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Marxist theory of law remains undeveloped compared with Marxist critiques of political economy. One reason for this situation is that Karl Marx (1818–1883) himself never returned to the project of his youth: to complement his critique of political economy with a critique of jurisprudence. There are asides in Grundrisse and Capital in which Marx provides clues to how his critique of political economy might transpose to jurisprudence. There are political texts in which he develops his practical approach to questions of law. Yet there is no social theory of law ready-made in his works.

Learning from Marx is also difficult by equivocations in Marx's own work. In some passages, he offers a negative criticism of legal rights as “mere forms” and a view of communism as ...

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