The Period of Transition and its Dissenters


Capitalist society, like the slave and feudal societies which preceded it, are class societies in which the dominant class lives off the labour extracted from the subject class. Humanity has lived in class societies for an extremely short period of its history while for the overwhelming majority of its history it has lived in societies which can be described as a form of primitive communism. In these societies labour was communal social labour with free distribution of the products of labour according to social needs, while private property in land or means of production was unknown.

Class societies have been historically limited and capitalism is no exception. Capitalist production relations which the intellectual ideologues of capitalism claim the entire history of humanity has been advancing towards, are similarly historically limited. This can be clearly seen in capitalism’s economic crises and its ever present class struggle. Marxists argue that the contradictions of capitalist production relations generate the historical forces which negate and will eventually overthrow the system. These forces are generated within the system and spring from the system’s imperative to continually attack and pauperise the class which it exploits, thereby cutting the source of the surplus this class generates. Marxists further argue that the next historical stage for humanity is the negation, not just of capitalism, but of class society in general and the construction of communist society.

Under capitalist social relations the working class is separated from the means of production and the product of its labour. Human labour is forced, antagonistic labour and the workers are themselves alienated from their labour and its products. Workers are dominated by the products of their labour which appear as capital, as an autonomous enslaving power to which they are subjected. A worker’s labour reproduces the conditions of her/his enslavement, it is alienated labour and takes the form of value. The purpose of labour is to expand the value of capital by generating profit. Human development is thus thwarted by capital. The social relationships between producers take the form of social relationships between the products they have produced, relationships are determined by value. Labour is only indirectly social, made so by market relations which operate behind the workers backs. The result is that men and women are individualised, atomised and separated from their social being.

Communist society

The obnoxious nature of capitalist society, outlined above, is the result of its method of production. Once communist relations of production are established a whole host of other changes will follow as a result.

Under communism the means of production will become social property and labour will therefore be social labour. The products which are produced will consequently be social products and distributed free according to need. The products such a society produces will only be use values without the exchange values imposed by capitalism.

Communist society will be a free association of producers producing for human needs. Products will be freely distributed without the intermediary of money. It will be a classless society without a state where administration is simply the organisation of things.

The nature of labour will change. Instead of the agony of toil, brutality and mental degradation which capitalism imposes, labour will become something freely given. It will lose its alienated character, which capitalist relations enforce, and become an expression of human ability and a connection to social humanity. Labour will become, as Marx notes, life’s prime need.

In communist society the freedom of each is the condition of the freedom of all. Society will inscribe on its banners:

From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs (1).

The future communist society will be the start of real human history.

How can we progress from today’s capitalist society to communism?

Period of Transition

Marx argues that for humanity to pass from capitalist society to communist there needs to be a period of transition. This will consist of a political revolution in which political power passes to the working class in a lower stage of communism which will, in due course, lead to full communism as described above.

The capitalist system is a global one and production relations are dominated by the law of value which is likewise global. This system does not allow islands of communism to exist within it consequently revolution must occur before any thoroughgoing communist measures can be implemented. This does not, of course, exclude local communistic measures during the revolutionary period. For example in areas under control of revolutionaries rents, mortgages and debts can be abolished and free transport, electricity, water, health, education and other services introduced.

Capitalist society has carried out the material tasks which are historically necessary for the construction of communist society. In particular it has developed a global proletariat, the class which will bring about communist society, and developed the forces of production to the extent that they can sustain a communist world.

We argue that the new society must be controlled by a system of workers councils democratically controlled and delegating representatives to higher bodies. The capitalist state needs to be abolished and a proletarian power created. This can only be, as Marx states in the “Critique of the Gotha Programme” the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

“Revolutionary” in that it is abolishing the remnants of capitalism and instituting communism. It is a transitional power in that it will only exist so long as classes exist in transitional society. The existence of residual classes and class interests gives transitional society its dynamic. It is moving to a resolution of these conflicting interests.

Communist society must, however, develop out of capitalist society. As Marx points out in his “Critique of the Gotha Programme”:

What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges (2).

