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By Stephen White, John Gardner, George Schopflin, Tony Saich


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Extra info for Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems: An Introduction

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To some extent, as before, official 46 Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems doctrines of this kind were used by the party leadership in an attempt to manipulate popular political opinion to their advantage. This was particularly the case during the Second World War, when Russian and Slavic patriotism reached an unusual pitch of intensity in part as a result of the deliberate encouragement of the authorities. 'We shall never rouse the people to war with Marxism-Leninism alone', as Stalin is reported to have remarked at this time.

Nor are even substantial differences in earnings. Indeed it is by no means clear that Marxist terms of any kind provide an adequate basis for the analysis of a form of society that Marx himself did not experience and which he refused to discuss in detail. Some writers in the Marxist tradition, such as Feher, Heller and Markus (1983), have argued that Soviet-type Comparative Study oj States 33 societies are in fact best conceptualised in a manner which employs the vocabulary of neither capitalism nor socialism but instead accepts that these are historically unprecedented social formations which require analysis in their own quite specific terms.

These relatively limited objectives soon gave way to a much more widely conceived process of reform, embracing the political system and the economy as well as history, social life, the Soviet federation and international affairs (for a fuller discussion see below, pp. 184-94). The early emphasis was upon economic reform, normally the first concern of Soviet and other communist leaders. A strategy was mapped out at Central Committee meetings in 1986 and 1987 involving 'radical reform' of the economy, including some decentralisation of management decisions, a variety of forms of ownership and moves towards a 'socialist market'.

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