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socialization The concept has two different

meanings, one in social anthropology and

educational theory, the other in economics.
To socialize a person in anthropological and
educational terms means to create an
environment in which he or she can learn a
language, rules of conceptual thought, a
segment of history of the community,
practical habits necessary for survival and
development, moral rules that regulate
relationships with other members of the
community. An individual is born with various
potential dispositions characteristic of a
human being. Without proper interaction
with members of a social community at the
appropriate stages of growth these
dispositions would remain latent and would
eventually fade away- Without actualizing his
or her capacities for communication,
reasoning, creative activity* cooperation in
play and work, an individual would not
develop into a human being* Moreover,
many personal talents and hidden capacities
would remain unrealized. However,
socialization also plays a restrictive
sometimes even crippling role. In transfering,
a specific culture to an individual, the
community (the family, the school, the
neighbourhood, the state) more often than
not rigidly, heteronomously, imposes certain
traditional ideas and norms on a young mind.
The enormous spontaneity, curiosity and
creativity of the child tend to be suppressed
under the pressure of the super-ego. Beyond
certain limits to social repression, external or
internalized, produces a 'little man' on a
large scale, a weak, conformist personality
who fears responsibility and ends up lending
full support to authoritarian leaders and
Socialization as an economic concept means
the transformation of private property in the
means of production into social property.
Abolition of private property runs through all
Marx's writings as a necessary, though not
sufficient condition of communism. However
the concept of private property has two
One is private ownership of the means of
production. The other is a general attitude to
life characterized by the desire to own an
object (or a person reduced to a thing) in
order to be able to enjoy it, to appropriate it.
The abolition of private property in this
general philosophical sense involves an
entirely different socialization of human

individuals, characterized by a full

development of creative capacities, of the
sense of being rather than the sense of
Abolition of private ownership of the means
of production may assume three different
forms. One is nationalization, transferring all
property rights from private firms to the
state. In the countries of 'real socialism*
socialization is largely reduced to
nationalization. The state owns and manages
the majority of enterprises (except in
agriculture in some cases), plans the
production and distributes the products. As a
result a large political bureaucracy emerges
which monopolizes both political and
economic, power. The economic system
becomes over centralized, leading to
considerable suppression of initiative, waste
and in efficiency. Another form of
socialization involves transforming the
means of production into group property. In
agriculture, small-scale production and
service cooperatives based on group
property may be the most rational form of
economic Organization. The very nature of
work in those
favours small autonomous systems. This
form of socialization is limited in so far as the
cooperative may behave as a collective
capitalist; hiring wage labourers, earning
profit on the market, accumulating capital,
producing a petty bourgeois class.
A third form of economic socialization most
compatible with the aims of a classless
society involves turning the means of
production into the property of the entire
society. Those means are then at the
disposal of particular workers' communities
which pay society a proportion of their total
income for covering general social needs.
They can decide freely about the distribution
of the rest of the product. But they cannot
alienate (sell, give to others, bequeath)
those means of production. Socialization of
this type presupposes SF.LF-MANAGEMENT as
the form of social organization.

State, the A concept of crucial importance in

Marxist thought, for Marxists regard the state
as the institution beyond all others whose
function it is to maintain and defend class
domination and exploitation. The classical
Marxist view is expressed in the famous
formulation of Marx and Engels in the
Communist Manifesto: 'The executive of the
modern state is but a committee for
managing the common affairs of the whole
bourgeoisie.' This is a more complex
statement than appears at first sight, but it is
too summary and lends itself to
oversimplication: however, it does represent
the core proposition of Marxism on the
subject of the state.
Marx himself never attempted a systematic
analysis of the state. But his first lengthy
piece of writing after his doctoral
dissertation, namely Critique of Hegel's
Philosophy of the State (1843), is in large
part concerned with the state; and the
subject occupies an important place in many
of his works, notably in his historical writings,
for instance in Class Struggles (1850), 18th
Brumaire (1852) and Civil War in France
(1871). Engels too deals at length with the
state in many of his writings, for instance in
Anti-Duhring (1878) and in Origin of the
Family (1894).
One of Lenin's most famous pamphlets,
State and Revolution, written on the eve of

