence and are
mainly controlled by the public sphere. These are agencies that function “by violence”, by at some point
imposing punishment or privation in order to enforce power.

ISA: Althusser further departs from Marxist theory by introducing the concept of ideological state apparatus
or ISAs. Unlike repressive state apparatus, ideological state apparatuses cannot as easily be unified into one
cumulative force as they originate primarily from various sources in the private sector.

To distinguish ISAs from the RSAs, Althusser offers a number of examples: the religious ISA (the system of
the different public and private ‘schools’); the family ISA; the legal ISA; the political ISA (the political system,
including the different parties); the trade union ISA; the communications ISA (press, radio and television
etc.); the cultural ISA (literature, the Arts, sports etc.)

Although the ISAs appear to be quite disparate, they are unified by subscribing to a common ideology in the
service of the ruling class; indeed, the ruling class must maintain a degree of control over the ISAs in order to
ensure the stability of the repressive state apparatus (the RSA): “To my knowledge, no class can hold State
power over a long period without at the same time exercising its hegemony over and in the State Ideological
Apparatus” (Lenin 98). It is much harder for the ruling class to maintain control over the multiple,
heterogeneous and relatively autonomous ISAs (alternative perspectives can be voiced in each ISA), which is
why there is continual struggle for hegemony in this realm.

Property law and Criminal law:

According to Marx, the exploitation of the working class is possible because of the law, which is a
superstructure built upon the base. In regards with property law it is everyone’s right to own property but in
practice only bourgeoisie owned property and if the proletariats try to take it they are taken to the prison.
Marxist critique of property law is that it is presented as a means to fundamental rights of everyone to own
property, while in reality it operates in the interest of the ruling class. Although landlord and tenant law
gives some protection to tenants, though some laws give mandatory grounds upon which landlord can easily
evict their tenants. Again, there are numerous controls over the working class in public law sectors. If
members of the working class assemble in a place without permission this will soon attract the attention of
the law enforcement authority who will use the super – structure to disperse the crowd. In this way,
according to Marx, the law becomes a tool of oppression in the hands of the bourgeoisie to keep the
working class down. The law is sued through the state, which is a construct of the ruling class to give that
class a semblance of neutrality.

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An alternative approach adopted by many early Marxist, including Lenin, was a ‘class instrumentalists’ or
‘class conspiracy’ one in which laws were seen as commands backed by threats, addressed by the dominant
class to the working masses; the ‘rule of law’ was dismissed as a fiction.

Marx’s view on Law and State and the Withering away of the State:

For Marx, the state reflects a particular historical fact. There are two views of states in Marx: one who sees it
as the instrument of a ruling class and a secondary view sees it as independent from and superior to all social
classes as being the dominant force in society rather than the instrument of a dominant class (per R.
Miliband, ‘Marx and the State’).

Marx’s views on Law are not set out separately in any treaties and must be pieced together from his
writings. There is no definiation of law as such in Marx. Both he and Engels concentrated attention rather on
how law is created. They are interested in ideology and law as manifestations of this. But Marx cannot be
interested in law for capitalist society is characterized by private property and this is nothing more than a
bundle of legal rights relating to the use and dispositions of things. Capital in such a society is private
property. This, Marx tells us, enables its owners to buy the labour and use it to create surplus value. The
worker is exploited for he does not receive his full value of the labour power. For Marx, one of the main
functions of law is to obscure power relationships. Thus, the legal form will refer to the right to enter freely
into contracts but in the absence of equality of bargaining power, this freedom is illusory. The legal form is
an ideological cloak. Legal definitions are driven, in part, by the requirement that law should regulate the
world of economy. Marx seems to be suggesting that the only way in which the social justice will be achieved
is to sweep away an economic order, and hence an order of the state and of law.

Marx professed that being armed with revolutionary class consciousness, the proletariat would seize the
major means of production along with the institutions of state power viz. police, courts, prisons and so on;
and establish a socialist state that Marx called “The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat”. The
proletariat would thus rule in its own class interest, as the bourgeoisie did before, in order to prevent a
counter-revolution by the displaced bourgeoisie. Once this threat would disappear, however, the need for
the state would also disappear. Thus the interim state would be replaced by a class-less communist society
where law would wither away.

