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Althusser, Poulantzas, Balibar and the “Debate on the State”

(Paper presented at the 2013 London Historical Materialism Conference)

Giorgos Kalampokas, Tassos Betzelos, and Panagiotis Sotiris

This paper is part of a broader theoretical project for a rereading of some of the crucial theoretical debates of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, especially those related to the theoretical and philosophical

interventions of Louis

lthusser! "ome of the positions s#etched here

have been initially presented as part of a seminar $e coordinated last spring in thens! %e have also discussed as part of preparation the lthusser&s major $or#s in 'ree#!

ne$ edition of some of Louis

(oreover, this project also has to do $ith broader theoretical and

2 political debates in the 'ree# Left and the challenges $e are facing in the current conjuncture!

1. Althusser and the search for a new practice of politics A crucial aspect of )n *eproduction, Althusser’s 19 9 manuscript, from !hich the 19"# article on +deology and the +deological pparatuses of

the "tate !as e$tracted, is that it represents Althusser’s attempt to think of the materialit% of the State and its apparatuses, as a !a% to rethink re&olutionar% politics and especiall% to rethink a ne!

re&olutionar% practice of politics' Althusser stressed the need to a&oid an idealist , instrumentalist theor% of the State, and to ela(orate on a theory of the "tate that !ould go (e%ond a descriptive theor% of the State' )e insisted on the distinction (et!een "tate -o$er, !hich has to do !ith an alliance of classes or a fraction of classes that tries to conser&e po!er !ithin the class struggle, and "tate pparatus'1

This stresses Althusser’s distancing from traditional communist politics, as a politics centred on the State' This distancing that is o(&ious in his critical references to *estern +uropean ,ommunist Parties in the correspondence !ith -ranca .adonia, / in his 19 te$t

on .ultural *evolution,0 in his acceptance of the importance of .a%

Althusser 1991, p' 1#2' 3t is interesting that in this section Althusser 4uotes Poulantzas' / 5Speaking a(out politics toda%, means anal%zing the political con6uncture and seeing that -rench and 3talian ,ommunist Parties, follo!ing the So&iet ,ommunist Part%, are o(6ecti&el% engaged in a reformist and re&isionist politics and (ecoming social democratic parties'7 Althusser 199", p' 90' 0 Althusser /#1#'

3 19 8 as a %outh insurrection 9 in sharp opposition to the positions of the -rench ,ommunist Part%' *e must com(ine this !ith Althusser’s insistence on the primac% of the relations of production o&er the producti&e forces, a crucial and often underestimated aspect of Althusser’s theor% of ideolog%' Also of importance is his ne! theorization of the 3deological Apparatuses :(oth pu(lic and pri&ate; !hich e$pands the scope of State inter&ention, (ut also stresses that it’s a not a 5neutral instrument7, since it is tra&ersed and deepl% marked (% class struggle' All these call for a ne! practice of revolutionary politics! )n reproduction is also full of references to the need for a ne! conception of radical politics that should a&oid the danger of treating ideological apparatuses of the state as sociall% and politicall% neutral institutions' This is more e&ident in those chapters dealing !ith the political and trade union 3deological Apparatuses of the State' -or Althusser the e$istence !ithin the 3deological Apparatuses of the State of proletarian parties and trade unions can onl% (e e$plained in terms of a long histor% of class struggle that imposed the presence of the Part% and its trade union !ithin these apparatuses' )o!e&er, the &er% choice of treating trade unions and left !ing parties as parts of 3deological Apparatuses of the State is of particular political and theoretical significance' 3t dra!s a line of demarcation against an% identification of proletarian politics !ith the limits set !ithin (ourgeois

4 3deological Apparatuses, making sure that proletarian politics does not limit itself to parliamentar% procedures and traditional 5legal7 trade union operations' -or Althusser proletarian politics should al!a%s go (e%ond these limits, e$actl% (ecause proletarian organizations !ere (orn outside the ideological apparatuses of the State<

Born through a class struggle that !as e$terior to the 3SAs, sustained (% this struggle and charged !ith the dut% to aid and support this struggle !ith an% legal means possi(le, the proletarian organizations that figure !ithin these 3SAs !ould (etra% their mission if the% reduced the e$terior class struggle, !hich is onl% reflected under the &er% limited terms of the class struggle !aged !ithin the 3SAs, to this class struggle that is interior to the 3SAs' 2

=f particular interest is the section on the relation of proletarian parties to the political 3deological Apparatus of the State' Althusser insists that, in contrast to the pre&ailing strateg% of +uropean ,ommunist Parties that there can (e parliamentar% road to socialism, since the important factor is mass action and not parliamentar% action'

At a time !hen e&er%one is asking a(out the 5passage to socialism7, it is necessar% to remem(er that there is no parliamentary road to socialism' The masses make the re&olutions, and not the


Althusser 1991, p' 1/"'

mem(ers of parliament, e&en if the ,ommunists and their allies !ere to (ecome temporaril% and miraculousl% the ma6orit% of a parliament'

Althusser does not den% the possi(ilit% or the necessit% of an attempt to!ards gaining parliamentar% ma6orit%, (ut he insists that it is 5the action of the masses, on the condition that the% are educated, mo(ilized and engaged in a correct line, that !ill decide the nature of the period of transition7' confrontation !ith State .oreo&er, he insists that !ithout a apparatuses, !ithout smashing state

apparatuses, it is not possi(le to ha&e a re&olutionar% process' This calls for a different practice of politics (ased on the 5 profound and irreversible rooting of the political class struggle $ith the economic class struggle/'" This is also linked to the importance and primac% of the relations of production' -or Althusser a proper re&olution is one that in the end opens up the !a%, through a long class struggle, for the destruction of the State Apparatuses that guarant% the pre&ailing relations of production and their replacement (% ne! relations of production' This gi&es a particularl% political and strategic tone the !hole manuscript on *eproduction' 3n a !a%, the 4uestion of reproduction is no longer a purel% theoretical 4uestion> since it is from the point of &ie! of reproduction that 4uestions of re&olutionar% strateg% can (e dealt !ith'


Althusser 1991, p' 10"' Althusser 1991, p' 109' Althusser 1991, p' 1 2'

under the ?ictatorship of the Proletariat. the ideological apparatuses of the State that are proper in order to prepare effectively the passage to socialism. instead of treading on 5contradictions7. of !hich contemporar% histor% offer us far too man% e$amples'8 3t is o(&ious that for Althusser the attempt to !ork upon a non@ instrumentalist theor% of the State and the attempt to rethink a ne! communist practice of politics are part of the same political and theoretical criti4ue of the impasse of communist politics and strateg% in the 19 #s' Both theoretical endea&ours target the right@!ing reformist parliamentar% conception of socialist transition that !as (ecoming the norm in *estern +uropean communist parties along !ith 8 Althusser 1991. !hich is more close to a chronicle than a science. it is right at the point of vie$ of reproduction that !e must ele&ate us. not onl% in order to understand the function and operation of the superstructure. namel% the !ithering a!a% of the State and all of its apparatuses. p' 190' . (ut also to ha&e the concepts that !ill ena(le us to take a closer look at the concrete histor% of re&olutions :in order to finall% constitute the science of their histor%.' The accomplished re&olutions and the re&olutions !e ha&e to accomplish' And also the conditions that must realised in order to put in place.6 3f m% interpretation is right. more or less camouflaged under 5controlled7 appellations.

p' 88@89' 1# . a 19"/ te$t that !as included in his 19"2 . p' "9' 11 Bali(ar 19"2.7 their distance or e&en opposition to the ne! d%namics associated !ith the larger historical c%cle of 19 8 protests and mo&ements' /' Mani esto ali!ar and the rectification of the Communist Bali(ar takes up e$actl% this point in his 5Aa rectification du . the re&olutionar% process and the possi(ilit% of an 5end of politics7 after the &ictor% of the re&olution.in0 1tudes du mat1rialisme histori0ue '9 Bali(ar uses his reading of the changes or additions (rought to the .ar$ came in terms !ith some of these contradictions after the e$perience of the Paris .ar$ and +ngels referred in their 18"/ preface to the .ommuniste7.ommunist (anifesto to changes the% !ould 9 Bali(ar 19"2' Bali(ar 19"2.1# a process !hich is (ased on class struggle. the re&olutionar% process.ommunist (anifesto to the State. open 4uestions and theoretical a(sences regarding the dictatorship of the proletariat.ommunist (anifesto 5the re&olution is not concei&ed simpl% as an act. (ut as an objective process7. it is a series of class struggles' -or Bali(ar the initial references of the . the actual process of dismantling the e$isting state apparatuses' 11 . are not depri&ed of$ and +ngels as a !a% to trace the emergence of a radicall% antagonistic form of re&olutionar% politics' -or Bali(ar in the .ommune.anifeste .ommunist (anifesto (% . !hich can e$plain !h% .

