Thursday January 10 2013

Supplement: Origins of the crisis in the SWP - part one

The Soviet Union question, by Jack Conrad (pdf available here)

What was the Soviet Union?

The factional divisions and central committee splits that are now besetting the Socialist Workers Party cannot be put down to Charlie Kimber, Martin Smith or, for that matter, the John Rees-Lindsey German-Chris Nineham-Chris Bambery gang of four. No, the problem lies with the whole ‘International Socialist tradition’ and goes all the way back to Tony Cliff himself.

In many ways comrade Cliff (1917-2000) embodied the courage, the tireless dedication and ultimately the failure of 20th century revolutionary politics. Whereas the 19th century begins with communistic sects and closes with mass working class parties, the 20th century showed an entirely opposite pattern. The first quarter was characterised by the optimistic foundation and rapid growth of mass communist parties. Yet with the close of that century, most Marxists, and would-be Marxists, found themselves disorganised in 57 varieties of small, ineffective, rival groups or scattered to the winds in countless sects of one. And despite the deepest capitalist downturn since the 1930s, things have got worse. Eg, the SWP leadership makes great play of its 7,000 members. Given what objective circumstances cry out for, pathetic even if it were true (real membership is at most 2,000). Of course, historically, objective factors played a major role here - the treachery of social democracy, Stalin’s counterrevolution in the revolution, Nazi terror, the long post-World War II boom. Nevertheless subjective failures have contributed too, including those of comrade Cliff.

Tony Cliff was a genuine internationalist. Born Ygael Gluckstein in Palestine, he migrated to Britain following World War II in order to further the cause of global revolution. Arriving in 1946, he was kicked out as a dangerous subversive by Labour home secretary James Chuter Ede. Entry into Eire was granted; its religio-nationalist government assumed his deportation was due to Zionist activities. It was Churchill’s Tories who allowed him back into Britain in 1952. Perhaps MI5 cynically calculated that Cliff would help to disrupt and undermine the pro-Soviet ‘official communists’ and the Bevanite Labour left - famously the Okhrana once banked on a factionally hard Lenin to inadvertently serve tsarism with his unremitting polemical blows against his opponents and its enemies.

Despite being denied entry into Britain, Cliff energetically intervened and manoeuvred within the fragmenting circles of Trotskyism - there were clandestine trips over the Irish Sea and numerous letters and articles. Cliff was the foremost personality in the Socialist Review Group and already an experienced factional fighter. As such Cliff constituted one of those invaluable links in the human chain which joins in some way the tradition of Lenin’s Comintern with the ideological and political struggles of the 1950s and 60s. Certainly, where countless others resigned themselves to the bureaucratic socialism of Stalin on the one hand or reformist social democracy on the other, Cliff stands out with his constant stress on the necessity of socialism from below.

During the darkest days of the cold war that meant punishing isolation. Cliff’s key theoretical works made their first appearance courtesy of stencils and a hand-turned duplicator. Professional printing was in those days prohibitively expensive. The SRG had little more than a couple of dozen members … and almost from its inception sought refuge in the bowels of the Labour Party.

USSR and its critics

As a political personality Cliff was rooted in the intellectual achievement and mores of Russia’s Bolsheviks, as upheld and filtered through the writings of Leon Trotsky. Here lay two big problems. The first concerned Trotsky’s theory of the USSR. The second was his related conception of the revolutionary party.

Without doubt, having come over to Bolshevism at the 11th hour, Trotsky played an outstanding and invaluable role in the Russian Revolution. (Incidentally, as we shall show in part two, the rapprochement between Lenin and Trotsky was not due to the former undergoing a Trotskyite conversion to ‘permanent revolution’ with his ‘April thesis’ - that is an unfounded myth which ignores, indeed insults, the history of Bolshevism pre-1917.) The Soviet regime was in its heroic years associated throughout the world with two names - Lenin and Trotsky. Yes, when he was in power, and incidentally under Lenin’s protection, Trotsky has been accused of showing bureaucratic tendencies. In the early 1920s he proposed the militarisation of labour (in fact, all he proposed was something like the conscription of labour initiated by Ernest Bevin in Britain, which lasted from 1943 till 1948).

Anyway, from 1924 onwards Trotsky took the lead in fighting the bureaucratic degeneration of the isolated workers’ state. And, it should be stressed, till his assassination in 1940, Trotsky’s brave and unyielding opposition to the Stalin monocracy was that of a defencist. The Soviet Union was not only non-capitalist, but, he argued, a world-historic gain that should be treasured and guarded. Although workers were deprived of all democratic rights in the 1930s, although they were reduced to the level of an oppressed and formless mass, Trotsky stubbornly continued to regard the Soviet Union as some sort of workers’ state, albeit a degenerated one. He did so for two main reasons.

Firstly, its origins in the October Revolution of 1917. Secondly, the USSR was a workers’ state, according to Trotsky, because of its nationalised property forms supposedly inherited from the October revolution and its immediate aftermath. The actual lived relations of exploitation experienced by workers, the surplus extracted by the bureaucracy-as-collective using organisational - that is, extra-economic - means, were either flatly denied or treated as entirely secondary. His criticism of bureaucratic socialism consequently focused on the sphere of distribution and consumption rather than that of production. He savaged inequality, but refused to see exploitation and the reproduction of the conditions of exploitation. In so doing Trotsky retreated from Marx’s method of dialectal investigation - its highest expression being Capital. Of course, the truth about Soviet Union was shrouded by propaganda, falsification and censorship. It was by no means clear what it was or where it was going.

Not surprisingly then, from the beginning the Soviet Union divided the workers’ movement. There were those who chose their own ruling class rather than side with the workers in revolutionary Russia. These labour traitors thereby proved themselves reactionaries of the worst sort. There were also, of course, the ‘official communist’ sycophants. However, within the revolutionary camp itself different critical interpretations of the Soviet phenomenon caused one organisational schism after another. Nowhere has such fractious behaviour been more prevalent and damaging than with the Trotskyite tradition. At the end of the day the reason for this is the dichotomy that existed between the strange reality of the Soviet Union and Trotsky’s theory.

To begin with, as a loyal Trotskyite Cliff unquestioningly accepted that Stalin’s USSR remained a workers’ state. Indeed, in the mid-1940s as a rising young star in the Fourth International he was specially commissioned to write ‘doctrinaire’ attacks on the rival ‘theory’ of bureaucratic collectivism. Cliff was to earn his factional spurs lambasting the ideas of Max Shachtman, Hal Draper, Al Glotzer and their co-thinkers; in the 1930s they had come to reject Trotsky’s formulation.