It is for this reason that a transitional period, in which a lower form of communist operates, is required. In broad outline the measures which we envisage in a transitional period are as follows:

  • Means of production need to be converted from class property into social property and production changed to social production.
  • The means of consumption need to be centralised through the workers councils and distribution organised through a system of local cooperatives.
  • Everyone is to be integrated into productive work but it should be noted that work in the transitional society is not wage labour but social labour.
  • The working day should be shortened and disposable labour time created. This time should be used for developing the abilities and potential of people.
  • Non proletarian strata need to be integrated into productive work. A successful revolution will inherit a world, probably devastated by war, in which a significant minority of the population stand in opposition to any attempt to create a communist world. Antagonistic class interests will still exist. Under capitalism masses of people are involved in useless or socially harmful work. Sectors such as finance, insurance, advertising, defence, state functionaries etc. will need to be abolished and those people affected integrated into socially useful labour. In addition the petit bourgeoisie, and the peasantry need to be encouraged to collectivise and socialise production.
  • Money needs to be abolished and an exchange system based on Labour Time (LT) Vouchers introduced. These are discussed below.
  • Production should be planned for human needs and human development.

LT vouchers are a transitional measure. They will not circulate and will have a limited exchange period so they cannot be accumulated. Marx, in his “Critique of the Gotha Programme” describes the system as follows:

He (the worker) receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of labour (after deducting his labour for the common funds), and with this certificate he draws from the social stock of the means of consumption as much as the amount of labour costs. The same amount of labour he has given to society in one form he received back in another (3).

Labour Time Vouchers are also a means of undermining capitalist production. Profits, dividends, interest and market speculation will disappear. Since the vouchers do not circulate they are not, as Marx notes, a type of money, and since they cannot be accumulated they cannot form a store of value for restarting capitalist accumulation. They represents a break with wage labour. As Marx points out, this system will not produce distribution according to needs but this is an inevitable defect as the new society emerges from capitalism.

Labour time vouchers have been criticised as still being a system of exchange, a disguised value system on which state capitalism can be erected. Marx had himself criticised Proudhon and the Ricardian socialists for their advocacy of labour time vouchers as a replacement of money, but his criticism was based on the fact that they advocated their use as a method of altering the distribution of the social product while leaving the method of production unchanged. Relations of production remained capitalist and the products remained commodities. Since the relations of distribution are determined by the relations of production, as Marx repeatedly points out, this means that such attempts to alter distribution were bound to fail. In his “Critique of the Gotha Programme” Marx is advocating distribution of the social product by labour time vouchers as a temporary measure put in place at the same time as the relations of production are being revolutionised. Capital is expropriated and becomes socialised property which makes the product of the socialised sector a social product. As the process of socialisation advances products can be distributed freely.

The Labour Time Voucher, however, is a receipt for useful activity a recognition of partnership in the social productive process. Marx admits it is not a just system of distribution as all labour is reduced to abstract labour measured by time and it takes no account of the needs of individual workers. Only in the higher phase of communist society can distribution be completely according to need.

What we are dealing with is a transitional period not a transitional mode of production or a transitional social formation which is stable.

The Dissenters

A lot of the arguments over the period of transition have been informed by what occurred in Russia after the revolution of 1917. However, there has never in history been a period of transition anywhere. The lessons from the Russian Revolution are almost entirely negative as far as the period of transition is concerned. Developments in Russia in the years following 1917 were not in any sense a period of transition. The relations of production were capitalist in 1917 and remain capitalist to this day. Wage labour was never abolished.

The Russian revolution was a political revolution premised on the fairly rapid support from revolutions in the industrial heartlands of Europe, most notably Germany. When the European revolutions were crushed the Bolsheviks proceeded to construct state capitalism in Russia. This was accompanied by an enormous theoretical muddying of the waters. Initially Lenin declared that:

State-monopoly capitalism is a complete material preparation for socialism, the threshold of socialism, a rung on the ladder of history between which and the rung called socialism there are no intermediate rungs (4).

This was, of course, the standard view of the Second and Third Internationals. It was also, of course, expected that carrying out measures to create monopoly state capitalism was the task of the bourgeois revolution not the proletarian one. It was not long, however, before state monopoly capitalism was baptised as “Socialism” or the lower form of Communism and the party and state were mobilised in its creation. By 1922 the supreme council of the economy (VSNKh) was complaining;

The cost of labour power is in absolute and relative terms is far too high (5).

This is not simply an admission that the category of labour power existed in Russia, which implies the existence of capital, it is also the familiar complaint of the bourgeoisie down the ages that capitalist profits and capitalist accumulation can only be achieved if wages are lower. It illustrates that, as Marx noted in his “Preface to the Critique of Political Economy”, social relations of production determine the superstructure of society. Capitalist relations of production in Russia were engendering a new bourgeois class centred on the Bolshevik Party and the state. A class which was committed to rapid accumulation of capital by means of the proletarianisation of the peasantry in a frenetic drive to catch up with the West.

