‘Never Forget Class Struggle…’
We made it clear, at the start of this book, that we were engaged upon a theoretical project. Historical experience, we were convinced, and particularly, though by no means exclusively, that of the socialist accomplishments of the workers and peasants of People’s China, had made the limitations of Bolshevism as a problematic of transition visible. Our major concern was to articulate this practical critique; and our book, in consequence, would not centrally be ‘about’ the USSR and China. Rather, it would be a book which sought to bring the historical experience of the Soviet and the Chinese peoples to bear upon certain prematurely closed issues in marxist theory. Hence our title. And hence also various emphases in our text; polemical emphases on the restrictions Bolshevism places on socialist transformation, and parallel, and equally polemical, emphases on the emancipatory qualities inherent in those experiences which had initially allowed us to see those restrictions. Such biases were legitimate and indeed unavoidable given the nature of our project; but they carried with them the serious danger that despite our frequent protestations to the contrary, our book would be read as a simple eulogy of the theories and practices of the CPC, as against those of the CPSU. For this reason if for no other it behoves us to state here, in what we hope are unambiguous terms, the implications of our arguments for analysis of the USSR and PRC as social formations. Another, no less compelling consideration also induces us to begin our concluding thus. The historical experience we have endeavoured to theorise, we believe, equally amounts to a practical critique of both the conclusions, and the methodologies, of most of what currently pass for marxist analyses of the Soviet Union, China, and the rest of the countries of the socialist camp. Against these latter analyses we think it necessary to be brutally and insistently empirical.
KeywordsProductive Force Socialist Construction Historical Experience Social Formation Capitalist Production
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