Louis, Kevin, Leo on state capitalism

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Jul 24 06:10:27 MDT 1995

On Sun, 23 Jul 1995, jwalker wrote:

> If this is right, why use the phrase "state capitalism" in the second
> sense?  Surely the existence of a privileged class in the allegedly
> classless Soviet Union is to be deplored; but is there anything
> peculiarly *capitalist* about it?

Louis Proyect:
The real question is whether it is a class or a caste. If it is a genuine
class, in no more progressive than the capitalist class, then socialists
might be neutral in a war between an ordinary capitalist state and a
"state capitalist" government. Specifically, the "state capitalist"
tendency in the SWP saw Stalin's incursion into Finland before WWII as
being in no way different than Hitler's march into Poland.

But if Stalin and his followers were just a caste enjoying benefits from
a socialized economy which is progressive by its very nature, then
socialist might take a different stance entirely. We would defend such a
state under attack, the same way we would defend an American union under
attack from the government no matter how corrupt the leadership. Trade
unions and worker's states, like the USSR under Stalin, represent gains
for the working-class and should be defended.

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