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A: mustawāG: Etatismus.F: étatisme. R: ploskost’S: estatismo.C: Cengmian

A meaningful discussion of statism in relation to the Marxist tradition must distinguish between word and concept. For, although the word «statism» itself rarely occurs, the phenomena it connotes have certainly been widely recognised and discussed. The expression «statism» first emerged as such in France around 1880 to describe political doctrines that called for an expansion of the role and responsibilities of the state in all areas of the economy and civil society. The word was also used in Switzerland in the 1890s in the struggle to resist a proposed expansion of federal powers at the expense of the cantons, especially in the economic and financial domains. Nowadays, a usage of «statism» prevails that denotes the dominant position of the state vis-a-vis society, its individual domains, and the individual. This is also how «statism has come to be largely used in the Marxist tradition – albeit with an historical-materialist grounding that relates the state’s dominant position to the dynamic of capitalism, to national economies» place in the international system, and / or to the changing balance of class forces.

1. Although Marx and Engels themselves did not use the word in their work, it is nonetheless implicit as a concept in Marx’ s early work on the alienation represented by the modern state. It is then elaborated in his work on nineteenth-century France, especially in relation to Bonapartism; and it is presented more dearly still, at the end of his life, in his analysis of the Paris Commune. In trying to define the Marxian concept of statism, one finds two apparently contrasting approaches: sometimes Marx regarded statism as an exceptional and unstable phenomenon that emerges only in particular conjunctures of doss forces or in less-developed capitalist economies; and sometimes he saw it as a generic and inevitable feature of all capitalist states that was grounded in the alienated form of politics. His writings on «Oriental despotism» would also suggest the possibility that the state could become autonomous in other types of social formation.

1.1 Given these necessary cautions, one can say that «statism» appears in three main guises in Marxist theory and political practice in relation to capitalist societies. Theoretically, statism has been seen, first, as a major feature of exceptional forms of the capitalist state; and, second, as an inherent trait of each and every capitalist state which tends to become more prominent as capitalism develops. Both views can be found in the work of Marx and Engels – most notably in their analyses of the French state. Third, statism also has a strategic meaning in socialist practice. Here it refers to strengthening the role of the state in promoting a «revolution from above» during the transition to socialism. This strategy was initially justified by historical analogy with Bonapartism or with the Prussian state’s role in promoting bourgeois development under Bismarck It then was reinforced by the subsequent appearance of Bismarckian Staatssozialismus (state socialism in forms such as accident insurance, tobacco monopoly, state ownership of railways, etc.). and it has been intermittently strengthened in periods when the state (whether or not democratic in form) appears to be able to manage the contradictions and crisis-tendencies of capitalism – most recently in the period of the Keynesian welfare national state in Fordism or the developmental state in East Asia.

1.2 Such understandings of (and political commitments to) «statism» are grounded both theoretically and historically in the institutional separation of the state from the rest of a social formation. For the Marxist tradition, this separation is a necessary feature of capitalist social formations. Capital accumulation is said to depend on a range of extra-economic conditions that not be secured through market exchange and economic competition so that some of these must or can be secured through the state. How much state intervention beyond the prevailing socially necessary minimum will actually prove compatible with continued accumulation will vary with different stages and forms of capitalism and different conjunctures.

Statism involves an enhanced importance of the state apparatus in securing the conditions for the valorisation of capital at the expense of exchange relations and / or bourgeois political domination and at the expense of (always indirect) democratic forms of political representation. However, this institutional separation also permits a radical autonomisation of the state apparatus which could culminate (at least in the short term) in the state’s dominance over the social formation, i.e., the dominance of the interests of the state and state managers over those of all economic classes and members of civil society. Such an extreme form of statism would mean, in particular, that the state expands its per and increases its autonomy in relation not only to subordinate classes but also, and crucially, to the dominant classes. This same institutional separation of the state from the rest of the social formation also provides the material and ideological bases for the statist strategy of «revolution from above». The legitimacy of the capitalist state depends on the constitutive absence of doss from its formal organisation (i.e., on the juridico-political construction of state sovereignty, the formal appearance of doss neutrality, and the appeal to national-popular rather than class interests) and can thereby encourage an illusion in the capacity to use state per to transform the economy or civil society from above. This is the basis for the belief in a possible stateled road to social-ism based on the centralised planning and administration of the economy. and this belief characterises not only social-democratic reformism but also the Stalinist revolution from above to be imposed by an autonomous state «of the whole people».