on the !hole. the general principles laid do!n in this . :.ommune. e&er%!here and at all times.odern 3ndustr% in the last t!ent%@fi&e %ears.anifesto itself states. according to Bali(ar there important changes in the definition of State po!er and the apparatuses of the State. !here the proletariat for the first time held political po!er for t!o !hole months. as correct toda% as e&er' )ere and there some detail might (e impro&ed' The practical application of the principles !ill depend. especiall% regarding the ina(ilit% of the !orking class to simpl% take up the e$isting state apparatus'1/ -or Bali(ar. still more.8 ha&e made in light of the e$perience of the . !hich for the first time in histor% and (ecause of its role in production. in &ie! of the practical e$perience gained. in man% respects.ivil %ar in 4rance > ddress of the 'eneral . as the . !hich 9 in contrast to /#th . no special stress is laid on the re&olutionar% measures proposed at the end of Section 33' That passage !$ 9 +ngels 19"#. on the historical conditions for the time (eing e$isting. &iz'. !hich necessaril% lead to the conclusion that the proletariat cannot simpl% con4uer and then use the old (ourgeois state apparatus' BT2he e3ploiting classes and the e3ploited class. first in the -e(ruar% Ce&olution. this program has in some details (ecome anti4uated' =ne thing especiall% !as pro&ed (% the . cannot e3ercise their po$er 1/ 5)o!e&er much the state of things ma% ha&e altered during the last t!ent%@fi&e %ears. p' 11. and then. is in the position to take po!er for itself.ommune.ommune. and !ield it for its o!n purposes'’ :See The . in the Paris .entur% communist reformism and its conception of 5stages of the re&olutionar% process79 !as not at the end (ut at the (eginning of the re&olutionar% process' . that Dthe !orking class cannot simpl% la% hold of the read%@made state machiner%. 18"1. the measures taken (% the .anifesto are.oreo&er. p' /.ommune and its attempt to do a!a% !ith parliamentar% democrac% and (ureaucrac% represented an actual process of dismantling the State Apparatus. and of the accompan%ing impro&ed and e$tended part% organisation of the !orking class.ouncil of the +nternational %or#ing (en5s ssociation. (e &er% differentl% !orded toda%' 3n &ie! of the gigantic strides of . for that reason. !here this point is further de&eloped'. and. Truelo&e. . Aondon.

putting an end to the (ourgeois separation of economics and politics' That is !h% re&olutionar% transformation cannot ha&e as an end the 5end of politics7 and its replacement (% the 5administration of things7. p' " ' . the emergence of ne! forms of mass political organization at the side of the State. $ith the same means and thus in the same forms! The% cannot. !ho can (e no other than the class ad&ersar%' 3t is impossi(le for the proletariat. not in the sense of a moral impossi(ilit% (ut in the sense of a material impossi(ilit%< the machine of the State does not function 5for the sake of7 the !orking class> either it does not function at all. a ne! practice of proletarian politics' =ne can find in this inter&ention echoes 10 12 Bali(ar 19"2. !hich for Bali(ar represents a (ourgeois distinction (et!een persons and things' *hat is need is a ne! form. 5&iolent7 or 5peaceful7'10 This makes necessar% a ne$ practice of proletarian politics ' This ne! practice of politics. pp' 91@9 ' Bali(ar 19"2.9 :and e&en their a(solute po!er. the penetration of politics !ithin the realm of production. (ut for the sake of someone else. to con4uer. this re&olutionar% transformation of politics includes< a. their 5dictatorship7. safeguard and use political po!er (% using an instrument analogous to the one used (% the dominant classes> other!ise it !ill loose it. in one form or the other.12 (. or it does function.

!here one can alread% find a relational conception of the political as the le&el !here all the contradictions of a social formation are condensed' 3n the anti@historicist conception of the original pro(lematic of .lasses. Poulant"as# the relational theor$ of the %tate and its implications for re&olutionar$ strate'$.ultural Ce&olution. (ut also as a crucial le&el in !hich the contradictions of a formation are reflected and condensed' This must (e done in order to understand e$actl% the anti@historicist . (ut this does in6ustice to long attempt to articulate a highl% original theor% of the State.10 of (oth the criticism of the . !hich !as also an attempt to o&ercome the limitations of an instrumentalist theor% of the State' This is o(&ious in -olitical -o$er and "ocial .ar$ism. Poulantzas’ relational conception of political po!er !as also an important contri(ution to these de(ates' Esuall% !e tend to associate Poulantzas !ith his later support of a &ersion of +urocommunism. (ut also of the need for a ne! form of communist politics that !ould go (e%ond communist reformism and opportunism' The attempt to smash the state and transform social and political relations is a constant political (attle that cannot !ait for after the re&olution' 3t must (e at the (eginning of an% emancipator% and transformati&e politics' 3. the political must (e located in the structure of a social formation. not onl% as a specific le&el.

11 character of the proposition that it is the political class struggle !hich constitutes the moti&e force of histor%' 11 The political character of Poulantzas inter&entions is also e&ident in 4ascism and 6ictatorship and his criti4ue in man% instances of the economism of the traditional communist mo&ement' This economism !as along !ith the a(sence of a mass line the reason for the ina(ilit% of the Third 3nternational to ans!er the rise of -ascism. preser&ing the conditions of production and therefore the reproduction of the social conditions of production' 3n a s%stem of class struggle it guarantees political class domination' This is precisel% the role of the ideological apparatuses< in particular the dominant ideolog% is the 5cement7 of a social formation'1 11 1 Poulantzas 19"8. along !ith the all the oscillations regarding the strateg% of the Enited -ront' *e !ould like to stress that regarding the theorization of the State Poulantzas offers here an emphasis on the comple$ role of the State in the reproduction of class domination in opposition to an% instrumentalist conception' The class State is the central instance !ith the role of preser&ing the unit% and cohesion of a social formation. p' 0#/' . p' 2#' Poulantzas 19"9.

lasses his in ne! .apitalism !here Poulantzas introduces Poulantzas 19"9. p' 0# ' Poulantzas 19"9. is (ased upon the importance of condensed class contradictions' The crucial theoretical inno&ation comes in . (ut this does not den% the relati&e autonom% of the other (ranches and especiall% the ideological State apparatuses' =f particular interest are Poulantzas references to ho! ideological State apparatuses condense the intense ideological contradictions coming from the class struggle resulting to the relati&e autonom% of the ideological State apparatuses. p' 0#1' Poulantzas 19"9. p' 0#8' .oreo&er. a theor% that is far from instrumentalist and.ontemporary 1" 18 19 . it is e$actl% this comple$it% that makes imperati&e some form of re&olutionar% organization. since onl% 5re&olutionar% organizations and organizations of the class struggle can in the end Descape’ the s%stem of ideological State apparatuses7'19 All these account for a comple$ theor% of State apparatuses and their role in class domination and social reproduction.12 -or Poulantzas in 4ascism and 6ictatorship the repressi&e State apparatus is the 5central nucleus71" of the State po!er and mechanism. !hich 5themsel&es are no more than the effects of the class struggle7' 18 -or Poulantzas this comple$it% of the ideological State apparatuses make it possi(le for the dominant ideolog% to outli&e the transformation of the apparatuses' . in contrast.

apitalism this relational approach the State is not associated !ith his later insistence on the place of social struggles !ithin the State' 3n contrast.13 relational conception of the State as the condensation of a class relation in sharp opposition to an% instrumentalist conception of the State< *e can thus define (oth the relationship and the distinction (et!een state po!er and state apparatuses' State apparatuses do not possess a 5po!er7 of their o!n.apitalism is an attempt to theorize the importance of class struggles and the primac% of the relations of production' Therefore.ontemporary . (ut it is itself a relation. more precisel% the condensation of a class relation'/# 3t is also !orth noting that especiall% in . it is a theoretical inter&ention that contrasts the economism especiall% of the .ommunist Part% and in particular its theor% of "tate (onopoly .lasses in . relations !hich are precisel% !hat is em(raced (% the concept 5po!er7' The state is not an 5entit%7 !hich an intrinsic instrumental essence. . (ut materialize and concentrate class relations.apitalism' This is e&ident in Poulantzas’ theor% of classes. p' / ' .lasses in . in his insistence on the primac% of relations of production.ontemporary . in his conception of the primac% of the reproduction to positions in the social di&ision of la(our as opposed to the reproduction /# Poulantzas 19"1.

/1 Poulantzas 19" ' . the aim of Poulantzas seems to (e e$actl% to re@introduce class struggle and antagonism right at the centre of the &er% materialit% of the State as a means to rethink the primac% of class struggle o&er the appearance of sta(ilit% of the State' +&en his theor% of the ne! pett% (ourgeoisie seemed e$actl% as an attempt to !arn against an% conception of the 5neutralit%7 of the supposedl% 5technical7 aspects of the di&ision of la(our' A crucial turn appears in Poulantzas’ inter&ention after 19"1' This is e&ident in his reading of the fall of South +urope dictatorships in the .ommunist parties for a democratic. the 3talian )ot Autumn and the .14 of the agents' 3t is also e&ident in Poulantzas’ theorization of the di&ision (et!een mental and intellectual la(our as a crucial aspect of class formation' =ne might sa% that the (ook reflects aspects of the ne! radicalism !ithin (oth the la(our mo&ements and the student re(ellions in the aftermath of .a% 19 8.ultural Ce&olution' Therefore.hinese . politicall% Poulantzas mo&es to!ard an attempt to pro&ide a left@!ing &ersion of the strateg% of *estern +uropean .risis of 6ictatorships71' =f particular importance !as (oth the e&olution of the Portuguese Ce&olution 9 the last se4uence of a potential 5insurrectional7 re&olutionar% se4uence in +urope9 from initial &ictor% to later defeat and the fact that despite strong popular mo&ements in (oth Greece and Spain the (ourgeoisie and its political representati&es managed to maintain the initiati&e' So.