Shachtman is Trotskyism’s prince of darkness. The fallen angel whose name is for them irredeemably associated with class treachery. Shachtman’s ‘lesser of two evils’ drift into the camp of democratic imperialism during the cold war - criminally he supported the US-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 - is used to dismiss everything he said and wrote against Trotsky. The same technique could equally be applied to Marxists of the stature of Georgi Plekhanov, Rudolf Hilferding or Karl Kautsky. But that would be pure philistinism and a significant intellectual loss. Truth must be our goal. Labelling thinkers all right or all wrong gets us nowhere. People are complex ... and sometimes even mortal enemies are capable of revealing vital aspects of the truth.

There is, in my opinion, much to recommend in Shachtman. The conclusion of Shachtman and co that the Soviet Union was neither capitalist nor socialist, but bureaucratic collectivist points in the right direction. They rightly emphasised the centrality of proletarian political power for any genuinely socialist project. Trotsky’s notion of ‘socialist property forms’ was flawed, because it effectively equated nationalisation with socialism. That would make Inca Peru, Bismarck’s Germany and Nasser’s Egypt examples of socialism.

As Trotsky’s ‘Trotskyite’ critics pointed out, the key to understanding the Soviet Union was not the continuation of property forms, but changed social relations: that is, the fact that with the first five-year plan the bureaucracy finally separated itself from any proletarian vestiges and launched a ‘second revolution’ against the workers and peasants. As we know, living standards plummeted. Millions died. The Communist Party was decimated and transformed into an organ which existed to promote the cult of Stalin. Here, in the first five-year plan, was a qualitative break. A new social formation had been born out of the failure of the Russian Revolution and the impossibility of building socialism in one country.

Using its - that is, the state’s - monopoly of the means of production, the bureaucracy under Stalin ruthlessly pumped out surplus labour from the direct producers, who exercised no positive control over the product, let alone society. Peasants were effectively re-enserfed, workers re-enslaved. Their trade unions were turned against them. They were denied the most elementary rights. They were atomised by a terroristic regime, which ensured that they could not organise themselves into a collectivity. Any hint of political resistance meant imprisonment or death. In other words, from 1928 the Soviet Union surely ceased being something to treasure and defend.

As I have said, bureaucratic collectivism is a ‘theory’ which contains some valuable pointers. Evidently life is much richer than the linear sketch drawn by Marx for western Europe in his Critique of political economy: that is, primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, communism. There have been and can be many other possibilities, including unviable freak societies. Hence bureaucratic collectivism as a ‘theory’ demands a concrete analysis. Unfortunately neither Shachtman nor any of his successors developed anything like a general theory of the USSR. Shachtman, in his defence, never claimed he had arrived at such a necessary level of theorisation. His bureaucratic collectivism cannot locate the Soviet Union’s actual laws of motion and the essential contradictions which led it to stagnation and ignominious final collapse.

Shachtman, Draper, Glotzer, etc paid a heavy price for daring to question their mentor. As a minority they found themselves barred from appealing “directly to the masses” by James Cannon and his regime in the US SWP: that is, openly publishing their political views. Trotsky, it should be noted, raised no objection. Quite the reverse: he praised the purge of the “petty bourgeois opposition” and described its call for a public debate as a “monstrous pretension.”1

Especially after the death of Trotsky himself, Trotskyism increasingly became a fixed sectarian dogma, not a scientific method open to unexpected challenges and new development. In step with ossification, in theory and practice, Trotskyism turned into its opposite. Trotskyism went from being a searing criticism of Soviet reality to an apologia. Following World War II it was plunged into utter incoherence by the export of Soviet-style society to eastern Europe. According to Trotsky’s epigones, socialism was no longer conquered by the workers themselves. It came not from self-activity, but the Red Army (later other supposed agents of human liberation were discovered - Mao, Tito, Ben Bella, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Tony Benn and Hugo Chávez have all been worshipped by post-Trotsky Trotskyites).

State capitalism

To his everlasting credit Cliff moved on from orthodox Trotskyism. Cliff correctly reasoned that he had to jettison either his standard Trotskyite assumptions or the vision of working class self-liberation expounded by Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc. In 1947 he wrote an internal Fourth International document titled The nature of Stalinist Russia. Here he affirmed his conversion to the idea that the Soviet Union was a system of “bureaucratic state capitalism”.

In Britain, Tony Cliff, Gerry Healy, Ted Grant, and a host of lesser pontiffs presided over sects which were differentiated one from the other not on the basis of the general interests of the working class, but according to what was in the interest of the sect. Every theoretical dispute is thereby the source of new splits and thus invariably new sects. Cliff’s break with orthodox Trotskyism over the USSR therefore resulted in the formation of a ‘state capitalist’ sect. As we have seen, Trotsky himself bears some responsibility for this method, which is now taken as axiomatic by most leftwing group and grouplets. Trotsky, the non-sectarian sectarian scourge of Leninism in pre-revolutionary Russia, became in the 1930s the founder of a sect. The Fourth International was a parody of an international party, as were its national components and schisms. They were all based on agreement with a narrow set of specially defining ideas, not gathering and organising the advanced part of the working class.

As for Cliff, after conjoining his state capitalist theory with ‘libertarian’ Luxemburgism, he announced his ‘turn’ to ‘democratic centralism’ in the late 1960s, along with departure from the Labour Party host. Rising industrial militancy, Vietnam solidarity and youth radicalism held out the promise of a warmer climate for revolutionaries. The International Socialists - as the SRG became - sloughed off its federal structure and took flight. There was a sharp upturn in fortunes: membership was soon to be counted not in the tens, but the hundreds.

True, for a brief period factions were permitted. They were even given automatic seats on the national leadership and allowed to dissent in a regular internal bulletin. Sean Matgamna and his Workers’ Fight group eagerly accepted Cliff’s offer of unity and used it as an opportunity to accrue influence and cadres. However, by the time the Socialist Workers Party was formed in 1977 such democratic features were already history. All opposition factions had been ruthlessly purged in the early 70s (giving rise to a whole genus inhabiting the contemporary left - Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, Workers Power, Permanent Revolution, Revolutionary Communist Group, etc).

