Critically examine the Marxist theory of State | PSIR | UPSC| Political Theory

 Criticism of Marxist theory of State

Q. Critically examine the Marxist theory of State w.r.t. Dictatorship of Proletariat.

Answer :

Marxist Theory of State views state as an artificial device as opposed to the natural or ethical institution as held by the organic theory. Marxist theory is the class perspective on State. According to which, the state comes into existence when society is divided into two antagonist classes, the dominant class and the dependent class. 

Marxist theory treats State as an instrument of capitalist class to control, contain and oppress the working class. The dominant class owns the means of production and uses the machinery of the state to serve its own interests which involve the exploitation of the dependent class. 

The pioneers of the class theory of the state—Marx, Engels and Lenin—have made it amply clear that the state is but an instrument of class rule and exploitation. Karl Marx famously proclaimed "State is nothing but an executive committee of bourgeoisie class".

Marx and Engels, in their famous Communist Manifesto (1848), observed: "Political power, properly to called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another,"

Marxists see the State as an embodiment of social injustice. They propose socialist revolution to emancipate mankind by expropriating bourgeoisie and socializing major means of productions. Now the dependent class will use the state apparatus for the suppression of capitalist class i.e. dictatorship of Proletariat. The state will eventually wither away when all remnants of capitalism is cleared, work is made compulsory and the forces of production are fully developed with society becoming classless.

The dictatorship of the proletariat is an important step in achieving a socialist state. However, in former USSR and people's republic of China, where socialist revolutions had taken place, the dictatorship of Proletariat could not be established. There were no indication of the emergence of a classless and stateless society. 

Infact, in socialist countries the state proved to be more repressive than in liberal democracies. M. Djilas pointed out that although major property holdings in the former USSR had been abolished, the senior officials in state and leaders in the Communist Party had emerged as a new privileged class, relegating the idea of a classless society to the background. (The New Class 1957)

This, in practice, the dictatorship of proletariat class could not be established and was replaced by dictatorship of communist party. The power went from Capitalist elites to Socialist elites.


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