Poulantzas insisted on (oth a struggle !ithin the State and a parallel struggle 8a struggle outside the institutions and apparatuses. insisting that it is onl% upon them that an% formal guarant% of democratic freedoms can (e (ased' Poulantzas does not den% the class character of the State and he criticizes the positions of 3talian . ended up !ith a &ersion of a struggle situated onl% !ithin the State' 3n contrast. he !as fa&oura(le to the strateg% of the . p' 008' . this is o(&ious in his 19"" inter&ie! !ith )enri *e(er on the State' // Although he took distance from the positions of the 3talian .oreo&er. as a distinction (et!een 5good7 and 5(ad7 aspects of the State. structures of direct democracy at the base/!79 Poulantzas tried to use the theoretical ad&ances to!ards a relational theor% of State Po!er as 6ustification for his conception of democratic socialism' )e insisted that the presence of the su(altern classes !ithin the State made impossi(le a traditional 5Aeninist7 attack // /0 3n Poulantzas /##8' Poulantzas /##8. giving rise to a $hole series of instruments. organs of popular po$er at the base.15 parliamentar% transition to socialism' -or e$ample. he insisted on the centralit% of forms of democratic representation.ommunist$ists from the P. means of coordination.ommon Program in -rance and to the possi(ilit% of the Aeft mo&ing into go&ernmental po!er along !ith a huge mo(ilization of the popular masses' .3 such as Auciano Gruppi that (% theorizing a 5contradictor%7 nature of the State.

of the possi(ilit% of re&olutionar% processes. (ut it is an attempt to rethink (oth the materialit% of State apparatuses and the constant effecti&it% of class struggle that tra&erses and conditions State apparatuses at all le&els' This should (e read along !ith Poulantzas in&alua(le insights on the role of the State in the encoding F decoding of discourses and ideologies. -o$er and "ocialism.production of social forms and social di&isions. on the articulation of strategies. in organizing the hegemon% of the ruling class.16 on the State strateg%' )o!e&er. of an actual 5!ithering a!a% of state7 in the sense of the emergence of ne! social and political configurations' Therefore. in particular the manual F intellectual la(our di&ide' *hat emerges is a theor% of (oth the efficac% of the State. of the autonomous mo&ements and the popular struggles to a su(ordinate position &is@G@ . in lines similar to Gramsci’s conception of the integral "tate' At the same time it is also of the possi(ilit% of radical transformation. there political and theoretical tension runs (et!een Poulantzas relational theorization of the State and the political conclusions he dre! from it' 3n this sense ho!e&er 6ustified are the criticisms that can raised against Poulantzas’s in placing. its e$tended role in reproducing class domination and e$ploitation. on the :re. especiall% in the last chapter of "tate. the conception of State po!er as condensation of class relations has much more to sa% than that' 3n our reading it has less to do !ith a(ilit% to transform the State from !ithin.

istence . refusing compromises and changing the (alance of forces in fa&our of capital'/1 (.a&azzini is therefore right to insist on the importance of this contradiction' Poulantzas’s conception of a parliamentar% transition to socialism !as (ased on the possi(ilit% of the political parties (eing in a position to pla% the mediating role (et!een State and capital on the one hand and State and the su(altern classes on the other' This mediating role !as seriousl% (eing undermined (% e$actl% this neoli(eral authoritarian turn that !as shifting the centre of decision from legislati&e po!er to the administration. especiall% in his 19"9 inter&ie! on the crisis of the Parties' /2 Andrea . ne&ertheless the relational theorization of State po!er remains an indispensa(le theoretical reference' These tensions of Poulantzas political conclusions are also e&ident in his confrontation !ith !hat he designated as authoritarian statism. especiall% in 19" @19"8. Althusser 1)*+.ism and the search for new forms of political and philosophical e.17 &is the electoral struggle for the con4uest of go&ernmental po!er. com(ined !ith the first signs of the neoli(eral turn and the shift of (ourgeois ideolog% to!ards irrationalism.oming no! to Althusser’s inter&ention in these de(ates.*-# the Crisis of Mar.a&azzini /##9' . !e !ould like to insist that apart from /2 /1 3n Poulantzas 19"9' .

(orne from $ithin the !orking class mo&ement' This is in sharp contrast to the position defended (% Kautsk% on the importation of . it refers to the limits .ar$ism and at the same time his thinking !as at the limits of .ar$ist theor%' =ne might sa% that in that period Althusser !as thinking the limits of .criticism of the limits and contradictions of . this refers to the limits !ithin !hich . under the Second 3nternational of the earl% t!entieth centur%.18 Althusser’s inter&entions regarding the 4uestion of State$ism' =n the one hand. of a theor% 9 that of a 5science produced (% (ourgeois intellectuals7 and 5introduced from !ithout into the !orkersH mo&ement7 @ there clearl% / Althusser 19" .ar$ist theor% must confront in the sense of pro(lems and 4uestion to !hich it has not managed to offer an ans!er' =f crucial importance !as not onl% Althusser’s second definition of philosoph% as in the last instance class struggle in theory . (eneath the general conception. a position that Althusser not onl% attacked in the late 19"#s (ut also linked to the reproduction of the manual F intellectual di&ision of la(our !ithin !orking class organizations' )o!e&er that ma% (e./ (ut also his conception of historical materialism as revolutionary$ism must (e de&eloped. if it is to a&oid (eing turned into a philosoph% of histor%' =n the other hand. p' 18' . it !as a crucial period in the e&olution of Althusser’s$ist theor% into the !orking class mo&ement from outside.

all these forms (eing dominated (% a separation (et!een kno!ledge and non@kno!ledge. hence (et!een the Part% and the masses. pp' 0/@00' . on the political basis provided by that movement and its rectified theoretical positions!/78 /" /8 Althusser /## . (et!een the informed and the ignorant. and. reduced to recei&ing it from !ithout and from on high (ecause the% !ere naturall% ignorant of it'/" 3n contrast. (et!een the Part% leaders :!ho !ere intellectuals> !hether the% !ere of !orking@class (ackground is immaterial. and the led. Althusser insists that . Band rank@and@file acti&istsI' 3n the last instance. that is. his organic relation to them< 5 (ar35s thought $as formed and developed not outside the $or#ers5$ !ithin proletarian struggles and his commitment to this struggles.$ist theor% !as from the (eginning de&eloped $ithin the !orking class mo&ement' This !as (ased upon the encounter of . pp' /1@/ ' Althusser /## . this representation could not (ut reproduce (ourgeois forms of kno!ledge.19 appeared the outlines of an idealist. but $ithin the e3isting $or#ers5 movement. forms of the production and possession of this kno!ledge on the one hand. and. (et!een the leaders. &oluntarist representation of the relation (et!een theor% and practice. (et!een the Part% and the mass mo&ement. on the other. (ourgeois forms of the possession and e$ercise of po!er. the guardians of kno!ledge.

ar$ist theor% and communist politics. (ut e$actl% the confrontation !ith e$actl% this conception of .20 )o!e&er. full of contradictions. in particular the !a% the general (alance of forces !ithin societ% !as internalized !ithin the !orking class mo&ement in the form of its &arious 5de&iations7' -or Althusser. symmetry (et!een idealist Philosophical S%stems and a ne! materialist practice of philosophy . this position also meant that .ar$ist$ist theor% to (e from the (eginning.risis of (ar3ism is not a e$pression of disillusionment !ith . an% science that represents a rupture !ith the dominant ideolog% is necessaril% open to &arious forms of ideological counter@offensi&es' This is e$emplified in Althusser’s insistence on the necessar% conflictual and scissionist character of . it !as necessar% for . The 19" lecture on the 5Transformation of Philosoph%7 !hich is a crucial te$t in the e&olutions of Althusser’s definition of philosoph%' The important aspect here is Althusser’s insistence on the$ist theor% as a terrain determined (% class struggle and the (alance of forces' Therefore. p' 11# . !hich is descri(ed in terms &er% /9 Althusser 1999. limits and influences from (ourgeois ideolog%' This is e&ident in a series of crucial te$ts from that period< These include< a. from the 5epistemological (reak7. the theme of the .ar$ist theor%' Therefore. a conflictuality that is 5constitutive of its$ist theor% !as ne&er immune to the class struggle and to the (alance of forces in the class struggle. its objectivity7/9 of .

ar$.21 similar to the conception of a ne! communist practice of politics' . so it can (e said that the ne! forms of philosophical e$istence linked to the future of these free associations !ill cease to ha&e as their essential function the constitution of the dominant ideolog%.oreo&$. Aenin and Gramsci ought to (e a 5non@philosoph%7 @ that is. a State tending to its o!n dissolution. this materialist practice of philosoph% is descri(ed (oth as a 5deconstruction7 and undermining of idealist positions. to replace the State so as to pla% a totall% different role from that of the State :not one of &iolence and repression. (ut also as a !a% to produce ne! theoretical forms and discourses< To support our argument (% comparison !ith the re&olutionar% State. one !hich ceases to (e produced in the form of a philosoph%. !hich ought to (e a State that is a 5non@State7 @ that is. to (e replaced (% forms of free association @ one might e4uall% sa% that the philosoph% !hich o(sessed . !ith all the compromises and e$ploitation that accompan% it. according to . in order to promote the li(eration and free e$ercise of social practices and human ideas' BJI This ne! practice of philosoph% ser&es the proletarian class struggle !ithout imposing upon it an oppressi&e ideological unit% :!e kno! !here that oppression has its . !hose function of theoretical hegemon% !ill disappear in order to make !a% for ne! forms of philosophical e$istence' And 6ust as the free association of !orkers ought.