1.3 This problematic has a prehistory dating back at least to Machiavelli and his interest in Staatsräson [reasons of state]. But Marxist accounts of statist phenomena owe most to Hegelian state theory. According to Hegel, a fully developed, rational state ideally functions as the representative of the interest of the whole (Philosophy of Right, see especially §270, §273). For Marx, however, the state really comprises an alienated form of politics. In this sense, Marx might well have argued that statism existed to the extent that the state is an alienated form of political life. This interpretation differs from the more doss-theoretical account of the state that is often attributed to Marx and Engels. It departs from an abstract analysis of the state as form [Staat als Form] rather than from a concrete emphasis on the social origins or links of the ruling or governing doss and / or the doss interests typically served by the policies they pursue. Indeed, an adequate account of statism is incompatible with any simple doss-theoretical analysis of the state as a political apparatus or instrument of doss forces. For statist tendencies are primarily rooted in the necessary form of political organisation in capitalist formations rather than in contingencies of doss rule or specific policies in particular conjunctures.

2. Normal and Exceptional State Forms – The view that statism is a generic feature of the state was first implied in Marx’s early writings. These developed a critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, introduced the idea of alienated politics, and argued that political emancipation can only be fully realised through the abolition of the state. Philosophical critique apart, this interpretation was subsequently developed in his writings on the French state and on the revolutionary significance of the Paris Commune. His comments on «Oriental despotism», even though they concerned a pre-capitalist economic formation, also lent support to the suspicion that the state could become radically autonomous. In discussing France, Marx first noted Napoleon’s role in perfecting the power of the French state, breaking independent powers (local, municipal, and provincial) to create a unified, unitary bourgeois nation. Political power was centralised in the state apparatus and its per was extended at the expense of intermediary organisations. Marx also argued that all subsequent political revolutions in France served to perfect this state apparatus rather than to overthrow it. This was especially dear in the refinement and autonomisation of the French state under Louis Bonaparte.

2.1 There are several recent examples of this «normalising» interpretation in both advanced capitalist societies and in peripheral capitalist formations. We could refer to the ideas of first generation Frankfurt-school theorists on trends towards a strong, bureaucratic state – whether authoritarian or totalitarian in form – in the context of economic crisis and the emergence of state capitalism (see the essays in Dubiel and Sonnet 1973; Scheuerman 1996; and the discussion in Scheuerman 1994). This state form corresponded to the rise of organised or state capitalism, which relied increasingly on the mass media for its ideological power, and either integrated the trade-union movement as a political support or else smashed it as part of the consolidation of totalitarian rule. Max Horkheimer regarded statism as a variety of the authoritarian state: «Integral statism or state socialism is the most consistent form of the authoritarian state, which has freed itself from any dependence on private capital» (1940, 101). He saw the Soviet Union as an example of that. «In integral statism, socialisation is simply decreed. Private capitalists are eliminated. Henceforth, dividends are only collected from government bonds. As a result of the revolutionary past of the regime, the petty struggles between officials and departments is not, as with fascism, complicated by the differences in the social origin and connections inside the bureaucratic staff. Integral statism is not a retreat but an advance in power. It can exist without racism» (1940, 102). Among postwar theorists, one might mention the arguments of Joachim Hirsch about the rise of the Sicherheitsstaat [security state] in the context of the postwar Fordism; various arguments about the tendency towards the «strong state [starker Staat ]»; the «garrison state», «friendly fascism», and so forth. Such arguments typically concern states in advanced European and North-American capitalist societies. Peripheral capitalism poses the issue of statism in more extreme form in so far as statism is assimilated to the developmental state (e.g., Atatürk’s Turkey, Lee Kwan-Yiu’s Singapore). In addition to these ostensibly «normal» forms of developmental statism, there are also exceptional «developmental» states (e.g., the South-Korean and Taiwanese developmental states with their national-security regimes).