Regrettably, Cliff’s understanding of partyism never transcended the bounds of a sect. Advanced workers were not to be organised and trained as leaders of their class through their own struggles, accumulated experience and many-sided critical debate, but instead initiated into the special ideas and principles coined or discovered by the theoretical guru. Militant workers had to be made into believers. An approach that largely gave way to an over-excited promotion of economistic activism following the 1989-91 collapse of bureaucratic socialism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. With the Soviet Union gone, there was little or nothing to distinguish the SWP from the average sect project … apart from the SWP’s boast of being the “best builders” of protests and its (bogus) membership figures.

Cliff’s theory

It should be emphasised that state capitalism was not an original designation to apply to the USSR. Leave aside Lenin’s characterisation of socialism beginning as monopoly capitalism under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Kautsky, the centrist, Bordiga and Gorter as ‘left’ communists, the remnants of anarchism - all had well before Cliff expounded the view that the USSR was capitalism under the dictatorship of a new bourgeoisie (the former as early as 1919 in his anti-Bolshevik diatribe Terrorism and communism2). Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that Cliff did elaborate a particular theory vis-à -vis the USSR; a theory that can therefore legitimately be dubbed Cliffite.

Seven years after The nature of Stalinist Russia was distributed in duplicated form, the Cliff group published an amended version, Stalinist Russia: a Marxist analysis. In 1964 it appeared as the first part of a larger work, Russia: a Marxist analysis, upon which all subsequent editions are based, including the 1974 State capitalism in Russia. Before outlining the problems with Cliff’s theory, it is obviously necessary to provide a brief account.

Essentially the whole of Cliff’s state capitalist thesis pivots on the notion that Soviet society developed not primarily through internal contradictions, but rather through contradictions brought about by international competition - crucially competition in the sphere of arms. In point of fact the Soviet Union is defined as capitalist because of its foreign policy impulses; as if form determines content and not the other way round. How, according to Cliff, did such a situation arise? The raw material was the undeniable isolation of the proletarian revolution, imperialist encirclement, Russia’s appalling poverty, working class deactivation, the bureaucratisation of the party and the shrinkage of elementary democracy at all levels of the regime.

For comrade Cliff the key date was 1928. Out of the chrysalis of the party, state and army bureaucracy there emerged with the first five-year plan a fully-fledged capitalist class. Siege conditions and the threat of renewed imperialist intervention forced the bureaucracy to undergo the mutation from a privileged caste, which was under the “direct and indirect control of the proletariat”, into a collective ruling class, which personified capitalism at its most extreme.3

Stalin was certainly determined to build a powerful industrial base, no matter what the short-term costs in human suffering. Without heavy industry the Soviet Union could not turn out the armoury, artillery and aircraft needed to defend itself. It was either carry through a rapid industrialisation or die, Stalin said. In Cliff’s account this was the compulsion which triggered off production for production’s sake and accumulation for accumulation’s sake: that is, though the peasants were collectivised, private capital eliminated, the kulaks liquidated as a class and the mass unemployment of the NEP period ended, the bureaucracy began to fulfil tasks akin to the nascent bourgeoisie, along with all the consequent social categories, contradictions and antagonisms.

In this revolution from above there was no overthrow of the state, nor even a radical change in the upper echelons of the party-state. For Cliff the first five-year plan signalled a capitalist social counterrevolution because from then on bureaucratic management of the state amounted to “owning” it.4 This fusion of economics and politics under the pressures of a hostile world environment effectively turned bureaucratic salaries into profits and made the relations of production and the distribution of products capitalistically antagonistic.

The first five-year plan atomised the workers and reduced them to wage slaves. Trade unions ceased to defend their members’ interests and instead became for Cliff instruments in the hands of a state hell-bent on extracting the maximum surplus value from the workforce. The same drive was responsible for a massive increase in the use of unfree labour in distant and inhospitable parts of the country and the steady erosion of workers’ rights throughout the 1930s. To overcome resistance there was a “denial of any legal freedom to the worker”: that is, the imposition of all sorts of coercive measures against absenteeism, frequent job changing and the moving from one part of the country to another.5

Though it supposed itself leading the construction of ‘socialism in one country’, the bureaucracy actually, argues Cliff, unintentionally produced the highest form of capitalism. It took the tendency to divorce ownership and control to limits unobtainable by any organic evolution of ordinary capitalism. Because it emerged from the exceptional conditions of a workers’ revolution which expropriated individual capitalists, Soviet state capitalism in effect ran the country as a singularity within which there could be planning and no need for the operation of the law of value (in other words, just like the situation within Honda, Microsoft or Google).

This “partial negation” of traditional capitalism was said to be fully in tune with the relentless drive by capitalism as a whole to production to meet the demands of military competition; via which capitalism can gain new markets, new masses to exploit through conquest. Subordination of the whole economy to the production of arms explains, for Cliff, both the unique characteristics of Soviet “bureaucratic state capitalism” - that is, its constant problems with underproduction - and the ability of western capitalism to (temporarily) “eliminate” crises of overproduction after World War II.

Indeed, showing their proficiency in abstraction rather than in analysis, till the 1991 collapse SWP leaders portrayed the world as a system of more or less internally planned states whose military competition remained the prime manifestation of capitalist logic.


Central to Cliff’s ideology is the claim that, despite the continuities of form inherited from the October revolution, the content of bureaucratic rule amounted to an “extremely high concentration of capital”.6 In other words, the Soviet Union represented both a capitalism most ripe for socialism and at the same time a capitalism most antagonistic to the workers. Socialisation of production and the evolution of abstract capital does not mean the end of capitalism. On that we can agree. However, does the fact that workers were exploited in the USSR oblige us to classify it as a society dominated by the capitalist mode of production?

Capitalism in Russia was quite clearly growing apace before 1917. NEP saw a controlled and partial recovery of capitalist elements. But I would argue that in carrying through a second revolution, in expropriating the peasant class, in destroying merchant trade and all petty capitalist proprietors, in developing the forces of production under conditions of terror and bureaucratic command, the Soviet Union of Stalin established unique social relationships and socio-economic categories. Refusal to countenance this simple truth is the source of all state-capitalist confusion.