The rise of Communism: No Law, No Justice – Marx’s Ultimate Goal:

However, this state of affairs cannot continue forever, a time will come when there will be a revolution by
the proletariat. According to Marx (the German Ideology) the meaning of history, that man’s destiny lies in
creation of just society, i.e. Communist society where ‘law will wither away’. Since law is a vehicle of class
oppression, hence in a classless society there is therefore no need for law. This the essence of the argument
fort implied by Marx in his early writings. Marx thought that the just society would be one in which there
was barely any law at all, since the property base would have gone and so there would be no need for
elaborate ‘superstructure’ of the legal system to put in place and protect the institution of property rights. In
this international classless community, individuals would no longer be able to exploit each other, nor would
want to, and law would become only an ‘administration of things’. It appears clearly that for Marx, law was
the antithesis of justice. Thus, Marxism argues there is no absolute concept of justice, justice being,
dependent on the requirements of a given mode of production [R Wacks, Jurisprudence]. Luke [Marxism,
Morality and Justice] claims that Marx believes justice does not provide a set of independent rational

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standards by which to measure social relations, but must it always in turn be explained as arising from and
controlling those relations.

The Demise of Communism – End of Marxism?

When Marx set out the prediction of the rise of communism in the mid – 19th century it may have been a
reasonable guess, but there is no evidence of its fulfillment in any existing society. Some people and states in
the world adopted Marx’s view and created communist state. But these people interpreted Marx n their
own way and applied it in their way. This is Marxism which differs from persons to persons, countries to
countries, and it is found that no perfect Communists State in the manner envisaged by Marx ever existed
before the collapse of some Communist State including USSR. It is argued that the failure of such societies
proves that Marx was an idealist in that there could never be a perfect communist society. Therefore, the
‘wither way’ argument leaves people speechless because given what human nature is, it is unthinkable that
there could ever be such a classless society without law. The realists regard the just society as no more than
an unattainable dream.

Setbacks of Marx

The identification of law with the interest of the dominant class is one of the weaknesses in Marxist legal
theory, because it is clear that there are at least some laws which do not favour those interests. How can a
Marxist explain such anomalies? One explanation is that laws such as these are concessions wrung from the
dominant class by a subordinate class growing in class consciousness and increasing in power, and are the
first small steps towards revolution. This view is demonstrably wrong, but there is little evidence to support
it either.

But Communism’s quest for a classless society is bound to fail. As Frank Zappa, ‘60s rock star, succinctly said,
“Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff”. Furthermore, someone has to hold the money
bag even in a communist – style society. And whoever holds the bag becomes not only a target for those
looking on but for the subtle interior demons of pride, avarice, and self - preservation.

If there will always be the poor, then there will always be the rich. There will always be division, the haves
and the have – not, and any attempt to establish a classless society in this side of heaven, particularly
through the violent and godless ways of Communism, is destined to frustration and failure.

Where does Marx stand today?

After all this attacks on Marxism, however, I tried to find out the essence of Marx’s theory in our society. If
we take a look at our own societies in the western world we can see the relevance of the tools of analysis of
Marxian theory much more clearly. We still have classes in society. The bourgeoisie still own the means of
production. The only difference is that in modern times the working class is better educated and so
members of that class do not have only their physical labour to sell. Today people sell their skills and are
better paid. We have accountants, teachers, lawyers, doctors, all employed by the big multinationals and
conglomerates. These big institutions still have the say when it comes to policy making, despite their efforts
to aspire to equality through the lie that is ‘share democracy’, which Marxist would call false consciousness.
The ruling class still dictates power over the working class.

However to understand the value of the Marxist theory of law we need to concentrate on the coercive and
ideological functions of the law as espoused. For example, as long as the criminal law is used to regulate the

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activities of the lower class and the civil law is used to regulate the activities of the ruling class, a case can be
made that Marxist theory of law us useful in our understanding of today’s society. For example, many poor
working class people are brought within the purview of the criminal law for stealing and possession,
convicted and sentenced into imprisonment, whereas the civil law is used to regulate companies and their
bosses, who may commit horrendous offences like environmental pollution and escape with a fine. Similarly,
the boss who installs unsafe machinery which kills workers also escapes with a fine.