inside or outside the State. it is e$actl% in that period that Althusser dealt !ith the 4uestion of !hat a ne$ practice of communist politics implies' Although most presentations of this de(ate centre upon the 4uestion of the "tate and !hether the !orking class and its Part% is :or should (e. The posthumousl% pu(lished 19"8 manuscript (ar3 in his limits.22 roots. in sharp contrast to a certain )egelian conception of the logical order of e$position' c. pp' / 2@ 1' 3n Althusser 1998' 3n Althusser 199#' . and of the latent )egelianism in .ar$’s order of presentation of . !hich apart from the specific theorization of the State. (ut rather creating for it the ideological conditions for the li(eration and free de&elopment of social practices' 0# (. !here !e can see (oth the criti4ue of the arithmetical conception of surplus &alue :a point also taken in the ?umenil preface.apital'0/ d.apital. namel% the chapters on concrete historical realit%. !e think that the actual stake of the 0# 01 0/ Althusser 199#..apital. The 19"8 article on (ar3ism Today.risis of (ar3ism' At the same time. are an indispensa(le theoretical aspect of the pro6ect of the criti4ue of political econom%. The 19"" preface to Gerard ?umenil’s (ook on the concept of the economic la! in . also includes e$tensi&e ela(orations on the 4uestions ha&ing to do !ith the .01 offers the highl% original proposition that the presence of the 5e$terior7 in .

the en&ironment. e&en if still onl% as a hint. parties and trade unions' J *h% address the popular masses in this !a%K To tell them.ongress' Althusser’s inter&ention is not simpl% a criticism of the a(andonment of the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat' 3t is also a call for ne! forms of autonomous organization of the su(altern class apart from traditional part% forms' This is one of the first such inter&entions of Althusser on the need to go (e%ond the traditional Part%@-orm and use these ne! forms of organizations as e$actl% the means for a process of re&olutionar% 5!ithering a!a%7 of the State' BTIhe slogan 5union of the people of -rance7. transport.ommunist Part% in its // nd . around the 4uestions of la(our and li&ing conditions. the 4uestions of housing. ur(an districts and &illages. etc'> in order to define and defend their demands. in firms. is not s%non%mous !ith the slogan of the Enion of the Aeft' 3t is (roader than it. education. that the% !ill ha&e to organi:e themsel&es autonomousl%.23 de(ate is mainl% the 4uestion of a ne! form and ne! practice of politics in opposition to communist parties em(racing a (ourgeois practice and form of politics' This is e&ident in the first of Althusser’s ma6or inter&entions. his lecture on the pro(lems associated !ith the strategic turn of the -rench . health. first to prepare for the . and different in nature> for it does not designate 6ust the union or united action of the political organizations of the Aeft. in original forms.

and a strateg% and forms of struggle (e esta(lished from this moment that do not foster an% illusions a(out socialism :such as D*eH&e arri&ed< e&er%(od% out’ M Aenin’s ironic comment. in order to replace it !ith the state of 00 02 Althusser 19""' Althusser 19""' 01 5communism is not an ideal (ut Dthe real movement unfolding beneath our eyes&! Ler% concretel% this means< the strateg% of the !orkers’ mo&ement must take this dialectic into account< it cannot be merely the strategy of socialism. and 3 ask that these !ords (e carefull% !eighed.ommunist Part% and its strateg% of 5democratizing7 the State. !here the% pla% an important part. it is necessaril% the strateg% of communism. stud%ing and understanding their aspirations and their contradictions. or else the !hole process is in danger of marking time and getting (ogged do!n at one moment or another :and this must (e foreseen.' =nl% on the (asis of the strateg% of communism can socialism (e concei&ed as a transitor% and contradictor% phase. stimulate it and at the same time force it to 5!ither a!a%7' Such mass organizations. Althusser insists on the necessar% 8restoring their voice to the masses/ in the sense of 8opening one&s ears to hem. Spain and Portugal. therefore as an attempt to revolutioni:e social forms and the State'01 3n opposition to the reformist turn of the -rench . (ut treat socialism as it is. !ithout getting (ogged do!n in the first Dtransition’ that happens to come along'7 Althusser 19""' . Althusser insists on the need for a revolutionary approach' Trul%. alread% e$ist or are (eing sought in 3tal%.24 esta(lishment of a re&olutionar% state.oreo&er. as a 5real mo&ement7. learning ho! to (e attenti&e to the masses’ imagination and in&enti&eness'702 This linked to rethink of socialism as the transition to communism. despite all difficulties' 00 . then to maintain it. to 5destro%7 the (ourgeois state. !hich no one can define in ad&ance and on (ehalf of the masses.

must (e a defining aspect of our political practice long (efore the re&olutionar% process' The 0 Althusser 19""' .onference' -or Althusser the crisis of . proletarian ideolog%. it is to re&olutionize in their structures. practices and ideologies the e$isting state apparatuses> to suppress some of them. to create others> it is to transform the forms of the division of labour (et!een the repressi&e. i'e' its replacement (% mass organizations' 0 This same emphasis on the mass initiati&es is also a cornerstone of Althusser No&em(er 19"" inter&ention on The .risis of (ar3ism in the +l (anifesto Lenice . in order to prepare for the 5!ithering a!a% of the state7. is not to add the adjective 8democratic/ to each e3isting state apparatus! 3t is something 4uite other than a formal and potentiall% reformist operation.25 the !orking class and its$ism is the result of an ina(ilit% to come in terms !ith the theoretical and strategic 4uestion facing us. on the (asis of a ne!. especiall% in light of the open crisis of the so&iet social formations' And this means ho! to think the 4uestion of the Part% and mass organizations and their relation to the State not 6ust as theoretical 4uestions (ut as a re&olutionar% practice and politics that start toda%' -or Althusser the process that can lead us to an actual !ithering a!a% of the State starts from no!. political and ideological apparatuses> it is to revolutioni:e their methods of $or# and the bourgeois ideology that dominates their practices> it is to assure them ne$ relations $ith the masses in response to mass initiati&es.

$hich usually fail to fit into the division bet$een the economic and political spheres/!98 3n the ans!$ism and the testing ground for an% proposition to e$it this crisis' A ne! practice of mass politics is necessar% (oth for the recomposition of the re&olutionar% mo&ement (ut also for the transition process' That is !h%. and prepare the <$ithering a$ay& of the revolutionary "tate=/0" Therefore. the open 4uestions coming from the crisis of 5actuall% e$isting socialism7 along !ith the ne! d%namics of the mo&ements (ecome at the same time the potential e$planation for the crisis of *estern communism and . $ill permit the development of initiatives among the people. that Althusser ga&e to Cossana Cossanda some months after the Lenice . transcending the traditional distinction bet$een trade union and party. in order to spur on the process. Althusser insists that 8the most important of 0uestions for past and future>ho$ can relations be established $ith the mass movement $hich.onference Althusser makes a reference to communism as material tendenc% emerging from the contradictions of capitalism and to the virtual forms of communism e$isting in the interstices of capitalist social forms' 0" 08 Althusser 19"8. the need for the <destruction& of the bourgeois "tate. p' //#' . noting the emergence of ne! mass popular mo&ements that emerge outside the limits of the traditional part%@form (ut also of the trade unions.o$ can $e grasp no$. p' //#' Althusser 19"8.26 4uestion is< 5.

ha&e nothing to do !ith the practices :economic and political. 09 Althusser 1998.. &irtual forms of communism. the forms of the proletarian class struggle. in the associations that manage B''I to a&oid commodit% relations'09 -or Althusser .ar$ thinks of communism as a tendency of capitalist societ%' This tendenc% is not an a(stract result' 3t alread% e$ists.. in a concrete form in the 5interstices of capitalist societ%7 :a little (it like commodit% relations e$isting 5in the interstices7 of sla&e or feudal societ%. and the forms of the (ourgeois and imperialist class struggle' As a result !e ha&e antagonistic ideologies. the in&ersion or the re&erse of (ourgeois ideolog%. p' /81' .27 .ar$ist theor% is finite (ut not closed' 3t is finite in the sense of (eing a theor% of the capitalist mode of production and its contradictor% tendencies. the practices :political and producti&e. like all class struggles :proletarian and (ourgeois. and not closed e$actl% (ased on (eing open to these contradictor% tendencies as opposed to a closed philosophical s%stem' Part of this ne! theoretical orientation !as Althusser’s positi&e appreciation of proletarian ideolog%' The follo!ing passage e$emplifies this position' The conditions of e$istence. !hich. are uneven' This means that the proletarian ideolog% is not the direct opposite.

!e !ould like to insist that the crucial aspect of Althusser’s inter&ention in the State de(ate is not his insistence on the necessar% e$teriorit% of the mo&ement to the State (ut this emphasis on the necessit%. a ne$ practice that re0uires ne$ forms of popular organi:ation and ne$ initiatives! . has to do !ith his increased emphasis on the effecti&it% of ideolog% !ithin the 3deological Apparatuses of the State' 3f !e look at the 19" ?ote on the +" &s !e can see Althusser insisting on the 8primacy of class struggle on the functions and functioning of the Apparatus of the State721 and the 8class struggle on the dominant ideology and the ideological apparatuses of the "tate/@7' Therefore. p' /10' Althusser 1991. p' /11' . p' / "' Althusser 1991. the main endea&our of Althusser is e$actl% to redefine this opposition (et!een (ourgeois politics and a ne! communist F proletarian practice of politics' Part of this theoretical and political shift (% Althusser. it is not that Althusser does not take into account ho! State apparatuses are tra&ersed and in the last instance determined (% class struggles' 2# 21 2/ Althusser 1991.onse4uentl%. 5critical and re&olutionar%7'2# Therefore.ommunist Parties.28 (ut a !holl% different ideolog%. possi(ilit% and actualit% of these mass initiati&es' These made imperati&e to ela(orate a ne$ practice of politics in sharp contrast to the State@centred politics of the *estern +uropean . a (earer of other 5&alues7.

