This chapter is a contribution to the Marxist analysis of law and the state. Its principal purpose is to articulate the basic principles of any such analysis. After setting out the main characteristics of dialectical-materialist analysis, the chapter discusses these principles and makes three arguments. First, law and the state abstract from and correspond to a specific socio-economic content. Second, law and the state perform a class function, reproducing dominant relations of production as well as the rule of the dominant class. Third, law and the state perform this function all the more effectively on account of their relative autonomy. In making this argument, the chapter examines certain categories, such as class struggle, the ‘relative autonomy of law and state’, the ‘unity of form and content’, and the ‘reproduction of the relations of production’.
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