Marxist theory of Law: Marxist Approach to Law, Economics, Society

Marxist theory of Law : Marxist Approach to Law, Economics, Society 


This article discuss Marxist legal theory and how it has been applied in communist countries and other countries that have claimed Marxism as their official ideology or their country based on Marxist thought . It investigates whether the undercurrent of violence and lawlessness always exhibit by the concrete behavior of Marxist regime may in fact be a natural consequence of Marxist theory itself. Indeed, Marx viewed laws basically in terms of guarantee and justifying class oppression, thus advancing the position that laws in a socialist state must be nothing more than the obligation (by a political elite) of the “dictatorship of the proletariat”.


Marxism is primarily a social, political, and economic theory that interprets history through an evolutionary prism.[1] Marx  claim to have discovered a “progressive” guide scheming human evolution, which would lead humanity to the influx of a communist society of classless individuals. On this basis Marx defined the state and all its laws as mere instruments of class domination, which would have to depart when the final stage of human evolution were finally proficient.
Marxism and religion
 In order to better understand Marxism, it is compulsory to explore its religious scope. In many respects Marxism is no less religious or dogmatic than the traditional religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As a substance of fact, Marxism contains in itself a total worldview that includes details of the origin of the universe and an eschatological theory concerning the final destiny of humankind. [2]

Theologically, Marxism declare that God does not, cannot, and must not exist. Instead, Marxism is based on the certainty that history is constantly developing towards a definite direction and that the workers is the redemptive force of humanity. Thus Marx stated: “History is the judge, its slaughterer the workers.”

Since Marx believed he had bare the undisclosed of ideal the human condition, politics became for him a form of secular religion, whereby the ideal of human deliverance would be accomplished by the proletariat’s revolutionary actions in history. History was interpreted gradually by Marx, moving by means of social thrash about. He believed that the final stage of human evolution actually transcend class struggle, when the eschatological consummation of global communism is at last achieved.

Marxist legal theory

Darwin’s evolutionary theory had a deep impact on the Western idea of law. Under its
influence there proceed over the nineteenth century a thorough renovation of legal studies as well as a general theory among the judicial elite that “since humans are allegedly accidents, so are their laws.”Following the development of his time, Marx stood together with other social “scientists” in their complete denial of the concept of natural law that had guided and encouraged the founders of modern-democratic constitutionalism in the United States.
Marx’s ideas about law were articulated essentially in theCommunist Manifesto,
which he published in cooperation with his friend Friedrich Engels in 1848. In that paper Marx contends that “law, morality, religion, are so many bourgeois prejudice, behind which lurk in ensnare just as many bourgeois interests.” Then he goes on to criticize the whole tradition of government under the rule of law as nothing more than a mere expression of “bourgeois” aspiration:

  “Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all; a will, whose essential character and direction are determined by the economic conditions of existence of your class … . The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of production and form of property—this misconception you share with every ruling class that has preceded you.’’

In Marxist theory, explain David and Brieley,[3]

 “Law is only a superstructure; in reality it only translates the interests of those who hold the reins of command in any given society; it is an instrument in the service of those who exercise their ‘dictatorship’ in this society because they have the instruments of production within their control. Law is a means of expressing the exploited class; it is, of necessity, unjust—or, in other words, it is only just from the subject point of view of the ruling class. To speak of a ‘just’ law is to appeal to an ideology—that is to say, a false representation of reality; justice is no more than an historical idea conditioned by circumstances of class.”
The Communist Theory of Law(1955), legal philosopher Hans Kelsen contends that the “anti-normative approach to social phenomena is an important element of the Marxian theory in general and of the Marxian theory of law in exacting.”Because Marx believed that law arises from class conflicts, he concluded that the need for law would cease to exist with the advent of classless communism. Such a promise of lawlessness that lead to “perfect justice” was correctly interpreted by Kelsen as being “a utopian
Since lawlessness is prominent by Marxism to represent the final stage of communism—which according to Marx necessarily predates “a period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat”—it is not unreasonable to explain the undercurrent of extreme violence manifested in Marxist regimes as being little more than the projection of such political ideas.
Marxist Law – Law and Socialist Economics
Once the revolution of the workers has succeeded, the new Marxist law (socialistic law) will imitate the wishes of the working people rather than those of the bourgeoisie. Law based on the will of the masses will create a society that is less unequal than that based on capitalist bourgeois law. According to Jawitsch, “An anti-exploiter trend is what characterizes the special features of all the principles of the law of socialist society in most concerted form.’’

The will of the masses becomes the basis for all rights, laws, and judgments, thereby negating natural law, God, or any absolute moral code. Howard Selsem explains, “Marxism, which has been so habitually accused of seeking to eliminate moral considerations from human life and history emphasizes rather the moral issues involved in every situation. It does so, however, not by standing on a false platform of absolute right, but by identifying itself with the real needs and interests of the workers and farmers.

Critically Evaluate Fundamental Duties (Art. 51A) with case law

Marxists see law based on the will of the proletariat as flexible rather than inconsistent, a flexibility that denies a need for a comprehensive legal system. Pashukanis writes, “We require that our legislation possess maximum elasticity. We cannot fetter ourselves by any sort of system.


     Marx believed that laws are the product of class domination, and that laws would have to depart with the advent of communism. Marxist ideas are closely linked with despotic communist regime, since these regimes have claimed Marxism as their representative ideology. unluckily, the Marxist dream of a lawless society has led only to gross inequality and class-oriented genocidal policies. In fact, Marxist regimes have been far more efficient in the art of killing millions of individuals than in the art of producing any real or perceived form of social justice.
But it appears that Marxism is still very much alive, and that it has deeply influenced a direct line of contemporary legal thinkers, who have adopted some of its ideas or picked up some aspects of this radical theory. Indeed, Marxist theory overlaps with much of the current work within critical theories of law, such as radical feminism and race legal theory.58This may be regarded as a dangerous development, since history empirically demonstrates—rather conclusively—that whenever Marxist legal theory is applied, at least two of its most dreadful characteristics invariably appear, namely, judicial partiality and political arbitrariness.


  •  R.W.M.Dias – Jurisprudence
  • Mayank Madhav- Jurisprudence, Legal Method, Indian Legal System and Basic Theory of Law
  • WikipediaMarxist law
  • [1] Dias- Jurisprudence
  • [2]Mayank Madhav- Jurisprudence, Legal Method, Indian Legal System and Basic Theory of Law
  • [3]David and Brieley,[3]– Marxist Theory