ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Buffeted but Unbowed

The Right Lesson and the Wrong Conclusion: Crisis of Socialism - Notes in Defence of a Commitment, Volume 4 by Randhir Singh (Delhi: Aakar Books), 2011; pp 278, Rs 495.


The author of "A Marxist Post-mortem of Soviet Socialism" (EPW, 28 May 2011) responds to Paresh Chattopadhyay's "On a Strange Misreading of Marx: A Note" (EPW, 24 September 2011) and Cem Somel's "On a 'Marxist' Post-mortem" (EPW, 24 September 2011) with reference to terminological objections in the use of the terms socialism, communism and dictatorship of the proletariat, differences of historical interpretation, the class nature of Soviet society, and the restoration of capitalism.

Michael Hardt

This is with reference to the article “A Marxist Post-mortem of Soviet Socialism” (EPW, 28 May 2011). I do wish to point out that somewhere in the text I refer to the author Michael Hardt incorrectly as Richard Hardt. Your astute readers, no doubt, have made the correct connection.

A Marxist Post-mortem of Soviet Socialism

The most complete and plausible explanation of the demise of the Soviet Union would combine the best insights of prevailing non-Marxist accounts within a more comprehensive Marxist account that gives prominence to the rise of the nomenklatura, a capitalist class-in-formation that would eventually do much of the shovelling to bury the Soviet order. Long before Yeltsin hauled the red flag down, this class-in-formation had already occupied positions of control over major productive assets; however, legally sanctioned property relations constrained it, and thus it could not systematically appropriate the surplus product. Convinced that Soviet relations of ownership stood in the way of economic development, leaders of the nomenklatura and their allies overwhelmed the demoralised and disorganised remnants of workers' power.

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