William Chambliss’ study in 1976 illustrated this when he described organised crime in Washington, U. Marxists always see working class criminal types as victims of the capitalist state. The prison system is also a source of cheap labour, believing that there is a connection between the use of workers in factories and in prisons.
Those who go along with capitalism have been persuaded from early childhood to conform to the capitalist mentality, due to consistent messages and brainwashing, especially from the media and education.
Item B Marxists do not see the law as a reflection of a value consensus among society’s members.
Instead they see the law as a tool of the ruling class, the police and other social control agencies as paid agents of the ruling class, and crime as an inevitable outcome of the dog-eat-dog nature of the capitalist system, and the inequalities it generates.
Neo Marxists have developed critical criminology which has attempted to incorporate labelling theory and Brake has used subcultural theory to explain the attraction of youth groups.
Assignment 2 – Using material from Item B and elsewhere assess the usefulness of Marxist approaches in explaining crime The traditional Marxist belief is a structural one as they see society as being based on a structure, this structure being determined and controlled by one of the two groups that they believe society is divided into.Marxists therefore argue that capitalism is crimogenic – it is the single over-riding cause of all crime and deviancy in society due to poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity.A poor underclass is formed who have to rely on crime to exist.Individuals may also be labelled as ‘deviant’, simply because they might be involved in political acts that challenge the social order.Marxists believe that laws cannot be ‘neutral ‘, because they are made by the powerful to maintain their own privileged positions.However they also say the ruling classes themselves are deviant, by committing crimes that protect their power and wealth.Capitalist led governments turn a blind eye to this. He concluded that individuals in the police force, the business world and the local government, worked together to make money in gambling and prostitution, however, critics of Marxism would question how frequent this corruption was throughout the country and on its own, proves nothing without a lot more evidence.For example poverty may mean that crime is the only way the working class can survive.Crime may be the only way the working class can obtain the consumer goods they are encouraged by advertising to buy, resulting in utilitarian crimes such as theft.Crime also serves as a diversionary tactic, it diverts attention away from the exploitation and inequalities within the capitalism system and focuses the minds of the proletariat on deviants and criminals who are then mistakenly blamed for being the real cause of problems in society.However there are several variations in Marxist ideas on crime.