Book Review from the June 2012 issue of the Socialist Standard
Beyond The Global Capitalist Crisis. Edited by Berch Berberoglu. Ashgate. 2012
This collection of essays is a restatement of classical Leninist economics and politics. The authors argue that the current global crisis “is permanent and irreversible”. The theoretical framework is provided by Lenin’s theory of capitalism as imperialism, in which the contradictions of capitalism which “would have led it to collapse on the national level were thus transferred to the global level”. In 1917 Lenin “showed the way forward” by identifying the source of the crisis and its solution: “socialism – i.e. a state and society ruled by the working class”.
One contributor claims that, for a number of unexplained reasons, “actually existing socialism” succumbed to a crisis of its own in which “socialism” in the USSR and elsewhere collapsed. It’s no mystery. These state capitalist regimes stagnated under the rising costs of a bureaucratic-military state machine (since this must be largely financed out of surplus value redirected from the productive sector of the economy) and an increasingly expensive dictatorship over the proletariat.
Capitalism will not collapse, nor will the crisis be permanent – if for no other reason than that there is currently no working class movement for socialism. In the absence of that understanding, desire and action for change, capitalism in one form or another will persist. State capitalism (nationalisation or state ownership) is not socialism; nor is a step towards socialism as Lenin believed.