Chapter

The Prognosis for Law

Hugh Collins

in Marxism and Law

Published in print October 1984 | ISBN: 9780192851444
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192851444.003.0005

Series: Marxist Introductions

The Prognosis for Law

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This chapter considers the most notorious and controversial aspect of the Marxist theory of law: the persistent hostility which Marxists have shown towards law. Two closely related claims have been made by Marxists. In the first place it has been predicted that there will be no law in a Communist society. The second argument against the necessity for law goes further: not only will law disappear under Communism, but it is also contended that legal systems represent the deepest evils of modern social formations, and, that the absence of law will be a key feature of a truly free society. Before explaining and defending those bold claims, the chapter considers a preliminary attack mounted by Marxists against the contrary view that law is necessary for human civilization. This orthodoxy of modern political theory is dubbed by Marxists with the title ‘fetishism of law’. This signifies that it is a mistaken assumption which leads to a distorted understanding of the world. After considering how this erroneous view has become so widespread and why it is false, the chapter turns to the arguments which demonstrate the thesis that law is unnecessary, and that it will disappear in a Communist society.

Keywords: Marxism; theory of law; scientific socialism; human nature; Communism

Chapter.  11864 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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