2.2 A representative example of such arguments occurs in Nicos Poulantzas’s work. In his widely-read Political Power and Social Classes (1973), Poulantzas seized on Marx’s many analyses of Bonapartism together with Engels’s particular claim that Bonapartism was the «religion of the bourgeoisie» (Letter to Marx, 13 April 1866) and linked it to the necessity of a relatively autonomous state that could act against the interests of particular capitals as well as against the organised working doss. In later work, however, Poulantzas did distinguish between democratic and exceptional forms of the state and noted the greater autonomy of the latter. He further analysed them in terms of which part of the state apparatus was dominant – legislative or executive in representative systems, bureaucracy, political police, military, or single party in exceptional systems (for example, Fascism and Dictatorship, 1974). In his last book, on State, Power, Socialism, however, he reverted to the view that authoritarianism was a generic feature of the state (1978). In particular, he suggested that a new form of state was emerging which he termed «authoritarian statism». The basic developmental tendency in this new state form is «intensified state control over every sphere of socio-economic life combined with radical decline of the institutions of political democracy and with draconian and multi-form curtailment of so-called ‹formal› liberties» (1978, 203-4). More precisely, authoritarian statism involves enhanced roles for the executive branch, its dominant «state party» (which serves as a transmission belt from the state to the people rather than from the people to the state), and a new, anti-democratic ideology. Poulantzas says this further under-mines the already limited involvement of the masses in political decision-making, severely weakens the organic functioning of the party system (even where a plurality of parties survives intact), and saps the vitality of democratic forms of political discourse. Accordingly, there are fewer obstacles to the continuing penetration of authoritarian-statist forms into all areas of social life. Indeed Poulantzas actually claims that «all contemporary power is functional to authoritarian statism» (1978, 239).

2.3 According to the «exceptionalist» interpretation, statism typically emerges when pressure from subordinate classes and / or internal conflicts in the dominant classes lead the capitalist state to assume more authoritarian and despotic forms of governance. The view that statism is exceptional is justified by the more conjunctural analyses of the relative independence of the state under absolutism, Bonapartism, and so on. In particular, along-side Marx’s recurrent references to the general strength of the French state and its centralising tendency at the expense of the rural masses, there are specific accounts of the exceptional autonomy of Louis Bonaparte’s rule in certain conditions. One of the most remarkable of these references is his (admittedly one-off) attribution of near absolute autonomy to Bonapartism in 1858 as a praetorian regime based on «the rule of the naked sword» and sustained by 600,000 bayonets rather than the people of France (1858, 848). Such analyses underlie the recurrent claim that Marx developed two contrasting (if not wholly contradictory) theories of the state: a theory of the state as the necessary political apparatus of doss rule and a theory of the state as a contingently autonomous, predatory and parasitic apparatus which served the interests of its officials. There is an apparent paradox here. For, whereas his treatment of the generic statist tendencies of the state is grounded on Staat als Form [state as form] rather than doss analysis, Marx’s account of the exceptional moments of state autonomy depends on contingencies of doss analysis. On Bonapartism, for example, Marx wrote that «the French bourgeoisie was compelled by its doss position to annihilate, on the one hand, the vital conditions of all parliamentary power, and there-fore, likewise, of its own, and to render irresistible, on the other hand, the executive power hostile to it» (1851, 139). He also wrote that, «in order to preserve its social power intact, its political power must be broken… in order to save its purse, it must forfeit the crown, and the sword that is to safeguard it must at the same time be hung over its own head as a sword of Damocles» (1851, 143).

