Class Struggle and the Rule of Law

Hugh Collins

in Marxism and Law

Published in print October 1984 | ISBN: 9780192851444
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670534 | DOI:

Series: Marxist Introductions

Class Struggle and the Rule of Law

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This chapter discusses a radical's predicament in defining revolutionary practice with regard to law, and how a solution to this predicament can be found. It argues that that the general dilemma faced by many radicals with regard to law must be approached pragmatically. There may be moments when either reformism or insurrection will yield short-term gains for the working class. These benefits must be weighed against the probable consequence of encounters with the legal system — that the foundations of the liberal state are likely to be made more secure against revolutionary action. In certain cases, however, there will be a relatively clear choice for the radical. Taking the touchstone of Marxist strategy to be the heightening of class-consciousness, it is evident that certain legal conditions increase the opportunities for a working-class movement to gain cohesion.

Keywords: Marxism; theory of law; rule of law; form of law; legality; liberty; radicals

Chapter.  9492 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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