Class justice

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term class justice is used by Marxists , among others, to characterize justice as an instrument of the ruling class ( capitalists ) in the class struggle to maintain class society . In the real existing socialism , however, the term class justice was used positively as a description of one's own justice. In the democratic constitutional state , the principle of equality applies , which prohibits class justice in the sense of different legal treatment of members of different classes.

Law and Justice in Marxism

According to Karl Marx , since thinkers like Machiavelli , Hobbes , Spinoza , “power has been represented as the basis of law ...; with which the theoretical view of politics [emancipated] from morality. ”In the eighteenth and 19th centuries“ the entire right to private law ... and this to a very specific power, the power of private owners, would have been reduced ”.

In his criticism of the Gotha program, Marx asks the question whether economic relations are regulated by legal concepts or, conversely, whether legal relations do not arise from economic ones. According to Marx's theory, the judiciary is part of the social “superstructure” that rises from the economic base. The law can therefore "never be higher than the economic structure and the resulting cultural development of society."

"The totality of [the] relations of production forms the economic structure of society, the real basis on which a legal and political superstructure rises, [to which] certain forms of social consciousness correspond."

The “standpoint of legal illusion” does not consider “the law as a product of material relations of production, but conversely, relations of production as a product of the law”.

According to Marx, the law “by its nature can only exist in the application of the same standard”, the unequal individuals, these are people according to Marx, “can only be measured against the same standard if they are viewed from the same point of view, they can only be measured by one certain side ... disregards everything else. ”Equal law would be unequal law in capitalist production. These grievances would also be inevitable in the first phase of communist society, "as it just emerged from capitalist society after long labor pains."

“[Only in a] higher phase of communist society, after the enslaved subordination of individuals to the division of labor, so that the opposition between mental and physical labor has also disappeared; after work has become not only a means to life but itself the first necessity of life; After the all-round development of individuals, their productive forces have grown and all the springs of the cooperative wealth flow more fully - only then can the narrow bourgeois legal horizon be completely exceeded and society can write on its banner: everyone according to their abilities, everyone according to their needs! "

Social structure and prison system

The fact that the so-called "lower classes" were imprisoned much more frequently and for longer than members of the so-called "higher classes" in the last 200 years was already demonstrated in the 1930s in a study by the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research , Georg Rusche / Otto Kirchheimer : Sozialstruktur and the penal system . More recent studies like that of the philosopher Michel Foucault , Monitoring and Punishing. The birth of the prison , and the sociologist Loïc Wacquant punishing the poor. To the neoliberal government of insecurity , tie in with this study.

In the Weimar Republic

The justice system of the Weimar Republic is accused of having been "blind in the right eye", i. H. Acts of right-wing extremist criminals are mild, but those of left-wing extremists have been prosecuted with the full severity of the law. This becomes clear in the statistics compiled by Emil Julius Gumbel in his book Four Years of Political Murder , which make it clear that the punishment of left-wing offenders is many times that of the right .

One reason for this was that the civil servants and judges were not dismissed after the end of the empire, but remained in their offices. The majority of the judges were close to conservative political positions. In the Weimar Republic, for example, judges who had previously fought against social democrats spoke right.

From the left, the justice of the Weimar Republic was therefore often accused of class justice.

Class justice in real socialism

Criminal law in the GDR was intended to ensure that "the working class" completed "the building of socialism" (opening clause of the GDR criminal code ).

In addition to a large number of criminal provisions that did not comply with the rule of law, legal practice was an effective means of exercising the desired coercion.


On the Marxist use of the term

  • Rule of Law and Class Justice: Texts from the social democratic "New Age" 1883 - 1914 , ed. and with an appendix verse. by Detlef Joseph, Freiburg [Breisgau] [u. a.]: Haufe, 1996
  • Ernst Fraenkel : On the sociology of class justice , Berlin 1927, also in: ders., Gesammelte Schriften , Volume 1, Law and Politics in the Weimar Republic , ed. by Hubertus Buchstein , Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1999, pp. 177–211
  • Friedrich K. Kaul: ... is to be executed! A profile of the German class justice system. New Life Publishing House, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-355-01724-4 .
  • Karl Liebknecht , Rule of Law and Class Justice , in Collected Speeches and Writings, Berlin 1960–1961, Volume II, p. 35 ff.
  • Rolf Geffken , Klassenjustiz , Frankfurt, Marxist paperbacks, 1972
  • Rolf Geffken, back to class justice? (2007) in: Rosa Luxemburg Society: Back to Class Justice?

On class justice in real socialism

  • Hermann Wentker : The establishment of class justice after 1945 in the Soviet Zone / GDR from a perspective that compares dictatorships. Institute for Contemporary History, Potsdam branch.
  • Petra Weber: Justice and Dictatorship: Justice Administration and Political Criminal Justice in Thuringia 1945-1961. In: Sources and representations on contemporary history. Vol. 46, Munich 2000.
  • Hermann Wentker (Ed.): People's Judge in the Soviet Zone / GDR 1945 to 1952. A documentation. Munich 1997.

On the political use of the term

  • Friedrich-Martin Balzer (Ed.): Justice injustice in the Cold War. The criminalization of the West German peace movement in the Düsseldorf trial in 1959/60. PapyRossa Verlag, Cologne 2006, ISBN 3-894383-41-0 .
  • Heinrich Hannover : The republic in court 1954-1975. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer. Aufbau-Verlag , Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-351024-80-0 .
  • Heinrich Hannover: The Republic in Court 1975-1995. Memories of an uncomfortable lawyer. Construction Verlag, Berlin 1999. ISBN 3351024819
  • Ralf Dahrendorf , remarks on the social origin and position of judges at higher regional courts. A contribution to the sociology of the German upper class, in: Hamburger Jahrbuch für Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftspektiven 5, pp. 260–275; reprinted in: Gesellschaft und Freiheit, Munich, pp. 176–196.

On the historical dimension in Great Britain

  • Peter Linebaugh: The London Hanged. Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century. Verso, London 2003, ISBN 1-85984-638-6 .
Analysis of 18th century British justice in relation to the social structure of convicts; Review below

To link social structure and prison system:

  • Michel Foucault : Monitoring and Punishing. The birth of the Frankfurt a. M. 1976
  • Georg Rusche , Otto Kirchheimer : Social structure and penal system , Frankfurt a. M. / Cologne 1974
  • Loïc Wacquant : Punishing the poor. On the neoliberal government of insecurity , Opladen / Berlin / Toronto 2009

Individual evidence

  1. Die Welt -Online: Judgment in the pleasure travel process Ex-VW works council Volkert must be behind bars
  2. See Marx, Engels, Die deutsche Ideologie , MEW 3: 304
  3. ^ Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program, MEW 19: 18
  4. ^ Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program , MEW 19: 18
  5. Marx, Critique of Political Economy, MEW 13: 8f.
  6. ^ Marx, Das Kapital I, MEW 23: 643, note 73
  7. a b c See Marx, Critique of the Gothaer Program, MEW 19: 21
  8. Gotthard Jasper : Justice and Politics in the Weimar Republic, in: VfZG , Heft 2, 1982. S. 167ff. ( PDF ).
  9. ^ For Gumbel there were examples of class justice, Vier Jahre Mord, Berlin 1922, p. 87 .
  10. Gotthard Jasper: Justice and Politics in the Weimar Republic, VfZG, Heft 2, 1982. P. 198.
  11. Gotthard Jasper: Justice and Politics in the Weimar Republic, VfZG, Heft 2, 1982. P. 199.
  12. history-transnational: Review of: Peter Linebaugh: The London Hanged. ...

Web links