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Such a point of view is adopted for instance by Reisner. Law in this manner is transformed into an eternal institution, inherent to all forms of human society.

From here it is just one step to the understanding of law as an eternal idea; and Reisner in essence leans towards such an understanding. This viewpoint of course fundamentally contradicts Marxism. The customs of a society not knowing class divisions, property inequality and exploitation, differ qualitatively from the law and the statutes of class society. To categorize them together means to introduce an unlikely confusion. Every attempt to avoid this qualitative difference inevitably leads to scholasticism, to the purely external combination of phenomena of different types, or to abstract idealist constructs in the Stammlerian spirit.

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This does not mean, however, that in classless society we will be dealing only with purely technical rules. Such an argument was put forward by Stuchka in his dispute with Reisner. To assign the customs and the norms of pre-class society to the area of technology would mean to give the concept of technology a very extended and undefined sense. Marriage prohibitions, customs relating to the organization of the tribe, the power of the elders, blood feud etc. The content and character of these customs corresponded of course to the level of productive forces and the production relationships erected on it.

These social forms should be considered as a superstructure upon the economic base. But the basic qualitative difference between this superstructure and the political and legal superstructures of class society, consists in the absence of property inequality, exploitation, and organized class coercion. While Marxism strives to give a concrete historical meaning to law, the characteristic feature of bourgeois philosophers of law is, on the contrary, the conclusion that law in general is outside classes, outside any particular socio-economic formation.

We already saw how Stammler, with the help of scholastic contrivances, tries to show that concrete facts have no significance for the definition of law. We, however, say the opposite. It is impossible to give a general definition of law without knowing the law of slave-owning, feudal and capitalist societies. Only by studying the law of each of these socio-economic formations can we identify those characteristics which are in fact most general and most typical.

However, Engels at once states that for ordinary practical use, definitions which indicate the most general and characteristic features of a category are very convenient. We cannot do without them.

It is also wrong to demand more from a definition than it can give; it is wrong to forget the inevitability of its insufficiency. These statements by Engels should be kept in mind in approaching any general definition, including a definition of law. It is necessary to remember that it does not replace, and cannot replace, the study of all forms and aspects of law as a concrete historical phenomenon.


In identifying the most general and characteristic features we can define law as the form of regulation and consolidation of production relationships and also of other social relationships of class society; law depends on the apparatus of state power of the ruling class, and reflects the interests of the latter. This definition characterizes the role and significance of law in class society.

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But it is nevertheless incomplete. In contradistinction to all normative theories — which are limited to the external and formal side of law norms, statutes, judicial positions etc. The legal superstructure comprises not only the totality of norms and actions of agencies, but the unity of this formal side and its content, i. This definition stresses three aspects of the matter. First is the class nature of law: every law is the law of the ruling class.

Attempts to consider law as a social relationship which transcends class society, lead either to superficial categorization of diverse phenomena, or to speculative idealistic constructs in the spirit of the bourgeois philosophy of law. Second is the basic and determinant significance of production relationships in the content that is implemented by law.

Class interests directly reflect their relationship to the means of production. Property relationships occupy the prominent place in the characterization of a specific legal order. Communist society, where classes disappear, where labour becomes the primary want, where the effective principle will be from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs: this does not require law.

The third aspect consists of the fact that the functioning of a legal superstructure demands a coercive apparatus. When we say that social relationships have assumed a legal expression, this means inter alia that they have been given a coercive nature by the state power of the ruling class. Withering away of the law can only occur simultaneously with the withering away of the state. Relationships which have received legal expression are qualitatively different from those relationships which have not received this expression.

Towards a Classless Society?, The State of Welfare by Helen Jones | | Booktopia

The form of this expression may be different, as was indicated by Engels [5] ; it may sometimes be good and sometimes be bad. It may support the progressive development of these relationships or, on the contrary, retard them. Everything depends on whether power is in the hands of a revolutionary or a reactionary class. Here the real significance of the legal superstructure appears. However, the degree of this reality is a question of fact; it can be determined only by concrete study and not by any a priori calculations.

