‘Anarchism, Marxism and the Bonapartist State’

Newman, Saul. 2004. ‘Anarchism, Marxism and the Bonapartist State’. Anarchist Studies, 12(1), ISSN 0967-3393 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper explores the question of state power and sovereignty in radical political theory through an examination of the classical anarchist critique of Marxism. It draws on the Bonapartist moment in Marx's thinking, seeing this as laying the groundwork for the development of a theory of the state as autonomous from class, suggesting that the implications of this argument are only fully realised in anarchism. Anarchism was able to develop a wholly autonomous and specific theory of state power and political authority - one that was irreducible to the Marxist class and economic analysis. I will argue that this had crucial consequences for contemporary radical political theory as it allowed the political dimension to emerge as a separate field of antagonism, demanding its own specific forms of analysis. I then explore the implications of this theoretical terrain through Agamben's analysis of biopower and state sovereignty, and Laclau and Mouffe's 'post-Marxist' understanding of hegemonic political identification, suggesting that there are important links here with anarchism that could be developed.

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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2015 14:03

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 12:21

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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