CHAPTER 6
THE REJECTION OF PASHUKANIS THEORY

Return to the normative theory of law

THE opposition against Pashukanis' theory of law was started by an article of P. Yudin, 'Socialism and Law',1 pretending to present the correct, that is, the true Marxian theory of law. The only interesting contribution of this article is the definition of the law:

'Law is a system of norms established by the state to safeguard the existing order of social organisation. It is the actively reflected will of the dominant class, sanctifying and perpetuating the economic and political interests of that class'.2

This definition stands in direct opposition to the theory of Pashukanis that law is not a system of norms but an aggregate of specific relationships. There is nothing of capitalism or exploitation in Yudin's definition, so that it can be applied not only to the capitalist law but also to a coercive order the purpose of which is not to maintain capitalist exploitation (of one class by another), but just the contrary: to abolish it and to maintain a socialist economy. The definition, it is true, still contains the class element, although Yudin expressly admits that in the Soviet Union 'socialism is carried into effect' and 'under socialism there is no longer any exploitation'.3

The class terminology in Yudin's definition of the law is evidently preserved only to maintain the Marxian phraseology. The decisive point of this new theory of law, its main purpose is to recognise the coercive order established by the Soviet government during the so-called transition period -- in opposition to the theory of Pashukanis -- as true law, as Soviet law or socialist law, and the community constituted by it as a true state, as the Soviet state, to 'be rid once and for all of the hostile theories which strive to show that the state must necessarily wither away at the

____________________
1
Soviet Legal Philosophy, p. 281et seq.
2
Loc. cit., p. 284.
3
Loc. cit., p. 297.

-112-

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