Could a Modern Classless Society Be Possible?

Bourgeois jurists characteristically concentrate their attention on form, and utterly ignore content. They turn their backs on life and actual history. Bourgeois jurists usually define law as the totality of norms to which a state has given coercive power. This view of law typifies so-called legal positivism. The most consistent representatives of this trend are the English jurists: of the earliest Blackstone eighteenth century , and thereafter Austin.

In other European countries legal positivism also won itself a dominant position in the nineteenth century, because the bourgeoisie either gained state power or everywhere achieved sufficient influence in the state so as not to fear the identification of law with statute. At the same time nothing was better for legal professionals, for judges, [and] for defence counsel since this definition fully satisfied their practical needs.

If law in its entirety was the complex of orders proceeding from the state, and consolidated by sanction in the case of disobedience, then the task of jurisprudence was defined with maximum clarity. The work of the jurist, according to the positivists, did not consist in justifying law from some external point of view — philosophers were occupied with this; the task of the jurists did not include explaining from where a norm emerged, and what determined its content — this was the task of political scientists and sociologists.

The role of the jurist remained the logical interpretation of particular legal provisions, the establishment of an internal logical connection between them, combining them into larger systematic units in legal institutions, and finally in this way the creation of a system of law. The definition of law as the totality of norms is the starting point for supporting the so-called dogmatic method. This consists of using formal logical conclusions in order to move from particular norms to more general concepts and back, proceeding from general positions to propose the solution of concrete legal cases or disputes.

It is obvious that the practical part of this role developing especially luxuriantly in the litigious circumstances of bourgeois society — has nothing in common with a scientific theory of law. Applications of so-called legal logic are not only theoretically fruitless, they are not only incapable of revealing the essence of law and thus of showing its connection with other phenomena-with economics, with politics, with class struggle — but they are also harmful and impermissible in the practice of our Soviet courts and other state institutions.

We need decisions of cases, not formally, but in their essence; the state of the working people, as distinct from the bourgeois state, does not hide either its class character or its goal — the construction of socialism. Therefore, the application of norms of Soviet law must not be based on certain formal logical considerations, but upon the consideration of all the concrete features of the given case, of the class essence of those relationships to which it becomes necessary to apply a general norm, and of the general direction on of the policy of Soviet power at the given moment.

The denial of formal legal logic cultivated by the bourgeoisie does not mean a denial of revolutionary legality, does not mean that judicial cases and questions of administration must be decided chaotically in the Soviet state, systematically on the basis of the random whims of individuals, or on the basis of local influences. The struggle for revolutionary legality is a struggle on two fronts: against legal formalism and the transfer to Soviet soil of bourgeois chicanery, and against those who do not understand the organizational significance of Soviet decrees as one of the methods of the uniform conduct of the policy of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Thus, the law is the means of formulating and consolidating the production relationships of class society and the social relationships which are connected with them. In the legal superstructure, these relationships appear as property relations and as relations of domination and subordination. They appear, in particular, as relations of an ideological nature, i. We shall not touch upon the question of the degree to which the legal ideology of the exploiting classes is capable of correctly reflecting reality, and in what measure it inevitably distorts it representing the interest of the exploiting class as the social interest in order, legality, freedom etc.

Here, we merely emphasize the fact that without the work of legislators, judges, police and prison guards in a word, of the whole apparatus of the class state , law would become a fiction. The conscious will — towards the formulation and consolidation of production and other relationships — is the will of the ruling class which finds its expression in custom, in law, in the activity of the court and in administration.

The legal superstructure exists and functions because behind it stands an organization of the ruling class, namely the apparatus of coercion and power in the form of the army, the police, court bailiffs, prison guards and hangmen.

westernhomeopathy.com/wp-content/date/2036-top-18-signs.php This does not mean that the ruling class has to use physical force in every case. Much is achieved by simple threat, by the knowledge of helplessness and of the futility of struggle, by economic pressure, and finally by the fact that the working classes are in the ideological captivity of the exploiters.