STEPHEN ERIC BRONNER is currently Distinguished Professor (PII) of Political Science and Director of Global Relations in the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University. The Senior Editor of Logos, an interdisciplinary Internet journal, he is also Chair of the Executive Committee of U.S. Academics for Peace and a member of the advisory board of Conscience International and the Brussels War Crimes Tribunal. His books include: Socialism Unbound, Of Critical Theory and Its Theorists, and Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement.
In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels referred to the state as “the executive committee of the ruling class.” Reflecting the collective capitalist interest in maintaining its accumulation process, capable of forging compromises among competing sectors of its own and other classes, this committee was also meant to enforce legal norms, contracts, and other rules of the game.
CRITICAL THEORY HAS ITS POLITICAL roots in what has been termed “the heroic phase” of the Russian Revolution. This was the period from 1917-1923 in which the radical democratic vision of workers’ councils — or “soviets” — dominated both the communist movement and its radical offshoots.