as the ideolog% upon !hich communist parties (ase their functioning is not the spontaneous ideolog% of the proletariat' 3nstead it emerges through the com(ination of three elements' The first is the spontaneous proletarian ideolog% proper. Althusser insists on the effecti&it% not of indi&idual apparatus (ut of comple$es of apparatuses' This means that communist parties cannot (e 5parties of the State7' =f particular importance is his position that it is not a particular political part% that acts as an 3deological Apparatus of the State (ut the !hole political 3deological State Apparatus'20 =n the (asis on this conception. Althusser offers in this te$t a more dialectical conception of 5proletarian ideolog%7. p' / 0' . !here 5proletarian Delements’ :Aenin. he insists that a communist part% e&en if it participates in a go&ernment.29 )o!e&er. !hich for Althusser must (e distinguished from simple spontaneous proletarian elements' -or Althusser.oreo&er.ommunist Parties' -or Althusser communist parties must (e parties 5totall% different7 21 from (ourgeois ones. this is not eas%. 8there is no $ay it can be defined as a <party of government&/ '22 3t is o(&ious that is a position in sharp contrast to the pre&ailing at that time electoralism of the +uropean . p' / 1' Althusser 1991. (ecause of (ourgeois and proletarian practices of politics (eing une0ual' . are com(ined !ith (ourgeois 20 22 21 Althusser 1991. p' /1 ' Althusser 1991. the proletarian ideolog%. !ith a totall% difference practice of politics! )o!e&er.

and most often are su(sumed to them7' 2 The second element has to do !ith the actual e$periences of the !orking class and its struggles and the third is represented (% the o(6ecti&e kno!ledge supplied (% . p' / 1991.. (ecause at the le&el of the masses it functions like e&er% ideolog% :interpelating indi&iduals as su(6ects.30$ist theor%' Therefore it is a 5mass ideolog%7. p' / 1991. p' / 199#' p' / 0' 2' 1' 1' .ar$ist theor% !ithin the !orkers’ mo&ement' . (ut it is also penetrated (% historical e$periences enlightened (% principles of scientific anal%sis'72" This conception of the proletarian ideolog% is for Althusser the (asis of the interiority of . (ut 5 a very particular ideologyA ideolog%. !hat is happening is the 8the diffusion in the interior the %or#ers& movement of a theory that has been conceived in the interior of the %or#ers& movement/ @8' 3t is interesting to note that Althusser referred to proletarian ideolog% in similar terms in 5The Transformation of Philosoph%7. a te$t of the same period' -or Althusser 5BtIhe ideolog% of the dominant class does not constitute itself as dominant e$cept o&er and against the ideological elements of the dominated class'729 This reference to the ideological elements of the dominated class suggests that one of the constituti&e aspects of dominant ideolog% is to (e tra&ersed (% tensions and contradictions.onse4uentl% there is no point in thinking in terms of 5in6ecting re&olutionar% theor% into the !orkers7 mo&ement' 3n realit%. 2 2" 28 29 Althusser Althusser Althusser Althusser 1991.

he turns to repressive apparatuses of the "tate and a conception of the State as an apparatus and e&en an instrument' 1# 11 1/ Althusser 1991.31 since !ithin it are there e&ol&ing antagonistic into tendencies' These of into tendencies materialized and potentiall%.onse4uentl% autonomy is the strategic e$igenc% of the !orking class. a theoretical schema ela(orated in (ar3 in his limits'1/ There Althusser makes a particular theoretical shift' Aea&ing aside his pre&ious non@instrumentalist emphasis on 3deological Apparatuses of the State and the fact that there are constantl% tra&ersed and conditioned (% class struggle. p' / 2' Althusser 1991.11 (% constructing its o!n organizations (ased upon proletarian ideolog%' 3n light of the a(o&e !e can go (ack to Althusser’s attempt to descri(e the State as a machine transforming social force into political :and legal. po!er.onse4uentl%. re&olutionar% forms of su(6ectification :e$emplified in the fusion (et!een proletarian ideolog% and . proletarian or re&olutionar% ideolog% is concei&ed mainl% as a process that has alread% started upon the terrain of dominant ideolog%. antagonistic certain practices su(6ectification under conditions. p' / ' 3n Althusser /## ' .ar$ist theor% descri(ed a(o&e. through the tensions and contradictions that tra&erse it' That is !h% for Althusser 5Dproletarian ideolog%’ is also a stake of the class struggle'71# .' .

(ut he insists that 5to leap from this to the conclusion that the state Dis (% definition tra&ersed (% class struggle’ is to engage in !ishful thinking7'12 -er se Althusser’s anal%sis of the specific meaning of the metaphor of machine and apparatus in the 19 th centur% is reall% fascinating' 3n a !a% it (rings class struggle (ack in. the transformation of one into the other'711 Therefore. p' "#' Althusser /## .an %ou imagine an instrument used (% the dominant class that !ould not (e 5separate7 from class struggleK10 Althusser accepts the influence of class struggle and the e$istence of contradictions !ithin the State (ecause of the efficac% of class struggle. he is far from simpl% endorsing an instrumentalist approach to the state' Based upon a 5mechanic7 metaphor Althusser makes a distinction (et!een the energ% transformed in the State@machine. that is !h% it is an instrument' . and. p' 8#' Althusser /## ' p' 81' . since that is !hat it is made for. despite Althusser’s polemic against theorists of a relational conception of the State. namel% social force of the 10 12 11 Althusser /## . since a machine is a process of transformation of energy and not simpl% an instrument' Althusser admits this particular importance of the reference to the machine< 53n the case of an apparatus. one kind of energ% is sufficient> in the case of a machine.32 The state is separate from class struggle. a(o&e all. !e ha&e to do !ith at least t!o t%pes of energ%.

and the body of the State machine' )e uses this distinction in order to refute the position that the 5(od% of the State7 is in crisis (ecause it is tra&ersed (% class struggle' -or Althusser although the 5(od% of the State7 and in particular the repressi&e apparatuses. p' 108' .onse4uentl%. Althusser insists that the onl% kind of energy that enters the State as machine is that coming from the class struggle of the dominant classes not from that of the oppressed< 5only the 4orce of the dominant class enters into it and is recogni:ed there!/B6 +&en if !e could reformulate this conceptualization of the State as machine in a non@instrumentalist !a% (% accepting that in the state machine enters (oth the energ% coming from the class struggle of the dominant class (ut also the energ% coming from the class struggle of the su(altern classes. is comprised (% persons that come from the su(altern classes. and this can account for the persistent need to destroy the State Apparatus' . it is difficult for this (od% to crack. !e !ould still (e facing the limitations of such a conception' 3t cannot account for the internal contradictions of the State apparatuses and in particular of the class contradictions tra&ersing the 3deological Apparatuses of the State' This particular limitation is also o(&ious in Althusser’s reference to the ideological Apparatus of the State as (eing 5tendentiall% linked to the state7. 1" a definition that is &er% close to identif%ing the State !ith (asicall% the 1 1" Althusser /## . p' 1#9' Althusser /## .33 class struggle.

this conception of the State as machine cannot sa% much a(out the constituti&e role the State pla%s in the formation of class and the reproduction of class positions and their agents.3 de(ate. a definition that is a theoretical retreat compared to the 19 9@19"# te$ts' 3t is o(&ious that the comple$ and necessaril% contradictor% character of the 3deological Apparatuses of the State cannot (e easil% incorporated !ithin this conception of the State as machine' . took the potentiall% positi&e role of e$isting State Apparatuses for granted' Although Althusser ne&er pu(lished (ar3 in his limits.34 repressi&e apparatus of the State.oreo&er. a point to !hich (oth Poulantzas and Bali(ar ha&e insisted' And more generall% it seems that this machine metaphor cannot account for the most productive effecti&eness of State po!er and the State. !here the left &ariants of the P. in the sense defined (% -oucault amongst others'18 3t is o(&ious that Althusser is dri&en here (oth (% theoretical and political considerations' )e !as afraid that an% relational conception of the State !ould lead to a reformist politics and illusions a(out the a(ilit% to 5use7 the (ourgeois State for socialism' )is theoretical target is not onl% the !ork of Poulantzas (ut also aspects of the 3talian de(ate. such as 3ngrao. ne&ertheless the insistence on the necessar% e3teriority of !orking class organizations to!ards the State !as a (asic tenet of his inter&entions' 3n his inter&ie! to Cossana Cossanda he insisted that 18 -oucault 19"8' .

in relation to the State.teriorit$ de!ate Althusser’s inter&ention !as part of a (roader de(ate regarding the role of the State and the relation of the proletarian part%@form to the State' This de(ate.35 5B!Iithout this autonom% of the part% :and not of politics . !as an attempt to deal !ith the political 4uestions :and trauma. not all them communist' / /. in his Oul% 19"8 inter&ie! to Peter SchPttler that ser&ed as the prologue to the German edition of the . 1 and suggests that in the future re&olutions !ill (e the result of a the confluence !ithin a mass mo&ement of &arious parties. originating from the e&olution of so&iet socialism and the identification of ruling communist parties in 5people’s democracies7 !ith the State in a &er% authoritarian &ersion' =n the other hand. the 4uestion of the State of its e$tended role. 198#.risis of (ar3ism inter&entions Althusser insisted on the necessar% e$tra@State and e$tra@parliamentar% character of communist politics as the result of the e$tra@State area of acti&it% (eing much (roader than the State'60 3t is also interesting that in that inter&ie! Althusser also insists that along !ith the !ithering a!a% of the State a !ithering a!a% of the Part% is also necessar%. !e !ill ne&er get out of the (ourgeois State ho!e&er Dreformed’ this might (e'719 3n the same line. p' /9#' p' 1 ' p' /1' p' //' . 198#. 198#. of the 19 # 1 / Althusser Althusser Althusser Althusser 1998. on the one hand. 0he interiorit$ 1 e.

