Marx Spring School / 3rd Convention of the AG Rechtskritik

Critiquing Law with Louis Althusser


May 5th to 7th, 2017 in Berlin

At this year’s Marx Spring School we want to further investigate the fundamental connections between value, law and state, and to do so with the help of the Marxist state critic Louis Althusser’s legal theory.

For generations of intellectuals, Althussers’ essay Ideology and ideological State Apparatuses, published in 1970 in the journal La Pensée, belonged to the canon of Marxist theory of the state. At the center of this classic work of theory is the subject, interpolated by the praxes of ideological and repressive state apparatuses. Through this subject-theory oriented approach, Althusser’s theory of ideology opens points of connections for feminist and anticolonial approaches in critical theory. At the same time, the recent international renaissance of Althusser scholarship has also witnessed an increase in discussion of his theory’s legal-theoretical potential over the past few years.

In particular, the manuscript On Reproduction, from which the ISA essay was taken, shows Althusser’s intensive examination of the category of law. Proceeding from the process of reproduction, which also encompass the statist-juridical conditions of both capitalist society and the legal subject’s reproduction, Althusser’s theory makes possible an analysis of control mechanisms which previously lay beyond the traditional theoretical framework of Marxist legal and state theory. A renewed examination of Althusser’s concept of law thus harbors new impulses for a materialist theory of law which seeks to escape economistic reductions and to participate in the context of a larger societal critique.

The AG Rechtskritik is a consortium of jurists and colleagues from other fields that occupies itself with questions of Marxist legal theory. At the two previous conferences, we have discussed the legal thought of Eugen Paschukanis (2013) and organized a Spring School about the development of Karl Marx’s concept of law (2015). Together with the arbeitskreis kritischer juristinnen und juristen at the Humbolt-Universtität in Berlin [akj-berlin] as well as the Helle Panke e.V. – Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Berlin and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, we would like to invite you to our upcoming workshop weekend from May 5th to 7th, 2017. On this weekend we would like to read and discuss excerpts from the manuscript On Reproduction and the ISA essay together in groups, exploring the full depths of their contribution to materialist legal theory.

We are very much looking forward to this weekend seminar in the Schule für Erwachsenenbildung (SfE) in Berlin, located at Gneisenaustraße 2a. Like every Marx Spring School, this convention is aimed at both beginners and advanced participants and will accommodate various levels of familiarity with the topic by offering various seminar groups to ensure that all participants can find a group in which they are comfortable. The workshops will be accompanied by additional podium discussions on related topics.

This year we will offer a seminar for English speakers who want to discuss the critique of law in Althusser’s theory of the state with us. In addition, the panel discussion on Saturday evening with Katja Diefenbach and Laurent de Sutter will be held in English.

With lectures by Katja Diefenbach, Laurent de Sutter, Jens-Christian Müller-Tuckfeld, Frieder Otto Wolf, Anne-Kathrin Krug, Christian Schmidt, Hanna Meißner and Ingo Kramer.

Event location: Schule für Erwachsenenbildung, Gneisenaustraße 2a, 10961 Berlin

Admission: 10 € for all three days / Saturday evening discussion alone: 2 €