Marx Ideology

“Law’s repressive coercive (material) functions are obscured by its ideological (symbolic) functions that portray it as equal, universal, and just”.

I think that for the most part, this quote is true. This is because in theory, laws are made to appear as if they are universally applicable, and are fair and just, thus the creation of laws, because society would not approve of unjust laws. However, this is not always true. Society is governed by a set of laws, and each set of laws is different for each society. For example, individual provinces have set laws that appear to be best suited for that province, but may not be the same in another province. This is seen in the United States as well, where something is seen as a crime in one state, and not in another. For example, in the United States, there are 9 states in which same – sex marriage is prohibited by in statute, and thirty states in which same – sex marriage is prohibited in their constitution (Mardell, 2012). Only a few states support the idea of same – sex marriage. The law behind this can be seen because same – sex marriage was not a ‘normal’ practice in society many years ago, but that has all changed now. Same – sex marriages are recognized in many countries across the world, and many societies in which it is banned are arguing that it should be legalized because the law should not be able to prohibit two adults to get married.

Marx talks about class struggles and has created a model which outlines superstructures for ideological, political, legal, and cultural societies. I feel that larger corporations are not held to the same legal standard as regular citizens of a certain society. In the media, every day we see news about murders and drug crime, but never about corporate and white collar crime. The fact of the matter is that corporate crime occurs just as often as street crimes, but since larger corporations have power, they, in essence, are held at a different level and it appears as if the law is not applied to them in the same way as it is to citizens. For example, when larger corporations are taking shortcuts and fully knowledgeable about the safety hazard that are put forth from these shortcuts, but still go on with it, then the damage done to the individuals is outweighed by the profit margin. The general public rarely hears about these cases because the larger corporations either own or have a substantial number of shares in media companies, and will advertise on these media outlets. Since advertisements are media’s main source of income, they are obligated to overlook the stories that make these corporations seem bad and don’t air the news which will give the corporations a negative name. In addition to this, corporations will often try to pay out people for their injuries due to faulty material used, rather than take the legal route. Also, when corporations are seen polluting the air and environment, which directly effects the quality of life for surrounding citizens, no legal action is taken, but the outcome of those corporations’ actions’ can often lead to death, which is similar to others’ actions, but the others are prosecuted for murder, etc. and the corporations are never seen facing any legal action.

In summary, I do agree with the statement that the law, at first glance, appears to be fair and just, and can be universally applicable, but in reality, it is not always carried out this way. Divisions in classes cause differences in the way the law is applied, and the elite class and corporate level individuals can see as getting away with crime, and not facing legal action because of their social class and power.

Mark Mardell (May 9, 2012). “North Carolina approves constitutional ban on gay union”


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One response to “Marx Ideology

  1. You note that “I feel that larger corporations are not held to the same legal standard as regular citizens of a certain society.”

    An excellent illustration of this – and one with profound consequences for the current US election – is the US Supreme Court’s momentous decision in Citizens United. The Court found that corporations had the same rights as people, from a First Amendment perspective (freedom of speech). The decision opened the door to a massive increase in corporate spending for purposes of influencing political campaigns. At the same time, corporations do not face the same obligations as citizens under the law.

    You also note that “In the media, every day we see news about murders and drug crime, but never about corporate and white collar crime.”

    This should be qualified (though the general features of your argument are accurate). If you are referring to the mainstream media, you are right to note that coverage is skewed in favor of ‘street crime’ (however, note that mainstream media outlets have run major investigative series on events like the Sponsorship scandal, the Watergate break-in, ponzi schemes, and fraud). There are, thankfully, a number of excellent media outlets that operate outside the mainstream and focus their reporting on corporate and state crime. Let me know if you would like to discuss some media sites of interest.