' 0 . through Aeft@!ing go&ernments. raised serious theoretical and political issues regarding the role of the State and the relation of communist parties to the State and led to conflicting positions' +ither in the form of an attempt to rethink the potentiall% positi&e role of the State and the Part% along to ne! forms of democrac% in ci&il societ% and a effort to!ards the socialization of politics. !hich e&ol&ed into his call for a politics at a distance from the State. the State' Alain Badiou’s insistence from the 19"#s on a communist politics openl% antagonistic and e$ternal to the State. p' /0#. 2 is an e$ample of this tendenc%' And it is interesting that in the 19"#s there are certain analogies (et!een Althusser’s calls for the e$teriorit% of the Part% to the State and similar statements (% Badiou' 1 )o!e&er.ommunist Parties to find themsel&es to manage the State. apart from this polarization. (orn from !ithin the part% itself'7 :Badiou /##9. a position e&ident for e$ample in Pietro 3ngrao’s inter&entions in the second half of the 19"#s' 0 Alternati&el%. other inter&entions in those de(ates attempted a more dialectical approach' =f particular interest are those inter&entions that came from people !ho.36 possi(ilit% for . it took the form of an attempt to think of a politics (e%ond :and against. under a Dproletarian’ class name that is henceforth a(solutel% imaginar%' This entit% has a name< the ne! (ourgeoisie. one !a% or the other had (een theoretical interlocutors of Althusser' Poulantzas opposed the e$teriorit% thesis on the (asis of the fact that 5the State is 3ngrao 19""> 3ngrao 19"8' Althusser makes man% references to the 3talian de(ates of that time in his te$ts in the second half of the 19"#s' 2 Badiou /##1' 1 3t is interesting to read ho! in a 19"8 te$t included in Theory of the Su(6ect Badiou refers to 5anticommunist fusion of the State and the masses.

(et!een a struggle 5!ithin7 the state apparatuses :that is. and a struggle located at a certain distance from these apparatuses' 4irst. Poulantzas grounds his opposition to Althusser on his relational conception of the State' . e&en if onl% in a retracted manner and through intermediaries' "econdly.oreo&er. -o$er and "ocialism.onse4uentl%. as is often thought. !here he offers an e&en more clear conception of a struggle (oth 5inside7 and 5outside7 the State< The choice is not. for Poulantzas all the ne! mo&ements that Althusser referred to as proof for the e$teriorit% of popular mo&ements 8are necessarily positioned on the strategic terrain of the "tate! A proletarian politics cannot (e placed outside the State7' " Theoreticall%. and most importantl%. (ecause struggle at a distance from state apparatuses !hether !ithin and (e%ond the limits of the ph%sical " Poulantzas B19"9I 198/. nor its simple reform' 3t must (e an attempt to deal !ith these contradictions in a com(ination (et!een the transformation of the State and mo&ements from (elo!' Poulantzas also deals !ith these matters in "tate. ph%sicall% in&ested and inserted in their material space.37 alread% present in the &er% constitution of production relations and not onl% in their reproduction7' . for Poulantzas a re&olutionar% politics can (e neither an attempt to destro% the institutions of representati&e democrac%. (ecause an% struggle at a distance al!a%s has effects !ithin the State< it is al!a%s there. p' 12 ' . p' 12/' Poulantzas B19"9I 198/.

the pro(lem !ith Poulantzas’ inter&ention !as that in contrast to the earl% formulation of his relational theor% of State and State po!er.oreo&er. had alread% shifted to!ards a thinking of the left@!ing politics mainl% as parliamentary politics. this shift (% Poulantzas makes it impossi(le to rethink a ne! practice of politics' As Andrea . !hich !ill limit itself to modif%ing e$isting structures. such struggles and mo&ement cannot tend to!ards centralization in a second po!er. remains necessar% at all times and in e&er% case. mass struggles outside the State o(6ecti&el% took a secondar% place in relation to electoral campaigns' .a&azzini notes Poulantzas’s positions 5make it impossi(le to pose the 4uestions of regarding a transformation of politics . pp' /19@/ #' . the% must rather seek to shift the relationship of forces on the terrain of the State itself' 8 )o!e&er.38 space traced (% the institutional loci. or. to (e more precise. (ut !ill dare 4uestion the place of its 8 Poulantzas 198#. since it affects the autonom% and the struggles and organizations of the popular classes' B'''I The 4uestion of $ho is in po!er to do $hat cannot (e isolated (% these struggles for self@ management and direct democrac%' But if the% are to modif% the relations of po!er. he thought in terms of the superiorit% of this kind of struggle for parliamentar% representation and left@!ing go&ernance !ithin the contours of a parliamentar% democrac%' 3n this perspecti&e.

p' 9/' Bali(ar 19"9. the status of its agents and !hich !ill finall% propose a change e&en at the level of its definition7' 9 Bali(ar’s response to Althusser. p' 81' Bali(ar 19"9. initiall% pronounced during a conference in Oanuar% 19"9 and su(se4uentl% pu(lished as an article in 6ialecti0ues is of particular interest and marks the (eginning of a rich and profound confrontation !ith the 4uestion of the relation of class.a&azzini /##9. politics and the State' Bali(ar (egins (% stressing the importance of Althusser’s opposition to the position that !as then dominant !ithin communist Parties that the% should (e 5parties of go&ernment7' )o!e&er. p' 8/' .39 Dproduction’. he stresses that in the 5logic of Althusser’s argument the idea of a Dpart% of opposition’ !ill (e e4uall% erroneous as that of Dpart% of go&ernment’7. the product of the rules that it imposed itself as a function of the final end to $hich it tendentially moves Ccommunism E the $ithering a$ay of the "tateD 7'"1 9 "# "1 ."# since (oth !ill (e inscri(ed in the same form and practice of politics' Bali(ar also insists that this s%mmetr% in political practice !as a manifestation of the crisis of the historical communist mo&ement' -or Bali(ar the pro(lem lies e$actl% in Althusser’s call for the part% to (e fundamentall% out of the State returning to the masses and in autonom% to the State' Bali(ar thinks that this (rings us (ack to an 8ideal Cand idealistD conception of a party that $ould be nothing but the effect of the CrevolutionaryD $ill of its members.

the !orking class itself7' "/ That is !h% for Bali(ar there !as no point in treating the masses as (eing outside the State. thus. 5outside the State7' 3n contrast.oreo&er. is 5an a(stract and moral opposition that sho!s BJI the incapacit% to anal%ze the genesis and historical results of real contradictions that D!ork through’ !orkers’ parties toda%. in the last instance. namel% institutional di&isions :the code of professional 54ualifications7 along !ith national references. !ithin gi&en historical "/ Bali(ar 19"9. in an% case. p' 82' . the% are al!a%s already taken !ithin a net!ork of state relations. he thought that an opposition (et!een a 5good7 democratic State and a 5(ad7 corporatist State. !ith a functioning of repression and ideological su(6ection !hich. and (et!een a 5good7 part% freeing the initiati&e of the masses and a 5(ad7 part% repressing this initiati&e.40 -or Bali(ar such a conception leads to contradictions that cannot (e easil% sol&ed' The part% is presented at the same time as the e$pression of the class conscience of the masses and as the centre of organization and education of the masses' -or Bali(ar Althusser’s criti4ue of communist parties (eing modelled on the State and its apparatuses did not offer per se a !a% to theorize the pro(lem (ecause the open 4uestion remained ho! to theorize the State' . on the contrar% the% are conditioned in man% aspects (% their relation to State apparatuses' The masses are not.

p' p' p' p' 82' 81' 8 ' 8 ' . and non. 19"9.. (ut in terms of contradictions internal to the s%stem of State relations7'"2 -or Bali(ar there !as a pro(lem !ith ho! the distinction (et!een proletarian and (ourgeois politics !as concei&ed in the . and of thinking in terms of antagonistic juridical forms' -or Bali(ar this led to 5ne$ forms of Dparliamentar% cretinism’ and Dantiparliamentar% cretinism’7' " Political domination should not (e confused !ith the 6uridical form it takes :as modalit% of representation etc.politics :proletarian. are simpl% indispensa(le for their e$istence and form the material condition of all politics'"0 All these re4uire a different approach< 5B!e mustI not think in terms of interior F e$terior of the State. namel% the Dpurit%’ of antagonistic positions :this old idealist temptation alread% denounced (% Aenin.> on the contrar% the 6uridical form 5in realit% dra!s its efficac% from the cumulati&e effect of all the "0 "2 "1 " Bali(ar Bali(ar Bali(ar Bali(ar 19"9. it !as concei&ed as a 5distinction (et!een politics :(ourgeois.41 conditions. 19"9. (ut it also had the cost of treating the Part% as the locus !here the contradiction (et!een these different forms of politics !as resol&ed :underestimating the e$tent that the Part% internalizes this contradiction.7'"1 *ith Aenin this distinction !as displaced in an opposition (et!een different institutional forms of$ist tradition' 3nitiall%. 19"9.

pp' 8"@88' Bali(ar 19"9. Aa! etc'.42 underl%ing apparatuses of ideological and political domination :school. this thinking of the Part% as antagonistic tendency manages to capture the force of class antagonism and the fundamental opposition (et!een potentiall% proletarian and (ourgeois politics.oreo&er.ultural Ce&olution. p' 88' . !ithout into a schematic conception of the Part% as a political and organizational entit% immune to the material constraints of the "" "8 "9 Bali(ar 19"9. conser&ed (% communist parties. "8 and then (% insisting that the part% is itself a site of class struggle' That is !h% it is important to anal%ze the 5contradictory place of the revolutionary party itself !ithin this Dpla%’ of the 3SAs BJI and the transformations of the re&olutionar% part% as antagonistic tendency !ithin the 3SAs7'"9 This is an important point (ecause it calls for a rethinking of all the ideological constraints and effects that offer the material ground for the inherentl% contradictor% character of re&olutionar% parties.hinese . famil%. the !a% it stressed that class struggles continue throughout the 5transition process7 and the opportunit% it offered to rethink the 4uestion of the Part%' -irst (% criticizing the 5e&olutionist and in fact apologetic kautskist motif.7'"" Bali(ar then turned his attention to the . according to !hich the party represents the Dfinal’ form of the integration of struggles and of the theor% F practice s%nthesis7. p' 8"' Bali(ar 19"9. (e%ond a schematic opposition !ithinFoutside the State' .