All the above can no longer be hidden, but despite this, the idea that State Capitalism is a transitional measure still has wide currency and has coloured the discussion on the Period of transition.

To clarify the issue further we wish to examine 3 political organisations or currents which dismiss the need for a Period of transition; the Socialist Party of Great Britain, The Marxist Humanist Initiative and the Communisation tendency.

Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB)

The SPGB’s views on the period of transition have been explained in a recent book called “The Alternative to Capitalism(6).

Following a clear description of communist society the SPGB argue that this society can be achieved without a period of transition. They see the Period of transition as primarily concerned with developing the productive powers of society. They argue that these have been developed so extensively by capitalism since 1875 that all of Marx’s prescriptions in his Critique of the Gotha Programme are now obsolete.

Nothing is more ridiculous than to repeat the stale formulae of over a hundred years ago and to ignore the immense developments in the techniques of producing wealth which capitalism has brought about (7).

The influence of the Russian experience, however, is evident in that their principle argument is that state capitalism is not a transitional mode of production. They quote the Trotskyist, E Mandel who claims a Period of transition is necessary to increase productive forces because of scarcity and in this period consumer goods will still be commodities. Leninism, they argue, sees a gradual evolution from state capitalism to socialism which they correctly point out is impossible.

They also point out that a gradual transition from capitalism to communism is impossible because of the different forms which wealth takes in the two societies, exchange value as against use value. Wealth, they claim, is a totality and can only be produced as exchange value or use value. The change can only take place as a rupture.

The transition period, however, is not principally about increasing the productive powers of society. The real problems such as integrating non proletarian strata into social production are not considered. This is presumably because they regard present society as consisting almost entirely of workers. Capitalism and socialism, they explain, are all or nothing systems. They cannot coexist.

The route to socialism has to be direct; as a moneyless, classless, stateless world community, socialism has to be achieved immediately, or not at all (8).

While admitting there will be a need for “temporary measures” there is no explanation of how this immediate transcending can be done. The general answer which the SPGB provides is that after winning a parliamentary election they would, legislate or decree the socialisation of capital, the abolition of the state, the ending of money, the ending of countries and the free distribution of products in a massive rupture. How would such a rupture be enforced in the face of inevitable resistance by the bourgeois class? Clearly not through the state which has been abolished. The SPGB answer that such questions are illegitimate, since the conscious majority of the population had elected them to parliament to carry out such a programme, and would not prevent them implementing it. The argument is a circular one in which the conclusion is contained in its premise.

They assume a level of revolutionary consciousness which could only be achieved by the proletariat during a revolution, not a bourgeois election campaign. As Marx says in The German Ideology:

Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness … the alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution; the revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew (9).

The rejection of a period of transition is part and parcel of an utterly utopian programme for the achievement of socialism.

Marxist Humanist Initiative

Another grouping which has taken up the issue of the period of transition is the “Marxist Humanist Initiative.” Andrew Kliman outlined their position in a talk called “The Incoherence of “Transitional Society” as a Marxian Concept” at a lecture given to the “Workers and Punks University” in Llubjana Slovenia.

Like the SPGB the initial target of his criticism is the notion that state capitalism is a transitional economic system leading to socialism, and again goes back to what happened in Russia post 1917. He examines a book by E Preobrazhensky published in 1926 called “The New Economics,” which argues that the Russian economy was part socialist and part capitalist. The socialist part being that controlled by the state in which production is planned. Preobrazhensky called for the expansion of this sector by “primitive socialist accumulation” which meant savage exploitation of the peasantry. At this time Preobrazhensky (10) was a theoretician of the Trotskyist left opposition group which was calling for rapid industrialisation rather than accommodation with the peasantry enshrined in the New Economic Policy adopted in 1921. When in 1928 Stalin adopted a policy of forced collectivisation of the peasantry and break-neck industrialisation the left opposition considered Stalin had adopted their policy and dissolved itself. Kliman clearly shows that for capitalist social relations to disappear the mode of production has to change, and that a change in the formal ownership of capital does not change capitalist social relations. State capitalism remains capitalism not socialism and cannot, therefore, be a transition to socialism.

The brunt of his criticism is, however, directed at the notion of a “Transitional Society” which Preobrazhensky accepts without question. He ridicules the idea that different modes of production could co-exist in a transitional society. What is the mode of production in such a society, he asks. Is there a third type of society between capitalism and socialism? He admits he can envisage a period of instability and a state of flux in the change from capitalist to socialist production, and will admit the need for a transition period but not a Transitional Society.

