From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 04:07:30 EST
As with economic theory, there was a time in the history of the Soviet regime when an attempt was made to take seriously the absurdities of this Communist theory of law and state. For about a decade during the thirties an influential doctrine was called the commodity exchange theory of law. According to this theory, the fundamental fact about capitalism is that it is built on the economic institution of exchange. In accordance with the doctrine of the superstructure, all political and legal institutions under capitalism must therefore be permeated and shaped by the concept of exchange. Indeed, the theory went further. Even the rules of morality are based on exchange, for is there not a kind of tacit deal implied even in the Golden Rule, "Do unto others, as you would be done by"? Now the realization of communism, which is the negation of capitalism, requires the utter rooting out of any notion of exchange in the Communist economy. But when exchange has disappeared, the political, legal, and moral superstructure that was built on it will also disappear. Therefore, under mature communism there will not only be no capitalistic legal and political institutions, there will be no law whatever, no state, no morality - for all of these in some measure reflect the underlying notion of an exchange or deal among men. The high priest of this doctrine was Eugene Pashukanis. His reign came to an abrupt end in 1937 as the inconvenience of his teachings began to become apparent. With an irony befitting the career of one who predicted that communism would bring an end to law and legal processes, Pashukanis was quietly taken off and shot without even the semblance of a trial. ___________ From The Meaning Of Communism To Americans by Vice-President Richard Nixon August 21, 1960 http://www.watergate.info/nixon/60-08-21_communism.shtml ______________________ An Analysis of Law in the Marxist Tradition Campbell, Janet Description The purpose of this work is to construct theoretically a regulatory system based on the writings of a selection of Marxist legal theorists (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stuchka, Reisner and Pashukanis), ascertain whether such a system might be considered law, and determine whether or not there is a legitimate claim for a 'socialist jurisprudence.' Both theoretical constructs and historical examples are used during the course of discussion. The results indicate that there is a viable alternative to law which does not ignore the regulatory needs of society and is compatible with the Marxist critique of the legal order. It is fills the gap existing in the literature of 'socialist law' and articulates a system of social regulation that can be considered non-legal (thus making it compatible with Marxist theory). To this date, such an attempt to define theoretically a regulatory system in communism compatible with the writings of Marx and Engels has not been made. Reviews "Janet Campbell has set herself the task of showing how a socialist society could be a truly free societyshe has succeeded in providing a succinct outline of views, a comparative analysis of those views and her own summation of their contribution to the question. She goes on to provide her own description of 'regulation' in a socialist society. This latter is certainly an original and very interesting analysis of forms of interaction in a communist society." - Hillel Ticktin, Professor of Marxist Studies, University of Glasgow "Campbell's book is a refreshing contribution to the fields of legal and political theory in the current academic milieu. This is an overview of Marxist-based legal theory, and invaluable for those interested in the early development of the Soviet Union's Peoples' Courts. With the exception of John Hazard's work these early Soviet legal institutions have not been studied with any great depth and so this area of the book provides a boon to historians of Soviet law. Campbell goes further, though, by analyzing these institutions in the framework of legal theory grounded in a Marxist political economy.also attempts to place the theory in the larger framework of a functioning socialist society.and in the proves provides a trenchant critique of von Hayek and Nove. She then goes on to show how a system of regulation in socialism may not be considered law at all in the sense we understand it today. This section provides the most compelling reading as the author does not shy away from difficult issues and provides insight to age-old problems.The controversy and discussion that will arise from this book is perhaps the greatest contribution it will make to the field of jurisprudence and political science. Campbell's arguments are accessible and well-reasoned and readers both from the political right and the left will benefit, as will those who simply want background in the area. The material she covers, the points she raises, and perhaps more importantly, from the questions and critiques she articulates give the book an almost timeless quality.a commendable contribution to the debate." - Dr. Ian Spencer, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Staffordshire University Table of Contents Table of Contents (main headings): Foreword; Preface; Introduction 1. Marx and Engels (legal and economic relations in capitalism and socialism; human nature; freedom; authority; democracy) 2. The People's Courts (legal concepts of Lenin; law in communism; the people's courts - reorganization, operation, decision making, centralization; economic conditions; social vs. political power) 3. The Theorists (Stuchka; Pashukanis; Reisner) 4. Theoretical Synthesis ( control; coercion and obligation; difficulties with needs-based production; regulation; conflicts; violence) 5. Towards a Model (structural components of regulation; authority and institutions; the Kibbutz - an historical example) 6. Conclusions (regulation; coercion; institutional distinction and norms; procedural distinction; positivism, natural law; the sociological school) Bibliography; Index ISBN: 0-7734-6704-1 Pages: 374 Year: 2003 Series: Studies in Political Science Number: 12 Subject Area: Political Science, Political Philosophy & Theory Imprint: Edwin Mellen Press USA List Price: $119.95 UK List Price: £ 74.95 Vol. 8 No. 1 (January 1998) pp. 5-8.
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