Capitalism is a definite historical formation with specific laws and coloration. Capitalism is not a universal phenomenon. Marx was insistent: the subject, humanity, and the object, nature, endure in every society, along with labour, which “must constantly be performed”.7 So capitalism is not a generic description of inequality or exploitation, as many SWP members I come across seem to think. That would make Genghis Khan’s empire and the sprawling feudal kingdom of Henry Plantagenet capitalist. Nor is capitalism defined - as Chris Harman once said - by “production for competition, not need”.8 A deliberately evasive formula which cuts the hands and feet off capitalism in service of Cliff’s Procrustean theory. He dishonestly leaves out the cardinal fact that competition under capitalism, unlike the competition, say, between Rome and Carthage or European Christendom and the Muslim Arabs, is competition in essence for the sake of the accumulation of capital. If Harman owned up to that, it would be impossible for him or Cliff to call the Soviet Union capitalist.

To see whether or not the USSR was capitalist one has to judge it against capitalism’s “laws of motion” so as to bring out its identity. Playing sleight of hand with the bureaucracy or blurring definitions will not do (the anarchists, for example, called the Soviet Union capitalist because of the continued existence of the state - undoubtedly a feature of class society, even in semi-state form). Capitalism is fundamentally different to previous exploitative societies. It is not enough to have an oppressive state and aim for the maximisation of output, as was the case in the Soviet Union (though not all pre-capitalist class societies). Capitalism is generalised commodity production. Products, above all labour-power itself, appear as commodities which are bought and sold by capitalists with the aim of realising a profit.

Not surprisingly Cliff places great emphasis on the war economies of capitalism. After all, during big wars the state steps in to regulate the economy. In the most important branches of the economy production is transformed into the de facto production of use-values, which are only formally commodities. Workers are taken away from production by law and put in uniform. Other labour is conscripted into strategic industries, which operate under military-type conditions. Competition is abolished and, all in all, the workings of the law of value are in many ways replaced by state-capitalist planning. Of course, what Cliff forgets is that such a situation is an exception, not the rule. It must be understood that the ‘suspension’ of the law of value during periods of war capitalism was designed to defend the operation of the law of value in the longer run. No higher social logic had come into existence.

Marx long ago explained, not least in Capital, that competition under capitalism was essentially determined by the “restless, never-ending process of profit making”.9 Capital then is an exploitative social relationship which relies on the continuous extraction of surplus value from workers who have to sell their ability to labour as a commodity in a system that moves according to the gravitational pull of profit. Without the successful realisation of surplus value there can be no accumulation of capital. More, without profit there can be no sustained reproduction of capitalist relations of production.

Production and profit, use-value and exchange-value are therefore a unity, but a unity in contradiction. Precisely as Marx showed, again most fully in Capital, here was a fundamental problem within capitalism, which if it is the dominant mode of production comes in due course to throw the whole of society into crisis. Not because of contradictions imported via international competition, but because of inherent internal contradictions.

Cliff never proved, rather than stated or insinuated, how the Soviet bureaucracy personified capital in the sense described above. Let alone the means by which capitalism - that is, real capitalism, capitalism as the dominant mode of production - operated. That is not surprising. The Soviet Union was not capitalist. It was something else.

Cliff’s method

Sophisticated advocates of the theory of state capitalism know that attempts to prove the USSR capitalist by actually grasping the real thing and its internal workings are futile. Thus in his State capitalism in Russia Cliff wrote that “if one examines the relations within the Russian economy, abstracting them from their relations with the world economy, one is bound to conclude that the source of the law of value, as the motor and regulator of production, is not to be found in it”.10

To see the Soviet Union as capitalist he has to see it through a distorting prism. Only then is he able to discern “the basic features of capitalism”.11 In fact he does not discern the “basic” features of capitalism, but the “basic” features of any exploitative social formation. Indeed Cliff gives the game away when he claims that with “state capitalism” in the Soviet Union “competition through buying and selling is replaced by direct military competition. Use-values have become the aim of capitalist production.”12

Approach Buckingham Palace in Cliff’s way. Is it surprising that, if you let drop little by little all that constitutes its individuality, leaving out first history and who lives there, the materials which went to build and furnish it, then you end up with nothing but a living space? You can then leave out its dimensions and you soon have nothing but a pure abstraction that is indistinguishable from 23 Railway Cuttings. Cliff does not get to the truth about the Soviet Union: he merely discounts everything specific about it that is not capitalist, that made it what it was, that made it unique. Crude reductionism. In every society the able-bodied produce use-values through necessary and surplus labour. But if we take away both production for profit and the creation of an average rate of profit, both wage labour and the reserve army of unemployed, both exchange-value and market competition, then we do not have a society with a specifically capitalist character, but merely a society in general. That is what Cliff’s ‘analysis’ of the Soviet Union amounts to.

After rather effortlessly batting aside the bureaucratic collectivism of both Bruno Rizzi and Max Shachtman, together with James Burnham’s managerial revolution, Cliff offers a crude metaphysical “either ... or”.13 Either the Soviet Union was genuinely socialist or, given the ample evidence that it was not, crucially the lack of democracy, it had to be capitalist. One of Hegel’s pithy remarks is pertinent here: “It is the fashion of youth to dash about in abstractions; but the man who has learnt to know life steers clear of the abstract ‘either-or’, and keeps to the concrete.”14

In his own way Cliff paints from the same monochrome palette as ‘official communism’, except that, where it engaged in whitewash, he does a blackwash. ‘Official communism’ presented the Soviet Union as the highest rung on a fixed ladder of human social evolution. It was meant to be the inevitable result of the supposed linear course from primitive communism, via the perfectly lined-up steps of slavery, feudalism and capitalism.

Cliff’s only disagreement would appear to be that, having failed to establish genuine socialism, the Soviet Union had no way to go but backwards, back down the ladder of social evolution, back to capitalism, albeit in a state-capitalist form. In the absence of workers’ democracy the Soviet bureaucracy had to function as a capitalist class. In order to keep its national privileges, spurred on by international competition, he says it operated as a national personification of capitalism and forced the USSR to move according to all the essential laws of capitalism. There was in his mind no other possibility - rashly he explicitly denied “internal forces” could “restore individual capitalism”.15 History has, of course, judged otherwise and, all things being equal, should have prompted the SWP to conduct a major theoretical review.

Needless to say, there has been nothing of the sort. The SWP leadership does not want to go back to basics and study the Soviet Union afresh. As a result, all that remains of the ‘theory’ of state capitalism is the claim that by holding to it the SWP morally distanced itself from Stalinism (true) and therefore avoided the decline, disintegration and disorientation experienced by the ‘defencist’ left. A classic case of hubris.


