[Marxism] State Capitalism and the writings of Kautsky
einde at gmx.de
Fri Dec 17 14:02:04 MST 2004
> A chairde,
> Does anyone know if the state capitalist theories of the ISO were
> influenced by the writings of Karl Kautsky.
No - the theories of Bukharin were more influential in developing the
theory, but the origins of the theory are described by Tony Cliff in his
autobiography, which will, I hope, be on-line shortly. The context was
the debates within the Fourth International in the late 1940s, where the
the description nof the eastern European states as state capitalist or
something similar was quite widespread (this was the position of the
French group Lutte Ouvriere down to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in
1989/90), but since the regimes in the Eastern European countries were
essentially copies of the Russian regime Cliff went one step further and
came to the conclusion if the Eastern European countries were state
capitalist then Stalinist Russia must also be state capitalist.
The development of his ideas can be followed in the Tony Cliff Internet
Archive (http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/), particularly in the
documents "The Class Nature of Stalinist Russia" (1948) (available at
"On the Class Nature of the People’s Democracies" (1950) (available at
"Stalin’s Satellites in Europe" (1952) (available at
but not yet complete).
The concept of state capitalism was quite widespread within the
Trotskyist movement at that time and Cliff was by no means the only
person to advance such a theory. Indeed the first person to advance such
a theory within the Trotskyist movement was perhaps Raya Dunayevskaya.
There's a 1946 article by her ("The Nature of the Russian Economy") at
Other people who advanced such theories at the time were CLR James and
Cornelius Castoriadis - neither of whom had any truck with Kautsky.
Cliff originally set out to defend the orthodox "workers' state" theory
but became convinced that it was incorrect in the course of his
research. For an outline of the debates see Alex Callinicos'
"Trotskyism" at http://www.marxists.de/trotism/callinicos/
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