2.4 According to both Marx and Engels, the nature, extent, and duration of this autonomisation depends on the changing balance of doss forces in specific regimes. Thus tendencies towards autonomisation, relative independence, or statism occurred in the absolutist monarchies, in the dictatorships established by the two Bonapartes, in Bismarckism, and in other exceptional regimes. In each case these regimes correspond to different types of doss equilibrium with their common feature being that they are periods when warring classes balance each other so nearly that the state apparatus or state managers, as ostensible mediator, can acquire a certain independence. In all cases, however, certain types of conjunctures (with a given range of doss forces on a given terrain) enable state managers to win an abnormal or exceptional measure of independence. Indeed Marx’s earliest accounts of the state often treated it as a parasite without any effective function for an emerging capitalism. Although this argument is best seen as pre-Marxist, even the later Marx sometimes suggested that the state in «Oriental despotism» was parasitic. And, whether or not this view can really be reconciled with historical materialism, subsequent generations of Marxists have certainly taken Marx’s analyses of Oriental despotism and the praetorian pretensions of Bonapartism to justify the view that the state can become wholly autonomous.

2.5 There are innumerable examples of such analyses in subsequent Marxist works on the absolutist state, Bonapartism, and Bismarckism. They are full of references to specific conjunctures that enable state managers to win an abnormal or exceptional measure of independence. Rosa Luxemburg referred to Marx’s analyses of Bonapartism in her own writings on the tendential autonomisation of the French state (1898, 265-6; 1900-1, 19); but she also noted a new contradiction that derived from the contrast between the bourgeois republic and large imperial armed forces. Similar arguments are developed by Lenin regarding the Kerensky regime after the February 1917 Russian Revolution (19176, 219-20 ). Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks extend such analyses to distinguish between cases of an equilibrium of compromise (relative balance) and catastrophic equilibrium (threatening to lead to the «mutual ruin» of the contending classes). The latter could lead to Caesarism, a conjuncture when «a great ‹heroic› personality» (1971, 219; Q 13, §27) dominates with the support of the state apparatus. «Caesarism can be said to express a situation in which the forces in conflict balance each other in a catastrophic manner; that is to say, they balance each other in such a way that a continuation of the conflict can only terminate in their reciprocal destruction» (1971, 219; Q 13, §27). Before the age of mass politics, military force plays a key role in Caesarism. After 1848, however, «modern political technique became totally transformed» and a key role is played by bureaucratic organisations (including unions and parties) (1971, 219; Q 13, §27). Caesarism could be progressive (e.g., Julius Caesar, Napoleon) or reactionary (Louis Bonaparte or Bismarck) (1971, 219, 223; Q 13, §27, Q 14, §23). Gramsci adds that «a Caesarist solution can even exist without a Caesar, without any great, ‹heroic›, representative personality» (1971, 219; Q 13, §27; see also Q 9, §133, §136). In this context, «modern Caesarism is more a police than a military system» (1971, 219; Q 13, §27; see also Q9, §136). This brings his analysis closer to the more general phenomenon of statism.

2.6 There are also examples of statism being explained in terms of the overall weakness of doss forces (whether or not they are in equilibrium). Two different examples, emphasising economic and political weaknesses respectively, are found in Trotsky’s account of Tsarist Russia before the 1905 and 1917 revolutions (Trotsky 1973; 1965 respectively) and in Mason’s analysis of the primacy of politics in Nazi Germany (Mason 1965). Trotsky described the historical situation in Russia before 1905 as follows: «In its endeavour to create a centralized state apparatus, Tsarism was obliged not so much to oppose the claims of the privileged estates as to fight the barbarity, poverty, and general disjointedness of a country whose separate parts led wholly independent economic lives. It was not the equilibrium of the economically dominant classes, as in the West, but their weakness which made Russian bureaucratic autocracy a self-contained organization» (Trotsky 1973, 26). In this respect, he suggested, Tsarism was «an intermediate form between European absolutism and Asian despotism, being, possibly, closer to the latter of these two» (ibid.; cf. 1965, 332). Conversely, Mason argued that the Nazi state became relatively independent because the political organs of capital, labour, and other classes had been weakened or destroyed during its first three years of domination. In the sort of circumstances described by Trotsky and Mason, then, the state can stand outside and above the doss struggle for some considerable time. Contrary to the «normal» case (as defined by Marxist theory), the state no longer performs any direct class functions and, indeed, it could even precipitate «the mutual ruin of the contending classes» (cf. Marx and Engels 1848).