All problems go back to labour. According to Tony Cliff’s theory of state capitalism, the allocation of labour (A-L) relationship, whereby the bureaucracy in the Soviet Union mobilised the labour-power of the available population, was analogous with - or exactly the same as - capitalism’s use of money-capital to purchase labour-power. That is, the contractual delivery of the commodity, labour-power, in exchange for money - ie, wages - with the aim of realising surplus value in the form of additional money-capital.

In fact the USSR saw neither generalised commodity production nor the generalised buying or selling of labour-power. Furthermore there was neither surplus value, capital nor real money. Undeniably from the 1950s onwards target figures were increasingly given rouble names. Yet this in itself by no means justifies the conclusion that the social formation was state-capitalist.

Every student of economics knows that commodity exchange and money as a medium of exchange considerably predate the capitalist mode of production. Since the dawn of civilisation money has been employed as a universal equivalent between inanimate commodities. The book of Genesis tells the story of Joseph’s estranged brothers coming with money from the famine-struck land of Canaan to buy food from him in Egypt. Money was also used in ancient times as wages: ie, “a buyer of so-called services”, “without the transformation” of money into money-capital, and “without any change in the general character of the economic system”.16 It must be emphasised then that what is characteristic of capitalism is not that the commodity, labour-power, is purchasable, but that “labour-power appears as a commodity”.17

Soviet workers received roubles. That is self-evident. However the rouble was non-money or at most pseudo-money. It was not by any stretch of the imagination the universal equivalent (it was a sporadic equivalent, mainly when it came to supplying workers with the means of subsistence). The rouble names of Soviet products bore no, or merely a phantom, relationship to the labour-time embodied in them (I am not suggesting that under capitalism price and value are the same thing - obviously they are not). Nor were prices transformed into money that could command the universe of products, not even consumer products in the retail sphere.

Invariably within inter-bureaucratic exchange it existed as a mute entry on the accountants’ books (not to be confused with the rise of fictitious money under capitalism). As a performance indicator profits and losses were almost irrelevant. Fines levied by centre for late delivery or quality failures were either ignored or remained forever unpaid. Losses never led to closure. Even in the case of success, roubles were notched up in non-transferable bank accounts (they could not be transformed into fiduciary roubles - paper roubles). Nor could they be used independently to purchase the means of production.

Crucially, and this cannot be said often enough, Soviet workers were not primarily mobilised into the workplace by the lure of roubles. They might moonlight, and exchange their services in return for paper roubles - or most likely something more useful like American cigarettes or bottles of vodka. But they had to be forced by the state to deliver their labour-power to an enterprise through laws against parasitism, etc. Hence workers in the Soviet Union were not free in the Marxist sense. Labour was semi-free or semi-forced (and to keep it from quitting one enterprise for another manager had to put in place what material incentives they could - accommodation, works canteens, extra food supplies, educational opportunities, kindergartens, etc). In other words, labour-power could be bought or sold at the margins of the system. But as it appears at the workplace door it does so as a human being in possession of a product (albeit of a special type), not a commodity.

Having touched upon a key difference that distinguished Soviet bureaucratic socialism from capitalism, we appear to arrive at an essential feature which the two systems had in common.

From the viewpoint of both the owner of capital and the bureaucrat, living labour is necessary if the means of production are to be productively converted into new products. Hence the capitalist buys labour-power in the market from free workers. Hence the bureaucracy mobilises labour-power through, on the one hand, anti-parasite legislation and, on the other, ensuring that the means of subsistence are only available to those registered as employed.

From the viewpoint of the workers, both under capitalism and bureaucratic socialism, the productive application of their labour-power is “not possible” until it has been “brought into connection with means of production”.18 In a state of separation there can be no production. Joining the worker with the means of production is therefore of central concern to capitalist and Soviet bureaucrat alike. Marx, however, very importantly stressed that it is the “specific manner in which” the union of all the technical factors of production “is accomplished” which “distinguishes the different economic epochs of the structure of society one from the other”.19

The wage worker and capitalist are formally independent of each other. Both own a commodity: respectively labour-power and capital. The worker is brought together with the means of production by the use of capital to purchase labour-power. Permanent relations between people are established through things. Under bureaucratic socialism too labour-power exists “separately from the means of production, from the material conditions of its application”.20 But it is brought into connection with the means of production by the use of political or extra-economic means. Force, not capital, confronted the Soviet worker.

The owner of labour-power and the capitalist or bureaucrat exist as opposite poles within an interpenetrating unity (as did the slave and slave-owner, the manorial serf and the landlord). The means of production and the owner of labour-power are necessary for each other. Yet between the worker and those who own or dominate the means of production there is a fundamental inequality. Workers have nothing except their ability to labour. They are faced by another who is determined to, and does, make them do their bidding in order to feed life into the means of production. Quite clearly this social relationship arises out of the fact that the conditions required for the reproduction of labour-power - that is, means of subsistence and means of production - have been separated from the owner of labour-power.

We need not concern ourselves here with the first five-year plan, which definitively brought about this separation in the USSR. The thing that interests us here is this: if A-L appears as the functional domination of the bureaucracy, it is not because allocation assumes the role of supplying the means of subsistence. Allocation takes a dominating form only because labour-power finds itself in a state of separation from its means of production (including the means of subsistence as the means of reproduction of labour-power itself). This separation can be overcome only by the delivery of labour-power to the bureaucracy, which dominates the means of production. Therefore the functioning of labour-power, which is not at all limited to the quantity of labour required for the reproduction of its own self, is likewise the concern of the bureaucracy. The worker-bureaucracy relation during the process of production arises only because it is inherent in society at large and a hierarchical division of labour, in the fundamentally conflictive power positions occupied by worker and bureaucrat, in their socially contradictory relation. It is not allocation which by its nature creates this relation. It is rather the existence of this relation which leads through the line of least resistance to the transformation of what appeared at the beginning as a mere technical function into an exploitative and thoroughly alienated function.21

In Cliff’s theory the contradictory functions of the bureaucracy as collective allocators and appropriators are crudely conflated into the supposed “capitalist relations of production prevailing in Russia”.22 By beginning with the conclusion that the Soviet state acted like a giant “capitalist” employer, he has no problem ignoring the evidence which proves the opposite.23 Slaves in ancient Athens, it should not be forgotten, were employed in the state’s silver mines and had food and other necessities allocated to them. Yet, though these slaves were often purchased as commodities, they did not sell their ability to labour. The latter also applies to Soviet workers - there was no sale of labour-power. Allocation of all factors of production, including means of subsistence, in the Soviet Union actually derives from the historically evolved ability of the bureaucratic state to politically dominate.

