Alien Politics: Marxist State Theory Retrieved

Routledge (1994)
Abstract
Alien Politics retrieves from the writings of Marx an original theory of the state which remains viable and relevant today. Paul Thomas traces the process by which Marx's theory of the state as the instrument of the capitalist ruling class became transformed into communist dogma under the auspices of Lenin and other "official" Marxist stalwarts. He argues that Marx's writings still have something to teach us and should not be pulled down with the monoliths and mausoleums of communism. The book continues the work of "Western Marxist" thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci and Nicos Poulantzas who came to understand the modern state in terms different from the rightly-discredited "ruling class" theory of the state associated with Leninism. Such Western Marxist theorists--more careful and nuanced readers of Marx than their powerfully-placed antagonists--helped formulate a theory of what Thomas calls "alien politics." The theory of alien politics, originally elaborated by Marx in his early critiques of Hegel and the Young Hegelians, diverges from ruling class state theory because it counterposes the state against civil society rather than treating it as an epiphenomenon of civil society. Unlike ruling class theory, alien politics retains considerable relevance as a critique of state forms that still exist in the West as well as those that have collapsed in the East. This topical and groundbreaking book re-interprets Marx and demonstrates how his ideas remain critical for political theorists, social scientists and anyone interested in the modern state.
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Call number JC233.M299.T56 1994
ISBN(s) 0415908698
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