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Book Review: 'Against the Market - Political Economy, Market Socialism and the Marxist Critique'

Against the Market?

'Against the Market: Political Economy, Market Socialism and the Marxist Critique', by David McNally. Verso. 1993

The title of this book is wrong. David McNally is not against the market. He is only against the regulation of the production and distribution of wealth by the free play of market forces. He goes out of his way to deny that he is suggesting "that markets can be eliminated overnight" and states that "the issue of contention, therefore, is not the use of market mechanisms within the framework of socialist planning". So, despite his repudiation of so-called "market socialism" as an absurd contradiction in terms he too is one, seeing "a continuing role for some market mechanisms within a socialist society".

Should the Workers Fight for Russia?

Before the Great War there were many workers in this and other countries who would have agreed without a moment’s hesitation that a working class movement should not support a capitalist war, and who, again without hesitation, rushed into the war when it came. This war, they said, was “different "; this was a “defensive” war; the workers must defend their homes, their wives, their liberties.

Socialism Means... Russia Was Never Socialist

It is our contention that Socialism has not been established at any time in any part of the world and that there is no basis for supporting the various regimes which claim to be socialist or advancing towards Socialism.

The oldest and most well-known of such regimes is that which governs Russia and, indirectly, a host of East European countries. This regime came to power with the so-called October Revolution at 1917, an event which was little more than a straightforward takeover by a well-organized minority group, the Bolsheviks, who have held political power to the present day. They have consistently claimed that the working class rules in Russia, in contrast to the capitalist west, a claim which we have treated with the contempt it deserves.

Cuba Under Castro

It is just over a quarter of a century since the July 26 Movement, led by Fidel Castro, toppled the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and took over the government of the country. From a policy of mild agricultural reformism, the new regime gradually shifted to one of full-scale state capitalism and close trading and other ties with Russia. In view of Cuba's geographical position—less than a hundred miles off the American coast— this has resulted in major reverberations in the international power struggle.

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