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April 10 , 2011

Law and Marxism

A General Theory


This is a classic Marxist study first published in 1924 - one of the principal Soviet contributions to jurisprudence theory. It is an authoritative non-revisionist text offering both a commentary and a critique of prevailing Marxist and non-Marxist legal theory. Pashukanis states that juridical and state forms are linked to a specific type of class society - capitalist society. However, law comes not from the rule of the capitalist class but from the relations of production that created that class. Rights and laws are exchanged like commodities.

The author applies Marx's writings on contract and property law, giving sensitive attention to the interrelation of commodity values and individual rights. He considers the ritual, pomp and mystique of legal systems, and looks at law in relation to power structures, the state, exploitation, and morality.

"if any one book is going to accelerate the development of a Marxist criminology, then this is it"New Society

"... necessary reading" Ideology and Consciousness

"a breath of fresh air" Head and Hand

"... the analysis is powerful and sustained; a major contribution" Tribune

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