' 3t is a structural fact that the 5part%@form7. such as it functions$ism is toda% a mass re&olutionar% ideolog% onl% !ithin certain countries of Aatin +urope.. that . is not the form of 8# Bali(ar 19"9. not in the sense of li4uidating the organizational forms of the !orkers’ mo&ement (ut in the sense of coming in terms !ith the limits and contradictions of the part%@form' -or Bali(ar< 3t is a structural fact. under its current form. thus going (e%ond the insideFoutside opposition' -or Bali(ar this calls e$actl% for thinking the historical significance and the contradiction of the part% form' Therefore. neither the continuation of the re&olution in the countries of 5realized socialism7. p' 88' . that affects the interior of the 5part%@ form7 as an historical form.u(a BJI in the end it has not permitted. for Bali(ar the pro(lem !ith +urocommunism !as that it (elie&ed that it could resol&e the contradictions of the part%@form !ithout profoundl% positing and confronting them'8# This makes necessar% a necessar% (reak !ithin this form. nor the proletarian ans!er to 5multinational7 enterprises.. neither the real fusion of !orker’s mo&ement and national li(eration mo&ements :!ith some rare and 5precious e$ceptions7. the -ar@+ast and perhaps . neither the concentration and the centralization of class struggles in the ma6orit% of 5de&eloped7 imperialist countries :thus the dominant poles of imperialism.43 State.

!ithin !hich !hat pre&ails is not the solidarit% of struggles. namel%. in the last instance of the subordination to the tendencies of imperialism and its 5rules of game7'81 -or Bali(ar this called for a profound rethinking of the part%@form. part of a series of inter&entions that !ould also continue into the 198#s in an attempt to rethink politics under a class perspecti&e' The crucial aspect of Bali(ar’s inter&ention !as the !a% it attempted to pro(lematize the distinctions upon !hich Althusser’s inter&ention !as (ased 9 e$emplified in the inside F outside the State imager% 9 not in the sense of tr%ing to negate its importance (ut of 81 8/ Bali(ar 19"9. p' 91' . (ut it has (ecome the form of its crisis and di&ision.44 unity of the international communist mo&ement. 9#@91' Bali(ar 19"9. of the opposition (et!een national State interests. (e%ond the limits of the relation (et!een part% and trade union defined (% (oth the Second and the Third 3nternational' For Balibar we must challenge the 5<pluralism& of the -arty but also of <movements& F namely the organi:ations F of the masses 7 J !hich (% itself does not contri(ute to the undermining of the su(6ection of the masses to the forms of (ourgeois politics7'8/ *hat is need is much more profound challenge and 4uestioning of the part%@form itself' 3t is o(&ious that in the case of Bali(ar !e are dealing !ith an important inter&ention. (ut. :especiall% after the end of the Lietnam *ar.

the . as a line of demarcation !ith reformism and (ourgeois politics' *hat he !as attempting !as to think of this necessar% demarcation in its actual terms and the confrontation !ith (oth the comple$it% of State inter&ention and the limits of the historicall% determined relation (et!een the part%@form and other forms of proletarian mass politics' 3n this sense. as a !a% to think the e$tent. in its comple$it% and une&enness 9 tra&ersed as it is (% class struggle @. part% and the State' 3n a !a%. trapped in a thinking of State Apparatus in terms of inside F outside' 3n Bali(ar’s reading the !hole conception of the 3deological State Apparatuses goes (e%ond simpl% ha&ing a more comple$ theorization of State functions' 3t (ecomes a thinking of the State as a (roader net!ork and field of material practices.45 (ringing for!ard the comple$it% of the 4uestion and the contradictor% relation (et!een class mo&ement. the material ground and the possi(ilit% of politics. in a manner that Althusser himself did not dare to. depth and contradictions of the capitalist State. Bali(ar actuall% attempts to think the conse4uences of Althusser’s conception of the 3deological State Apparatuses. constraints and antagonisms that creates. including proletarian politics as antagonistic politics' This does not mean that Bali(ar denied the political significance of Althusser’s call for autonom% of the Part% and mo&ements from the State. Bali(ar !ent (e%ond the limits of the internalFe$ternal de(ate' *hat he tried to think !as the as%mmetr%.

Bali(ar insists that the e$igenc% is to think of an 5original practice of politics that is not less (ut more Ddemocratic’. changed the terrain of the de(ate' 3t !as no longer 4uestion of ho! to incorporate the possi(ilit% of communist parties arri&ing at go&ernmental po!er as a potential democratic road to politics' The retreat of the Aeft opened up the !a% for a more self@ critical refle$ion upon re&olutionar% politics' 3t !as during that period that Bali(ar attempted to think of re&olutionar% politics (e%ond the limits of the part%@form' 3n an entr% to the 198/ .ritical 6ictionary of (ar3ism. than that incarnated (% the pluralism of the representati&e institutions of the (ourgeois State itself> to make the re&olutionar% part% at the same time the means to take po!er and to . ali!ar in the 1)-0s# the pro!lemati"ation of strate'ic 2uestions Political de&elopments in the earl% 198#s.46 incommensura(ilit% (et!een (ourgeois politics and a potential communist practice of politics. on The *ight to Tendencies. !hich included the rise of social@democratic parties in -rance and the +uropean South along !ith the open crisis of communist parties along !ith the rise of the neoli(eral offensi&e. through a rethinking of the Part%@form. in a !a% that transcends the 4uestion of the e$ternal F internal positioning of a gi&en Part%@form. a limitation shared (% (oth Althusser and Poulantzas' +.

Bali(ar suggests that the notion of the proletariat has more to do !ith the 5political sense781 of !orking class struggles and mo&ements' )o!e&$ and +ngels could produce nti. p' 102' Bali(ar 1992. this does not mean that . p' 1109' 3n Bali(ar 1992' Bali(ar 1992. 1999.Ha#unin or an nti. in our opinion. this pro(lematization offers indeed a !a% to think of these pro(lems' =f particular importance is. the (et!een Dthose !ho go&ern and those that are go&erned’7'80 This critical reflection on the open 4uestions facing an% attempt to rethink class politics is also e&ident in his 1982 te$t 53n Search of the Proletariat7'82 Beginning (% the scarce references to the proletariat in . p' 10#' Bali(ar 1992. Bali(ar’s conception of the theoretical short@circuit that$ performs on the relation (et!een the la(our process and the State. p' 10 ' .47 e$ercise it in an ne! fashion> therefore to surpass progressi&el% !ithin its ranks opposition the Ddi&ision of manual and intellectual la(our’.6Ghring (ut not an nti. and especiall% the oscillation (et!een an anarchist &ision of an end to politics and a reformist centring of proletarian politics on the State' That is !h% .ar$ managed to come out of the antinomies of an% potential proletarian politics.Lassalle!86 As !ith most te$ts from the 198#s. Bali(ar tended more to problemati:e than to actuall% ans!er or o&ercome these antinomies' Ne&ertheless.8" in the sense of an immediate relation and correlation (et!een 80 82 81 8 8" Bali(ar :198/.

p' 120' . is not a su(6ect. !hich (oth a 5class7 and the 5masses7. falling (ack 88 89 Bali(ar$ himself oscillated (et!een the possi(ilit% deducing a notion of class from the definition of the fundamental social relations of the capitalist mode of production and the difficult% of defining the masses as concrete historical condition and mo&ement' -or Bali(ar. !hich is the tension running through the concept of the proletariat! . !ithout. p' 121' Bali(ar 1992. that is the cornerstone of . does not mean that the proletariat ne&er presents itself or acts as a subject in history! )o!e&er. (et!een the la(our process and the$’s criti0ue of political econom%' This refers not onl% to the insistence of the class political character of the relations of production. lasting or not.48 economics and politics. this re&olutionar% action is al!a%s tied to a con6uncture. this e$actl% the pro(lem< ho! to rethink of ne! forms and practices of politics that ena(le and facilitate this passage from classes to masses and process of emancipation. (ut also to the need for a ne! practice of proletarian politics as a 5politics of labor/!88 At the same time this (rings to the open 4uestions facing e$actl% the relation (et!een 5classes7 to 5masses7. and onl% e$ists !ithin its limits'89 )o!e&er. this is the starting point for rethinking the non@su(6ect of proletarian politics' The fact that the proletariat.

emerging !ithin the e$periences of the mo&ements. !ith possi(ilit% of the Aeft arri&ing in go&ernment' And this also implied rethinking the Part% form' 3n this sense. coordination and democrac%. and its political. ideological and organizational conditions' Conclusion The importance of this de(ate is o(&ious' 3t is one of the last ma6or theoretical de(ates on re&olutionar% strateg% that !as (ased on actual historical possi(ilities and political challenges for the Aeft and not on simpl% theoretical e$igencies' The (asic challenge !as !hat it means for the Aeft to fight for political po!er. in a period !hen there !as (oth popular radicalization and o(&ious cracks in (ourgeois hegemon%' The (asic 4uestion !as ho! to com(ine the emphasis on a ne! practice of politics. !hich also means ne$ forms of organization.49 into a conception of the proletariat as a gi&en su(6ect. a representation not escaped (% the classics of . Althusser’s call to rethink of ne! forms of popular initiati&es remains toda% as urgent as it !as in 19"" and e4uall% timel% is his !arning that !e ha&e no other to ans!er this than oursel&es' And a(o&e allMthe most important of 4uestions for past and futureMho! can relations (e esta(lished !ith the mass mo&ement .ar$ism' This is the challenge of actuall% rethinking this process.