Theories within Marxism as to why communism in Eastern Europe was not achieved after social revolutions
pointed to such elements as the pressure of external capitalist states, the relative backwardness of the
societies in which revolutions occurred, and the emergence of a bureaucratic stratum or class that arrested
or diverted the transition press in its own interests (Scott and Marshall, 2005). By the beginning of the 21 st
century, states controlled by communists parties under a single party system include the People’s Republic
of China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam. Today, Marxist revolutionaries are conducting armed
insurgencies in India, Philippines, Iran, Turkey and Colombia.

Leninism:

Lenin made two important changes to the theory and practice of communism as Marx had envisioned it. The
first was that revolution could not and should not be made spontaneously by the proletariat but had to be
made by workers and peasant led by secretive, tightly organized and highly disciplined communist party.
Secondly, the communist revolution would not begin in advanced capitalists’ countries such as Germany and
Britain because capitalists reaped super profits from the cheap raw materials and therefore were able to
bribe the workers with slightly higher wage a short work week and other reforms. So, communist revolution
would begin in economically backward countries such as Russia.

Law cannot achieve equality and justice unless it is linked to an economic order that ensures communal
ownership of the means of production. ‘Bourgeois law’ will only ever reflect private property ownership; i.e.
it must reflect the fact that social order is based on the private ownership of the means of production. Lenin
goes on to argue that in the first phase of communist society (usually called socialism) “bourgeois law” is not
abolished in its entirety, but only in part, only in proportion to the economic revolution so far attained, i.e.,
only in respect of the means of production. “Bourgeois law” recognises them [the means of production] as
the private property of individuals. Socialism converts them into common property. To that extent – and to
that extent alone – “bourgeois law” disappears.

This is a practical argument. Bourgeois law is ‘swept away’ to the extent that it relates to private ownership.
But this is a gradualist approach. In the first phase of the achieved utopia, other forms of bourgeois law may
remain

Stalinism:

Stalin after Lenin relied on dialectical materialism as a way of justifying almost any course of action that
Stalin wished to pursue. He stood for wither away of the state but at the same time he stood for the
strengthening of the power of the strongest state that had ever existed, which he termed as contradiction
that reflects Marx’s dialectics. But Stalin omitted mentioning that Marx believed that contradictions were to
be exposed and overcome, not accepted and embraced. He further claimed that Communist Party of Lenin
itself suffered from false consciousness and therefore needed an all-wise leader – Stalin himself. This re –

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interpretation of Marxism, unfortunately, marked a black spot in USSR’s political history that killed 40 million
Russian citizens for “the good of the state”.

Positivists and anti – naturalist:

Marx believes that far from reflecting universal moral norms, the law is, essentially, the tool of the ruling
class; rather than reflecting morality, the law is a tool of oppression. But in any case the positivists would
never concede to the oppressive nature of law.

Sanctions of Austin and Kelsen

System of sanctions enforces and maintains the status quo between the classes, or whether the ideological
force of the law induces people to believe what the law commands is morally right, relegating sanctions to a
secondary role.

Against Hart

The rule of recognition does more than simply reflect the internal attitude of the officials of the system; it
reflects that reigning outlook of the ruling classes, and is more matter of the false consciousness / ideology
of the social class from which lawyers are judges are typically drawn.

Against Dworkin

Dworkin’s right thesis and his view that the law as integrity is about treating all individuals with equal
concerned and respect is simply a reflection of the bourgeois mentality whereby the law in its majestic
equality forbids the poor as well as the rich form stealing bread and sleeping under bridges. The concept of
equality is interpreted and defined in the interest of ruling class and judicial interpretation emanated from
the concept of justice, therefore, also serves the interest of the bourgeois.

