Classic Marxist Controversies: Class, State, Politics

Lovely old debates here about the (in)adequacies of marxism in grasping the modern context, largely before the final flight from marxism towards new 'posts' . Still highly relevant today.

On the State (aka the Miliband-Poulantzas Debate. Conventional British marxist understandings of the State as an instituion colonised bythe ruling class bump into Althusserian marxist conceptions of the State as a structure offering reproductive functions for capitalism regardless of class membership. Became a case-study to both popularise and criticise Althusserian stuff. Laclau intervenes with some interesting asides about the methodological issues involved in the debate. Poulantzas has the last word. Very relevant issues for today.)
Poulantzas 'The Problem of the Capitalist State'
Miliband 'Reply to Nicos Poulantzas'
Miliband 'Poulantzas and the Capitalist State'
Laclau 'The specificity of the political: the Poulantzas-Miliband debate'
Poulantzas 'The Capitalist State: A reply to Miliband and Laclau'
(and see also my notes on Poulantzas's books on social class and on the modern state)

Problems With Marxist Theories ( especially as represented by the substantial and influential critique of Hindess and Hirst, which pointed to serious incosistencies of a particular kind in marxist theory. Just about every marxist position, and most sociological ones, came under fire.The selections below focus on the implications for class and the State.)
Hirst 'Economic Classes and Politics'
Hindess 'Philosophy and Methodology in the Social Sciences', ch. 7
Hall, S 'The Political and the Economic in Marx's Theory of Social Classes'

On post-marxism (Part of the great debate about the work of Laclau and Mouffe whose work was to influence a great deal of modernised 'designer marxism' in Britain via various organs such as Marxism Today. The work also posed great problems for the gramscians, because L&M drew from Gramsci but took inotions like hegemony one step further into 'discourse theory' -- a step too far for the British gramscians ( like S Hall) who saw this as a move away from marxism altogether. Judge for yourselves as you review this interchange between Geras and L&M in the pages of New Left Review in the 1980s and a much more recent commentary by Townshend on what happend next).
Geras 'Post-Marxism?'
Laclau and Mouffe 'Post-Marxism Without Apologies' [a reply to Geras]
Geras 'Ex-Marxism Without Substance...' [a reply to L&M's reply]
Townshend 'Laclau and Mouffe's Hegemonic Project: The Story So Far'  [recent critical commentary]
See also Collier on marxist epistemology to see off discourse theorists

State and 'Legitimation Crisis' (This section introduces some work by Habermas and Offe on the state and its crisis tendencies. The work starts with a critical account of the Welfare State characteristic of social democracy in the 1970s and 1980s, and helped predict the 'neo-conservative turn'. The idea of inherent crisis cheered up a lot of marxists and others [I am sidestepping the issues of whether Habermas is a marxist], although some bits of Habermas are as gloomy as ever about the future. It also introduces a theme which continues to be of great importance in Habermas's work -- the idea of a 'public sphere'.)
Offe 'Structural Problems of the Capitalist State...'
Offe and Ronge 'Theses on the Theory of the State'
Habermas 'Legitimation Crisis'

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