MARXISM

Overview
The theory sees law not as an expression of the people but the will and interests oft he capitalists. Marx sees law as part of the state machinery with which the capitalist rulers exploit the masses. In essence, law is viewed as a necessary and useful tool in the hands of the strong and powerful for the enforcement of their will against the poor, weak and defenseless. 


Marxism and the Law
Marxism constitutes a revolutionary approach to the concept of man, society and change. It is an ideology that seeks economic explanation of law. It believes that everything in the society, including the law, is determined by the economic base of that society. The leading minds here are Karl Marx, Engels and Lenin. 
There are three key elements of marxism and they are:
1. Dialectic Materialism:
     Hegel articulated the idea of dialectics which was largely idealistic. Marx believed that Hegel's theory is materialistic and not idealistic; he therefore substituted it with materialism. 
     Dialectic materialism is the theory of change in nature and in man. Matters lie at the base of everything in history. Matter pre-exists consciousness; the movement of lower stage to a higher stage.
     Dialectic materialism is concerned with the following:
  a. The law of interrelatedness. To analyze any phenomenon, it must be analyzed in connection to other phenomena that are connected to it.
  b. The law of transformation from quantity to quality. Change occurs when the contradictions in phenomena mature to a point where a new phenomenon develops. 
  c. The law of unity and struggle of opposites. This can be compared with Hegel's unity of opposites. 

2. Historical Materialism
This proceeds from the assumption that society has never been static. Society moves along some trajectory. 
The first stage of human existence is primitive communal stage of development where there is subsistence farming and no division of labor. 
The second stage is a slave owning society. Here, the relationship between slaves and slave-owners is antagonistic and the tension is resolved by resolution. The society is the first where we can have a ruling class. 
The next stage is where the slave-owning society develops into feudal society where land is owned. A conflict between the serf or vassal and feudal lords is resolved by revolution. 
The next stage is where the feudal society changes to a capitalist society. Here, the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is governed by the contract of employment. Here, the contradiction is resolved by socialist revolution. When the conflict is resolved, it leads to proletariat dictatorship. The contradiction between labor and capital is an unending one in a capitalist society. 
The next stage is where the capitalist society develops into a socialist state. A socialist state is one done at the base of productivity and not equality. Here, what you produce is what you get. 

                              Primitive Communal Society
                                                    ↓
                                    Slave Owning Society
                                                    ↓
                                          Feudal Society
                                                    ↓
                                       Capitalist Society
                                                    ↓
                                          Socialist State

To Marx, law is not part of the base, it is part of the superstructure. The economic situation is the base. He posits that it is the base that determines the superstructure. He states that law in capitalist society is an instrument of class struggle, class determination and hegemony. Law does not defend everybody in the society rather it defends the few who are property owners.

3. Political Economy
Capitalist Economy= C + V + M
*C: Capital (constant)
*V: Variable (labor)
*M: Money (profit)
Marx believes the law is not value neutral. It reflects power relationships. Value added by the worker is what the owner pays to the worker less some amount. The capitalist makes his profit by short-changing his employees, because if he pays the value they add, there will be no profit.
The state is the apparatus of power in the hands of the economically dominant class in society. So the state does not cater for all but only for the economically dominant in the society. However, the state must also strive to provide for the societal needs of the lesser ones.

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