“The specific economic form, in which unpaid surplus-labour is pumped out of direct producers, determines the relationship of rulers and ruled, as it grows directly out of production itself and, in turn, reacts upon it as a determining element. Upon this, however, is founded the formation of the economic community which grows out of the production relations themselves, thereby simultaneously its specific political form. It is always the direct relationship of the owners of the conditions of production to the direct producers – a relationship always naturally corresponding to a definite stage in the development of the methods of labour and thereby its social productivity – which reveals the innermost secret, the hidden basis of the entire social structure, and with it the political form of the relation of sovereignty and dependence, in short, the corresponding specific form of the state”
— K. Marx, Capital, III (Moscow, 1971), p. 791. Hal Draper comments: ‘If one had to select from Marx’s writing a single statement which contains the main body of his theoretical work in ovo, this would be it’, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, I (New York, 1977), p. 571
Here Alex Callinicos commented that:
“In this passage, Marx does three things. First, he claims that exploitation – ‘the specific economic form, in which unpaid surplus-labour is pumped out of direct producers’ – explains the particular form of political domination. Secondly, exploitation itself is grounded in the relations of production, ‘the direct relationship of the owners of the conditions of production to the direct producers’. Thirdly, the relations of production are conceived as ‘naturally corresponding to a definite stage in the development’ of the productive forces, i.e. ‘the methods of labour and thereby its social productivity’. It is tempting to see these three points as representing the sort of hierarchical structure which Cohen assigns to a mode of production: at the top the ideologico- political superstructure, then the ‘economic structure’ on which it rests, the relations of production and finally the productive forces whose development provides history with its dynamic.12”
* Cohen referred in the passage is referring to G. A. Cohen. Callinicos has written a long review/critiques on Cohen’s theory of History, which seems to suffer with a Functionalist flaws.