Kliman uses the basic Marxist axiom that the economic infrastructure determines the superstructure throughout his lecture.* Changes in political and legal forms and consciousness are produced by changes in the economic foundation of society, not vice-versa.

… _The division of society into classes is rooted in the mode of production. So the transition from the capitalist state to the socialist non-state is intelligible, as a Marxian concept, because this transition is based on and corresponds to the revolutionary transformation of the mode of production (11).

While all this is generally true in the longer historical view, the practical question of how the mode of production is transformed is not addressed. The fact that a significant minority of the population will oppose such a transformation and will lose their means of existence because of it, all of which will require measures for integrating these people into the new society is not considered. A transition period means a period of time. While it is true that communism cannot coexist with capitalism for a long period in the way that capitalism could co-exist with feudalism, some sort of hybrid society must exist during this time. It is an unstable society in flux subject to change carried through by a revolutionary proletarian dictatorship. The new society must develop out of the old, and it must be created by the actions of men and women. This can only occur through the will of people whose consciousness is not directly determined by infrastructure of society in the way that Kliman suggests. Consciousness is an indirect product of the infrastructural basis of society, a product mediated by social and historical factors. If this was not the case revolutionary change would be quite impossible. As Marx says in the 3rd thesis on Feuerbach:

The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.


A current theory which also opposes the need for a period of transition and has gained in popularity in recent years is that of “communisation.” This theory has been developed by groups who developed out of the events of 1968 to 1975, some of whom came out of the Situationist International or were influenced by the publication “Invariance” whose leading theoretician was J Camatte (12). Behind a lot of this theorising is the suspicion that a period of transition will lead to a repeat of the Russian experience and the construction of state capitalism. Dauvé and Nesic of the group _Troploi_r, for example, complain that “Leninists” forgot about Marx’s objective of abolishing wage labour, and their sole concern was running a planned economy.

In general instituting a period of transition is seen as a recipe for counter-revolution, instead they demand that the revolution should immediately establish communism. Bruno Astarian, in a recent essay stated:

The goal of proletarian revolution no longer consists in establishing a transitional society but in directly establishing communism (13).

However not all the Communisation theorists agree on why this is so, and in what follows we will try to extract what we consider to be the most important elements of the theory.

The groups supporting communisation have, generally, tried to provide an historical basis for it. They reject the notion of the material decadence of the capitalist mode of production as claimed by the Comintern. They look instead to the distinction between “formal” and “real” domination, or subsumption as it is often called, of the labour process by capital. During the period of “formal” domination the reproduction of the working class was not, they claim, totally integrated in the capitalist cycle. During this period it was therefore possible for the working class to assert its interests as a class within capitalism. However, with the transition to “real” domination the reproduction of the working class becomes totally integrated within the capitalist cycle. At the same time it becomes irreversibly fragmented and its reproduction becomes increasingly difficult. This transformation of the character of the class relation, so the argument goes, causes the proletariat to question its own existence as a class, and thus the capitalist mode of production, and consequently puts communism on the historical agenda.

Camatte sees the period 1914 to 1945 as the period in which domination passed from “formal” to “real.” 1945 he claims, represented a counter-revolution. Theorie Communiste (TC) have proposed a more involved periodisation in which “real” subsumption, as they call it, is divided into two phases. Formal subsumption ends around 1900; the first phase of “real” subsumption lasts to the 1970s and the second phase continues to the present. TC see the period 1974-95 as a counter-revolution. By freeing the movement of capital, breaking national labour markets, privatisation of welfare, neo-liberalism etc. capital has transformed the nature of the class relationship. The proletariat becomes internal to capitalism. This, they argue, has caused the labour movement to become useless to the proletariat. The proletariat’s existence as a class within capitalism becomes precarious and questionable. All this makes communisation a possibility.

During the period of “formal” domination the labour movement could assert the interests of the working class as a class within capitalism; that is to say as one pole in the labour/capital relationship. With the transition to “real” domination, or for TC the second phase of “real” domination this becomes impossible. All that is possible is the abolition of the proletariat as a class and the abolition of class society. It is from this premise that their criticism of the Period of transition stems.

They see the task of integration of non-proletarian strata into socially useful work, which the Period of transition sets itself, as a demand to generalise the condition of the proletariat to everyone in a republic of labour. It is therefore an assertion of the proletariat as one pole of the labour/capital relationship. Capitalism can never be abolished while one pole of the capital/labour relationship exists and generalisation of the proletarian condition can never do away with capitalism. It will reappear in some form or other. Instead the proletariat must abolish itself. How can this be done?

