Marxism and the State
620 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Although Karl Marx never formulated a systematic theory of the state to accompany his analysis of social relations under capitalism, the question of political power has been at the forefront of Marxism. Indeed, some of the major controversies in the history of Marxist thought have been about how the state and its role in capitalist societies can best be understood. In this course, we will investigate a number of attempts to develop a distinctly Marxist political theory of the state, by examining selections from Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Gramsci, Miliband, and Poulantzas. Along the way, we will consider questions such as: How do material social relations influence the forms taken by political institutions? What role do law and ideological institutions play in the reproduction of capitalism? How does the state affect revolutionary and reformist political strategies? What is the dictatorship of the proletariat and how does it figure in the transition from capitalism to socialism and communism? By examining these questions through one of the most influential traditions of modern social thought, we will shed light on the relationship between political power, social power, and political economy, which remains a pressing topic to this day.
Course ScheduleTuesday, 6:00-9:00pm
March 19 — April 09, 2019