Class Power and State Power

Class Power and State Power:Political Essays

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Ralph Miliband is one of the major Marxist sociologists working today. His books, The State in Capitalist Society and Parliamentary Socialism, are standard reference points in all debates on the nature of the state.

Less widely known, and never before collected in one volume, are Miliband's contributions to the development of socialist politics. As an essayist, he deploys a wide political culture and clarity of argument with a sustained commitment to socialist values. The topics of the essays gathered here were sparked by the key occasions of socialist debate in the past twenty years. They include socialist democracy; the relation between class power and state power in the transition to socialism; the role of human agency in history, and the character of the Soviet Union. Kolakowski, Bahro, Medvedev and Bettelheim are among the figures whose contributions are soberly and constructively assessed. The lessons of the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile are drawn in a tour de force of controlled moral outrage and urgent analysis.

All of Miliband's interventions in his famous debate with Nicos Poulantzas are brought together for the first time, along with his subsequent reflections on the questions it addressed. Finally, Miliband explores the special problems posed for socialists by the existence of powerful and inert labour parties in advanced capitalist countries, arguing powerfully for a recognition that contemporary conditions demand a rejection both of Leninist and of social-democratic strategies.

Class Power and State Power is an impressive display of the depth and range of Ralph Miliband's writing of the past twenty years; it will confirm his status as one of the most important contemporary Marxist thinkers.