Russia and the Long Transition from Capitalism to Socialism

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    Samir Amin

    Publisher: Monthly Review Press

    Year: 2016

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 142 pages

    ISBN: 9781583676011

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Out of early twentieth-century Russia came the world’s first significant effort to build a modern revolutionary society. According to Marxist economist Samir Amin, the great upheaval that once produced the Soviet Union has also produced a movement away from capitalism – a long transition that continues even today. In seven concise, provocative chapters, Amin deftly examines the trajectory of Russian capitalism, the Bolshevik Revolution, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the possible future of Russia – and, by extension, the future of socialism itself.

Amin manages to combine an analysis of class struggle with geopolitics – each crucial to understanding Russia’s singular and complex political history. He first looks at the development (or lack thereof) of Russian capitalism. He sees Russia’s geopolitical isolation as the reason its capitalist empire developed so differently from Western Europe, and the reason for Russia’s perceived “backwardness.” Yet Russia’s unique capitalism proved to be the rich soil in which the Bolsheviks were able to take power, and Amin covers the rise and fall of the revolutionary Soviet system. Finally, in a powerful chapter on Ukraine and the rise of global fascism, Amin lays out the conditions necessary for Russia to recreate itself, and perhaps again move down the long road to socialism. Samir Amin’s great achievement in this book is not only to explain Russia’s historical tragedies and triumphs, but also to temper our hopes for a quick end to an increasingly insufferable capitalism.

This book offers a cornucopia of food for thought, as well as an enlightening means to transcend reductionist arguments about “revolution” so common on the left. Samir Amin’s book – and the actions that could spring from it – are more necessary than ever, if the world is to avoid the barbarism toward which capitalism is hurling humanity.

About the Author

Samir Amin was born in Egypt in 1931 and received his Ph.D. in economics in Paris in 1957. He is director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, Senegal. His numerous works include The Law of Worldwide Value, Eurocentrism, The World We Wish to See, and The Implosion of Contemporary Capitalism.

Tags: actually existing socialism ....... anticapitalism ....... marxism ....... Monthly Review Press ....... russia ....... russian revolution ....... Samir Amin .......