File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-03-16.132, message 52

Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 11:43:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: M-I: state capitalism

On the question of state capitalism,

The argument to which Jones is finding an opportunity to display his
brilliance is a common one. The question is whether the Soviet Union was
state socialism, state bureaucratic, or state capitalist. There is nothing
confusing about the Paul's post. He admits that he expected to find for
the state bureaucratic model, but that upon examination of the facts, he
found that he could not rule out that the Soviet Union was state
capitalist. Of course, one can easily assert the obvious: the Soviet Union
was state capitalist. 

Mark wonders when the Soviet Union became state capitalist. It might
surprise Mark, maybe not, that Lenin regarded the Soviet Union as state
capitalist. The Soviet project in the beginning was held to, quite
correctly, display capitalist relations throughout the system. A social
formation does not overnight change its economic base with the transfer of
power to a social movement. To change the economy of a social formation
>from the position of reason rather an objective collective formation is an
immense task. In China, for example, Mao knew that the majority of Chinese
were not communists, and hence advocated massive educational campaigns to
bring them in line with, by comparison, the tiny communist party that has
seized political power. There would be no other way to fashion massive
economic restructing any other way. So it wasn't like the Soviet Union was
socialist the day after revolution and that it somehow degenerated. In
fact, it was state capitalist and never moved past that stage, 
degenerating into a totalitarian state tyranny.

Paul's discussion of the applicability of Marxian concepts to the
understanding of the Soviet political economy is shared by Cliff and
Dunayevskaya, etc. I share his assertion, as well. Stalin's project was to
force upon the Soviet Union the synchronic model of capital developed by
Marx in Capital.

Also, as to Paul's understanding of movement in the productive forces as
having a direct connection to the social relations of production--
absolutely. These two analytical categories are abstractions of an
ontology representing a deep structural dialectic. Of course changes in
the material forces in production will place tensions and changes on the
social relations, how in the hell does Mark think social formations

The state is, of course, an oppressive apparatus. And it was used in the
Soviet Union to smash the working class movement frequently. I am at a
loss to understand Mark's rejection of this factual reality. And yes,
Mark, it is a serious argument to point out that the Soviet Union was
capitalist in 1939. They were never anything other than capitalist. Your
theoretical understanding of structure and history is really pathetic. We
have lived in a capitalist world-system for centuries now. The Soviet
Union was a part of the capitalist world system, as was China. These state
capitalist models were only one in a variety of capitalist models in the
20th century, from monopoly capitalist forms to corporate statist forms.

Doug Henwood's thoughts on the matter notwithstanding, I think this post
to Paul from Jones finishes off completely any credibility that Mark might
have had on this list. His desire to figure some way to insult Paul led
him to write a post that so utterly exposes his lack of even basic
knowledge of political economy that his past contributions to this list, as
confused as they were in themselves, can now be rejected in their
totality. The childish language of Mark Jones, evidently in an effort to
out-juvenile Adolfo, demonstrates perhaps more clearly than anything else
the poverty of Stalinism.

I congratulate Adolfo and Mark on their new list. But I fear this doesn't
mean they will be leaving us here at M-I?


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