7 Main Limitations of the Marxist Approach to Study Politics

Critics, however, point out several limitations of the Marxist Approach:

1. Politics is not a dependent process:

Marxist Approach wrongly assumes that politics is a dependent process dependent upon economic relations.

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2. Over simplified view of society:

Its view of society as a society divided between two opposed economic classes is unacceptable. It contains an over simplified and one sided view of social stratification.

3. Class struggle is not the law of evolution:

It wrongly suggests that class struggle has been and still continues to be the eternal code of social evolution. It also wrongly projects that revolution is always a natural and final culmination of class struggle.

4. State is not a class institution of the rich:

Marxian view of the state as a machine of the rich and as an instrument created at a particular time and still used by them as a means of exploiting the poor, is not acceptable.

The emergence of welfare state emphasising the use of state power for securing the welfare and interests of all, particularly of the poor and the downtrodden, tends to refute the Marxian logic. State is a social institution and not a class machine.

5. Theory of dialectical materialism is unscientific:

The ideological basis of Marxism Dialectical Materialism in particular, has been severely criticised by critics as unoriginal, unreal, unhelpful and biased.

6. Inadequacy of Marxian approach:

Critics even suggest that history has refuted some of the conclusions drawn by the use of this approach by Marx himself. The behaviour of ‘socialism’ in all the socialist states which came into existence after 1917 clearly reflected the weaknesses of Marxian logic.

The advocacy of naturalness of class struggle and the inevitability of revolution and overthrow of capitalism now stand rejected by almost all the people. Even Lenin had to modify the Marxian approach. After Lenin, several communist theoreticians found it essential to revise the Marxist-Leninist approach.

7. Points of criticism raised by Duverger:

Finally, we would like to quote Duverger, who has criticised this approach from two basic standpoints: “First, it overestimates the part played by class conflict in the formation of political differences.

Secondly, it gives too narrow a definition of class.” It is true that traces of class struggle can be found in any age but whether its role is as vital, as important and as decisive as the Marxists suggest, is debatable.

Before the nineteenth century, the mass of people were usually allowed no part in political life. They were of course exploited, but they had neither the intellectual means of understanding that they were being exploited and of envisaging the possibility of changing their situation nor had the material means of fighting against it.

According to Duverger, “Political conflicts took place within limited elite, among whom class differences were fairly small. The rival factions which competed for power had no class basis.”

“National or dynastic rivalries, religious or ideological conflicts, disputes among clans and competition between individuals were more important than the class struggle, with which they had little connection.”