[Marxism] Re: state capitalism

Ben C minnows at connexus.net.au
Thu Jun 17 19:22:41 MDT 2004

As with Tom O'Lincoln, I don't plan to get into debate here on the list 
about the topic. However, in the light of the collapse of the USSR etc, 
the ensuing immiseration of the post-Soviet proletariat made a lot of us 
think thoughts along the lines of "well that state capitalism theory was 
obviously a crock, just look at the relative advantages under the Soviet 
system", horrific bureaucratic distortions aside.

Of course, as far as I know, all the state-capitalist and "third camp" 
groups pretty much held to their theories, stating that the Soviet 
ruling class had made a leap sideways (or somesuch) into the more normal 
form of capitalism.

Anyway, the debate is very much becoming academic and historical, except 
on the question of Cuba. I think clearly it's best to examine Cuba on 
its own merits, in regard to which the Soviet experience is mostly 
tangential. This way we can at least avoid a rehashing of the 1940s and 
1950s debates among Trotskyists about state capitalism!.

But since some may like to read more on the historical questions, Barry 
Sheppard has written (IMO) a great article "Theories of the USSR in 
light of its collapse" which is available at 
<<http://www.dsp.org.au/links/back/issue18/Sheppard.htm>> and I think 
puts the debate into its current context pretty well.

Ben C

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