Bolshevik Revolution, was intended as a

restatement of the Marxist theory of the
state against what he took to be its
corruption by Second International
'revisionism'; and others in the Marxist
tradition have been concerned with the state
- for instance members of the 'Austro.
Marxist' school such as Max Adler and Otto
Bauer (see AUSTRO-MARXISM) and, most
notably, Gramsci. But it is only since the
1960s that the state has become a major
field of investigation and debate within
Marxism. This relative neglect may be
attributed in part to the general
impoverishment of Marxist thought produced
by the predominance of Stalinism from the
later 1920s to the late 1950s; and also to an
over-'economistic' bias (see ECONOMISM)
which tended to allocate a mainly derivative
and 'superstructural' role to the state, and to
see it, unproblematically, as the mere
servant of dominant economic classes. Much
of the recent work on the state has, on the
contrary, been concerned to explore and
explain its 'relative autonomy' and the
complexities which attend its relationship to
In The Philosophy of Right, Hegel had sought
to present the state as the embodiment of
society's general interest, as standing above
particular interests, and as being therefore
able to overcome the division between CIVIL
SOCIETY and the state and the split between
the individual as private person and as
citizen. Marx rejects these claims in his
Critique on the ground that the state, in real
life, does not stand for the general interest
but defends the interests of property. In the
Critique, Marx advances a mainly political
remedy for this inability of the state to
defend the general interest, namely the
achievement of democracy. But he soon
moved on to the view that much more than
this was required and that 'political
emancipation alone could not bring about
'human emancipation'.
This required a much more thorough
reorganization of society, of which the main
feature was the abolition of private property.
This view of the state as the instrument of a
ruling class, so designated by virtue of i*s
ownership and control of the means of
production, remained fundamental
throughout for
Marx and Engels. The state, Engels said in
the last book he wrote, is 'as a rule, the state

of the most powerful, economically dominant

class, which, through the medium of the
state, becomes also the politically dominant
class, an thus acquires new means of holding
down an plotting the oppressed class'
{Origin of the family, ch.9). This, however,
leaves open the question why and how the
state, as an institution separate from the
economically dominant lass or classes, plays
this role; and the question particularly
relevant in capitalist society, where the
distance between the state and economic
forces is usually quite marked.
Two different approaches have, in recent
years, been used to provide an answer to
this question. The first relies on a number of
ideological and political factors: for instance,
the pressures which economically dominant
classes are able to exercise upon the state
and in society; and the ideological
congruence between these classes and those
who hold power in the state. The second
approach emphasizes the 'structural
constraints' to which the state is subject in a
capitalist society, and the fact that,
irrespective of the ideological and political
dispositions of those who are in charge of the
state, its policies must ensure the
accumulation and reproduction of capital. In
the first approach, the state is the state of
the capitalists; in the second, it is the state
of capital. However, the two approaches are
not exclusive but complementary.
Notwithstanding the differences between
them, both approaches have in common a
view of the state as subordinate to and
constrained by forces and pressures external
to itself: the state, in these perspectives, is
indeed an agent or instrument, whose
dynamic and impulse is supplied from
outside. This leaves out of account a very
large part of the Marxist view of the state, as
conceived by Marx and Engels. For they
attributed to the state a considerable degree
of autonomy. This is particularly clear in
relation to the phenomenon to which both
Marx and Engels gave particular attention,
namely dictatorial regimes such as the
Bonapartist regime in France after LouisNapoleon
Bonaparte's coup d'etat of 1852 (see
SM). In 18th Brumaire, Marx said that France
seemed as a result of the coup d'etat 4to
have escaped the despotism of a class only
to fall back beneath the despotism of an

individual, and indeed beneath the authority

of an individual without authority'. 'The
struggle', he went on, 'seems to have
reached the compromise that all classes fall
on their knees, equally mute and equally
impotent, before the rifle butt' (sect. 7).
Bonapartism, Marx also said in The Civil War
in France nearly twenty years later, 'was the
only form of government possible at a time
when the bourgeoisie had already lost, and
the working class had not yet acquired, the
faculty of ruling the nation' (sea. 3); and
Engels also noted in Origin of the Family that,
'by way of exception', 'periods occur in which
the warring classes balance each other so
nearly that the state power, as ostensible
mediator, acquires, for the moment, a
certain degree of independence of both' (ch.
9). The absolute monarchies of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and
the regimes of
Napoleon I and Napoleon III, were examples
of such periods, as was the rule of Bismarck
Germany: 'here', says Engels, 'capitalists and
workers are balanced against each other and
equally cheated for the benefit of the
impoverished Prussian cabbage junkers' (ch.
9). These formulations come very close to
suggesting not only that the state enjoys a
'relative autonomy', but that it has made
itself altogether independent of society, and
that it rules over society as those who
control the state think fit and without
reference to any force in society external to
the state. An early case in point is that of
'Oriental despotism' (see ASIATIC SOCIETY),
to which Marx and Engels devoted much
attention in the 1850s and 1860s; but it
applies more generally. In fact, the 'Marxist
theory of the state', far from turning the
state into an agency or instrument
subordinate to external forces, sees it much
more as an institution in its own right, with
its own interests and purposes. In 18th
Brumaire, Marx also speaks of the executive
power of the Bonapartist state as an
'immense bureaucratic and military
organization, an ingenious and broadly based
state machinery, and an army of half a
million officials alongside the actual army,
which numbers a further half million'; and he
goes on to describe this force as a 'frightful
parasitic body, which surrounds the body of
French society like a caul and stops up all its
pores* (sect. 7). Such a 'state machinery'