2.7 One way to reconcile these two contrasting interpretations of statism would be to regard the autonomisation of the state as involving cyclical fluctuations around a long-term upward trend. Thus there would be a ratchet-like alternation between more democratic and more authoritarian periods around a rising trend towards more authoritarian rule: following periods of authoritarian rule, there would never be a complete return to the democratic status quo ante so that the starting point for the next rum would be more authoritarian than before. This, in turn, could be explained in terms of the logic of capital (requiring more state intervention) and / or the logic of doss struggle (requiring more state repression and legitimation measures). Peripheral capitalism poses these problems in more extreme form with statism being assimilated to developmental state capitalism (e.g., Atatürk’s Turkey).

2.8 In Revolution Betrayed, Trotsky tried to conceptually distinguish statism from «state capitalism» as a term «to designate all the phenomena which arise when a bourgeois state takes direct charge of the means of transport or of industrial enterprises» (1937, 245). He reserved the term statism for another phenomenon: «[d]uring the war, and especially during the experiments in fascist economy, the term ‹state capitalism› has oftenest been understood to mean a system of state interference and regulation. The French employ a much more suitable term for this étatism. There are undoubtedly points of contact between state capitalism and ‹state-ism›, but taken as systems they are opposite rather than identical. State capitalism means the substitution of state property for private property, and for that very reason remains partial in character. State-ism, no matter where in Italy, Mussolini, in Germany, Hitler, in America, Roosevelt, or in France, Leon Blum – means state intervention on the basis of private prop and with the goal of preserving it» (1937, 240. Admittedly, «it ‹rescues› the small proprietor from complete ruin only to the extent that his existence is necessary for the preservation of big property. [Its] planned measures… are dictated not by the demands of a development of the productive forces, but by a concern for the preservation of private property at the expense of the productive forces, which are in revolt against it. State-ism means applying brakes to the development of technique, supporting unviable enterprises, perpetuating parasitic social strata. In a word, state-ism is completely reactionary in character» (1937, 246).

3. Statism as Revolution from Above. Strategically, statism could be defined as an approach to socialist politics that sees it as involving the expansion of state power to create a socialist revolution from above. This poses problems concerning the relative autonomy of the state as well as major problems of revolutionary strategy. Bakunin argued this was inherent in all forms of state communism – a political strategy that he attributed to Marx and Engels as well as Liebknecht and Lasalle. In Statism and Anarchy (1873 ), Bakunin suggested that any form of centralised coordination of economic production would entail a form of centralised state administration; and this, in turn, would inevitably lead to political domination over the workers by an educated and privileged minority, claiming that their insight into scientific socialism meant that they knew better than the popular masses what was in the latter’s interests. This forecast applies to the emergence of the Stalinist dictatorship which strengthened the separation of the state from the masses.

3.1 There is some evidence that Marx and Engels accepted a weak version of the statist strategy in the 1850s and 1860s. This is especially dear in the discussion of factory legislation in England : In The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) and Capital Volume I (1867), Engels and Marx analysed the role of Factory Acts and factory inspectors in protecting women and children. The inspectors can even be seen as exemplars of an Hegelian «universal class» of bureaucrats; but their influence depended not only on legislation, regular reports, and publicity but also on alliances with workers, middle classes, elements in the aristocracy, and some enlightened manufacturers (Capital I ). They also imply that an electoral strategy in parliamentary democracies could succeed in transforming the material situation of the working doss (cf. MacGregor 1996). Moreover, in his discussion of the contemporary state, Marx often contrasted the European Continent with England and the United States. He seemed to concede that England and the USA did not display the same trends towards authoritarian rule as Continental-European states. Thus, whilst Marx bemoaned the gigantism of the French state (whether in its democratic or authoritarian moments), he also saw the American state as one which, «in contrast to all earlier national formations, was from the beginning subordinate to bourgeois society, to its production, and never could make the pretence of being an end in itself» (1857-61, 844). Engels also offered a series of comments in the 1870s and 1880s about the possibilities of a parliamentary-democratic road to socialism not only in the Anglo-Saxon states but also in mainland Europe. This was a view Lenin would subsequently seek to neutralise by arguing that imperialism had transformed England and the US as well as European states into militaristic, repressive, authoritarian states (Lenin 1917a, 313-14). More generally, he rejected such views on the basis of Marx’s comments on the Paris Commune (1917a, 312-27).

