State, Class Struggle, and the Reproduction of Capital

  • Simon Clarke
Part of the Capital and Class book series (CAC)


In the last few years, the Marxist theory of the state has been the focus of continuous debate. The main aim of most of the contributions to the debate has been to steer a middle way between ‘vulgar’ conceptions of the state as a mere tool of capital and ‘reformist’ conceptions of the state as a neutral institution standing outside and above the class struggle. The focus of recent discussion has been the attempt to develop an adequate account of the capitalist state as a particular historical form of social relation. The emphasis in most contributions has been on the ‘externality’ of the state in relation to particular capitals and on its ‘particularity’ as a political institution, standing apart from the forms of class struggle surrounding the production and appropriation of surplus value. Within this framework various solutions have been put forward, usually seeing the state as a sort of external guarantor of the conditions of capitalist reproduction, whose subordination to capital is effected through the subordination of the material reproduction of the state to the reproduction of capital; through the political and administrative systems that ensure the dominance of the capitalist class; and through the ideological subordination of the working class to capital.


Class Character Capitalist Production Capitalist State Class Struggle Social Reproduction 
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Copyright information

© The Conference of Socialist Economists 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Clarke

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