must be taken to have interests and

purposes of its own.
This, however, does not contradict the notion
of the state as concerned to serve the
purposes and interests of the dominant class
or classes: what is involved, in effect, is a
partnership between those who control the
state, and those who own and control the
means of economic activity. This is the notion
which must be taken to underlie the concept
the description of present-day advanced
capitalism used by 'official' communist
writers. The description is vulnerable, in so
far as it suggests a merger of the political
and economic realms, whereas the real
position is one of partnership, in which the
political and economic realms retain a
separate identity, and in which the state is
able to act with considerable independence
in maintaining and defending the social order
of which the economically dominant class is
the main beneficiary. This independence is
implied even in the formulation from the
Communist Manifesto which was quoted at
the beginning, and which seems to turn the
state into such a subordinate institution. For
Marx and Engels speak here of 4the common
affairs of the whole bourgeoisie': this clearly
implies that the bourgeoisie is made up of
different and particular elements; that it has
many separate and specific interests as well
as common ones; and that it is the state
which must manage its common affairs. It
cannot do so without a considerable measure
of independence.
A major function of the state in its
partnership with the economically dominant
class is to regulate class conflict and to
ensure the stability of the social order. The
class rule which the state sanctions and
defends assumes many different forms, from
the 'democratic republic* to dictatorship; the
form which class rule assumes is a matter of
great importance to the working class. In a
context of private ownership and
appropriation, however, it remains class rule,
whatever its form.
Before the first world war, Lenin, like Marx
and Engels before him, had made a
distinction between different forms of
regime, to the point of referring to the United
States and Britain, in contrast to tsarist
Russia, as countries 'where complete political
liberty exists' (inflammable Material in World
Polities', 1908, CW 15, p. 186). With the First

World War, Lenin no longer took such

distinctions to be significant. In the preface
to State and Revolution, dated August 1917,
he said that the 'monstrous oppression of
the working people by the state, which is
merging more and more with the all-powerful
capitalist associations, is becoming
increasingly monstrous. The advanced
countries - we mean their hinterland - are
becoming military convict prisons for the
workers'. |n i* pamphlet itself, he insisted
that, with the w * 'both Britain and America,
the biggest and I representatives - in the
whole world Anglo-Saxon "liberty", in the
sense that they had no military cliques and
bureaucracy, have completely sunk into the
all-European filthv bloody morass of
bureaucratic-military institutions which
subordinate everything to them. selves and
suppress everything' (CW 25 pp. 383, 41516). Given the immense authority which
Lenin's pronouncements came to enjoy in the
world of Marxism as a result of the Bolshevik
Revolution, his virtual obliteration of the
distinction between 'bourgeois democracy'
and other forms of capitalist rule (for
instance FASCISM) may well have
contributed to the baneful Marxist neglect of
such distinctions in subsequent years.
Lenin's concern, in State and Revolution and
elsewhere, was to combat the 'revisionist'
notion that the bourgeois state might be
reformed: it must be 'smashed'. This was the
point which Marx himself had made in 18th
Brumaire ('all revolutions perfected this
machine instead of smashing it'), and which
he reiterated at the time of the Paris
Commune ('the next attempt of the French
Revolution will be no longer, as before, to
transfer the bureaucratic-military machine
from one hand to another, but to smash it,
and this is the preliminary condition for every
real peoples revolution on the Continent'
(letter to Kugelmann, 12 April 1871). The
state would then be replaced by the
which there would occur what Lenin called 'a
gigantic replacement of certain institutions
by other institutions of a fundamentally
different type . . . instead of the special
institutions of a privileged minority (the
privileged officialdom, the chiefs of the
standing army) the majority itself can
directly fulfil all these functions, and the
more the functions of state power are
performed by the people as a whole, the less

need there is for the existence this power'

