On the Limits of Political Emancipation and Legal Rights
Posted: 24 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 21, 2020
In this paper I offer a new interpretation of Marx’s essay On the Jewish Question (OJQ) which re-states its key ideas but removes unnecessary debates that are not relevant to current political and legal problems. Because OJQ is a demonstration of critique it does not offer positive proscriptions or suggestions for change. Its utility, I argue, lies in the way it can help us think about the limits of resolving deeply entrenched power-relations without a thoroughgoing engaging of how those powers are created and enacted in civil society. With this in mind I read OJQ alongside the recent campaign to legislate for marriage equality in Australia and the movement to recognise environmental human rights. While both movements might ameliorate instances of discrimination and harm, I argue that they cannot resolve those powers that limit certain kinds of access or render people and things subordinate to other interests.
Keywords: Marx, Law, Political emancipation, Legal rights, Environmental human rights, Marriage equality, Liberation, On the Jewish Question
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation