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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Marx planned a book on the state as part of his larger project to critique the political economy of the capitalist mode of production. Nonetheless Marx analyzed the state over some forty years of critical engagement with bourgeois society and provided at least seven types of analysis of the state and state power. Overall, he highlighted the significance of the institutional separation of the economic and political in capitalist social formations, explored the normal form of the capitalist type of state and some of its exceptional forms (notably Bonapartism), and related state power to specific state forms and the changing balance of forces. This article surveys the development of Marx’s work on the capitalist state, the range of approaches that he adopted in specific contexts, his form analysis of the state, his conjunctural analyses, and his eventual discovery of the adequate form of a democratic socialist state in the Paris Commune. It builds on this analysis of Marx’s work to comment on subsequent Marxist analyses of the state and state power, including capital-, class- and state-theoretical work and emphasizes the importance of a relational approach to the capitalist state.

Keywords: state apparatus, Bonapartism, democracy, form analysis, hegemony, relational analysis, state power, world of states, world market

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