Their Predictions and Ours

On the eve of the Stalinist collapse, here’s what was said by leading representatives of the various theories of Stalinism discussed in this article.

Robert Brenner, a leader of the U.S. group Solidarity, speaking for the theory of bureaucratic collectivism:

The answer for the bureaucracy would presumably be capitalism .... Why don’t they go that way? Because they are not a capitalist class. They are a ruling class based on the state, and there is no way in which those who are in the ruling class can simply tinker with the social system and turn themselves into capitalist private owners. (Workers’ Liberty, Nos.12-13, 1989.)

Ernest Mandel, the foremost proponent of the deformed workers’ state theory:

The main question in the political struggles underway is not the restoration of capitalism.... In none of the bureaucratized workers’ states does the petty bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie represent more than a small minority of the society. This element ... enjoys support, although quite limited, from international big capital. But overall this convergence will be insufficient to impose a restoration of capitalism in the short or medium term. (International Viewpoint, Oct. 30, 1989.)

Mike Haynes, a theorist of Cliffite state capitalism, just two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall:

Although the Soviet economy may well be more inefficient and wasteful than the Western economy, these differences are matters of degree and the degree is often exaggerated .... The Soviet economy has shown sufficient drive to not only prevent the gap with the advanced West widening but to narrow it both absolutely and relatively. (International Socialism No. 34, 1987.)

In contrast, on the basis of our theory of statified capitalism, we wrote in this magazine in late 1988:

It is apparent that significant sections of the Stalinist ruling classes no longer have confidence in their economic system and are searching desperately for some route back to stability.... The breakdown of the system confirms the analysis that Proletarian Revolution and the League for the Revolutionary Party have long championed: ... that the system has an inherent tendency to abandon its superficially centralized economic structure and to adopt traditional capitalist market forms. (“The Death Agony of Stalinism,” PR 33.)

Return to main article

Return to LRP homepage | Write to the LRP