3.2 In conjunction with Marx’s comments on the Factory Acts, such views could be interpreted to support a reformist state socialism. This would suggest that Bakunin’s critique applied to Marx and Engels as well as Lasalle. Yet they rejected this criticism as far as it concerned them (Marx 1874; Engels 1872) even as they sharply criticised the Lassallean tradition in the German working class movement for similar tendencies. Lassalleanism was the most important manifestation of statism in the late nineteenth-century socialist movement. Lassalle argued that the only way in which the working class could escape the so-called «iron law of economics» (which would drive down wages below the physiological minimum) was to organise producer cooperatives and that this could only be achieved through the support of state-sponsored credit institutions. This view was premised on an Hegelian view of the Prussian state in terms of which Lasalle regarded the state as the highest form of human organisation, as an embodiment of the organic unity of the nation, as having the function of leading humanity to freedom (Lasalle 1862, 198). This glorification of the state was associated with a belief that the working-doss movement could any with Bismarckian conservatives against the bourgeoisie (cf. Lassalle 1862, 1863). Similar ideas were promoted in the Gotha Programme (1875). Marx condemned the «Lassallean sect’s servile belief in the state, or, what is no better, by a democratic belief in miracles» (1875, 97). Noting the specific form of the German Reich as «a police-guarded military despotism, embellished with parliamentary forms, alloyed with a feudal admixture and at the same time already influenced by the bourgeoisie, and bureaucratically carpentered» (1875, 96), Marx retorts that this type of regime (as opposed to a democratic republic) is most unlikely to concede working-doss demands. But he also reverts to his earlier and more general arguments about alienated politics and his recent discovery of the revolutionary political form of the Commune to add that «freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it» (1875, 94). This would suggest that Marx rejects etatist strategies not just in situations where the state is relatively impervious to democratic influences but in all situations where the socialist movement expects to maintain the state form (cf. PIT 1989, 10-14).

3.3 More generally, Lassalleanism can be seen as one example of statism as a general feature of all political strategies for socialist transformation that envisage a key role for (an unreformed) state apparatus in securing a «revolution from above». It can be contrasted with Jacobinism (an emphasis on democratic radicalism) and anarcho-syndicalism (with an emphasis on the role of trade-unionist activity in securing the transition). The aim of statism is not to smash the state apparatus but to secure its support in a socialist transition as a mediator between the classes in conflict. Other examples can be found in Proudhon’s «social Caesarism» (as evident in Proudhon’s tactical appeal to Louis Bonaparte to use his coup d’etat to support progressive forces rather than reaction; see especially Proudhon’s book, La Revolution socials démontrée par le coup d’etat de deux décembre (1852)), social capitalism in the New Deal, the expansion of the welfare state in interwar and postwar advanced capitalism, or the so-called «developmental state» in modernising newly industrialising economies.

3.4 Despite his apparent commitment in the 1850s and 1860s to a relatively non-violent, parliamentary, statist road to socialism, the experience of the Paris Commune led Marx back to a more anarchist position. He claimed in The Civil War in France (1871) that the Commune had demonstrated that «the working doss not simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes» (1871b, 328). He suggested that the working class cannot use the instrument of its oppression to achieve its emancipation and that a new state form (the Commune) was necessary to secure the political domination of the proletariat (1871a, 485-7). This is a view developed most forcefully and one-sidedly in Lenin’s State and Revolution (1917a). There appears in turn to have been some retreat from this position in subsequent commentaries by Engels and subsequent socialist political strategies have typically assumed some form of reformist, social-democratic orientation towards the use of state power in building socialism.