However, as there was no genuine labour market, management could not effectively discipline the workforce: neither through the threat of the sack nor the incentive of a whole universe of consumer products. Workers exercised no positive control over production. But they did exercise negative control. The pace of work was notoriously slow. Formal state ownership of the means of production cannot therefore be seriously equated with the state as collective capitalist employer (if by that is meant collective buying of the commodity, labour-power).


Cliff inevitably equates the Soviet manager with directors and other top managers in Britain, America and Japan. This error automatically flows from his state capitalist mindset. ‘Captains of industry’, in countries that are really capitalist, obviously do not receive their huge salaries because they sell their labour-power. Cliff is right on this score. They are an integral part of the capitalist class. These well rewarded personifications of capital are specialists in pumping out and realising the surplus value created by the working class. They have in the form of performance-related ‘compensation’, share ownership, flotations and options, dividends and low-interest loans a very material interest in the accumulation of capital.

Soviet managers not only received a mere pittance in comparison with, say, the head of British Gas,24 we leave aside here the debate about whether or not the elite in the Soviet Union constituted a class, but what really calls into question Cliff’s theory of state capitalism is that these political appointees behaved in an altogether different manner to managers under the conditions of capitalism. No sizing down the workforce, no profit maximisation, no minimising inputs.

As individuals they were an integral part of the bureaucracy. Nevertheless, the Soviet elite was riven with a contradiction between its whole and the part in a way altogether different from capitalism. Soviet bureaucrats functioned as managers. However, when they did, they functioned not only as inefficient exploiters, but as intermediaries between the state and the workers. They routinely connived with the workers against centre and relied on the systematic doctoring of statistics to fool the bureaucracy-as-collective. Such a contradiction, which undermined the system and tended to take it towards disintegration, needs to be theorised in a way which consistently and logically explains reality - not, as with Cliff, explained away by treating capitalism and its categories as universal.

The state-class in ancient Egypt, India, China and Mesopotamia also organised social production. But their pharaohs, emperors and kings did so not because they monopolised ‘employment’. Peasants worked in the main for themselves, at their own pace and with their own means of production (in the form of tools and draft animals). Wage and slave labour only appears as a commodity on the margins of society. The state owed its origins to, and developed directly as part of, the process of production itself. Mobilising peasant labour, by decree and custom it oversaw the construction of vast irrigation works, which tamed the great flood plains of the Nile, the Indus, the Euphrates-Tigris and the Yellow rivers.

Productivity and population soared. China contained some 50% of the world’s population at its zenith in the 13th century. It was the bureaucratic-theocratic state and its agents which distributed rights over the communal property so cleverly gained from nature. By levying tribute from the masses of people, the ‘oriental despotisms’ were able to command surpluses which made them the superpowers of their day (pre-classical Crete and Etruria, pre-Columbian Peru and Mexico had broadly similar social formations). Samir Amin calls them “rich tribute-paying formations” - as opposed to what he calls a poor one such as feudalism.25 Though these systems witnessed endemic corruption on an enormous scale, though rent by contradictions between the whole and the part, their dynasties spanned hundreds of years.

We could describe the circuit of the product in such a tribute system using the following formula: MP+(L+ MP) ... P-O-T. Centre maintains irrigation channels and distributes land: ie, MP or state-controlled means of production. Of course, what was really important was the power of the state. It could in practice claim its dues with or without any real input. Force decided.

Either way, peasants regulated their own ability to labour and used their own means of production: ie, L+MP. Because it was in their own interests to keep themselves and their families alive, they could be relied upon to work hard during the process of production (P) in order to maximise output (O). The state’s local officials would cream off the surplus from the output in the form of T, or tribute (tax-gathering). After siphoning off what they could get away with for themselves, a set quota or percentage would be delivered to the state treasury. The tribute state took hold of and judged its slice of production as use-values, over which some degree of direct control could be exercised. Exchange-value does not appear as a mediation stage. Apart from the labour and physical product that had to be delivered to the state, the peasants almost formed a closed system.

Here was the problem with target-values in the Soviet Union. In its development, bureaucratic socialism progressively weakened the control exercised by centre and increased the negative control of workers - this lack of control/negative control also applied to the product. However, results are invariably the opposite of beginnings. In order that the bureaucracy could sense the product slipping out of control there had to be a stage, or moment, when that control was asserted. Due to proletarian revolution the Soviet Union was post-capitalist. But, not least as shown by the retreat of the New Economic Policy, also pre-real socialist (ie, it was not on the high road to communism, but was retreating). For the bureaucracy to resolve the contradiction both the law of value and workers’ positive control had to be uprooted. Yes, the date of this counterrevolution within the revolution was 1928. From then onwards target-values dominated the production and circulation of the Soviet product. Using terror, the bureaucracy established its monopoly position as allocator of resources. What was sent in to factories and collective farms as input had a target-value, as did what came out. Use-values that were consumed had first to be produced as target-values.

It is therefore quite clear that the formula for the circuit of the Soviet product, A ... A’, describes a form based on definite socio-political conditions. It presupposes both the existence of workers who have lost power and a bureaucracy that substitutes for but is not a capitalist ruling class. This unique unity of politics and economics allowed for accumulation to take place at what seemed like an unprecedented pace (and in the midst of capitalism’s great crash). The bureaucracy was untrammelled by the need to realise profit.

While it could add to the number of workers, accumulation did indeed proceed after a fashion. Inefficiency remained a nagging worry. However, to begin with it did nothing to stop the development of the productive forces.

Evolutionary ladder

We have shown that Cliff’s theory of state capitalism is posited on a vulgar “either - or” reading of history. Either the Soviet Union was genuinely socialist ... or, given the ample evidence that it was not, it had to be capitalist.26

Not surprisingly, this approach - unconsciously inherited from ‘official communism’ - informed Cliff’s 1948 critique of Max Shachtman’s bureaucratic collectivism. Bureaucratic collectivism, said Cliff, “left” the Soviet Union’s “historical identity undetermined”; by which he meant its exact place on a teleological ladder of historical progress.27 So armed, he rounded on Shachtman and his co-thinkers in the US Workers Party for having an inconsistent evaluation of the Soviet Union.

