What is "state capitalism"; who is Tony Cliff

Adam Rose adam at pmel.com
Tue Jun 11 09:09:42 MDT 1996

Louis writes, in unbiased fashion :
> Tony Cliff was the founder of a Trotskyist group in England called the
> Socialist Workers Party. It differed from Trotsky's doctrine on one key
> point. It considers the USSR to be "state capitalist", while Trotsky
> considered it to be a "degenerated workers state". By analogy, Trotsky
> would have likened the USSR to a corrupt and dictatorial union like the
> Teamsters under Hoffa. The argument is that the union is still worth
> defending because it defends the wages and working conditions of the
> members no matter how bad the privileged bureaucracy is.
> The "state capitalist" position does not see any intrinsic merit in the
> nationalized property relations, planned economy and monopoly on foreign
> trade of countries like Cuba, the former Soviet Union, etc. These economic
> measures are meant to foster the accumulation of capital by the new ruling
> class. Stalin, Castro and Mao are developing capitalism through the agency
> of the state rather than the private corporation.
> Louis Proyect

Thanks, Louis, for your summary.

One point :

I would describe Cuba, the former Soviet Union, etc not as
plaaned economies but as bureaucratically directed. Any large corporation
has strategic planning, but the external competition means that these plans
can never be forfilled. Same goes for the USSR, etc.

I am in favour of real socialist planning, under workers control.


Adam Rose


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