They see the traditional Marxist view of the period of transition as being one in which the political revolution is made first and then implementation of communist measures follow as a recipe for failure. Instead they demand immediate communist measures during, or even before, the revolution itself. Describing communisation theory the journal End Notes comments:

Thus whereas communism had previously been seen as something which needed to be created after the revolution the revolution was now seen as nothing other than the production of communism (abolishing wage labour and the state) (14).

Communist measures, therefore, need to be implemented from the first stages of the revolutionary struggle even before the conquest of power.

The struggle of the working class needs to be simultaneously against capital and labour. Only this can herald the abolition of classes and the appearance of a universal class.

Also they argue that the law of value cannot be progressively destroyed, it must therefore be destroyed immediately. From this we would conclude that we are dealing with a fairly rapid transformation but “Troploin” informs us that the transformation from capitalism to communism will span decades or even generations:

… there will be a transition in the sense that communism will not be achieved overnight. But there will not be a transition period … a period which is no longer capitalist but not yet communist (15).

Some Preliminary Comments

The theory of formal and real domination which appears to serve as the theoretical premise of communisation appears to us to be questionable. Marx does speak of formal and real domination of the labour process but relates this to the extraction of surplus value, formal domination being associated with extraction of absolute surplus value and real domination with that of relative surplus value. The communisateurs do not appear to have given their theory a material basis which distinguishes the formal from the real. They say that in “real” subsumption the reproduction of labour power is fully integrated into the capitalist economy. However, was this not always the case once the connection with the land was lost? What do the reproduction schemes in Volume 2 of Capital show if not the reproduction of labour power takes place entirely within the capitalist economy? The theory seems more descriptive of intellectual and cultural domination, and applies principally to workers in the older core capitalist countries. Bruno Astarian states:

Capital has seized all of life to the point where, whatever you do, you are always on its property (16).

The theory does not seem to describe the lot of workers in the peripheral countries. The irreversible fragmentation of the working class, which the communisateurs observe, is primarily a development in the core capitalist countries as a consequence of globalisation. In the peripheral countries massive concentrations of workers’ in large factories, remain. In addition the size of the global proletariat is increasing as predicted in Marxist theory. In what sense, we ask, are workers in peripheral countries such as China or South Africa “really” “subsumed” by capital when they are often first generation proletarians and are able to return to the countryside during capitalist downturns or long strikes, such as the recent platinum miners’ strike in South Africa?

What needs to be explained is how “real” subsumption can make the working class see the need to struggle to abolish itself as a class. How can a class, which exists within capitalist society, struggle to abolish itself rather than assert its needs as a class. To demand this is to expect the working class to act outside the parameters of historical materialism. As long as it exists within capitalist society the working class can only struggle to defend its interests and reproduce itself within the circle of this society. This must mean affirming its class interests within capitalism. It will surely have to do this until capitalist society suffers complete breakdown. Such a breakdown will itself have been precipitated by class struggle for demands within capitalist society. At this point the question of an alternative society and the abolition of itself as a class can arise, but this is an outcome of struggle for interests within capitalism. How such a struggle can result from “real” subsumption has not been explained. The key question which looms behind this theorising is whether the communisateurs still regard the working class, which they see as “irreversibly fragmented” and whose reproduction is “fully integrated” within capitalism, as the subject of the revolution. It is a short step from real domination to real integration. Camatte, for example, took this step and finally saw the working class as an aspect of capital unable to supersede its situation and abandoned Marxism altogether. (17)

The criticism, which the communisateurs make, of the integration of all into socially useful work during the Period of transition, appears based on the confusion of socially useful work with wage labour. During the transitional period the means of production are becoming social property and their products therefore social products. Work is becoming an activity rather than forced labour. The worker is no longer alienated from his labour and his product. Integration into useful work is a step towards the integration of all into a human community. The rejection of work which is so frequently demanded by the communisateurs would undermine any attempt to build a new society. As Marx notes all social formations must require labour:

Just as the savage must wrestle with nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilised man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production (18).

The point is to convert labour into a social activity in which men and women express their talents so that work becomes a human need instead of alienated toil.

The demand for immediate socialisation, which the communisateurs make, takes no account of the fact that the new society will arise out of capitalism and will still have many defects of capitalist society. The fact that it must develop out of revolution and civil war is not really addressed. Some of the publications give the impression that communisation can take place without revolution. B Astarian, quoted above, speaks of local initiatives seizing capitalist property and distributing it free to assure its own survival, then resuming production with free distribution. Such things could only take place after the destruction of the bourgeois state power, they will not in themselves destroy state power.