In 1941 the Workers Party declared in a convention resolution that bureaucratic collectivism was a “reactionary social order” compared with socialism and historically more progressive “in relation to the capitalist world”.28 The practical result of this intermediate ranking on the ladder of evolution was to allow a “defencist position” vis-à-vis the Soviet Union in the event of a war designed to restore capitalism.

With virtually every country becoming engulfed in World War II, events cascaded forward at breakneck speed. Bureaucratic collectivism and its adherents were tested in extremis. Faced with an apparently mutually predatory war on both sides, Shachtman buckled.

Stalin aggressively invaded Finland in 1939. Karela was ceded to the USSR. The great dictators had already carved up Poland and Stalin incorporated Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Then, after the launch of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the USSR cemented a close alliance with the British empire and US imperialism. Indeed Shachtman came to think for a while that the USSR had been reduced to a mere pawn. Yalta and Potsdam and the division of Europe were yet to come. He discarded his defencism and pronounced the Soviet Union a “new barbarism”, an example of the “decline of civilisation”, etc. Later, as a corollary, Shachtman urged his tiny band of militants in the US trade union movement to support “reformist officialdom” against “Stalinist officialdom”. For Cliff this wartime zigzaging and the hopeless muddle evidenced in the labour movement goes to disprove the idea that the Soviet Union was neither capitalist nor socialist. The concept was “supra-historical, negative and abstract”, he dismissively declared.29

I have readily admitted that the limits in the ‘theory’ of bureaucratic collectivism articulated by Shachtman are all too evident. However, Shachtman’s failure to describe the Soviet Union’s fundamental laws of motion, his increasingly irrational hostility towards ‘official communists’ in the west and eventual drift into cold war anti-communism does not make Cliff right. The flaws in Cliff’s theory are likewise only too evident.

For example, Cliff rejected out of hand Shachtman’s contention that the Soviet Union was a “new barbarism”. Such a designation must, by definition, be associated with a “decline in the productive forces”, he insisted.30 Stalin’s success in carrying through an unprecedented industrial revolution with the first two five-year plans does not coincide with Cliff’s conventional reading of decline. Edward Gibbon’s late imperial Rome was his model. Crude gross national product, not social essence, was his point of departure. Mesmerised by the spectacular target-figures, Cliff was blind to the actual social laws at work in the Soviet Union, which appeared to allow it to begin by doubling the output of heavy industrial output, and yet closed with a decade of minus ‘growth’ rates (till the final denouement of 1991).

Cliff’s attempt to show that the Soviet Union was state-capitalist came at a cost. The baneful consequences in terms of Marxist theory are twofold. Firstly, it does not explain the actual movement of the Soviet Union through the course of time. Secondly, it necessitated a complete mangling of the essential socio-economic categories painstakingly revealed, explained and elaborated by Marx in Capital. Capitalist society thereby loses all historical specificity.

So what was the Soviet Union? Placing it on an evolutionary ladder will not do. Stalin, Shachtman and Cliff differed markedly, but all got the answers they wanted from such a device. The same approach applied to biology arbitrarily puts homo sapiens above all other plants and animals past and present. The paradigm is wrong. As Stephen Jay Gould has convincingly argued, actual evolution does not present us with a ladder: rather an upside-down cone with accidental extinctions, widening diversification and existence at any one moment across an even plane. There is no “apex” of biological evolution.31

The evolutionary ladder of Stalin, Shachtman, Cliff et al treats history as linear - a predetermined line of progressive ascent, not a site of class struggle. Using the same method, dogmatists of every ‘Marxist’ school crassly inform us that the 6th century Saxon kingdom of Mercia was more advanced than classical Athens. Why? Because feudalism follows the slave mode of production on that evolutionary ladder. It matters to them not a jot that in terms of figurative art, public architecture, literature, science and philosophy, and let us not forget mass democracy, the Athens of Solon and Pericles still shines out across the centuries like a beacon. Rustic Mercia, it hardly needs saying, possessed no such attainments. A real grasp of Soviet reality demands that we leave behind all Stalinite and other such nonesense.

Frankly my own thoughts on the Soviet Union are still at the early or tentative stage - I am still working on the first draft of a book. Nevertheless writers as diverse as Eugène Zaleski, Stephen Kotkin, Simon Clarke, Donald Filtzer and above all Hillel Ticktin have located many of the Soviet Union’s unique features, which not only mark it out as non-capitalist and non-socialist, but clearly point the way towards a general theory.

What then were the Soviet Union’s essential features? The bureaucratic social formation in the USSR was born in 1928 from the internal breakdown of NEP and moved through time towards an inevitable collapse. The law of value, commodity production, wage labour, the market and money were all snuffed out. There were targets, but no planning. Lies were endemic at every level. The bureaucracy was bedevilled with chronic internal contradictions between itself as collective and itself as management. Managers connived with their workers against centre. The system could not control its own product. Circulation and therefore reproduction was problematic. Workers found themselves systematically robbed of elementary democratic rights, but exercised negative control over production. They could not form themselves into a class for itself, but the bureaucracy could neither effectively motivate nor discipline them as a class in itself. Absolute exploitation did not give way to relative exploitation. Gulag labour was incredibly unproductive. Terror was necessary, but self-consuming and self-defeating. The first five-year plan mercilessly drove down workers’ and peasants’ living standards. Subsequent plans failed to prevent spontaneous ‘wage equalisation’. The means of production were over-accumulated. Shortage affected every sphere of society. Management hoarded everything - fixed product, labour-power, raw materials. There was a fundamental contradiction between target-value and use-value. Soviet products served to meet targets, but characteristically had damaged or no use-value. Population set the absolute limit on the system.

All these essential features require a Soviet Capital to fully explain and logically integrate them into a materialist and historical whole. In the meantime it is plain from everything we have noted and discussed that the Soviet Union was an ectopic social formation with its own unique laws of motion, which owe their original undeveloped forms to the impossibility of building socialism in one country and the unwillingness or inability of the bureaucracy to introduce capitalism.

Present-day reality flatly contradicts Cliff’s theory of the Soviet Union as the highest, most pure manifestation of capitalism. Of course, the fact that Cliff started writing against orthodox Trotskyism in the fog of unexpected events in great measure explains his myopia. We have the advantage of the 20-20 vision allowed by knowing how things turned out. Yet if Cliff had been less driven by narrow factional considerations and instead had pondered longer and thought more deeply, I am convinced that he would have done better. Of course, having opted for state capitalism and won over others, he never subsequently budged. As a consummate factional operator, he became victim of his own success in building a ‘state cap’ sect.

