Walter Daum WGDCC at cunyvm.cuny.edu
Sat Apr 29 14:14:12 MDT 1995

To Justin Schwartz:

Your summary of points made by Hillel Ticktin makes a case for Stalinism
not being a new mode of production in itself. Which adds an argument for
the thesis that it is/was a deformed form of another MOP, namely
capitalism. But I can't see how, in this epoch of worldwide capitalism,
there can exist a society (and a powerful one at that) with no mode of
production. Production, exploitation, etc. have to be organized in one way
or another, by one class or another. Yes, Ticktin owes his readers some
methodological justification, but it would have to give up a  lot of Marxism
worth preserving and developing.

Further, the theory I outlined in my previous post (Stalinism as a capitalist
variant deformed by its heritage of usurpation of the Soviet workers' state)
also accounts for its demise, in particular its devolution towards traditional
capitalist forms. Our theory foresaw this in the mid-70's when other "state
caps" were still seeing the USSR as the wave of the capitalist future.

Walter Daum

On Sat, 29 Apr 1995 10:15:49 -0400 (EDT) Justin Schwartz said:
>While I agree with you that Hillel's account of why the Stalinist model is
>not a mode of production is inadequate, and that his appraisal of its
>impending doom was based on his empiricak knowledge and "feel" for its
>dynamics rather than a fully adequate theory, I wonder whether Hillel
>isn't right that the model is not a mode of production. One reason to
>think that it isn't is that a MOP needs to be able to reproduce itself, as
>in Marx's models of simple reproduction in commodity exchange. There is
>reasonable doubt that Stalinism satisfied this condition. It lasted two
>generations, roughly from the First Five Year Plan in 29 to 1991. No
>doubt its demise was greatly hastened by its dismantlement (active and
>purposeful) under Gorbachev, but it was in trouble before G, which was why
>G was put in power to start with. And the trouble was very bad--some
>estimates are that if we take out oil revenues, the Soviet economy did not
>grow at all from about 1978 to 1985.
>How long does a system have to last before we say that there's evidence
>that it is simply reproducable? Or is simple reproducability a matter of
>our being able to construct a model (a la Marx on commodity production)
>which is SR in theory? Anyway, Hillel's idea should not be dismissed out
>of hand.
>--Justin Schwartz

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