!hich usuall% fail to fit into the di&ision (et!een the economic and political spheres :e&en 5added together7.50 !hich. outside of the trade unions and parties.ommunist Parties and their ina(ilit% to get in touch !ith important aspects of the student and !orkplace radicalism and also full% a!are of the dominance of more or less reformist positions !ithin them' At the same time. !ill permit the de&elopment of initiati&es among the people. transcending the traditional distinction (et!een trade union and$ism and the communist mo&ement and of Poulantzas !ho (ased the possi(ilit% of 9# Athusser 19"8. the% all shared the same limitations regarding the force of the mo&ement' The% all inter&ene in the 19"#s as if the strength of mo&ement should (e taken for granted' This !as a common position of (oth Althusser !ho opposed the strength of the mo&ement to the crisis of . !e ha&e essentiall% no@one to rel% on (ut oursel&es' 9# All of the participants. o(6ecti&el% or su(6ecti&el%. are full% a!are of the limits of *estern +uropean . in a hidden or open manner. negati&e or positi&e forms.K Because !e are !itnessing more and more mass mo&ements of the people arising (% themsel&es. despite their different tactical options. the same ke% 4uestions face us< concerning the State. (ringing Mor capa(le of (ringingM something indispensa(le to the struggle' 3n short. p' //#' . and those mass mo&ements and initiati&es' But as far as ans!ers to these 4uestions are concerned. the trade unions. ho! can !e properl% respond to the demands and e$pectations of the masses of the peopleK 3n different.

attempted to a&oid the 4uestion of the State (% the !hole 5e$teriorit%7 thesis' This !as more like a defensi&e line of demarcation than an actual confrontation !ith the 4uestion of the transformation of the State in a re&olutionar% process' That is !h%. he attempted to (ase the 5e$teriorit%7 thesis upon his conception of the State as a machine' Poulantzas. or of the man% forms the dominant ideolog% could affect the de&elopment of the mo&ement' =nl% Bali(ar after the e$perience of the defeat of the Aeft in the 198#s takes up this point' At the same time. none of the participants in this de(ate managed to offer a comprehensi&e solution' Althusser. instead of tr%ing to ans!er this 4uestion through a further ela(oration of the theoretical ad&ances made around his conception of the 3deological Apparatuses of the State. the potentiall% undermining effects of capitalist restructuring. fragmentation.51 the democratic road to socialism on the e$istence of strong mo&ements that could fuel the rise of the Aeft to go&ernmental po!er' There is no discussion in the contradictions !ithin the mo&ement. on the other hand did not actuall% manage to com(ine the theoretical depth and importance of his relational theor% of the State 9 !hich represented the sharpest opposition to an% instrumentalist theorization of the State 9 . increased insecurit%. despite all the in&alua(le references to the importance of mass popular initiati&es and the need for ne! forms of political organization (e%ond the traditional part%@form.

ar$ist theor% of the State and of the forms of class struggles he ne&ertheless also refrained from offering concrete ans!ers' Perhaps the most pro(lematic aspect of this de(ate !as e$actl% the limitation of an% attempt to think !ithin the contour of the internal F e$ternal di&ide' The importance of a relational conception of po!er and State is e$actl% that it suggests that the State is neither an . it is e$actl% Poulantzas relational conception of the State and of the constant efficac% of class antagonism and mass mo&ements that could offer the theoretical ground for the need for ne! forms of political practice. collecti&e struggle and 9 potentiall% 9 organization of e&er%da% life' As for Bali(ar.52 !ith political strateg%' *e do not den% the importance and actualit% of Poulantzas position on the possi(ilit% of a re&olutionar% strateg% that could com(ine the electoral and parliamentar% struggle for go&ernmental po!er !ith the de&elopment of forms of popular po!er for (elo!' The point of our criticism is that Poulantzas seemed to (e more focused on the parliamentar% and go&ernmental side of the process than the side of mass practices and a potential ne! proletarian I communist practice of politics . and !as underestimating the as%mmetr% and incommensura(ilit% (et!een (ourgeois and communist practice of politics ! )o!e&er. despite the man% critical and insightful lines of demarcation he dre! and the usefulness of his problemati:ation and articulation of the open 4uestions for the .

' At the same time. its insights (ut also its limitations. the% are antagonistic tendencies that (ring the 5e$terior7 !ithin the 5interior7. is not a theoretical e$igenc%' 3t is also a political imperati&e' Cecent de&elopments. simpl% thinking in terms of electoral alliances and go&ernmental strategies misses the importance e$actl% of a ne$ practice of politics from the part of the su(altern class in the sense of . net!orks. the return of street of politics. thus entailing a d%namic that goes (e%ond the simple transformation or democratization of state apparatuses' Going (ack to this de(ate. their resistances. their forms of organization are not 6ust 5struggles inside the State7> rather. institutionalized (alances of class forces :the 5inside7 aspect. the possi(ilit% of forming Aeft !ing go&ernments in countries !ith deep political crisis in countries such as Greece gi&e ne! actualit% to these de(ates' Simpl% thinking in terms of mass mo&ements in terms of 5pressure politics7 misses the centralit% of political po!er and the potential for ma6or shifts in political representation that could initiate social and political se4uences of radical socialist transformation' =n the other hand. their struggles.53 instrument nor an institutional or institutionalized locus' Therefore there is no point to think in terms of topographical metaphors' The su(altern classes are al!a%s alread% entangled !ithin comple$ po!er relations. their initiati&es. the eruption of mass mo&ements and social e$plosions. the crisis of neoli(eral capitalism.

!ith Poulantzas relational theor% of the State as a theor% of the constant effecti&it% of class struggle and !ith Bali(ar’s reference :in )n the 6ictatorship of the -roletariat. it represents a form :the onl% form. popular democrac% from (elo!.' But at the same time.54 ne! forms of popular organization. and e$tensi&e e$perimentation !ith forms of solidarit%. instead of simpl% (eing the D!orkhorse’ of this or that &ariet% of (ourgeois politics' 3n this !$. (ut of the possi(ilit% of a politics that goes (e%ond the State. (ecause the class struggle of the . that goes (e%ond managing the State in a 5progressi&e direction7. of access of the proletariat to political independence' 3t represents the form in !hich the proletariat can itself direct its o!n class struggle. (ut from !hich it can ne&er spontaneousl% escape' =n the one hand. all of the !riters discussed shared the same insistence on the a(ilit% of class struggles and popular mo&ements to tra&erse state apparatuses.oreo&er. (reaking free from the hold of the dominant (ourgeois ideolog%. self@ managements and !orkers’ control that could represent e$actl% the necessar% 5short@circuit7 (et!een economics and politics that could (e the (asis of a radical anti@capitalist politics of labour' . that does not (ecome 5a prisoner of the State7. that the communist mo&ement e&en inside the state machine can function like a grain of sand. if it recognizes the contradiction.91 a politics of radical social and political 91 5The point is that an% political part% of the !orking class is ine&ita(l% caught up !ithin a contradiction !hich it ma% succeed in mastering. and on the (asis of its o!n ideological class positions. !ith the support of its o!n social (ase. !e ha&e a potential theorization not of the internal F e$ternal position. if !e com(ine Althusser reference to virtual forms of communism arising in popular initiati&es at the interstices of capitalist societ%. Dthe emancipation of the !orking class !ill (e the task of the !orkers alone’ :. to change the (alance of forces and to lead to se4uences of social transformation' 3n this sense.

Aouis 19"8. 5=n the T!ent%@Second . indeed a politics of the potential 5!ithering a!a%7 of the State' 3n a period !hen strategic 4uestions return. at least tendentiall%.' No!. a permanent risk to !hich the part% is su(6ected. the Aeft does not ha&e the lu$ur% to consider theoretical de(ates as a lu$ur%' Ceopening the theoretical de(ate on strateg%. must (e the order of the da%Q Re erences Althusser. Aouis 19"". (ut as concrete material e$igencies and$ism7. once it is inside that machine. 5The . including re&isiting crucial political and theoretical de(ates in the histor% of . or like the grain of sand !hich causes it to seize up' At the le&el of the histor% of capitalism and of imperialism. p' 9/' .ongress of the . the part% of the !orking class is not.ommunist !!!'mar$ists'orgFreferenceFarchi&eFalthusserF19""F//nd@ congress'htm$ism. Aouis 19" . the Dpart% s%stem’. Aondon< NAB' Althusser. at the le&el of the historical process of the constitution of the proletariat as a class.criticism. Jssays in self.55 transformation and e$perimentation !ith non@capitalist social forms. in the !hole field of social acti&it% @@ the Part% of the !orking class cannot remain outside of the (ourgeois State Dmachine’< in particular of the political ideological State apparatus :the (asis of the parliamentar% s%stem. Oul% 19"8' Part%7. and from !hich it cannot escape !ithout a constantl% repeated internal struggle @@ the tendenc% for it to (ecome the prisoner of the State apparatus against !hich it is fighting'7 Bali(ar 19" . proletariat is not fought out independentl% of e$isting social relations @@ and in order to ena(le it to take on its full political dimensions. it can function either like a cog. not as a(stract possi(ilities. (ar3ism Today.risis of . a simple element of the ideological State apparatus of (ourgeois politics' But !e must admit that there e$ists an opposite tendenc%.

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