Raz

Raz’s jurisprudence is less vulnerable to Marxism since law for Raz, as like Marxism, emphasizes the
social/technical aspects of law as an institution, the institution which provides the authority for law and
excludes any moral consideration. For the Marx, the Raz’s authority would be the bourgeoisie’s system of
class instrumentalism that maintains the status quo with the aid of the authority. But for Raz, the authority
of law solves the coordinated problems of the people of the society and it does not make class status quo in
resolving disputes, whereas, Marxism never envisages such holy concept regarding law. As for Gramisci law
is a means of coping with perceived contradictions that are too painful for us to hold in our conscious mind.

Marxism and Pashukanis:

Capital identifies a duality – an imminent contradiction – within the commodity, as an immediate unity of
both a use value and an exchange value. The former embodies what is particular to the commodity, its
unique utility and the unique type of labor required for its production.

My view:

There is a classic song which I would like to quote: “Money, money, money must be funny in a rich man’s
world!”

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Indeed so, because after all these years the so – called ‘fun’ has not been bothered and it does not seem it
will be the case either. What I truly believe that capitalism is in the heart of everyone. It flourishes with
status. This status can be sometimes very dangerous for society, as in Macbeth’s society status was gained
by murder, and immortality was gained by dying. For a Marxist point of view, when status is associated with
materialism (greediness), it is seen as a step backwards because the people who feel the need to accumulate
wealth and possession do not understand their responsibility to their folk. They, just like Macbeth, lacked
the self-respect. Marxism is against materialism because if one stores all the goods then there can be no
equality within the community. Materialism in any form does not serve the common good of the society.
The funny thing is, Macbeth at some point realized his extreme destructiveness, and both Macbeth and Lady
Macbeth had everything yet were in constant fear of losing it. This is the difference with the play and real
society. The rich and powerful people do not feel fear of losing it.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, it might be argued that despite the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of
communism, the structure of Marxism and the critical way of describing the relationship of law with
economy and society are still valuable to some extent. It may be questioned whether the theoretical crisis of
Marxism was the reason for problematic application of the theory. Douzinas and Gearey rightly argued that
this crisis should not lead to the rejection of Marxism. However, a theory which is largely based on the
concept of production and economy is likely to fail because of its failure to answer various aspects of society.
The critical Marxist analysis of law, economy, the state and the society along with their interrelationships are
still necessary to view the world in a new dimension- and the appeal of Marxism still lies in this contribution
towards our understanding of law and economy. In ‘Letter to a wound: Marxism, justice and the social
order’- Costas Douzinas and Adam Gearey observed that Marxism has always taken its essential meaning
from an ethical position: the struggle against the oppression.

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Marxist concept of the State and Law
Marxism is the philosophy of Karl Marx (1818-1883), a German born social commentator, philosopher and
an economic and revolutionary theorist. ‘Marxism’ usually refers to certain themes in Marx’s later works, in
particular, the view that society including culture and law is merely ‘superstructural’- reflecting the
economic base of the society, the class struggle within that society and the interests of the ruling classes. It
has proved to be a powerful intellectual climate that has a tremendous appeal to the people, in spite of its
failures and shortcomings largely marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Because, it marks a revolt
against the past and gives the individual the thrill of new adventure.

It must be noted that Marx was not a conventional scholar of jurisprudence. The approaches to law that he
produced were part of a much broader political project. Provided his very own perspectives of law can be
termed as jurisprudence, then that Marxist jurisprudence posits that legal relations are determined by the
economic base of particular kinds of society and modes of production. This theory of political economy
expounded upon the notions of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who considered law as an instrument of class
oppression that benefits the ruling class through oppression of the proletariat. Substituting Hegel’s
dialectical theory of history, Marx and Engels expounded the celebrated concept of ‘dialectical materialism’.
It is ‘materialist’ because it claims that the means of production are materially determined; it is ‘dialectical’
in part, because they predict an inevitable conflict between those two hostile classes, leading to a revolution
that would eventually result in a classless, communist society in which law would ultimately be ‘unnecessary’
and where the law will ‘wither away’.

