Nicos Poulantzas was both an important and influential marxist theorist and a committed communist. He was a member of the Communist Party of Greece (Interior) — he stood as a candidate for parliament in the last Greek elections — and he contributed forcefully to the strategic debates of the West European workers’ movement. Poulantzas’ writings, from the early Political Power and Social Classes to the most recent book State, Power, Socialism, were serious attempts to further a marxist understanding of issues which are central to any project o f socialist transformation in the advanced capitalist societies; the character of state power and state apparatuses, their internal and external connections with class struggle, the differing forms of bourgeois domination, the composition of social classes, the relationship between struggles for socialism and democratic forms, etc. His writings, although difficult in parts and at least initially somewhat “formalistic”, again and again addressed practically important issues in a way which combined both theoretical rigor and a sensitivity to the demands of a socialist politics. In the course of his ,ork he produced a number of original and innovative insights. Quite deservedly, his writings opened up and provoked important debates and discussions in which he himself participated and which, of course, still continue.
Recommended CitationCampbell, Ian; David, Harry; McGuffie, Chris; and Wright, Russell, Nicos Poulantzas and Marxist Theory, Australian Left Review, 1(74), 1980, 38-43.