State capitalism

Why read State Capitalism in Russia?

Issue section: 

Many people still associate socialism and especially Marx's version of socialism with the brutal Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union.

Tony Cliff's book State Capitalism in Russia has enabled us to explain why the horrific crimes committed by the Stalinist regime had nothing to do with socialism. Instead Cliff argued that Russia under Stalin's rule became a particular form of capitalist society, state capitalism, locked into competition with its rivals in the West.

Of zombies and cannibals

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

With many unprofitable companies avoiding bankruptcy, can capitalism rise from the dead?

Anyone turning to the economics sections of the "high-brow" press recently could be forgiven for thinking they had turned to the film reviews section by mistake. Talk of zombies has been everywhere - but it isn't the latest film from director George Romero they have been discussing. Instead it's "zombie banks", "zombie firms" and even "zombie households" that are the focus of much attention.

States and capital, the banks and the bailouts

Issue section: 
Author: 

Right wingers usually argue that the state should get out of the way of private capital - that economic problems are caused by an overbearing state or regulation. Jack Farmer argues that the state actually serves to prop up the private sector, a role confirmed by the way that capitalism has evolved in recent years

Tories often say that they don't like the state. They say it's a drag on the economy, dampening the risk-taking creativity of the private sector.

60th anniversary of the Chinese revolution: A great leap forward?

Issue section: 
Author: 

Post-revolutionary China needed rapid industrialisation to meet the demands of the middle class and compete with other capitalist states, but it was the workers and peasants who paid the price. Simon Gilbert continues our series on the revolution's sixtieth anniversary

By the time of the 1949 revolution China had been dominated for over a hundred years by foreign powers. Its economic development had been held back and its corrupt political systems propped up. Not surprisingly, then, the twin objectives of national independence and modernisation (meaning industrialisation) were central to the ideas of the layer of frustrated middle class intellectuals who monopolised political thinking from the end of the 19th century.

State capitalism - the theory that fuels the practice

Issue section: 
Author: 

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, many on the left concluded that socialism had failed. Others of us saw these countries as state capitalist and an integral part of the world system. This theory has renewed relevance today

When I joined the Socialist Review Group, the precursor of the Socialist Workers Party, back in 1961, our opponents on the left called us the "state caps" - short for "state capitalists". This was not because we were in favour of state capitalism (although rumour had it that one of our members had joined for that reason). It was because we rejected the notion that the USSR, China and the Eastern European states were in some way socialist or workers' states.

1989-2009: celebrations muted by the disappointments of the present

Issue section: 
Author: 

What happened to the illusions that free market capitalism would bring democracy, social justice and equality to the societies of Eastern Europe? Mike Haynes reports

British tourists are commonplace in the former Soviet bloc today. Cheap flights take you to Prague or Budapest. You can spend a weekend in the Baltic states or even make it to Moscow and St Petersburg. The beer is cheap. For stag nights and last minute flings the prostitutes are numerous and cheap. It is easy to combine a visit to some of the finest sights with some of the worst. And many do. Out of sight, out of mind.

In Western Europe migrants from these countries are common. We meet them every day working in bars and hotels, on the farms and in the factories. Supermarkets in

1989-2009: the revolutions that brought down Stalinism

Issue section: 
Author: 

Mass social movements swept across Eastern Europe 20 years ago, toppling repressive Stalinist regimes that had claimed to be socialist. Mark L Thomas introduces our coverage of the anniversary as he remembers the tumultuous events of 1989

As 1989 began, the one-party states that littered Eastern Europe seemed impregnable, as by and large they had done for the previous four and half decades. Yet by the end of the year, one after another, they had been swept away or were rapidly heading that way. By Christmas Day 1989, when the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was tried and executed followed a dramatic uprising (all beamed across the world on television), everything had changed utterly.

S is for state capitalism

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

As global capitalism flounders, the world's governments are scrambling to use state action to try to stop the rot and bail out the system. After two decades of being told that the market works best, the state is back.

The reason for this is not some grand theory. It is pragmatic. The crisis is showing that states not only need to set the rules for capitalism to work but must also be major players. For socialists this creates a dilemma. If the choice is between bankruptcy and state support we obviously call for state support and nationalisation. No firm should go under, no job be lost because of the lunacy of the system. But we need more than this. And we should be under no illusion that the state is a socialist force.

State of dependence

Issue section: 
Author: 

The era of globalisation meant that national states would have no role in modern capitalism. This was a myth accepted by many, left and right. Mark L Thomas argues this was never the case and looks at the impact of recent state interventions to rescue the free market.

When Alistair Darling, the chancellor, put £37 billion into three British banks, effectively part-nationalising them, in mid-October in the hope of stabilising the banking system, it capped a remarkable few weeks. Here were New Labour, champions of the free market and the City of London, doing something Old Labour had never dared. This happened just days after the return of that arch-neoliberal Peter Mandelson to the cabinet and was all done with the backing of the party of Margaret Thatcher.

Subscribe to RSS - State capitalism