State Capitalism and World Revolution

Latest edition:PM Press/Charles H. Kerr,2013

Originally published in 1950, C.L.R. James and a small circle of collaborators making up the radical left Johnson-Forest Tendency reached the conclusion that there was no true socialist society existing anywhere in the world. It is useful to note that understanding the nature of the then Soviet Union was in the 1950’s and late into the 20th century, a major concern for activists and writers and hotly debated. In this book CLR James vilification of Stalinism is more than evident, he is also concerned to critique what he refers to as ‘orthodox Trotskyism’.   Written in collaboration with Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee Boggs, a recent edition published in 2013 by PM Press includes the original preface from Martin Glaberman to the third edition, C.L.R. James’ original introductions to three previous editions, and a new introduction from James’ biographer Paul Buhle.

17  state capitalism2In a foreward CLR James wrote for the 1986 edition he says “for me Marxism is itself the movement of history and I cannot do better than to make clear that what the reader will find in this document is a restatement in contemporay terms of Lenin’s most profound reflections in 1923 as he knew he was dying and wanted to leave the heritage of the experience to the party, the Russian people and the world revolution. (James then lists articles by Lenin) ….I think he (Lenin) was unable to write part of these last articles and had to dictate them. I wish only to say that in those articles he condemned absolutely, in language I have not seen or heard anywhere else, the USSR.”

“When one looks back over the last twenty years to those men who were far-sighted, who first began to tease out the muddle of ideology in our times, who were at the same time Marxists with a hard theoretical basis, and close students of society, humanists with a tremendous response to and understanding of human culture, Comrade James is one of the first one thinks of.”
E.P. Thompson

The book is available to purchase here.