The Monopolies and the State

  • Neil Malcolm
Part of the Studies in Soviet History and Society book series (SSHS)


It has often been remarked by Western Marxists that ‘the classic writings of Marxism-Leninism’ provide only a sketchy explanation of the functioning of the state in capitalist society. As Ralph Miliband comments, the absence of systematic political theorisation on the part of Marx, Engels and their most prominent successors means in effect that a Marxist politics ‘has to be constructed or reconstructed from the mass of variegated and fragmented material which forms the corpus of Marxism’.1 Such a situation favours the flourishing of a variety of radically differing conceptions of politics, all of which might be described by their authors as Marxist. The fact that such a flourishing did not come about until fifty years after the October Revolution2 is to be explained largely by the peculiar conditions of intellectual life inside the USSR, and by extension inside the world Communist movement. Throughout a long period of increasing theoretical sterility, the official doctrine of ‘State Monopoly Capitalism’ was enforced to the exclusion of all other approaches. When the spell was finally broken, it was in reaction to this doctrine that Western theorists developed their own conceptions. Soviet authors were not, of course, and still are not in a position to abjure State Monopoly Capitalism, or even to offer explicit modifications of it.


American Politics Capitalist State Relative Autonomy American Source American Foreign Policy 
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© Neil Malcolm 1984

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  • Neil Malcolm

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