{State and Revolution, CW '
pp. 419-20). This echoes faithfully the W^
propositions of classical Marxism on the
subject. In a famous passage of Anti-Duhring
Engels had said: The first act by virtue of
which the state really constitutes itself the
representative the whole of society - the
taking possession of the means of production
in the name of society - this is, at the same
time, its last indecent act as a state. State
interference in social relations becomes, in
one domain after other, superfluous, and
then withers away of itself; government of
persons is replaced by the administration of
things, and by the conduct of processes of
production. The state is not "abolished". It
withers away' (p. 385: italics in text). This,
and many other references to the state in
the writings of Marx and Engels, show the
affinities of classical Marxism to ANARCHISM:
the main difference between them, at least
in regard to the state, is that classical
Marxism rejected the anarchist notion that
the state could be done away with on the
very morrow of the revolution.
Classical Marxism and Leninism always
stressed the coercive role of the state,
almost to the exclusion of all else: the state
is essentially the institution whereby a
dominant and exploiting class imposes and
defends its power and privileges against the
class or classes which it dominates and
exploits. One of Gramsci's major
contributions to Marxist thought is his
exploration of the fact that the domination of
the ruling class is not only achieved by
coercion but is also elicited by consent; and
Gramsci also insisted that the state played a
major role in the cultural and ideological
fields and in the organization of consent (see
HEGEMONY). This process of legitimation, in
which both the state and many other
institutions in society are engaged, has
attracted considerable attention from
Marxists in the last two decades. A question
which has in this connection preoccupied a
"umber of theorists in recent years is how far
the state in capitalist-democratic regimes is
able to cope with the task of eliciting consent
in circumstances of crisis and contraction. On
the one hand, the state in these regimes is
required to meet a variety of popular
expectations. On the other, it is also required
to meet the needs and demands of capital. It
is argued that the growing incompatibility of

these requirements produces a 'crisis of

legitimation" which is not readily resolved
within the framework of capitalist-democratic
regimes (see CRISIS IN
The establishment of the Soviet state was
bound to offer a major conceptual challenge
to the Marxist theory of the state; for here
was a society in which the means of
production had come under public
ownership, and whose regime proclaimed its
allegiance to Marxism. This raised the
question of the nature of the state which had
been brought into being. Any discussion of
that question was, however, overshadowed
by the experience of Stalinism and, as was to
be expected, Stalinist thought on the state
insisted on its paramount and enduring
importance: far from 'withering away', the
state must be reinforced as the prime motor
in the construction of socialism, and also in
order to deal with its many enemies at home
and abroad. The 'revolution from above' of
which Stalin spoke was made, he also said,
'on the initiative of the state*.
This state, Stalin also claimed, was a 'state of
a new type', which represented the interests
of the workers, the peasants and the
intelligentsia - in other words, of the whole
Soviet population.
It was, in this sense, no longer a class state,
seeking to maintain the power and privileges
of a ruling class to the detriment of the vast
majority; it was rather, in a phrase which
came to be used under Khrushchev, a 'state
of the whole people'.
This claim has been strongly contested by
Marxist critics of the Soviet regime. Their
own view of the Soviet state (and of the state
in all
Soviet-type regimes) has been greatly
influenced by their judgement of the nature
of Soviet-type societies. Those critics wno
viewed them as class societies also took the
state in them to be the instrument of a 'new
class', and, as such, not significantly
different, in conceptual terms, from the state
in other class societies. Those critics, on the
other hand, who viewed Soviet type societies
as 'transitional* between capitalism and
socialism, and who rejected the notion of a
'new class', spoke of the state in these
societies as a 'deformed workers' state',
under the control of a 'bureaucracy' avid for
power and privilege, and which a workers'
revolution would eventually dislodge (see

CLASS; TROTSKY). This debate still proceeds;

but there is at any rate no disagreement
among its protagonists as to the immense
power wielded by the state in these
societies. Nor is this affected by the fact that
the state itself is controlled by the party
Marxists concerned with the state in
capitalist societies are also confronted by
many different questions and problems: what
is the precise nature and role of the state in
advanced capitalist societies today? How
does its class character manifest itself? How

far can it be transformed into the instrument

of the subordinate classes? How can it be
prevented, in a future socialist society, from
appropriating an undue measure of power;
or, as Marx put it in the Critique of the Gotha
Programme, how can the state in such a
society be converted 'from an organ
superimposed upon society into one
completely subordinated to it?* These and
many other unresolved questions about the
state are certain to give it a major place in
Marxist discussion for many years to come.