Social Scientist. v 10, no. 110 (July 1982) p. 14.


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KS BHATTACHARJEE^

An Analysis of Centre-State Relations

"AT the same pace at which the progress of modern industry developed, widened, intensified the class antagonism between capital and labour, the state power assumed more and more the character of the national power of capital over labour, of a public force organised for social enslavement, of an engine of class despotism. After every revolution marking a progressive phase in the class struggle, the purely repressive, charcter of the State power stands out in bolder and bolder relief."1

These words of Karl Marx signify the broad outline following which the nature of organisation of the State in a class-divided society may be explained with reference to the different stages of its development. The purpose of this paper is to attempt, first, to analyse the development of federal systems in such societies, and, secondly, to explain the form of the governmental structure in India following Marx's outline.

The first question that obviously arises is why of all the countries ruled by the bourgeoisie only in the USA and Switzerland was the federal system experimented from the beginning. By the time when in these two countries a federal form of government was adopted, a good number of other West European countries like England and France bad adopted the unitary form, though in both sets of countries the bourgeoisie was the ruling class in the period of reference.

A Marxist answer to this question must lie in the differences in the objective position of the bourgeoisie across these societies. Though the interests of the bourgeoisie may be understood as basically the same in all societies ruled by this class, the difference in its objective position arises from what Karl Marx has himself referred to in the words quoted at the beginning of this paper: the pace of modern industry's development, widening and intensifying class antagonism.

Take the case of Switzerland. Several cantons with people residing around the Alps had set up a league, the Confederation, at about 1291 to meet common dangers from outside. The Confederation

^Reader, Dept. of Political Science, Norlh Bengal University.



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