History does not conform to an ‘either-or’ evolutionary ladder. To use a more appropriate metaphor, it is exquisitely tendrilled, infinitely toned and, within the broad spiral of technological progress and the vicissitudes of class struggle, multi-directional. Social formations in times past have presented themselves in “the most diverse” manner.32 Besides the ‘classic’ modes there have been all sorts of amalgams, transitions, dead ends, isolated turns and freaks. The great empire civilisations of Babylon, pharaonic Egypt, Maya and Aztec Mexico, and Chin-dynasty China do not neatly pigeon-hole into the dogmatist’s preconceived set of five classifications. Neither do the mounted bands of Scythians, Huns and Mongols. Nor do the pre-Christian Norse, Slavs and Franks. Nor the Greek communist experiment on the Lipari Islands, the Bohemian Hussites and the Jesuit state of Paraguay - the ‘vision in the jungle’.

Even within the so-called classic modes of production there is wide variation. Ancient Greece contained the aristocratic-military dual kingdom of Sparta with its helot people-serfs alongside the peasant-citizen republic of Athens and its multi-ethnic state and aristocratically owned slaves. Feudalism as a dominant mode included the sprawling empire of Charlemagne, the papal theocracy and the Teutonic knights’ warrior state. Capitalism is no less uniform, as illustrated by the dissimilarity between classic 19th century Britain and other examples, such as Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa and Bolivarian Venezuela.

Marx only sequentially linked primitive communist, slave and feudal society when it came to western Europe. Here this particular evolutionary strand led to the conditions upon which industrial capitalism eventually flowered. And it was this capitalism that interested him.

No analysis of capitalism is possible without an historical approach. On the other hand, no history can be concrete by merely trying to reproduce history as a whole. Marx’s historicism was the concrete history of a given phenomenon and the emergence of its logical categories. Marx accordingly began with capital, its formation, theorists and latest developments. Proceeding from a profound grasp of all this, he could with scientific confidence critique bourgeois political economy by tackling it head on, from its starting point, from its most elementary form: ie, the commodity.

By logically developing this ‘atomic’ category, showing its historical antecedents and actually manifested movement from one more complex contradictory configuration to another, Marx was able to penetrate the mystery of capitalist exploitation and show why the system created the conditions for its own end. Clearly he entertained no encyclopaedist project of arranging modes of production in some universal sequence of appearance and spread, or in terms of longevity. On the contrary, for Marx, their order was “determined by the relation which they bear to one another in modern bourgeois society”.33

Biologists find more answers to the human condition through anatomical, genetic and behavioural studies of the gorilla and the chimpanzee than of the earthworm or basking shark. Marx approached western slavery and feudalism in the same way - from his given object. That did not mean he was ignorant of the Golden Horde, the Inca or any of the other courses and potentialities contained in historic development (eg, his famous drafts for the letter he wrote to Vera Zasulich in 188134).Capitalism was important for Marx not just because it was the first world system (that is, a system which genuinely unites the world into a single metabolism). It was, through proletarian revolution, the material basis for the world liberation of humanity and the return, albeit on a higher material level, to communism. That is why he devoted a lifetime’s work researching capitalism and the conditions which conduced it; why he tended to ignore or give only passing reference to other patterns of social evolution (not, as some foolish academics suggest, his Euro-centricity).

Marx never argued that humanity as a whole had evolved, or was preordained to evolve, through three or four distinct modes of production before attaining communism. No doubt if we were able to rewind the tape of history and play it back again the results would be radically different, not least in western Europe. Hannibal could have won the Second Punic War and ordered Rome to be “blotted out”, razed to the ground and its site ploughed with salt. Carthaginian hegemony over the Mediterranean would have been primarily commercial. The language of classical civilisation in the west would have been Semitic, not Latin. Along the same lines Harold’s Anglo-Saxons could have lost at Stamford Bridge and Harold Hardrada could have fended off William the Bastard. English would then have evolved as a Teutonic language without high-class Latin loan words; people would eat pig meat, not pork. England would have remained part of the Scandinavian cultural world.

None of that is to suggest human social development is random or senseless. Only that within limits set by the productive forces there are all sorts of routes and accidents decided according to the interests and drives of contending classes and the pulse of class struggle. What goes for the distant past also goes for more recent times. The German revolution could have succeeded in 1918 and thus altered the entire history of the 20th century. Thanks to social democratic treachery it lost. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were cruelly murdered and the conditions created for the barbaric capitalism of Hitler and the barbaric socialism of Stalin.

Jack Conrad


  1. L Trotsky In defence of Marxism London 1982, p207.
  2. See K Kautsky Selected political writings London 1983, p146.
  3. T Cliff State capitalism in Russia London 1974, p154.
  4. Ibid p169.
  5. Ibid p22.
  6. Ibid p176.
  7. K Marx Theories of surplus value part 1, Moscow 1969, p107.
  8. My emphasis Socialist Review November 1993.
  9. K Marx Capital Vol I, London 1970, p152.
  10. T Cliff State capitalism in Russia London 1974, pp208-09.
  11. Ibid p209.
  12. Ibid p212.
  13. Ibid p282.
  14. GWF Hegel The essential writings New York 1974, p95.
  15. T Cliff State capitalism in Russia London 1974, p280.
  16. K Marx Capital Vol 2, Moscow 1967, p30.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid p31)
  19. Ibid pp36-7.
  20. Ibid p31.
  21. See I Mészáros The power of ideology London 1989, pp265-66.
  22. T Cliff State capitalism in Russia London 1974, p170.
  23. Ibid p170.
  24. In January 2013 Phil Bentley announced his intention to quit as chief executive of British Gas - part of Centrica. He will depart “with a pension pot, shares and a salary worth more than £10 million” (The Guardian January 8 2013).
  25. S Amin Unequal development New York 1976, p20.
  26. See T Cliff State capitalism in Russia London 1974, p282.
  27. T Cliff Neither Washington nor Moscow London 1982, p87.
  28. Ibid.
  29. Ibid p90.
  30. Ibid p92.
  31. SJ Gould Wonderful life London 1990, p43.
  32. K Marx Capital Vol 3, Moscow 1971, p593.
  33. K Marx Critique of political economy, Chicago 1904, p304.
  34. See T Shanin (ed) Late Marx and the Russian road London 1984, and K Marx and F Engels Selected correspondence Moscow 1965, p339.
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