Thus according to Marxist analysis, capitalism is an exploitative system. Though the state is presented as a
detached entity exposing the interest of the whole society, and the law and the legal system are presented
as being objective as described in the concept of the rule of law, this is false. The state and the government
are actually controlled by the ruling class which controls the production, and the first object of the state thus
becomes protecting this governing class. As Marx says, “The State is an executive committee for managing
affairs of the governing class as a whole”. Marx’s view of law in Das Kapital is that law is a part of
institutional framework used by the bourgeoisie both as means of control and to mystify the proletariat’s
reality. Therefore, Marxists believe that law is used as means of tool of domination in two senses; one is
based on coercion and other on ideology.

As far as coercion is concerned, the legal system is able to call upon a network of other organisation of State
to protect and maintain the status quo. The legal system relies on superstructures like the police to control
the lower class and to protect the interest of the capitalist class- in particular the property of the capitalist
class. The criminal law is seen as an instrument used to facilitate this end.

The exploitation of one class by the another remains hidden, however, by a set of ideas that Marx called
ideology. The ideological nature of law is that it is supposed to be a matrix of complex values and beliefs. The
values and beliefs are those of the dominant class and they underpin the existing social order. This shifts to
the manner in which the individuals develop a ‘consciousness’ of their predicament. In a famous passage of
the preface to ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’, Marx declared:

“It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that
determines their consciousness.”

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This provides, in part, an explanation of the way in which law comes to maintain the social order that
represents the interests of the dominant class. Law operates so as to obscure power relationships. Like, the
legal form will refer to the right to enter freely into contracts but in the absence of equality of bargaining
power. The legal form is thus an ideological cloak masking the interests of the dominant class.

The approach most widely accepted today and probably the most convincing was propounded by the Italian
writer Gramsci. He saw law as party of the dominant ideology, playing its part in persuading the subordinate
class to accept the status quo.

Louis Althusser in the seminal text ‘Reading Kapital’ provided an intriguing re-reading of Marxism. Following
Althusser’s theory, we could see law as essential to the structuring of economy, and economy as therefore
inseparable from law. Althusser is breaking down the distinction between base and superstructure, to
produce a theory of the economic determination of the social as one of complex conjugation. Alongside this
re-thinking of economy, we can see Althusser producing a new theory of ideology. Althusser argues that law
is central to the creation and continuation of ideology. He characterises law as an ‘ideological state
apparatus’ (ISA) among the other ISAs such as religious ISA, educational ISA, political ISA etc. ISAs are far
more subtle than the repressive apparatus of the state (RSAs) such as ‘the Government, the Administration,
the Army, the Police, the Court and the Prisons etc. ISAs actually create the world in which the individuals
live. Instead of the notion that ideology is a veil that separates the real from the unreal, it becomes the very
‘point’ or a ‘hinge’ that connects the subject to the real world. Ideology is thus a way of describing the
mechanism through which the individual is inserted into a given material reality where the inner world of
the separate self disappears. In other words, individuals are not what they think they are. They ‘are’ to the
extent that law and economy allow them to be! This is a real development of Marx’s theory of ideology and
the role of ideology to the understanding of law in Marxist jurisprudence.

Thus by way of criticism, Marx’s view of law can also be seen as over-simplified. Even if some law does exist
to exploit workers and to promote the interests of the ‘ruling-class’, it can be argued that law has many
other functions as well. Indeed, the contemporary Marxists accept this. They argue that the ideological
functions of law are just as important to the maintenance of social order as its repressive functions. But,
indeed, there are some laws that restrain the oppression which are (or appear to be) against the interests of
the ‘ruling class’ and these laws cause Marxists problem (Chambliss). But to Tigar, such laws are a bribe, a
small concession to buy off the demand for more fundamental changes. Again, the ‘wither away’ argument
leaves people speechless given what human nature is, it is unthinkable that there could ever be such a
classless society without law. The realists regard the so-called just society as no more that an unattainable
dream.

However, the critical Marxist analysis of law, economy, the state and the society along with their
interrelationships are still necessary to view the world in a new dimension- and the appeal of Marxism still
lies in this contribution towards our understanding of law and economy. In ‘Letter to a wound: Marxism,
justice and the social order’- Costas Douzinas and Adam Gearey observed that Marxism has always taken its
essential meaning from an ethical position: the struggle against the oppression.

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