The Revenge of History: Marxism and the East European Revolutions

Alex Callinicos, Author Pennsylvania State University Press $42.5 (159p) ISBN 978-0-271-00767-0
Callinicos's project is ``to deny that the death agony of Stalinism amounts to the bankruptcy of the revolutionary socialist tradition founded by Marx.'' A political scientist affiliated with a British Trotskyist group, Callinicos notes that Trotsky warned many times of the dangers of the Stalinist state. The author argues convincingly that the Stalinist states of Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R. are actually state capitalist in nature. If so, then it follows that ``Stalinism represented a counter-revolution, the final liquidation of everything the October Revolution had sought to achieve,'' and ``the East European revolutions . . . are thus the vindication, rather than the refutation, of the classical Marxist tradition.'' Callinicos contends that the post-upheaval picture is potentially dire, given the rush to embrace the dubious virtues of the market. There are passages in the final chapter, a recapitulation of the basic tenets of classical Marxism, where the book becomes an exercise in ``the committed preaching to the converted,'' but the author's restatement of the current situation in Europe from a Marxist point of view is a refreshing corrective to much recent writing in this area. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-7456-0848-8
Hardcover - 200 pages - 978-0-7456-0847-1
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