After the revolution remnants of classes will still exist and will fight to regain their lost privileges. Marx’s description of a lower phase of communism which takes account of this still appears to us as correct. Many communist measures will be implemented fairly rapidly in the lower stage of communism. For example, socialisation of the means of production, abolition of money, the institution of labour time vouchers, free distribution of services, free transport, shortening the working day etc. So far these measures sound very like communisation but do not, of course, include abolition of the state.

The political power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, will be the workers councils. It will enforce transitional measures, such as socialisation of all capitalist property, and distribution of social product, and to dissolve the remnants of capitalist classes into humanity in general. This cannot be done overnight! Only when classes no longer exist will the need for the political power disappear and the “state itself wither away”.


The theoretical conclusions of Marx and Engels regarding the need for a transitional period remain correct despite 140 years of capitalist development since the “Critique of the Gotha Programme” was written. This development has reduced the numbers of the industrial proletariat as a proportion the total population in the core capitalist countries, but in the peripheral countries, however, the opposite has occurred. Globally the weight of the proletariat has increased.

This working class remains the subject of the revolutionary change from capitalism to communism. Disillusion with the working class’ failure to make the revolution from 1871 to 1968 does not mean it is integrated into capitalism as implied in the theory of “real” subsumption. The working class remains the only class able to overthrow capitalism and construct a communist world and cannot be integrated into the system since it is in an antagonistic relationship to capital.

As has been pointed out many of the objections to the period of transition still have their roots in the rejection of state capitalism as a transitional mode of production, but also, along with this a rejection of a role for an autonomous class political party. Both are viewed as “Leninism”. The political party of the working class, however, has a key role to play both in the process of the development of revolutionary consciousness and in the revolutionary period itself (19).


(1) Karl Marx Critique of the Gotha Programme.

(2) Karl Marx Critique of the Gotha Programme p.15

(3) K Marx Critique of the Gotha Programme.

(4) V Lenin The impending catastrophe and how to combat it.

(5) See S Pirani The Russian Revolution in Retreat 1920 -1924 p. 193

(6) See A Buick & J Crump The alternative to capitalism

(7) A Buick & J Crump The alternative to capitalism p. 89

(8) A Buick & J Crump The alternative to capitalism p. 92

(9) K Marx The German Ideology p. 94

(10) Preobrazhensky was shot without trial, confession or ceremony in 1939

(11) See

(12) See Capital and Community”

(13) Bruno Astarian Communisation as a way out of the crisis.

(14) End Notes 1 p. 13

(15) Communisation Giles Dauvé and Karl Nesic p. 11

(16) B. Astarian op. cit.

(17) Theorists of the Frankfurt School such as Adorno and Marcuse saw the working class as fully integrated into capitalism and looked to other sections of society for force to overthrow capitalism.

(18) K Marx Capital Volume 3 Chapter 48

(19) For an elaboration of this important issue, see our pamphlet Class Consciousness and Communist Organisation (£4 including postage from CWO address).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


This is a fascinating article, as are so many on the ICT site. Maybe Reading Time Vouchers could be issued or devotees ?! Having spent much of a lifetime reading so much on Marxism, including of course, the Communist Manifesto of 1848 and Lenin's Imperialism,the Highest Stage of Capitalism, allowing for various stages of the extent of productive developent around the world, and that such differences are steadily being reduced by the spread of technology, I arrive at sort of jigsaw puzzle picture of Marxism, for all manner of events can be explained and slotted into it, but am left with doubts about how the jigsaw picture of a local and wider revolutionary outcome would tend to look, not just for me, but for everyone else. So far it consists of so many optimistic uncertainties and lack of definite plans that it seems unlikely to persuade and convince enough workers that communist moneyless arrangements can be made to work. Of course it can be argued that the most urgent task is to prepare to overthrow capitalists, but that in itself will only advance when a clearer picture of the outcomes is made available. Guess I should have read all sorts of other stuff by now !

Revolutionary Perspectives

Journal of the Communist Workers’ Organisation -- Why not subscribe to get the articles whilst they are still current and help the struggle for a society free from exploitation, war and misery? Joint subscriptions to Revolutionary Perspectives (3 issues) and Aurora (our agitational bulletin - 4 issues) are £15 in the UK, €24 in Europe and $30 in the rest of the World.