Marx individuals are a “fictitious phenomenon” separated from

Marx establishes a rigid
distinction between the civil society and the state whilst criticising both as
being shaped by bourgeois ideology and practice. Indeed, civil society arose
from the destruction of medieval society which was inextricable to feudalism; a
political structure which Marx argues bred inequality, exclusion and
marginality. During feudalism, society was fragmented into separate societies.
However, when revolution shattered feudal bonds, the individual ascended, and
the selfish needs of the individual, separated from the community, replaced the
old ties of feudal privilege. To elaborate, Marx’s assertion that “the
political revolution therefore abolished the political character of the state”
(Marx 14:1843) is endemic to how elements of civil life, such as the family,
were elevated to the political realm during feudalism. As such, when the politicisation
of the private sphere ceased, modern society brought the ascendancy of
individual egoism, a destructive force which separates the individual from the
community and serves to reproduce the privilege which feudalism projected. As
Marx contends, “The political revolution resolves civil life into its component
parts, without revolutionizing these components themselves or subjecting them
to criticism” (Marx 15:1843) thus, a separation was established; the non-political
realm of civil society, and the political sphere of the bourgeois state.

Conversely, rather than
being concerned with a collection of isolated individuals, the state represents
the idealistic ideal of universal interests. This is presented as the
antithesis of civil society as this should be concerned with universality and a
general concern. The realm of government should not be concerned with
difference and privacy but rather the common good and the general interest of
the people. On the other hand, repressive, ideological, despotic,
Marx is repeatedly scathing in his criticism of the state which he argues is a
distant realm for many individuals as they lack the capacity to participate. As
such, ordinary citizens are “deprived of his real individual life and endowed
with an unreal universality”. Such a vehement assertion implies that the state
only exudes an illusion of inclusiveness which masks how the state exists only to
protect the interests of the class of owners who control it. Thus, in civil
society individuals are a “fictitious phenomenon” separated from the community,
whereas individuals in the state are “imaginary members” of an “illusionary sovereignty”
(Marx 6:1843). The bourgeois state, in Marx’s view, is a weapon used in the
class struggle to suppress revolution whilst stifling individual freedoms.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Marx is heavily critical of
the bourgeois state as he deems this to be a channel which facilitates the
ruling class to assert their dominance and pursue their common interests rather
than allowing for universality. As such, the state is an organisation in which
the ruling class adopt policies that guarantee their property and exclusive
mutual interests. Furthermore, the agents of the state such as the police and
judiciary are not seen as representatives who pursue universal interests, but
rather they are representatives of the state with a task to manage the state
against the people. Indeed for Marx it is flawed to believe that appointing
members of an atomised civil society will represent the general interest of
society as a whole. From this, one can assume that the entire notion that the
general interest would be realised in a bourgeois state is erroneous and
fictional; indeed class divisions are deeply embedded and manifested in the
states actions.

Ultimately Marx is
contending that the state is detached from civil society and is a system in
which members of the ruling class assert their mutual interests. As such, in
the ‘Jewish Question’ Marx perceives the separation of the state from civil
society as a bourgeois construct and seeks a reunification of both realms. 


I'm Alfred!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out