3.5 The strategy became particularly strong in German Social Democracy and is well expressed in the Erfurt Programme. This predicted the growing unity of democratic and socialist struggles and envisaged a key role for a democratised state in the socialist revolution. Kautsky’s contribution to this programme and subsequent commentaries thereon emphasised the importance of parliament as an instrument of government in great states and the need to win a socialist majority in parliament. Thus, he argued for the importance of the parliamentary road, expanded bourgeois political and civil liberties, and a centralised bureaucratic-administrative apparatus (for which he was, of course, later strongly criticised by Lenin and Luxemburg). Kautsky rejected claims that direct democracy or direct legislation could ever replace central planning and administration in large-scale modern industry and argued instead for the reorientation of the policies of a parliamentary, bureaucratic state. Nonetheless, Kautsky also criticised the views that the workers’ movement and the «state-socialist» bourgeois reformers were natural allies. For he claimed against R odbertus and his followers that the economic and political significance of nationalisation for the workers’ movement would depend on the class character of the state: whereas a conservative state would use nationalisation to divide the movement, social democracy would use it to develop the organisational and political strength of the working doss. Later, he would criticise Bernstein for his commitment to democratic reformism on the grounds that democracy was compatible with capitalism. Kautsky justified his reservations against a reformist course by saying that it could not be relied on in militarised and crisis-prone continental Europe. In certain key respects, Kautsky’s arguments anticipate those of Eurocommunism.

4. Because statism is not a widely used term in the Marxist tradition, this entry has been more concerned with judging its relevance to various controversies and debates. There are three main reference points in this regard: the nature of alienated politics that stems from the institutional separation of state and society – a separation that provides the basis for a greater or lesser autonomisation of the state but that also limits the extent to which the state can become an instrument for overcoming that separation; the changing balance of doss forces that conditions the extent to which the state apparatus or state elites can win some autonomy to pursue their own interests and / or to impose revolution from above; and the debate about the parliamentary road to socialism as opposed to more direct forms of class rule or dictatorship. The relative importance of these three reference points has changed over time. But each of them has proved important enough for the Marxist tradition that issues of statism have regularly reemerged in different guises and combinations.


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Bob Jessop

Activity of the state, accumulation, administration, alienation, apathy in authoritarian command- administrative socialism, authoritarian populism, base/structure, Bonapartism, bourgeoisie, bureaucracy, centralism, civil servants/ offi cials, civil/bourgeois society, class equilibrium, command economy, command-administrative system, corruption, democracy/dictatorship of the proletariat, developing countries, dismantling of the state, dominant/ruling class, domination/ rule, élite, emancipation, Eurocommunism, factory laws, fascism, functionary, iron law of wages, Lassalleanism, legitimacy, nomenklatura, oriental despotism, Paris Commune, planned economy, power, power relations, reformism, relative autonomy, revolution, social democracy, socialisation, Stalinism, state, state capitalism, state class, superstructure.

Abbau des Staates, Akkumulation, Apathie im befehlsadministrativen Sozialismus, autoritärer Populismus, Basis, Beamte, befehlsadministratives System, Befehlswirtschaft, Bonapartismus, Bourgeoisie, bürgerliche Gesellschaft, Bürokratie, Demokratie/Diktatur des Proletariats, ehernes Lohngesetz, Elite, Emanzipation, Entfremdung, Entwicklungsländer, Eurokommunismus, Fabrikgesetze, Faschismus, Funktionäre, Herrschaft, herrschende Klasse, Klassengleichgewicht, Korruption, Kräfteverhältnisse, Lassalleanismus, Legitimität, Macht, Nomenklatura, orientalische despotie, Pariser Kommune, Planwirtschaft, Reformismus, relative Autonomie, Revolution, Sozialdemokratie, Staat, Staatskapitalismus, Staatsklasse, Staatstätigkeit, Stalinismus, Überbau, Verwaltung, Vergesellschaftung, Zentralismus.

Ir arriba

Artículo: Statism

Autor: Bob Jessop

Publicado en inglés en: Historical Materialism, volume 15 (233–242); © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007.

Título del original en alemán: Etatismus; publicado en el Historisch-Kritisches Wörterbuch des Marxismus, Tomo 3,859-874; Argument Verlag, Hamburgo, 1997, 1998; ISBN 3-88619-433-7.