Australian Left Review

Article Title

Poulantzas and Marxist theory


Peter Beilharz


Nicos Poulantzas died on October 3, 1979 in Paris, aged 43. He was the author of six books, theoretical works which most people could not afford, let alone understand. Socialists should not feel obliged to mourn the dead simply because the world — or Parisian fashion — tells us they were Great. So why mourn Poulantzas? Other recent deaths, such as that of Marcuse, have not been unexpected. The entire generation of socialists which has survived two wars is now disappearing; we can expect many more theoretical obituaries in the next decade. Though older than some of us, Poulantzas was of our generation. He spoke to those of us now in our twenties and thirties. And as Paul Patton pointed out in his obituary (Tribune, November 7) Poulantzas served as a point of introduction to the classics of marxism, or at least to a particular view of them.